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Old April 10th, 2002, 07:54 AM   #1
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Panasonic mini DV tape problems

Has anyone else had trouble playing back Panasonic AY-DVM83EB mini DV tapes? I've shot approximately thirty of them in combination with Sony DV Excellence (DVM60EX2) for a large project and am having trouble in the post production.
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Old April 10th, 2002, 10:29 AM   #2
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Eric,

For what it's worth, it seems widely accepted that using Sony and Panasonic tapes interchangeably will give you head clogs and other problems unless you thoroughly clean your heads in between brands. Reason: the two brands use different lubricants that don't get along well on your heads. -Many- people have eventually run into troubles mixing the tapes.

The general guidance would be to (1) get a head cleaning tape and use it on your deck and camera, and (2) pick an' stick with one brand of tape. Panasonic is probably the most popular brand, partly because it uses a dry lubricant.
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Old April 10th, 2002, 02:54 PM   #3
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Panasonic min DV tape problems

Ken,

Thanks for your message. Do you know other people who have been affected by this problem and what solutions they have found to fix the playback of already recorded tapes?

Eric
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Old April 10th, 2002, 03:19 PM   #4
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Ken's comments are right on. In addition, if the issue is just playback, try cleaning the heads or use another deck/camera.

If the problem happened during recording, it might be possible to recover your video by using a Sony deck -- they seem to be better at recovering marginal data. Specifically, a deck with Dynamic Motion Control, such as the DSR-2000, has been known to work wonders. The importance of your footage will likely determine how far you want go to go with this.

I use the Panasonic tapes exclusively, particularly the MQ Master series. They're among the best you can get.
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Old April 10th, 2002, 03:20 PM   #5
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I'm sure someone who's experienced a similar problem will chime-in. For starters,

1. Have you cleaned your deck's /cam's heads with a cleaning tape (essential)?
2. Are you playing back the tapes in the camera (used to shoot the footage), a deck or a different camera.
3. What camera did you use and format is the footage (SP or LP)?
4. -Very specifically- what problems are you having?

These answers will help everyone help you.
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Old April 10th, 2002, 06:58 PM   #6
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Panasonic mini DV tape problems

Thanks to both of you.

Vic
the information about the "Dynamic Motion Control" on the DSR-2000 is especially encouraging. I'll tell the editors to try it.

Ken,
In answer to your questions:

I have a Canon XL1 and used it as my primary playback machine. I always shoot SP.

I started taping a distance learning series in Sept.2000. I needed long playing tapes so I bought the 83 minute panasonic stock from a store I had done business with for 20 years. I had bought all of my video cameras and decks from them. I asked about the stock but there were no reported problems. I was diligent about cleaning heads and did it regularly (every 6 hours or so i.e., every time I shot the all-day shoots in the series). But I definitely mixed tapes during those days. I often, but not always, cleaned the heads when I changed stocks. By the last shoots in the series, that's the way I timed the cleaning.

I didn't detect a problem, because the tapes played well. The burn-in VHS dubs made days after the taping are fine.

I also used a small Sony GV-D300 for playing back the Sony DV Excellence tapes I used on another project, but one day in January 2002, it clogged up after playing just 3 of these recorded Panasonic tapes. I couldn't even rewind. The Sony lab report came back saying there were excessive tape particles on many parts in the tape path. Two weeks later, the XL1's drum failed while I was shooting in Ethiopia. I sent it to Canon and it's fixed.

After that, while I was busy editing some of the shows, people in another editing house discovered they couldn't play the tapes on their machines (I'll find out what models they have). And they no longer play properly on my Canon (or Sony).

I'm worried that they won't play on any machine.
That's the long story. Thanks for the responses. They are much appreciated.
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Old April 12th, 2002, 05:41 AM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by KenTanaka : Eric,

<<<For what it's worth, it seems widely accepted that using Sony and Panasonic tapes interchangeably will give you head clogs and other problems unless you thoroughly clean your heads in between brands. Reason: the two brands use different lubricants that don't get along well on your heads<<<

Any comments on the many other mini DV tapes. (fuji, maxell, etc.)...do they fall into one camp or the other?
An aside - I've used both "Excellence" and "Premium" from Sony (and neither have the scene record capability) but no has been able to detail ther difference except the price!
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Old April 16th, 2002, 08:07 AM   #8
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Panasonic mini DV problems

I've waited for the editing house to get back to me about using a machine like a Sony DSR 2000 with "Dynamic Motion Control" and have not heard back. I'll email them today.

I've never used Maxell or Fuji, but a friend of mine tried a Fuji mini-DV tape and had some trouble. He could record, but the tape seemed to jam on playback. I don't know what this means. Could have simply been a bad cassette.

Does anyone know when information about the incompatibility issue between tape stocks first emerged? The I heard about it was in the spring of 2001. By then it was already too late for me.
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Old April 16th, 2002, 03:42 PM   #9
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The tape issue was primarily in evidence when the format was first introduced. ME was just getting settled from the Hi8 days and basically, Panasonic and Sony were using different lubricants which caused a chemical reaction leaving some stick residue on the heads.

Sony was in very short supply at the time and most Sony camcorder buyers, who started with the free cassette they got when they bought the camcorder, were forced to use Panasonic shortly thereafter. That lead to a number of problems and of course, the conclusion that Panasonic made bad tape which wasn't really the issue.

Since that time the chemical problems have largely been resolved but we still always recommend that when switching brands you run a head cleaner to minimize this problem. Keep in mind that most of the tapes on the market are made by Panasonic, but we're not always SURE who's OEMing what for whom...

There is also the issue of varying headwear which is leftover from the analog world. Usually this manifested itself in TV stations who had hundreds of hours on a Betacam cart head and tried a different brand of tape, not necessarily with great results. Chances are your DV or DVCAM heads are nowhere near that used, but digital and ME are more sensitive to those kinds of issues, particularly in regard to digital dropout, artifacting pixelization. It pays to take extra care.

Hope that helps...we've been saying it for some time and at least the lubricant advice seems to be the gospel accoriding to DVinfo.net....

Craig
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Old April 16th, 2002, 03:57 PM   #10
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Joe, don't you use pretty much whatever brand of tape is available at the time with your XL1? It seems I recall you mix and match tapes routinely and have never had problems.

I am also interested in knowing how Maxell tapes fit into this scenario. Also, does anyone know if one camera/deck is more sensitive to this?
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Old April 16th, 2002, 04:07 PM   #11
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Brad, as far as we know, Maxell is Panasonic tape. Only available as consumer product though and overall, the Panasonic Pro is better quality and we seem to experience fewer problems.

Craig
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Old April 16th, 2002, 04:08 PM   #12
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Thanks, I'll remember that.
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Old April 16th, 2002, 04:10 PM   #13
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Wow, you're zippy!

Come visit us if you're ever in the 'hood.

cb
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Old April 16th, 2002, 04:12 PM   #14
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I've never had any problems ever that could be attributed to the tape when using MiniDV. I've only cleaned my video heads once in the camera, and that was about 2 months ago. Prior to that I had owned the camera for about 3 years (XL1) or so. Never a problem. I have Sony, Maxell and Panasonic tapes. I try to stay away from the Sony's as I hear they are more abrasive... they are actually designed that way to wear out heads quicker so you have to buy a new Sony product... planned obsolescence.
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Old April 16th, 2002, 04:23 PM   #15
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digital tapes

Does anyone really know the answer to whether one tape is better than the other?

I know mixing brands and the lubricants can cause problems but is one tape better than the next?

Digital means Zeros and Ones. And thats all you are recording. So you dont lose video quality or increase video quality from one brand to the next. So lets all understand that the video quality is not better from one tape to the other. But the cassette tape itself can be better because they have smoother pins and rollers so that they dont have extra friction to make the machine work less harder. I've worked with my CD and DVD recorder alot. I've tried different brands. And the information that gets record is all the same from the cheapest brand to the most expensive brand. But what distinguishes between CD & DVD brands is the speed at which they record. The more expensive brands you can record at a higher speed, where as the cheap brands you cant. And I've made as many coasters with the expensive brands and I did the cheap brands. But the coasters weren't created due to the brand as it was more attributed to the burning software.

Hope this helps.
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