The "Use One Brand!" Controversy - Page 2 at

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > The Long Black Line

The Long Black Line
Tape, tape and more tape; and decks; HDV, DV, VHS and more.

Closed Thread
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old September 12th, 2005, 03:54 PM   #16
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Tulsa, OK
Posts: 1,689
Who the heck cares if there have been tests? Do whatever you want. The experienced people here and in other forums will tell you that it is best to stick to one brand. As noted above most the issues arrive when you use a certain brand almost exclusively and then shoot a tape with another brand. Nobody is saying there is a high failure rate or that your camera will be ruined. In the collective experience of those who have shot thousands of hours of DV we have found that dropouts and tape problems WHILE STILL RARE, seem to increase when you switch tape brands. The drop out rate may go from 1 every 100 tapes to 1 every 50 tapes.

I can tell you without question or doubt that if you shoot 100 Sony tapes, then plop in a TDK tape that there is a higher likelihood of issues that if someone put that same tape in a camera that shot 100 hous with TDK tapes. HIGHER LIKELIHOOD, not 100% certainty. As recent as last February I was on a behind the scenes shoot for VH1 "All Access" and I was shooting with an XL2 and another guy was shooting with a DVX-100a. He ran out of Panny tapes and borrowed some of my Sony tapes. Of the 10 tapes he shot, 3 were full of errors. He then proceeded to tell me what junk Sony tapes are and that he had only used Panny tapes in the past. From the same batch of 100 tapes I had zero issues.

Sorry that I have not spent hours documenting a scientific study to make you feel better about it but most every pro who has shot DV for a long period of time will tell you the same thing. Do whatever you want to do but dont challenge the experience of seasoned professionals. Nobody is saying you need to use expensive tapes or a certain brand, just to stick with WHATEVER you want. The only motivation is to share our experience with others.

ash =o)
Ash Greyson is offline  
Old September 14th, 2005, 05:46 PM   #17
Fred Retread
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Hartford, CT
Posts: 1,227
Nice discussion everyone, thanks. A lot of people jumped headlong into one or more of the error modes I mentioned; some apologizing for it and some not even seeming to realize it.

Anyway, a couple points if I may:

1. I didn't say or mean to imply that people who advise against mixing brands do a disservice to anyone. No way. It's earnest advice, meant to help. This is a great community, as I've said many times. What I said was that I felt that I would do a disservice by not injecting a reminder into the nearly unanimous chorus that science has not spoken on this issue. I am being earnest too.

2. To the pros who have shot thousands of hours of tape and are convinced that their informal observations confirm the gunk theory, I submit that it is well known that the human brain will perceive things in such a way as to confirm its belief. It will bend time to force correlation of events in memory, it will equate correlation to causation, and it will reject conflicting evidence. This fact about human nature is very successfully expoited by professional psychics is it not? Well, we also do it to ourselves. For years I thought that the doppler effect depends only on the relative motion between sound source and listener, that it didn't matter which one was moving. My ears confirmed it over and over. But it ain't so. The amount of frequency shift does depend on which one is moving. Now that I know it, I can hear it.

Aristotle thought that it was obvious that heavy objects fall faster than light objects. No experiments necessary. Hey, he probably even saw an olive fall faster than a leaf, more than once. Confirmed. Because he was so esteemed by others, this blatant fallacy was accepted as fact for 2000 years. 2000 years!!

3. No, I don't have to prove that alternating brands is okay, and people who disagree don't have to prove their point either, unless one of us actually wants to convince the other. That's not my aim. My mildly provocative call was to try to flush out any real science pertaining to this matter that I didn't know about, and to let people who prefer the freedom to buy whatever is convenient put the advice against doing so in context. I also wanted to let them know that some people's extensive experience indicates that it's okay to do so.

4. I've seen lots of GL2 owners say "I've used only one brand of tape and I'm getting the 'Remove Cassette' message." I don't think I've seen anyone say "I've been using a lot of different brands of tape and now I'm getting the 'Remove Cassette' message." Now, that probably doesn't make anyone reading this post believe that using one brand causes the message.

But suppose for a moment that someone had that notion, dreamed up a plausible theory and posted his experience. Then the others I mentioned above chimed in one by one, saying "me too, but a different brand," and "me too, but a third brand," etc. Then you could very well have earnest warnings in the GL2 forum not to stick with one brand.

And what if the brand you choose to stick with turns out to be the most abrasive one, causing head wearout faster than others? Then you would have been better off alternating brands.

And finally, the anecdotes about a suddenly broken long string of single brand usage correlating wth increased dropouts may indicate the need to change brands frequently if you want to maintain the freedom to change brands. I don't know. Who does?
"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence..." - Calvin Coolidge
"My brain is wired to want to know how other things are wired." - Me
David Ennis is offline  
Old September 14th, 2005, 05:58 PM   #18
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mays Landing, NJ
Posts: 11,463
I can sum up my opinion with a little anecdote I heard long ago.

There are two types of people. If you say "be careful of that stove - it's hot" then the first type will say "thanks for the warning!" The second type needs to smell burning flesh.

The advice that's been given may not be scientific, but is a sincere warning from many experienced people. You can decide whether you're type 1 or type 2...
Boyd Ostroff is online now  
Old September 14th, 2005, 06:09 PM   #19
Fred Retread
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Hartford, CT
Posts: 1,227
And I can sum up my opinion with a little anecdote I heard a long time ago.

There are two types of people. If you say, "Don't do that or you'll go blind," then the first type will say, "Thanks for the warning!" The second type will will figure he can do it until he needs glasses. :>)
"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence..." - Calvin Coolidge
"My brain is wired to want to know how other things are wired." - Me
David Ennis is offline  
Old September 15th, 2005, 02:12 PM   #20
Regular Crew
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Port St Lucie FL
Posts: 34
I've had an XL1 for a little over 4 years now and have probably run every brand of tape through it. I have never given a thought to keeping the same brand of tape in stock. Never had a problem, not even a "dirty head" message. Never needed to clean the heads.

Prior to that I shot with Beta, 3/4", SVHS, etc. only had problems with the really cheap brands. And that I brought on by being cheap.

When I was in video sales, of course I recommended you find a brand and stick with it. The brand I sold was the one I wanted you to use.

There are so many variables in what we do that I think a lot of us try to eliminate one of those variables in sticking to a single type of tape. That's fine, we all do what works best for us and gives us the most peace of mind.
Bruce Linden is offline  
Old October 27th, 2005, 11:57 PM   #21
Major Player
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 230
Based on similar discussions in different areas, I suspect this all came about to warn of bad quality tapes.
A cheap, poor quality tape will do far more damage than a top quality 'different brand' tape.

It's my observation that a small number of isolated cases can cause these things to become far bigger than intended, or needed.
Matt Brabender is offline  
Old October 28th, 2005, 06:28 AM   #22
Regular Crew
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: N. Ireland
Posts: 36
Originally Posted by Fred Retread
4. I've seen lots of GL2 owners say "I've used only one brand of tape and I'm getting the 'Remove Cassette' message." I don't think I've seen anyone say "I've been using a lot of different brands of tape and now I'm getting the 'Remove Cassette' message." Now, that probably doesn't make anyone reading this post believe that using one brand causes the message.
Sorry to dissagree Fred but I bought an XM2 (GL2) 2 years ago and used mainly 3 types of tape, Fuji, Sony and Panasonic just as I had done with all my previous camcorders of different brands. Before buying the Canon I had been using a Panasonic Camcorder as my main unit and a Sony as a back-up. I never had any problems switching brands or re-using tapes. I bought the Canon, It worked flawlessly for 1 year, I even recommened the XM2 to a friend who also bought one. Then suddenly I got the "eject tape" message, I cleaned the heads and it worked for a short while but eventually the problem arose again, it got so bad that it occured 5 times during the recording a rugby final. I read about the problems of switching brands in this forum, especially wet/dry tapes, so I decided to stick to Panasonic branded tapes ( dry ) I purchased a Canon Xl1s as a main Camcorder and used the XM2 as a back-up, everything was going fine.
My friend then got the same " Eject tape" problem on his XM2 but was able to get his repaired under warranty.
We both stick to the one brand of tape now without a problem.
I have now purchased 2 brand new Canon XL2's and I will continue to stick to the one brand, I am not taking any chances.
My XM2 has gone back for repair at an estimated cost of £350, my friends XM2 is still working perfectly for about 12 Months now.

David Morton is offline  
Old October 28th, 2005, 07:08 AM   #23
Major Player
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lewisburg PA
Posts: 752
I had an uncle who used nothing but SONY tapes in his DV camera and then he switched to another brand.

That's when the trouble started. It was little things at first. He lost his car keys. The glass in the photo of his grandmother cracked. He dropped his favourite beer stein, the one his dad brought home from the war.

Then he began to hear voices and see shapes in dark corners where there were no shapes to be seen. One morning he said he saw a perfect likeness of Akio Morita in his pancake syrup. He began to complain that his editing room was full of a "cold, forbidding presence." He began to lose sleep. Strange hard drive-like sounds kept him awake. He said he heard them outside in the wind. He took to wondering the neighborhood and on nights with a full moon he wake us up screaming "The dropouts! Oh dear God, the dropouts!".

And then he faded to black.

There's your proof. Heed my tale or not, as you wish.
Peter Wiley is offline  
Old October 28th, 2005, 08:47 AM   #24
Obstreperous Rex
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: San Marcos, TX
Posts: 26,735
Images: 513
Originally Posted by Tim Brechlin
You're right when you say that anecdotal evidence is all we have to work with, and anecdotal evidence is by definition inconclusive. Therefore it's impossible to conclusively say either way.
It's impossible to conclusively say either way, and most likely neither "side" of this issue will ever take on the burden of proof in order to make a scientific conclusion. But as for myself, speaking as the owner of this board, I have to look at this from a liability standpoint and not a scientific one (and the two are very often completely different points of view).

Anecdotally, I've used Panasonic, Sony and JVC tapes in the same camera (DVX-100) as long as I've owned it... so what makes my anecdotal evidence more or less conclusive than that of someone who says "Don't mix tapes... ?"
The reason why DV Info Net sides with the unscientific, illogical and inconclusive viewpoint that mixing tapes is harmful, is strictly a consideration of liability above and beyond anything else, including anecdotal evidence for or against. Somebody reads on this board that we encourage tape brand mixing, or even if we're just saying it won't cause problems, and then that reader does mix tape brands, gums up the heads of the camcorder, incurs a $250 repair bill, gets an idea and then wants to come after me, expecting whatever monetary compensation because this message board "officially" said it was okay to mix brands. Can you see what I'm getting at here. And I'm not concerned with whether or not I would be ruled against in a case like that, or if that case would be thrown out... I don't want to find out. I don't want to be involved to the extent where I have to find out.

From a standpoint of liability, keyword: liability, it is safer to say that DV Info Net firmly recommends *against* the practice of mixing tape brands. No that is not logical, nor scientific nor conclusive, and I make no pretense about that whatsoever. But it most definitely is safer from a legal point of view, and in the real world that must be my primary consideration.

Search DV Info Net | DV Info Net Sponsors | A Decade of DVi | ...Tuesday is Soylent Green Day!
Chris Hurd is offline  
Old October 28th, 2005, 08:59 AM   #25
Posts: n/a
Sticky situation


You may have thought you were being funny, but I can tell you seeing images of Akio Morita in pancake syrup is no laughing matter. This, my well-intended colleague, is a very serious problem that is now being studied by a United Nations panel of experts. One the experts, who asked that he not be named, says there have actually been sightings of Akio Morita in napalm spills... but most of these happened after the witness/victim switched to Sony tapes purchased at Wal-Mart, not B&H.

Yes, tapes purchased at different retailers CAN clog your head... I mean, heads.

By the way: I ONLY use Sony tapes in my XL-1s. One of these posts scared the hell out of me back when I first got it, so I haven't taken any chances. However, every once in awhile I still get a message in the EVF: "YOU MORON, THE TAPE IS IS BACKWARDS." Other than that, no worries, mate.
Old October 28th, 2005, 12:19 PM   #26
Major Player
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Hamden CT
Posts: 470
The Pros only uses Sony tapes and will not accept any other brands when sending the tapes to the editors because switching tapes in the past has gunked up their player heads.

This leaves me to believe it must be true if an editing house has experienced and modified their workflow so as to have less gunk heads.
Richard Zlamany is offline  
Old October 28th, 2005, 12:38 PM   #27
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Wyomissing, PA
Posts: 1,141
Images: 57
I can only convince myself, and share with others. Over the last four years I've used fuji tapes in my XL1's. Then about a month ago, when I was in a rush and need a tape for a last minute shoot, my only local source was out of the fuji's and I resorted to a Sony brand.

Fifteen-minutes into the shoot, the tape jammed! I remember pulling the tape out, the film unraveling from the heads -causing the presenter to give pause. I excused myself, unwrapped a fresh Sony tape. Ran a cleaning tape for 10secs. Then loaded the fresh Sony tape, and resumed recording. Ten minutes later, BAM! This time, there was no easy recovery, the tape was in there gummy and tight. Fortunately I was also capturing to disk so the shoot was'nt a complete failure... I did have to edit the parts where the speaker and audience were amused by my show of "Professionalism" in using choice words on that second tape (-Ah well, 10 years after being in the Navy and I still can't keep my mouth shut).

I sent my camera to Canon for repair. They had to replace several small parts -fortunately it was under warranty. That was about a dozen shoots ago, and I've since used the same old Fuji, with not a single re-occurence.

Peter Ferling is offline  
Old October 28th, 2005, 06:51 PM   #28
Inner Circle
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 2,053
Originally Posted by Fred Retread
[*]ERROR 1: Anecdotal experiences. These don't count. If they did, here's mine. I've mixed five brands in my Canon, Sony and Panasonic camcorders for many hours without problems. I've used a head cleaner ONCE in one of the cams.
There's the proof. Mixing two brands is a problem. But because you mixed more than two brands it's OK.

Logical, huh? :-)
Dean Sensui
Exec Producer, Hawaii Goes Fishing
Dean Sensui is offline  
Old October 29th, 2005, 12:08 AM   #29
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Tulsa, OK
Posts: 1,689
Just for an analogy... I have a friend who asked why I changed my oil so often (every 3k to 5k miles). He said he NEVER has changed the oil in his car that has 77,000 miles on it!!! So sure, mixing tape brands may not cause problems but the more experience you have, the more you realize it COULD... note that COULD does not mean WILL...

ash =o)
Ash Greyson is offline  
Old October 29th, 2005, 01:28 AM   #30
Regular Crew
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Kempner, Texas
Posts: 70
Anecdotal evidence is just statistics...except you know the people involved.

What a lame first post.


Daniel J. Wojcik is offline  
Closed Thread

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

Omega Broadcast
(512) 251-7778
Austin, TX

(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

(800) 238-8480
Glendale, CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > The Long Black Line

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:14 PM.

DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2015 The Digital Video Information Network