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Old November 6th, 2005, 12:12 AM   #31
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A simple message

Stick With One Brand Of Tape, and you will have a lot less to worry about.
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Old November 11th, 2005, 12:07 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
<< So, believers, I ask you to produce some evidence. >>

Sorry. It's up to *you* to produce some evidence. You do the tests.
I don't mean to be argumentative, and I fully appreciate that you explain in a later post that you're not looking at this from a scientific standpoint, but I still must make a friendly correction.

It is always up to the *claimant* to prove something is true, not to the skeptic to prove it's *not* true. If I say "Don't go in the woods, Bigfoot lives in the woods," it's up to me to prove it, not you to disprove it. *I* need to provide compelling evidence. It would be utterly unscientific for me to say to you: "Fine, you're not convinced Bigfoot exists? Then it's up to *you* to produce some evidence that he doesn't exist." That is quite illogical. The positive claim must be proven. The unconvinced listener does not have to do anything.

This is one of the ways we discern what is true and what is not true.

You can't often prove a negative. For example, you can't really *prove* there's no such thing as Bigfoot (or unicorns, or invisible undetectable dragons, etc.). But if you want to be taken as a speaker of truth, you better be able to prove there *is* a Bigfoot if you claim there's one.

Maybe switching tapes can cause problems. Maybe it can't. It really doesn't matter how many people *believe* switching tapes has some effect. Until a scientific study is conducted, there is no way to isolate cause and effect and discern if what people believe is true. Any number of factors could be involved. Superstitious people become convinced that crossing the paths of black cats can cause bad luck and that holding a rabbit's foot enhances good luck at the slot machine. This is because they notice the proximity in time between bad events and black cats, or good events and their luck charms, etc., and ignore all the other times such things do not happen in proximity. They have endless anecdotes of how these things absolutely connect. But one of the golden rules in testing claims is: correlation does not prove causation. We are pattern-seeking beings, and we often notice the "hits" and ignore the "misses."

None of this is to say that switching tapes is *not* a problem. I have absolutely no idea. But I take Fred's excellent point as he intended it: why believe something without compelling evidence? No amount of anecdotal stories is compelling evidence, for the reasons outlined above. Many doctors -- even brilliant ones -- believe all sorts of things which are scientifically baseless, and which fail when scientifically tested. Why? Human nature. We're not often good at discerning what's a pattern and what's random. That's why science developed. That's how we correct for our deficiency. We all have it, none of us is a perfect observer without science.

I don't understand your claim that it's impossible to test. A scientific study could easily be conducted by any consumer group that conducts such studies. These sorts of studies are done all the time, it's really a quite simple protocol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Until somebody can prove to me conclusively that tape brand switching is *not* an issue, I'll continue to recommend against it.
That's of course your right, and I hope it is always with the honesty and thorough explanation that you offer here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Show me the problems caused by *not* switching brands. Show me the reason why anybody *should* switch brands.
1. Often enough, many of us find ourselves in the situation wherein we cannot get a hold of any tapes of the brand we usually use. Usually this is in an emergency situation, and we must choose to A) use a different brand, or B) skip the shoot. Which is safer? What's the evidence? If I had a concrete scientific study that has withstood peer review, I would be able to weigh this far more accurately. If I knew that nobody had a shred of compelling evidence, I would also be able to weigh this far more accurately.

2. Apart from being a necessity at times, switching brands could be very useful -- maybe you'll discover a brand that you prefer, for whatever reason. Maybe it's an easier brand to find where you are now. Maybe it's cheaper and works just as well. Maybe it does a better job in some way. Maybe a new grade of tape comes out by a manufacturer, and you want to try it. These are all the reasons people try new brands of *anything*. I liked Hershey's chocolate for years, then moved up to Ghirardelli for years, then the apex: Valrhona. Last week I tried Hershey's again and ya know what? I realize I really love it too, sometimes.

Strangely enough, now my XL1S is suddenly jamming some tapes. Hmmmmmm.

If every tape were absolutely identical, then I could see your point that there's no reason to ever switch brands. But then if they were all absolutely identical, the belief that switching brands can cause problems would be undeniably untenable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
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.

[snip]

But it most definitely is safer from a legal point of view, and in the real world that must be my primary consideration.
I believe you're incorrect about the legal safety. Check with good lawyers. You are not in any more danger of being sued (much less being ruled against) if you stated: "While there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, many professionals have become convinced that tape switching can cause problems with cameras. I feel it is my duty to report this because it is a common claim which may be true. It is also my duty to be as honest and accurate as possible to the best of my knowledge, and to that aim I must acknowledge that I am not personally aware of any scientific studies which have looked into this claim, and thus cannot judge it with anything but a gut feeling. You must do your own research and draw your own conclusions. If you learn of any compelling scientific study, please alert me and I will post it immediately. Thank you."

Recall that situation I noted above, wherein I can't find any tapes of the brand I usually use but I'm in the midst of a shoot: my only options might be A) use a different brand, or B) skip the shoot. And because you have personally claimed that tape-switching is a real danger, and because you have put the official weight of your *wonderful* world-class board behind that claim, I could just as conceivably come after you with a lawsuit for causing me to miss a vital shoot because of your dubious warning, which I believed.

I don't see how you're any safer by not being plainly scientific about it. You're always safer with truth, accuracy and science -- which includes reporting that the jury's simply out on something. Unless there is compelling evidence (which there may well be, even though nobody's produced any in this thread yet), I still don't understand why "DV Info Net firmly recommends *against* the practice of mixing tape brands." At least not without the caveats you provide here. The honest caveats you provide here seem sufficient.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
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...
I don't think that's a relevant example. You would believe a stove is hot not just because someone told you. You would be weighing lots of other evidence too, the most important being: you know that stoves *do* get hot. In most situations wherein someone would give you this warning, there is probably no compelling reason to doubt the claim. It is quite basic.

So a relevant example along those lines might be something like this: If someone tells you, "If you cook with copper pots on that stove, you won't be able to later cook with aluminum pots," there are two types of people: those who will say "Thanks for the warning!" and those who will say "Wow, that's interesting, is that really true? How do you know that? What sort of evidence is there for it? Anyone know why that happens?"

Type 1 isn't very terribly concerned with accuracy, while type 2 is. Of course, type 1 may get by just fine in life, and indeed may be right to believe this claim -- maybe it's true. But maybe it's not. How do we confirm anything? Scientific testing. Period.


Until then, is it better to heed the tape-switching warning or not to? That is the central question that has arisen here, since so far nobody has been able to answer Fred's original question.

I see no problem with each individual making his or her own decision. (As Fred said, too.) Maybe this whole claim is true, maybe it's doesn't hold an ounce of water. Since there are times when one may want -- or need -- to use a different brand of tape, a decision *must* be made.

Personally, from all I've read and heard so far, my provisional conclusion is that it sounds like it's a tossup and I'll give it the appropriate weight whenever the decision comes up.
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Old November 11th, 2005, 12:40 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ferling
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!

[snip]

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.

Pete
Unfortunately that's *correlation* but not necessarily *causation*. Did Canon happen to say it was probably the use of a new type of tape that caused your problem? If so, did they explain this? If so, could you please report that, it would be really useful information and would suggest Canon may have done some good research.

Otherwise, all we've got here is correlation. Seems compelling. But it is not. (Either way.) Could have been any number of other factors. I don't think we have any idea. Unless, as I said, Canon said something to this effect...?
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Old November 11th, 2005, 12:45 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel J. Wojcik
Anecdotal evidence is just statistics...except you know the people involved.
That's cute.

But in case some readers aren't clear on how science works, that's of course not what the phrase "anecdotal evidence" means. Anecdotal evidence is evidence that was not gathered under proper scientific conditions and/or was reported as hearsay without proper documentation ("my uncle said...," etc.). As for "proper scientific conditions," that can be a number of things, but most often means double-blind testing, controlled for other possible variables, that's repeatable and peer reviewed.

It's all about *how* the evidence was gathered, not *who* gathered it. ...At least that's what I heard from my cousin's girlfriend.
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Old November 11th, 2005, 03:59 PM   #35
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My first DV camera: a Sony TRV-20 is going strong after five or six years of using whatever DV tape is the cheapest. I expect that it will retire from being out of date long before the constant changing of tape types does any damage.
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Old November 11th, 2005, 06:02 PM   #36
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Anecdotal evidence, and EXPERIENCE is what this board is all about.

"Anybody have any experience with XZX camera/NLE/Lights?" is the most often asked question on this board.

Even the original poster to this thread, has posted questions asking for other people's experience using particular equipment with particular conditions. The only possible answer he could get would be anecdotal. He must place SOME value on 'annecdotal evidence' or he wouldn't be asking for it.

I'm not saying that a double blind controlled study isn't MORE valuable than a collective POLLING of annecdotal evidence... I'm just saying that most of the people on this board are asking for personal experience reccomendations.

In terms of my OWN personal experience. Yes, I've had an Xl1 clog up when a different tape was loaded. Yes CANON service told me specifically that there were "Issues" with SONY tapes in their camera, causing clogging. That's something I know from a personal conversation with a Canon rep. No, I didn't ask them for a white paper on their comment, I was pretty busy trying to get the camera back in time for a shoot.

So, point taken, there is NO PUBLISHED, CONTROLLED STUDY of the tape switching issue. There is a whole heap of annecdotal experience on this board. IF you are so inclined, do a search, or run a thread to COLLATE those who have had problems with a switch, those who have switched and not had problems, and those who have Never switched and had problems and those who've never switched and never had problems.

I suspect that those who WANT such a detailed study, will be happy to do it.
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Old November 11th, 2005, 08:59 PM   #37
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Hmmm,

It appears to me, that some members of this thread, go yonder into the video wilderness, as bare foot pilgrims.

I have just shot a freeby, for my little town, and, noticed that I was short of my normal 10 Sony (name your own brand) tapes.

That was rectified today, with an order for 20 tapes.

My point: If you are not prepared to enter the professional arena, with the knowledge of the foibles of your equipment, don't leave your crib.

Decrying the malfunctions of this/that/, or the next thing, is a failure to prepare for the shoot.

I know of NO one in this "guild of not so great genius mentalities", who has not had some sort of cam problem.

I choose not to berate the equipment. I look to my self to correct the problem via my past experience; and, newly aquired problems.

Just a thought.
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Old November 11th, 2005, 09:23 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez
Anecdotal evidence, and EXPERIENCE is what this board is all about.

[...]

So, point taken, there is NO PUBLISHED, CONTROLLED STUDY of the tape switching issue. There is a whole heap of annecdotal experience on this board. IF you are so inclined, do a search, or run a thread to COLLATE those who have had problems with a switch, those who have switched and not had problems, and those who have Never switched and had problems and those who've never switched and never had problems.

I suspect that those who WANT such a detailed study, will be happy to do it.
Quite right about sharing experience, and learning from others, etc. That's largely what makes this such a terrific forum (that and all the great wit, from Chris Hurd and others).

For what it's worth, my only reason for pointing out the lack of compelling evidence -- as far as I know, at this point -- is that I have heard so many conflicting reports here and elsewhere, just as you point out, that I have no idea what to think. Really. All I know is that usually, but not always, when things like this come up (conflicting reports, too many variables, no hard data, etc.) it turns out to be untrue or only partly true. I stumbled on this thread because I've only ever used Sony Excellence and suddenly am having constant rewind and forced eject problems. I spoke to a Canon tech rep today and after we talked about that problem, I asked him about this. He said he's heard about the whole switching tapes theory but said he has no idea if it's true. What he *did* know was far more important: that my XL1S is going to be away from its Daddy for at least 10 days. Ouch! Guess I'll get a lot of other things done next week.

Anyway, my own experience has no real bearing on the question; i.e., it doesn't in any way dispute the tape switching theory. It's just one more experience. Who knows?
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Old November 13th, 2005, 10:31 AM   #39
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It would make more sense for tape switching to cause problems than not, since different brands (if not different types within brands) use different lubricants and there could be a bad reaction. Why chance it?

But rather than debate the yeanayness of it, time might be spent compiling a list of "compatible" tapes, ones that use the same type of lube (if there be such beasts).

I do know this: if Brand A uses Bailey's Irish Cream as a lube, and Brand B uses Peach Schnapps, you REALLY don't want the two mixing inside your cam.
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Old November 13th, 2005, 12:20 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez
...Even the original poster to this thread, has posted questions asking for other people's experience using particular equipment with particular conditions. The only possible answer he could get would be anecdotal. He must place SOME value on 'annecdotal evidence' or he wouldn't be asking for it...
I do, but this is different.
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Old November 13th, 2005, 05:00 PM   #41
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Let's do a test! After all we're all tech geeks one way or another,
can you think of a better way to spend a saturday afternoon,
Round up a few cameras and a few tapes and publish the results.
They've done it with microphones, why not tapes.
If you're a professional shooter I can understand why you wouldn't
want to put your gear at risk. But a few board sponsors wouldn't hurt?
Food for thought...
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Old November 15th, 2005, 11:04 PM   #42
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I went from using Maxell to Panasonic in the VX2000 I used to own.

I had a whole lot of problems with needing to clean the heads a lot more often to drop-outs. I also had good results.

Now, were the problems caused by mixing the brands as I could have assumed, a few bad tapes or compatibility problems?

Well, one tape got stuck in the camera and would not come out. It would not eject. I had to very carefully pry it out and not damage the camera doing it. Hint, bad tape problem and not mix.

If a problem(s) just happen to start right after one changes brands, then one might consider the tape mix warnings that people talk about to have merit. Wether they do or not.

So they then say 'yes, it is so'. Well maybe it is and maybe it isn't.

Now that many including myself have gone tapeless the whole point is moot and I am no longer concerned with tape problems.

My overall time of getting my video work done has significantly improved since I went tapeless.

Perfect? Trouble free? One can only wish, however tapeless is so much better than using tape.

Some time very soon, all will be saying things like, remember when we used to talk about tape problems and the possible myths associated with them?

The price of cameras could be reduced if the tape mechanisms were no longer included. A hint to the camera manufacturers.

There is an end to that "The Long Black Line" and the end is clearly in sight.

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Old November 27th, 2005, 02:55 PM   #43
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Is this possible:

The recording heads and mechanisms on a camcorder are more sensitive than on a player?

Example: The pd170 vs the dsr20.

I share a dsr20 with my boss and we use a great variety of tapes with no problems.

Just curious.
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Old December 6th, 2005, 01:23 PM   #44
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just my 2 cents

This has been explained a little bit more scientifically in a lot of previous posts, tho kind of veiled as it lies in common sense :). There are 2 main lubricants used on tape media (from old reel tapes to the new HD dv), one is the more common "wet" lubricant , a liquid which is coated across the element. The other is a "dry" lubricant, a graphite type material. Both do a great job, except when mixed. Mix water and dirt and you get mud :/.
While it is easy to mix brands and not have any problems, if you start mixing wet and dry lubricants, heads can get real dirty, real fast.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 10:20 PM   #45
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Well, we mix wet and dry on his dsr 20 and he does not care.

We have no problems.

He laughs at me because I won't mix tapes on my pd170.

My question is still there: Does mixing tapes negatively affect camcorders more than decks?
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