November 24, 2011 at 5:30 AM #48315mproParticipant
I have a canon GL1. I hear that if you use different brands of miniDV tapes, that it messes w/the playback heads, which can cause problems on the tapes, i.e., blocks, large pixels, skipping, etc…
I recently filmed a wedding and used a different brand of tape. On the 3rd tape, the blockiness appears and the footage is unusable. I tried to play the tape back on 3 other cameras.
If I purchased a miniDV playback system, would I have the same issues? Not sure if they even make those anymore.
November 24, 2011 at 6:13 AM #198611JackWolcottParticipant
It is important that you stick with the same brand of tape, irrespective of the camera and brand. Start with Sony, stick with Sony.
It is my understanding that there are two different methods of lubricating the surface of video tape: “wet” and “dry.” To the touch there is no discernible difference but either deposits material on the record and playback heads of your camera and tape playback device. Mix the two types together and you get a thin coating of “gunk” that eventually causes a head-jam or similar transport problem.
Since we have clients bringing in a variety of tapes to our business we have to use head-cleaner on our playback decks nearly every week. However, in our cameras we have used the same brand of tapes — Panasonic tapes in Sony cameras — for more than eight years, with only annual cleaning.
November 24, 2011 at 7:04 AM #198612EarlCMember
Short answer: IMHO, nothing you do can salvage that bad tape, even purchasing a MiniDV playback system. You’d likely experience the same issues.
After experiencing this first hand early on in my video production career, with devastating results financially and professionally, I also stayed with one brand, using SONY Premium tapes in Canon cameras, and have since experienced the same overall performance satisfaction as Jack.
During the time of my initial experience with the consequences of mixing brands … in my case going from SONY to Panasonic, to TDK, to some other brand I cannot remember, under extreme duress I purchased a SONY DSR-11 playback deck. It helped some, in some instances, but was unable to resurrect the tapes that mattered, to the degree that I could satisfactorily salvage a major production.
I also had attempted to playback the tapes in the units in which they were recorded as well as other units I had around the editing suite … to no avail. Lesson learned the hard way on many levels. Since remaining with a single quality brand after expensive transport and head replacement in my Canon XL series units I’ve not experienced that situation to that degree.
November 24, 2011 at 3:57 PM #198613mproParticipant
Darn…so I have about 10 yrs. worth of footage that I’ve been hoarding, do you think I should toss all the tapes at this point? I would hate to do an annual camera cleaning and mess it up again.
November 24, 2011 at 9:15 PM #198614EarlCMember
I bite the bullet and like Jack, clean the unit whenever I have to access other client tape brands in my production. It’s a tradeoff but I’d rather deal with a bit of over-cleaning rather than deal with some serious toe jam that would otherwise result, and expensive repairs.
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