Whether it’s the mysteriou


Whether it’s the mysterious Sony lubricant conspiracy theory or a spec of dust, it simply boils down to a nasty head clog. DVCAM and DV tape users suffer most as the tape being used is Metal Evaporated tape. Metal Particle tape (DVCPRO/Betacam/etc.) do not suffer from this “lubricant” issue. Lubricants do exist for various reasons including reduction of friction over drums, guides and heads and for storage purposes so the tapes doesn’t stick during storage. Variables on each manufacturer’s lubricant are different so one point of view wouldn’t be complete or concise.

You can’t run away from a clog- it’s going to happen.

Taking care of your equipment so you can run your business effectively.

Here is what I suggest:

1. Use the best camcorder or deck you have and dedicate it for playback only. Never use it to fast forward, preview or rewind tapes. Run a tape through for duplicating purposes only. If you need to rewind, preview or fast forward, purchase a cheaper new or second hand camera (B&H sells the Canon ZR800 new for under $200) and dedicate it as the “searcher” with the sole job of doing just that; fast forwarding, playback and rewinding tapes to find footage with. (You could even purchase a mini-dv rewinder to do this job.) Once you find the spots you want to duplicate on your cheap deck stick it back in your dedicated playback cam or deck and make it work.

After periods of use rotate the cams or decks out. For example, when the dedicated playback deck seems like it’s going to crap the bed- demote it to a dedicated rewinder.

2. On your playback only cam or deck run a tape cleaner before switching tapes AND before switching brands.

3. Never use an alcohol swab on your heads

4. When you run a tape cleaner, do not run it for more than 5 seconds at a time, and certainly do not run it more than twice consecutively. Tape cleaners are abrasive and any use longer than 10-15 seconds will surely lead to premature head wear. Besides, if it takes longer than that to clean the heads, you probably have bigger problems than a clogged tape head.

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