Camcorders - is it important to use a tape periodically to keep everything working?

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Paul, Jun 15, 2004.

  1. Paul

    Paul Guest

    Is it important to use a camcorder periodically to keep it in good
    working order -- specifically recording or playing a tape in it?

    I know that question may sound silly, but I have a Canon ZR-80 mini-DV
    camcorder that I use 99% of the time for video capture so I rarely use
    tapes in it. I was curious if the oil and gear lubricants can become
    hardened if I don't use it for months or if I'm worrying for nothing.

    In other words, should I periodically exercise a tape through the
    camcorder or can I let it sit for months or even a year without
    putting a tape in it and expect it to work fine when I finally use a

    Any advice on how often to do this would be appreciated, assuming it
    matters at all. Thanks.
    Paul, Jun 15, 2004
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  2. Paul

    Jim Guest

    Yes, run a tape every month or 2. Not just to keep things moving, but it's a
    good way to check for problems, rather then testing for a gig or a big shoot
    a year down the road and having problems then.

    Jim, Jun 17, 2004
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  3. Paul

    Paul Guest

    Thanks for the replies.

    As a quick followup, if I run a tape through my camcorder every month
    or two to keep it from dying of non-use, is putting the tape on play
    for a while and then rewinding it sufficient?

    Also, should I play the entire hour of the mini-DV tape or can I get
    away with playing it for a shorter time like 10 minutes?

    I don't suppose it matters for the purpose of exercising the camera
    and its parts if there is anything recorded on the tape.
    Paul, Jun 20, 2004
  4. Paul

    Rich Guest

    I usually have several "junk" tapes. Tapes that are not stored rewound for
    emergency shooting, testing, experimenting etc.

    When we moved to our new residence I had a scenic view. My deck railing had
    a portion which I could lay my video camera on to film such a view.

    Every few weeks I would take my "junk" tape and shoot about 10 seconds in
    wide angle from my deck then zoom in, then pan around the neighborhood and
    whatever looked interesting. I then rewind the tape then fast forward to
    the end of video and stored the tape at that position (not normally
    reccomended). Five years later I ended up with 4 hours of tape to look at.
    The different times of seasons and what has changed over the years made for
    some interesting semi time lapsed segments I used for some intros and ending

    That analog camera is still working well. I don't know if it was periodic
    use or just a good camera and luck, but I think it is 14 years old (whenever
    the Canon A-1's came out). As a former electronic technician and aircraft
    mechanic I a lot of damage of mechanical items due to sitting and not being
    regularly used. Exercise you motor drive, zoom and switches periodically
    (within reason).

    I wouldn't do 60 minutes, or even 10. Perhaps 5 minutes. Just my opinion.

    Rich, Jun 20, 2004
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