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Why are cleaning tapes important?
A cleaning tape can sometimes mean the difference between good video and bad. Dust, dirt and bits of oxide from tapes can clog the heads of your video camera. This will affect the video quality or make it impossible to record or play back video. Occasionally using a head cleaning cassette for a few seconds will keep the heads clean.

Use a dry cleaning cassette after roughly 15-20 hours of camcorder use, including playback. If you are going on an extended trip, use the cleaning cassette prior to leaving so you won't risk problems while traveling. You don't want to have problems recording memories that can't easily be replaced.

When running the cleaning cassette, only run the cassette for 5 seconds at a time. The cassette is slightly abrasive in order to remove dirt, so running it longer at one time can hurt the recording heads. Never rewind a cleaning cassette or you risk putting dirt back on the heads that is stuck to the cleaning tape. When you reach the end of the cassette, replace it with a new one.

For very dirty video heads, you'll need a wet cleaning system. Only use this method if the dry cleaning cassette doesn't fix the problem. The alcohol in the cleaning fluid can damage the video heads if used too often, so avoid using it on a regular basis.

When used on a regular basis, a cleaning cassette can keep your video looking its best. Of course, the rest up to your skills as a videographer.

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