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Old February 8th, 2009, 04:16 AM   #1
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Cant decide should i go tapeless.

Hi all,
Im in two minds. I want to go tapeless. But as for everything, money.
Im using the sony HVR-V1E at the moment. Im looking for tapeless opition for it. But apart from the easy of capture is there another reason to go this way.
If money was not a problem would it be best to go down the XDCAM or P2 way.
I was thinking maybe the Focus Enhancements FS-5 60Gb Portable DTE Recorder would work better for me ?

Is the quality on this alot better than to tape ? And would the workflow change ? Im using ProRes in FCP .

Many thanks .
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Old February 8th, 2009, 04:22 AM   #2
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Cant decide should i go tapeless.

Hi all,
Im in two minds. I want to go tapeless. But as for everything, money.
Im using the sony HVR-V1E at the moment. Im looking for tapeless opition for it. But apart from the easy of capture is there another reason to go this way.
If money was not a problem would it be best to go down the XDCAM or P2 way.
I was thinking maybe the Focus Enhancements FS-5 60Gb Portable DTE Recorder would work better for me ?

Is the quality on this alot better than to tape ? And would the workflow change ? Im using ProRes in FCP .

Many thanks .
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Old February 8th, 2009, 06:57 AM   #3
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I'm in the EX camp and thinks that the SxS format leaves P2 in the dust. Especially on the "lower end" of the professional camera's the Sony EX series has a very strong offering for great "true" HD quality, a nice feature set, reasonable pricing and optimized workflow.

That said, tape or tapeless: it is all digital. The recording format won't affect the quality of the footage (not counting media faults like drop-outs and such).

A DTE like a Focus or nNovia may give you some convenience over tape, like longer recording, and some workflow enhancements. You have to weigh these against the cost.

George/
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Old February 8th, 2009, 07:18 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by George Kroonder View Post
I'm in the EX camp and thinks that the SxS format leaves P2 in the dust. Especially on the "lower end" of the professional camera's the Sony EX series has a very strong offering for great "true" HD quality, a nice feature set, reasonable pricing and optimized workflow.

That said, tape or tapeless: it is all digital. The recording format won't affect the quality of the footage (not counting media faults like drop-outs and such).

A DTE like a Focus or nNovia may give you some convenience over tape, like longer recording, and some workflow enhancements. You have to weigh these against the cost.

George/
....If I may add my 50 cents worth here :-) I am all for *both* tape & tapeless at the same time. I have been in the situation where I have accidentally erased a good take on my former FS-4 HD Firestore recorder. I kicked myself big time for not having and HDV cassette in my camera as a reasonable backup. You see, tapeless has one seriously sucking attribute - How to you reasonably archive the stuff without tape ?

Also, tapeless solutions are too expensive in my opinion. I'm reluctant to go back to a portable hard drive solution, and I have had hard drives fail on me before. There has to be a cost effective solution. Soon.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 08:09 AM   #5
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That my worst worry. Losing some footage. I would go crazy if i did. Last year i lost a hard drive when i was editing, And all the footage on it. I had to spend the whole re capturing, but i was so glad i had a tape back up.
Mind you i know someone who uses the p2. And has never had a problem with no tape backup .

Still undecided, think i head towards the hard drive and keep my Sony.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 08:33 AM   #6
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Every time I see these tape versus tapeless arguments come up, I see a lot of postulating on both sides and darn few numbers to go along with it, or workflow diagrams to go with it. I went tapeless shortly after buying the dvx100 (original model) and haven't looked back. It's saved me money, time, and storage costs.

So let's look at the workflow on tape.

2 hour conference:

Two tapes > Record > Capture real time > Edit > print to master tapes > print DVD for client.

What does this give me? It gives me two tapes for acquisition (currently about $5-$7 each for decent DV tape), gives me two hours to get into edit, cost me $26 to go to full size DV tape. I had to buy a full sized DV tape deck so I could write projects larger than 1 hour onto a single tape. That cost $1600.

What do the numbers tell me? I had a startup cost of $1600 for the deck, and if shooting more than 1 hour events my media costs were $36-$40. The original tapes were now scratch because I was not about to re-use them for a serious gig. And now, I had to find a place for the masters.


Ok, so how has that changed now that I have tapeless on the same shoot?

2 16GB SDHC cards > Record, transfer files in 30 minutes > Edit > Master to Blu-Ray > Print DVD for client

The 16GB cards are $35 each. They are reusable so the costs are amortized over the life of them. I'll get 1000 jobs with them easy, so the true cost to shoot them is essentially free. I am now transferring at 4-6x real time, so I get into edit faster. I get no dropout issues, and I need no deck. So I just dropped my $1600 startup cost in the DV workflow. I master to blu-Ray. And because I am FILE based, I can split the file with no worries and render by exact hours. Blu-Ray is costing me about $7.50 a disk right now, though I could get it at $5.50. Let's split the difference and call it $6.50.

So, my acquisition costs are negligible, I am working faster than real time to capture, and my archival solution is about half the cost of my tapes. The gap grows as you shoot longer events. By the time you're shooting multo-cam weddings, the gap in cost over a year is likely enough to afford another camera.

Those are REAL prices from someone who's ACTUALLY doing the workflow. But let's examine something else.


I wanted to shoot 1920x1080. Tell me what that costs on tape. As soon as you move out of the world of HDV, tape becomes a professional game. Whether it's HDCam, DVCProHD, or anything else, a tape deck in that league is going to be beyond most home shooters. And if you really want to shoot 1920x1080 to tape, you're playing in HDCamSR territory, and the decks are $80k+.

Archiving to Blu-Ray is proving to be easy, cheap, and takes up less storage space than my old tapes. In fact, my storage density is about 5:1 for real estate over my mastered DV tapes.

For jobs where I need to roll two copies just to be SURE I don't lose anything, I drop down to HDV and use the Firestore and my SDHC cards in tandem. It's a quality hit over recording in XDCam, but I've got the data in two places, both tapeless. And I can get BOTH copies onto archive media in the field by taking along my portable Blu-Ray recorder. For disaster prevention, I can send one home in a FedEx packet, and fly with the other. How do you manage that with tape?

For those looking to stay in the HDV world, tape is a realistic option, but has a lot of drawbacks to my mind. Do you use your camera as the deck? Wearing out the heads? Do you buy a second camera to use as a deck. All the little, cheap cams are moving away from HDV rapidly. Where is HDV going to be in 5 years? Maybe even 2 years...
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Old February 8th, 2009, 10:17 AM   #7
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Just to throw a spanner in the works, i just come across this.

Sony HVR-MRC1K
Compact Flash Memory Recording Unit

Cheapest so far.

Im so confused on what to do .
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Old February 8th, 2009, 02:07 PM   #8
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Go tapeless. You'll never look back. Best thing I ever did - no longer the hours and hours of boring capture to NLE's in real time!

And the cost will be taken care of by the much more efficient/faster work flow....eventually..... It's not a cheap technology to jump in on...and you need lots of hard drives and burnt DVD DL's etc. but getting cheaper all the time by developments with MxR (for Sony EX cams) and the new JVC SDHC cameras etc. recently announced. P2 technology is horrifically expensive so only go that route if you love those cams.

Can't comment about the Focus Enhancements unit but I've used a V1 extensively. EX3 is in a different league quality wise but I think that's because of 1/2 inch Exmoor versus 1/4 inch chips and the much better 35MBps VBR CODEC, higher resolution etc. rather than the solid state versus tape media thing. But, it's really nice not to have the occasional drop out that I always seemed to get with HDV on tape at a critical moment!!!!

It all depends on your needs and expectations but all these advantages, as you already know, don't come cheap (but imagine what it would have cost in relative terms 5 years ago, totally out of reach!)
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Old February 15th, 2009, 05:27 PM   #9
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tape vs anything else ...

This storage problem is not really solved at this point in terms of an inexpensive solution. I've been mulling over blue ray and will probably go that route. Up to this point, on most controlled SD shoots, I've been backing up with a DSR-ll on 270 minute tapes. But ... that's no solution for HD.
I have an old DLT in storage and don't intend to bring it out considering the connect is scsi. I can't even use that on my Mac and this runs on microsoft anyway, ... so what's the point.
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Old February 15th, 2009, 06:10 PM   #10
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This storage problem is not really solved at this point in terms of an inexpensive solution. I've been mulling over blue ray and will probably go that route.
What are you after? Blu-Ray is already cheaper per gig and per hour than mini-DV tape. How cheap does it need to get before it's seen as "solved"?
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Old February 16th, 2009, 01:05 AM   #11
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HDV & Tape is No Sacrifice

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Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
What are you after? Blu-Ray is already cheaper per gig and per hour than mini-DV tape. How cheap does it need to get before it's seen as "solved"?
...Hey Perrone. Wassup ? I think tape is cheap. I am using the XL H1 HDV camcorder with Sony ME 85 minute HDV tapes. Perfect. No dropouts. No problem. I find HDV encoding quality does seem to vary from camera to camera. The Sony Z1U doesn't do as well as the Canon XL H1, yet the newer Sony HDV cameras are producing HDV quality almost on par with Canon. But I digress. I find the cost of tapeless solid state removeable CF storage to be anything but cheap. I priced a 16 Gig CF card from KINGSTON @ 266X Speed for $204.97 ! I can buy allot of 85 minute HDV cassettes for that price ! My Solid State SD Memmory Card Recorder won't even be testable for at least another nine months to a year, so that won't work for me either. You mentioned you bring a portable Blu-ray DVD burner into the field for backup (??) How does that work ? I think Blu-ray is a darn good way to archive if it lasts, but even DVD based media can get spotty after 5 years. I make this point based on the fact I have several older DVD's I wrote which are no longer readable in any drive ! I sure hope Blu-ray will have more stable dyes and reflectivity (??) I think they need to start putting SD card recorders in HD video cameras.
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Old February 16th, 2009, 08:16 AM   #12
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...Hey Perrone. Wassup ? I think tape is cheap. I am using the XL H1 HDV camcorder with Sony ME 85 minute HDV tapes.
HDV|63, 85 Minutes Sony, Fuji, JVC, TDK Mini DV HD Tapes by Tapestockonline.com

The cheapest HDV tape I see there is $8.99 each. It hols 1 hour. I just paid $7.50 for Blu-Ray Verbatim disks. The hold about 90 minutes of video from my camera. They would hold about 2 hours of DV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Andrew Job View Post
I find the cost of tapeless solid state removeable CF storage to be anything but cheap. I priced a 16 Gig CF card from KINGSTON @ 266X Speed for $204.97 ! I can buy allot of 85 minute HDV cassettes for that price !
My 16GB of SDHC is about $32. About 4 times as much as your tape. How many times can you use the tape? How many times do you use the CF card? How many times for the SDHC card? If I use my card 5 tmes, it's already cheaper to use than your tapes.

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Originally Posted by Mark Andrew Job View Post
My Solid State SD Memmory Card Recorder won't even be testable for at least another nine months to a year, so that won't work for me either.
My laptop has SDHC and ExpressCard slot in it. This Sandisk one is $21.
Amazon.com: Sandisk MicroMate Reader - for SD and SDHC memory cards: Electronics

Seems like a cheap one to me. How much to add a tape reader to anything?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Andrew Job View Post
You mentioned you bring a portable Blu-ray DVD burner into the field for backup (??) How does that work ?
Plug burner into USB2.0 port. Insert disk. Open Roxio, burn. Just like writing a DVD or CD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Andrew Job View Post
I think Blu-ray is a darn good way to archive if it lasts, but even DVD based media can get spotty after 5 years. I make this point based on the fact I have several older DVD's I wrote which are no longer readable in any drive ! I sure hope Blu-ray will have more stable dyes and reflectivity (??)
Not sure what to tell you. Every DVD I've ever burned reads fine in my gear. Not sure what hardware choices you made. I have no doubt Blu-Ray will be much better. Sony seems to think the dye will be stable 50-100 years based on what they say about XDCamHD disks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Andrew Job View Post

I think they need to start putting SD card recorders in HD video cameras.
Well my EX1 writes to SDHC, the new JVCs write to SDHC, the new Panasonic HMC150 writes to SDHC. So, what do you want?
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Old February 16th, 2009, 11:06 AM   #13
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My 16GB of SDHC is about $32. About 4 times as much as your tape. How many times can you use the tape? How many times do you use the CF card? How many times for the SDHC card? If I use my card 5 tmes, it's already cheaper to use than your tapes.
....It doesn't matter per se to me that I can't re-use my cassette based HDV media multiple times like I can with SDHC, since cassettes are still cheap enough today that it doesn't really matter to me very much, but I agree SDHC solid state removeable media is *the way* to go. I did not know so many camcorder makers were building in SD card drives into their equipment. I did know Panasonic had one. According to our electrical engineer, and my research, there is absolutely no technical reason why uncompressed RAW HD video data (Even as high as 4:4:4 Color space) cannot be written and read from SDHC media.
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Old February 17th, 2009, 10:36 PM   #14
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....It doesn't matter per se to me that I can't re-use my cassette based HDV media multiple times like I can with SDHC, since cassettes are still cheap enough today that it doesn't really matter to me very much...
Mark, i see your point here but I am not sure you are seeing Perrone's at least the way I read your statement above. For the record, i am shooting HDV and DVCAM tape based but I agree with Perrone here. Let's extend your cost and look at the OP's case scenario. I am going to apply some generic assumptions here but I think you will follow me.

Lee is considering purchasing the following tapeless solutions:
Focus Enhancements FS-5 60Gb $1495.00 (B&H pricing)
Sony HVR-MRC1K $884.95 (B&H pricing)
Kingston | 16GB CompactFlash Ultimate 266X Card | CF/16GB-U2 $86.95 (B&H pricing)
vs.
Sony ME 85 minute tapes (lowest price I could find was $11.99)

Results
FS-5 1495 / SONY ME 85 11.99 = 124 tapes to recoup cost

HVR-MRC1 + 16GB CF card 971.9 / SONY ME 85 11.99 = 81 tapes to recoup cost

How many tapes do you buy in a year? How much time is spent ingesting them? If you buy less than 40 tapes a year it may not be a sound financial decision to go tapeless because it could take you 3 or more years without tape purchase to recoup your investment. This assumes you already own a deck or you will not need to invest any additional resources to repair/maintain tape based capture systems. This also assumes that you would be going truly tapeless and not entering into a hybrid workflow to get the benefits of a tapeless workflow with tape as backup.

If your ROI can pay for the investment in 2 yr or less the benefits would far outweigh the expense (if you have the capital.) While tape is "cheap" it does cost more over the long-term timeline, is prone to dropouts, deterioration, destruction (the dreaded sounds of hungry tape heads munching your hardwork into oblivion), and comes with ingest time equal to shooting duration. Tapeless acquisition decreases ingest time and costs less over the longterm.

In Perrone's case, his acquisition (using XDCAM EX) is already tapeless so the blu-ray burner, BD-r discs, cost of SDHC adapter, and SDHC media breakdown to $/hr of shooting well under the $11.99/85 min you are paying for tape because of how much he shoots. But if (like me) you are still shooting a camera that is tape based, you would have to invest in some additional digital acquisition equipment first and that could make your cost higher depending on how many tapes you are shooting per yr.
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Old February 17th, 2009, 11:11 PM   #15
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Bryan,

I like your work here, but it glosses over some pretty important things.

1. If you shoot event What do you do as the time reaches 59 minutes? When I shot miniDV, I lost part of the info, or I asked to stop the event when I could. Both are FAR from ideal. If you're rolling two cameras, you could stagger them, but then you NEED two cameras, AND you've doubled your media costs.

2. What do you save your work on? So you shot 4 hours of video, mixed down to 68 minutes. Colored, added the music, etc. Your master creation is 68 minutes. How do you save it? If you have to write to mini-DV, you split the work, and write on 2 more tapes. So the media costs went from 4 tapes to 6. All now unusable for any other pro-level job.

3. If you need to copy your work for backups in the field, how do you do that? Let's say you're shooting weddings, or events, or documentaries, and you're away from your edit suite. Do you risk having a copy in only one place? Do you ingest it into your laptop (at realtime speed) and put the tapes elsewhere for safe keeping? What happens when you have 2-3 cams like the wedding guys do?

You were right in your analysis that the more you shoot, the cheaper tapeless looks. But you're saving in gear, power, weight, space (take a couple dozen tapes somewhere versus a couple dozen SDHC cards), and time. You talk about copying data for safety, I get to my office, plug my laptop into the network, mount the card or drive from my edit PC, my desktop, and my color-grading station, and I can have 3 versions (plus the original if desired) in 4x-6x reatime.

I know a lot of folks are still married to tape, and that's cool. But I wouldn't go back to that workflow unless I had to, and someone was paying me to.
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