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Old March 10th, 2009, 04:39 PM   #1
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Tape or Not to Tape

I've been researching options to replace my SD camcorder. I'm not sure which way to jump considering all the tapeless options.

But my question is- is an HDV camcorder able to play standard mini DV tapes?

I have quite a few tapes and wondered if I needed to hang on to my standard resolution camcorder to view them.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 05:15 PM   #2
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Yes, HDV cameras can play back DV tapes.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 07:24 PM   #3
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J... I leaped into the HD realm 18 months ago and went HDV tape because for what I do it made the most sense. Since then, a lot has changed and I believe the death of tape is an inexorable fact. If I was facing the HD transition, I'd seriously consider tapeless. The AVCHD codec has improved and SD HC cards make it a dawdle. What little I've read about the Panasonic HMC150 looks impressive. Armed with a BD burner, the archiving issue is solved.

I spent half the day going through about 50 tapes looking for one shot that I couldn't end up finding. Having it all on BD would have made it a lot easier and faster.

Just one guy's opinion.

Hang on to your SD camera for digging back into your old DV tapes. That way you can cut the future ties to the long black line if you so desire.
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Old March 11th, 2009, 09:05 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by J. Rex Brown View Post
I've been researching options to replace my SD camcorder. I'm not sure which way to jump considering all the tapeless options.
...
I have quite a few tapes and wondered if I needed to hang on to my standard resolution camcorder to view them.
Digitize all your tapes, 1 terra hard disk less than $100 - 80 tapes, keep the tapes for redundant back up, and of course go tapeless,
today you wouldn't buy a CRT 4:3 TV, wouldn't you?
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Old March 12th, 2009, 04:50 PM   #5
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What do you do when (not if) your hard drives fail?

If you do what major corporations do to recover from such strategies, you back them up to a stable, proven medium, like (ta-dah!): tape.

If you're going tapeless and you care about keeping your original footage for 10 years or longer, you better have a good backup strategy. You either capture to ephemeral media and backup to archival media, or you capture to archival media and dump to ephemeral media. In terms of time savings, it's really almost a wash. Some of us who are really paranoid capture to archival media (HDV tape) AND backup to another archival media (in my case, LTO tape), but that's another story.

Of course, if jumping in and editing quickly after shooting is important (like in news coverage), copying from a flash card is much faster than capturing from tape. And, there's no question that tapeless is where the industry is going. And, if you don't care about keeping your raw originals forever (like a TV commercial, maybe), then tape makes little sense to you these days.

But I really think that some of the time savings from going tapeless are really illusory when you factor in backup and archiving.
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Old March 16th, 2009, 02:51 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Graham Hickling View Post
Yes, HDV cameras can play back DV tapes.
Only when they are generated on the same camera.

There are exceptions, but I wouldn't count on it without research. A tape captured on a camera should be played back on the same camera generally.

I learned the hard way that using a Canon to play back a JVC mini-DV tape ends miserably in total failure.
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Old March 16th, 2009, 10:43 PM   #7
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Only when they are generated on the same camera.

I learned the hard way that using a Canon to play back a JVC mini-DV tape ends miserably in total failure.
I used to have a Canon. so did my girlfriend at the time. I experienced more issues of mixing between Canon and brand x, than I did mixing brand x with brand y or brand z. And her Canon tapes would never play on anything but her camcorder. Not even my Canon.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 07:13 AM   #8
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Only when they are generated on the same camera.

There are exceptions, but I wouldn't count on it without research. A tape captured on a camera should be played back on the same camera generally.
My experience is that this is not true. With DV shot at 60i, I've captured tapes recorded on Panasonic, Canon and Sony on an old Sony corder. I've also used the Canon and Panasonic to capture tapes recorded on other brands. Generally speaking, if you're recording using the standard DV format (60i NTSC or 50i PAL) the tapes are portable across camcorders and brands.

HDV is dodgier because manufactures have veered way from the standard. My HV10 will not play XH A1 24f footage but my HV30 will. There are well documented issues with certain manufacturers tweaking the HDV standard to their advantage.

If tape could only be downloaded to computer only on the same physical camcorder it was recorded on, I never would have bought a single one of the units I have and would have gone tapeless a long time ago.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 07:14 AM   #9
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I used to have a Canon. so did my girlfriend at the time. I experienced more issues of mixing between Canon and brand x, than I did mixing brand x with brand y or brand z. And her Canon tapes would never play on anything but her camcorder. Not even my Canon.
Sounds like a head alignment issue with her camcorder.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 10:24 AM   #10
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I stick with saying to play it safe when trying to cross play tapes.

I know from direct experience that playing a JVC GR-HD1 720X480i NTSC DV tape on a Canon GL-2 will destroy the tape. There was no mechanical damage, but the tapes were rendered unplayable even on the original recording camera. That was 2 tapes of a wedding that were totally lost.

So, I can say that there ARE situations that just won't work. Always perform extensive testing before chancing ruining your material.
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