If recording on HDV does it make a difference in "quality" the kind of tape to use? at DVinfo.net

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Old December 31st, 2009, 12:47 AM   #1
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If recording on HDV does it make a difference in "quality" the kind of tape to use?

Ok so if I have a Sony V1U and I've heard from several sources that I should use only Sony tapes because of the lubrication system of the tapes.

As the title says, my question is, if I am going to shoot on HDV, does it make a difference "in the actual quality of the video" if I use the standard Sony minDV tapes or I use the DVM-63HD tapes that are "supposed" to be better for HDV recording.

My question is because when I try to find advantages of these HD tapes, the main one I keep reading is supposed to be "fewer errors and fewer drop outs"... as it is I HARDLY get any drop outs when using new regular miniDV tapes, and if this is the ONLY advantage then I really dont see a point in spending more than double of the price of standard tapes for a problem that I hardly (if ever) get.

Or do these tapes actually record the video with greater quality? in which case then I would actually see a point in spending more in these tapes for important stuff.

But if all the advantage is fewer drop outs and better quality for storage then I really dont see a point in buying these tapes, at least for the way I work.

Thank you in advance for your advice and input

Last edited by Rich Mayer; December 31st, 2009 at 03:13 AM.
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Old December 31st, 2009, 01:24 AM   #2
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No difference in quality. The data is either there (video) or it's not (dropout.) There's no in between. The "HDV" tapes are 99% marketing.
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Old December 31st, 2009, 10:22 AM   #3
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I own a Sony V1 and have standardised on Sony tapes so that only the one type of tape lubricant is used on the tape transport mechanism.

I did use the regular consumer level Sony "reds" tapes, but no more. The cost of a data glitch / dropout in HDV is too high. Instead, I now only record on the (higher tape grade) blue DVM60PRO tapes ... to be sure.

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Old December 31st, 2009, 11:03 AM   #4
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...The "HDV" tapes are 99% marketing.
More like 100% really. The HDV specification directly calls for the use of MiniDV tapes. There is absolutely no difference in tape specifications! It is absolutely 100% perfectly legit for a manufacturer to slap "HDV" all over the label of ANY tape that meets MiniDV specs, but they will probably stick a higher price tag on that very same tape as well (go figure, eh?). If money is burning a hole in your pocket, or you simply enjoy paying for fancier sounding labeling, have at it, otherwise just buy good quality MiniDV tapes. Personally, I like Maxell tapes (ever since I was a kid in the 70s - best tapes for audio back then). They do offer premium quality "Pro" MiniDV tapes that are quite competitively priced (compared to other brands of premium tapes). Their standard tapes seem to work just fine too though (at least for me - never had a problem with them).
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Old December 31st, 2009, 03:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Smith View Post
I own a Sony V1 and have standardised on Sony tapes so that only the one type of tape lubricant is used on the tape transport mechanism.

I did use the regular consumer level Sony "reds" tapes, but no more. The cost of a data glitch / dropout in HDV is too high. Instead, I now only record on the (higher tape grade) blue DVM60PRO tapes ... to be sure.

Andrew
Andrew we have the same camera and I have NEVER gotten a drop out using standard red Sony tapes when they are new tapes.

Im not saying you are lying but like I said in my original post, if ' fewer drop outs' are the only benefit of paying DOUBLE of the price of standard tapes, I really dont even see the point for the existence of "HDV tapes", I dont get drop outs unless I have re-used the same tape more than 3 times (even using them twice I dont get drop outs)

Last edited by Rich Mayer; January 1st, 2010 at 01:31 AM.
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Old December 31st, 2009, 07:26 PM   #6
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The only tapes I've ever really had any trouble with, are JVC's cheapies (the one's that cost like 2 bucks from B&H). I've never really even had trouble mixing brands of tapes (aside from the aforementioned JVC el-cheapo tapes). I've mixed lots of brands, in cheap camcorders, over the years (I do try to stick with Maxell in good cams tho). It's simply never given me any grief. (I never risk buying counterfeit tapes from eBay. That's just nuts. I only get tapes from B&H, Best Buy in a pinch, or Maxell reds from Sam's Club in an 8-pack that they've carried for years there.)
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Old January 1st, 2010, 04:10 AM   #7
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Hi Rich,

I don't mind using Sony reds for SD work as a data dropout only means a glitch the size of a block of pixels. It was only on occasion that I have seen this happen, and usually once in 30 mins of tape for when it actually has happened. I doubt that a client would even notice it.

But in HDV with its long-GOP compression a data dropout will mean (from memory and not looking it up) about half a second of losing the entire frame of video. Depending on how this is handled by the app or hardware, either the video frame doesn't update for that period of time or you get some "black time".

I'm not sure if the gitching happened (on a SD recording) on the first use or a subsequent use of a Sony red tape, but when shooting HDV, I'd rather pay the $6 extra per tape to avoid embarrassment.

Otherwise, I'd be the first to be saying "Hey, it's only data and HDV uses the same data rate as regular DV does. Just use the normal tapes."

For me, it's mostly not wanting to take the risk when shooting HDV. Given what I charge for the work that I do, it's a no-brainer. It's the same thinking as only ever having fresh batteries for a wireless mic when recording an event .... just not worth the risk of having battery failure part way through.

On the other hand, I see no reason to go to a higher grade of tape unless there is an exceptionally good archiving reason ... and I doubt that it's going to happen in a very long time.

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Old January 1st, 2010, 01:23 PM   #8
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Tape has three main components that change between brands and even types within a brand. The binder, the coating and the substrate. The actual coating of the tape is quite rough, so to reduce headwear, the binder is a sort of 'filler' - that presents a finished surface. The coating also contains the lubricant mentioned above, and some brands have lots, while some have very little. The substrate is the tough plasticised tape the useful bits are bonded onto. If the binder is damaged, then dropouts rapidly occur as the weaker, rougher surface is worn away. So the system many people use that says essentially, find a tape you like, and stick to it - is good advice. The binder in a lubrication heavy formulation expects the surfaces it comes into contact with to have the same lubricant on them, and wear is minimal. When you use a low lubricant tape in a machine that has it's own lubricant all over the working surfaces, then there's no guarantee the binder on the dry tape will like it, and this is where problems start - sometimes. Damage may be chronic or acute - general additional wear on the binder, eventually leading to dropouts, or severe dropout in just a few places but happening very quickly. Some binders are slightly rough too, as an aid to head cleaning - by constantly polishing the surface. It's such a complex subject that no obvious trends can be followed, unless you use the same odd combinations repeatedly, so the failures can be tabulated. Thankfully, nowadays tape overall quality seems pretty good - so a quick recording with another brand that works, kind of disproves the rule for some people, but if it goes wrong, just reinforces it.

My own way is to use the same brand - for no reason other than that it works for me!
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Old January 1st, 2010, 02:36 PM   #9
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If youíre unlucky and get dropout on an I-frame then you could lose the picture + sound for 1 second = potentially disastrous!

Tapes specially formulated for use in HDV cameras are meant to be less prone to dropout. Itís my understanding that they are manufactured differently to achieve that hence the higher price.
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Old January 1st, 2010, 03:40 PM   #10
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Tapes specially formulated for use in HDV cameras are meant to be less prone to dropout. It’s my understanding that they are manufactured differently to achieve that hence the higher price.
That's the sort of thing that sounds like it came directly from the marketing department of a major tape vendor (fill in the blank with a brand name), without stopping to pass go. It sure didn't come from some independent testing lab somewhere.

The fact remains that the specification didn't change one iota, and are simply no different for HDV cameras and MiniDV cameras (tape mechanism specs are the same too, for that matter). One would hope that premium tapes are manufactured to be less prone to dropout (regardless of what camera it winds up in, or how the zeros and ones are arranged for the particular video format).

It's my understanding that a big part of the difference between premium tapes and cheaper tapes is that premium tape is cut from from tape in the middle of the huge spools it's made on, and the cheap stuff comes from the ends - which again, has nothing to do with what camera it winds up in.

I'd bet dimes to dollars, that the stuff from the middle of the spools, after it goes in the casings, rolls down an assembly line, to a fork that splits off, where half of it goes one way and gets a nice shiny "HDV" label wrapped around it, and the half goes the other way and winds up with a nice shiny "Professional Master Quality MiniDV" label wrapped around it. Then they throw "slightly" different price tags on the stuff, to accentuate and differentiate the lovely packaging of course. It's possible, or at least it's been alleged, that the marketing department might have at least a tiny role in that last little part of the nice and tidy, elegant process, in bringing you, the consumer (or rube, in marketing department slang) those fine products, for your enjoyment.
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Old January 1st, 2010, 05:14 PM   #11
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Sony say that their HDV tapes are made to a higher standard with more surface polishing, and that lowers the probability of getting a dropout by around 10,000:1.

I'm not aware of any independant evidence which either proves or disproves that claim. However if it's true and you're doing critical recordings I would have thought it justified the extra cost, but personally I use ordinary miniDV.
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Old January 1st, 2010, 08:54 PM   #12
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It's my understanding that a big part of the difference between premium tapes and cheaper tapes is that premium tape is cut from from tape in the middle of the huge spools it's made on, and the cheap stuff comes from the ends
That's exactly my understanding as well.
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If youíre unlucky and get dropout on an I-frame then you could lose the picture + sound for 1 second = potentially disastrous!
Actually only 1/2 second, but your point is well taken nonetheless.

I pretty much only shoot multicam, so if I get a dropout on one cam I usually have another angle to cut to. But if I were doing weddings (God Forbid!) or otherwise could charge the client for my tape stock, you bet I'd buy those $18 tapes and tack on my 25% markup!

Note: right now Costco has Sony Premiums in multi packs for the ridiculous price of about $1.69 each after an instant rebate. If they still have them tomorrow I'm going to pick up a couple cases.
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 03:50 AM   #13
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What I was told that the "best stuff in the centre" quality story isn't an issue here. The tape manufactured for the HDV mastering tape is a completely new formulation with a markedly improved signal to noise ratio for the (analogue recording on tape of the) digital data. This also gives you much better archival qualities.

The tape used in the Sony blue is a variant of this newer formulation and hence is different to the domestic DV tapes.

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Old January 2nd, 2010, 10:27 AM   #14
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Sony say that their HDV tapes are made to a higher standard with more surface polishing, and that lowers the probability of getting a dropout by around 10,000:1.
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Originally Posted by Andrew Smith View Post
...The tape manufactured for the HDV mastering tape is a completely new formulation with a markedly improved signal to noise ratio for the (analogue recording on tape of the) digital data. This also gives you much better archival qualities.
Don't get sucked in by all that marketing hype. Sounds like it came straight from the mouth of a used car salesman with a 6" wide tie.

10000 times fewer dropouts? Compared to what? - masking tape?

You know, I've been seeing gasoline commercials for 50 years touting new formulas that would do everything but rebuild your engine for you, to solving global warming. Guess what? It's just gas folks.
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 11:04 AM   #15
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Robert

You may well be right, I certainly think there's nothing wrong in a bit of healthy scepticism about large corporations. I don't use the Sony HDV tapes so there's no way I'm going to invest time and money is finding out whether their claims stack up.

Nevertheless I have seen anecdotal evidence from users of HDV tapes saying that they do perform much better than standard miniDV tape in terms of dropout problems. If that is the case then I can see the sense in using them.

Or put it another way do you have any evidence that it is simply standard miniDV tape cut from the middle of large industrial spools? If you do have evidence then I for one would be genuinely interested in reading it.
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