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Old August 25th, 2008, 03:38 PM   #1
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Mini-DV tape choices

I recently received my XL-H1A and was wondering if anyone in the community had an opinion regarding which tapes to use. With my XL-2 I have always used Maxell Mini DV DVM60SE tapes. In Canada they come in a red wrapper. Never had a problem, always worked great. Might have had a drop-out once, but I'm not even sure of that. Any problems I have had were due to dirty heads.

Canon says to use their HDV professional tapes (HDVM-E63PR), so I purchased a handful at the same time as I did my camera.

I have only had the camera for a couple of days, and am very busy on a SD gig, in which I used the camera for one shot - in SD - to try it out. So, I haven't had any time to run any side by side tests. The one thing I did notice was that it was heavier than my XL-2, but that's a different topic.

The price difference for the tapes here is $6 compared to $30, roughly. Is there a benefit, reason, or rational for using these very expensive tapes? Does it affect the quality of the images captured? This is my first foray into HDV and want to make sure I make the right decisions.

I would pass on the costs to the client anyway, but I just wonder if it's necessary. Any insight into this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Mark
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Old August 25th, 2008, 04:00 PM   #2
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Mark, I use the Panasonic AY-DVM63AMQ So far I've had no problems. I think with the price your paying you should look into Vistec in Toronto for tapes because with shipping it could still be far cheaper for you.


What kind of work are ya doing with your new Camera ?
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Old August 25th, 2008, 06:03 PM   #3
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Stop what you're doing and check out the forum titled "The Long Black Line". More than you'll ever want to read about tape.
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Old August 25th, 2008, 07:29 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Wayne Bowman View Post
I think with the price your paying you should look into Vistec in Toronto for tapes because with shipping it could still be far cheaper for you.
Hi Wayne, that price ($32.99) is the price from Vistek. That's where I purchased my camera. I didn't want to be without tapes, so ordered some that Canon suggested, but it seems expensive. Do you think normal Mini DV tapes would be fine?


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Originally Posted by Wayne Bowman View Post
What kind of work are ya doing with your new Camera ?
Mostly corporate stuff and a few tv spots. There's no HD broadcaster here, so not much call for it locally. I was starting to get requests for it from business wanting to do trade show videos and that kind of thing. I've been shooting on my XL-2 and then upsampling from Final Cut Pro and they've looked great. But the time had come, and when Canon came out with the XL-H1A, it made sense to me as I rarely do multi-camera work and with every test I saw the HDV looked great and I couldn't see the added value for the extra $3K for the extra features of the XL-H1S.

Another thing, the quick little handheld scene I shot for a client it seemed to me the lens had more depth of field than my XL-2. I had to keep rolling the focus to stay with the moving item I was shooting. It was tricky and I didn't expect it. Was I imagining things?

I'm originally from Toronto, so I hope your Barrie summer was a nice one? We've had a rainy August here, but late summer and fall is spectacular in St. John's so I'm looking forward to it.

Thanks for the info.

Mark
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Old August 25th, 2008, 07:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Benjamin Hill View Post
Stop what you're doing and check out the forum titled "The Long Black Line". More than you'll ever want to read about tape.
Benjamin, I did a search and all that for tapes, and waded through the info, and I kept seeing the "The Long Black Line" comments, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it meant. Finally after I posted, and I mean right after, I saw that it was another forum. Very confusing. You don't think something like "Tape Issues" or similar might be a little more obvious for those of us who aren't quite so hip?

Also, I was mostly concerned to hear from people who use the Canon cameras as that's what I have, so I don't feel that badly about it really. I did want camera specific responses.

But thanks for not flaming me too badly. I was going to post an admission of ignorance after I realized what it was, but I thought I might get away with it. Caught me.

Thanks,

Mark
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Old August 25th, 2008, 10:33 PM   #6
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No flame, only information. You probably found a lot of Canon user comments on tape because they are popular cameras.

The Long Black Line - The Digital Video Information Network

Long story short, tape stock is more critical for shooting HDV because of dropouts. If you can't afford HDV dropouts, might be worth it to pay more for good tapes...
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Old August 25th, 2008, 11:10 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mark D. Smith View Post
"The Long Black Line" ... You don't think something like "Tape Issues" or similar might be a little more obvious for those of us who aren't quite so hip?
Sorry but the forum description does in fact say "Tape, tape and more tape..."

Anyway, thread moved from Canon XL to TLBL.
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Old August 26th, 2008, 05:24 PM   #8
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I have the Canon XHA1, shoot only HD, and to date my cheap TDK tapes have given me no trouble, no dropped frames. I won't be paying for HDV tapes until I have a good reason to.
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Old October 10th, 2008, 06:13 PM   #9
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Help!!! Too many variations

Hi, just had a look at what kind of mini dv tapes are around here,
and I'm lost , again.

To many differing numbers and no clue what these numbers mean:

Panasonic AY-DVM63AMQ
Panasonic AY-DVM60EJ
Panasonic AY-DVM63PQ
Panasonic AY-DVM63SQ
Panasonic AY-DVM60FF

Sony DVM-63HD HD
Sony DVM 60 R3

Recommendations, intended for personal use, and some professional, maybe paid ;-)

Thanks.
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Old October 10th, 2008, 11:41 PM   #10
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General rule of thumb for whatever tape stock you use is do not mix brands. On camcorders that use MiniDv tapes, drop outs are disasterous. They are even more disasterous when recording HDV because a drop-out will destroy several frames because the LGOP (long group of pictures) recording format employed in HDV recording. As far as a brand recommendations, you will have champions on all sides for all brands of tapes. I have used a lot of Panasonic tapes (mostly AMQ, Advanced Master Quality) without any drop-outs. A colleague of mine will only use Sony and he has never had a drop-out either. When a customer is going to pay for the tape stock, use the best grade in your favorite brand. That way, if there is a tape problem, the client can't get mad at you for using the cheap stuff.
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