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Old January 31st, 2009, 11:18 AM   #46
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Analog is completely different, as you know, and differences do exist there. Buy with digital all the image quality will be identical no matter what you use. Obviously a better-constructed tape shell stands a better chance of working for a longer time. The actual tape that goes into these shells comes off the same spool; the accepted wisdom is the more expensive tapes come from the middle of the spool while cheaper tapes come from the edges.

Either you have a drop-out or you don't. That's the gamble you take deciding which tape to buy. But there is no difference in audio or video quality; it would be quite impossible in a digital medium.

Obviously you might want to capture again from an archived tape; that's why you would never re-use it. That's my point, addressed to those who think they can save $2 by shooting over an old tape again. It's false economy.

Equally obviously, if you are charging (and marking up appropriately) the client for your tape stock, why not go with the most expensive tape you can find? But for personal use this makes no sense.
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Old January 31st, 2009, 11:25 AM   #47
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Equally obviously, if you are charging (and marking up appropriately) the client for your tape stock, why not go with the most expensive tape you can find? But for personal use this makes no sense.
Yep. I re-use tape, but after 2-passes it's labeled as "scratch" and used as such. Honestly, it's a RARE occurance I touch tape now. Only from archives.

I tended not to buy the most expensive I could find, only the Panasonic MQ level tapes, which worked marvelously.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 03:31 PM   #48
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Will regular tapes work as well for HD in camcorder as an HD tape????
The topic of tapes in HDV/DV world is endlessly debated on forums and the general consensus is that there is no consensus. For every person who swears by one habit or practice, someone else will insist you should do the exact opposite. In our shrinking economy it might not be prudent to spend $20 on HDV-branded tapes where a $4 tape will suffice- on the other hand, if you are a paid professional who can't risk one horrendous dropout on your footage, the $20 tape might be well worth it and is something you can build into your cost of doing business.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 03:37 PM   #49
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I used DV tapes for awhile with my HDV camera (Sony V1U). But after some really bad dropouts (almost devastating) I switched to HDV tape stock. I haven't had a drop out since. I use Sony VG 63 DV/HDV Tape which is only about $7 a tape. It's worth the extra in my opinion.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 11:08 PM   #50
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I use Sony VG 63 DV/HDV Tape which is only about $7 a tape. It's worth the extra in my opinion.
And this is why I now archive to Blu-Ray. Cheaper media, no dropouts.
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 10:21 AM   #51
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The whole point of developing HDV was to use *exactly* the same physical and logical technology while varying only the way data are encoded. For the likes of Sony to go to all the trouble of sticking with the same transport mechanism, control logic, digital transport protocol, bit rate etc (obviously in the interests of cost) but then turn around and develop entirely new tape formulations is very hard to believe.

A high quality DV tape will perform just fine in an HDV unit. Lower quality tapes won't because MPEG is much less tolerant towards the higher levels of data corruption that may be encountered.
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 10:41 AM   #52
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Lots of good points raised here and I'm with Adam in post #3. There's no such thing as DV tape or DVCAM tape or HDV tape - it's all just tape. And at the price we pay for even the expensive cassette you're certainly not getting any human inspection, so every time you pop a new one into your deck you're taking a risk with an untested bit of kit.

So my only divergence from Adam is that when I reuse a tape I know it's a good one, I know I've tested it, I know it's been burnished smooth by two or more passes. And I archive onto tape because I know how reliable it'll be for the 7th or 10th pass in the future, when I want to access that data again.

Each to his own.

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Old February 3rd, 2009, 12:04 AM   #53
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A year ago I was reading Sony’s professional tape specifications (pdf) regarding the HDV tapes. I just spend an hour trying to find it on the net, to no avail. But if I remember correctly, the difference between the Sony's DV(CAM) and HDV tapes is the fact that the HDV tapes have higher RF output, making them less prone to errors (dropouts).

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Old February 3rd, 2009, 07:06 AM   #54
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I suspect you are refering to the DigitalMaster series of tapes (Sony Digital Master - Home , http://www.okno-tv.ru/files/equip/eq_2836_126.pdf). These have two magnetic layers instead of one. The tapes are branded equally for DVCAM, DV and HDV. And at $17 a pop for a 63min tape, quite reasonable for critical/unrepeatable recordings.
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 02:09 PM   #55
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I've been using those Sony Digital Mastering tapes for some time now. They've gone up from about $15 to around $18 now, but that's still cheap for an hour's recording. I haven't seen a dropout yet. For home movies and fun stuff I used the cheaper Sony HDV tapes, for $7-$8 each, but now I do that sort of thing with a little pocketcam Sony TG1.
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 11:56 PM   #56
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They've gone up from about $15 to around $18 now, but that's still cheap for an hour's recording
Especially for those of us who remember BetaSP at 30 minutes for 30 dollars. <grin>
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Old February 4th, 2009, 02:05 AM   #57
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Especially for those of us who remember BetaSP at 30 minutes for 30 dollars. <grin>
Or how about me with my pre-striped Kodachrome 40 Super-8 sound film. That was 3 mins 20 seconds for $15 back in the 1980s
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Old February 4th, 2009, 04:40 PM   #58
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Before that I was paying about $145 a roll for 10 minutes of 16mm film, including processing and workprinting. When I first got into video 2" and then 1" tape was around 2 bucks a minute. We thought that was amazingly cheap. Then 3/4" was around $30 for 30 minutes, falling to half that as Betacam came out. Thirty bucks for 30 minutes of Betacam SP was pretty standard for a long time. Eventually we were paying in the low 20s. Good tape is cheap today, but I don't think that cheap tape is always good.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 02:14 AM   #59
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Tape Mixing

Hi there, these are my experiences.
I have been taking video for about 20 years and are now at tape 375.
I started with standard 8 mm, them Hi8, them Digital8 and now for the last 4 years or so MiniDV.
Someone some 20 years ago made a comment in an electronics magazine that there was noting wrong with using different brands of tape, as long as you did not use one brand long enough so only one type of oxides and the like would build up.
I used this philosophy right through the 8mm tapes and rarely had to clean heads. The same goes for the various video recorders (BETA and VHS) I have owned.
With my last camera I changed my routine and only used one brand of tape. This went OK for about 1.5 years at which time I started to experience picture and sound drop outs (picture blocky and sound a buzz) for about 1 second at the time. Sometimes it happened once per tape sometimes twice and sometimes not at all, using a cleaning tape would clear it for one or two tapes and then it would be back.
I changed back to my previous routine and started again to mix different brands of tape and the drop outs have all but gone.

What are the experiences of others video camera users?
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Old February 9th, 2009, 10:33 AM   #60
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MiniDv tapes, like everything else, have different quality levels and everybody has his/her favorite brand. It's not dv vs hdv, because the tapes are all the same format.

The issue with sticking with one brand is that some tapes use a wet lube (Sony, Panasonic, as I am told) and others use a dry lube (Maxell, JVC, etc). Either one is fine but if you switch back and forth the mix of dry lube and wet lube makes mud and clog your heads. So you pick one type and stick with it to avoid the mixing....or so the urban legend goes.

FWIW our team goes through 100-150 tapes a month and we are perfectly happy with the one brand we have been using for three years without dropouts or problems, we are superstitious enough to keep doing it. (It doesn't matter, but it's Maxell DV Pro, I'm not recommending that specifically, just to stick with a brand that works for you) //Battle Vaughan/miamiherald.com video team
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