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Old May 4th, 2005, 05:29 PM   #1
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What are the best Mini DV Tapes to use for recording?

Which brand and type? Which has the least shedding and dropouts that are available to buy? Please I have a big project approaching and would like to use the beast available.
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Old May 4th, 2005, 06:19 PM   #2
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Check out the long black line forum (where this thread will be moved).

You will generally find that:
A- There is little/no evidence showing one brand performing better than another in real world conditions.
B- Lubricant mixing can be an issue if you bring in tapes manufactured some time ago... stick to one brand would totally avoid this.
C- Some people (like me) say to use the cheapest tape possible (which you can get a lot of) because of A and because you have better ways to spend your money. mini-DV tape gets down to around $2.60USD/tape.
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Old May 4th, 2005, 06:43 PM   #3
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Glen,

Where do you buy your tapes at 2.60 USD ? :) I am using Sony Premium, I am usually able to find it for a little more than 3$ USD each in quantity of 10 or more... Here in Canada, it is around 9$ CDN each!!! Non sense.
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Old May 4th, 2005, 07:37 PM   #4
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Jean,
CANADA-SPECIFIC INFO:

Ok when you buy from the states you have to watch out for hidden fees. When shipping from states, you have to pay for:
currency exchange
shipping
GST
PST (if you buy within Canada, sometimes you don't have to pay this)
duties (for mini-DV tape, there is none)
Important: brokerage/handling fees. UPS Ground does not tell you about these, and they charge exorbantly. Fedex also charges brokerage on their basic service. I just stick with USPS- $5/$8 handling fee depending on speed, express is $8.

This unfortunately rules out a lot of online retailers. :(

I buy my tapes off eBay. The seller getthebestdeals is the best seller to do business with in my experience. She sells JVCs at around $2.60*USD* and Sonys at around $3.

From the link below you can find all the stuff getthebestdeals is selling:
http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?...sPageName=WDVW
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Old May 4th, 2005, 07:40 PM   #5
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Glenn, that's my dealer too! :) My XL1 dosen't like the JVC tapes... Lots of drop out and a few seconds of mosaic at the beginning of each tape. Never happened on the sony, so I stick wit it.
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Old May 4th, 2005, 07:43 PM   #6
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Hey Jean you might be right about the dropouts. If I'm not lazy I will run some tests using some other brand tapes I have and see what the deal is.


Quote:
A- There is little/no evidence showing one brand performing better than another in real world conditions.
Ok I might have to back-pedal on that claim.
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Old May 4th, 2005, 09:07 PM   #7
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Just did some recording onto a JVC tape and didn't notice any dropouts in the first 2 minutes.

I then decided to make some dropouts appear by blowing some dust into the tape. You push the lever thing on the side and open up the cassette to expose the tape and then I blew dust off a computer monitor onto the tape. The first time I didn't get any dropouts. The second time I made sure I could see flecks of dust on the tape and then I recorded something. With the dust on the tape, nothing gets recorded there and the old image remains (i.e. whatever the previous recording was).

So I guess the moral of this story is...
A- Avoid dust, which can cause massive dropouts.
B- No noticeable, obvious dropouts with JVC. I don't think it's much different from other brands.
?C- mini-DV seems to have decent protection against minor errors because it contains error correction. Like if you take a sharpie and draw a line on a CD (from the inside to outside), it can still play back perfectly. Draw the line in a circular fashion and it won't (because of how the error correction works). But basically, a low level of errors is ok and will still give you perfect data.


If someone had a machine that could read back a mini-DV tape without error correction then that would be the only good way to figure out the difference between brands. Until then, I think I'm going to stick with my JVCs and not blow dust into them.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 04:11 AM   #8
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JVC tapes...

It is very interesting what you have to say about dust on the tape, Glenn. This might possibly be one of the main reasons why many people get drop-out problems with varied types and makes of tapes, and not because of the actual product name that is printed on the side.

I have been using JVC MiniDV tapes in my XL1s since I bought it, and have yet to experience a single drop-out or problem (touch wood) so it has given me extra confidence to continue using them.

I've just bought fifty JVC Regular MiniDV tapes and a smaller number of JVC Pro MiniDV tapes (all bought on Ebay) for use on a major project starting next week.

Even though everything seems to be working fine on all my previous shoots, I'll take heed of your notes and try to blow any extra dust off the casings and keep the inner tape chamber as clean as possible in the future.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 10:07 AM   #9
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If dust gets into the tape, it happens within like 5 seconds of where the tape is cued up. So to avoid any problems, record like 30 seconds of room tone or ambience where the tape is cued up and you should be clear of the area where dust can get in.

If you always do that, then you shouldn't have a problem with dust. However... if does is the cause of dropouts then you would see them most frequently in the first 10s of your tape.

2- I'm not sure if cleaning dust off your casettes would actually help.

The mini-DV casette is also designed to keep dust out. You actually have to push open the tab to expose the tape (which obviously you should never do).
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Old May 5th, 2005, 04:38 PM   #10
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Sorry, Glenn, I didn't explain clear enough what I meant. I of course don't ever open the actual MiniDv tape casing themselves or try and clean or blow inside! What I meant to say was to keep the actual chamber of the XL1s body itself clean and free of too much dust and dirt, and not to leave the cassette door open for too long when I'm working in harsh evironments.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 11:35 PM   #11
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Ok that makes sense.
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