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Old October 28th, 2009, 07:43 PM   #1
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How many times can one safely.........

Reuse a 80/83 minute tape without significantly risking increasing the possibility of drop-outs so that it not worth trying. I ask because they can be almost 3 times more expensive than std DV tapes and very long term I've been using std dv tapes over and over with no problems. I bought Pannies.

Thanks for any comments,observations and experience offered.

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Old October 28th, 2009, 11:22 PM   #2
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None. You can't safely reuse any tape. Period.
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Old October 29th, 2009, 06:21 AM   #3
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I disagree. One might just as well say, "you cant use any tape safely". A tape may cause problems the first time it is used, or the 100th. I use Sony Digital Master tapes up to 30 times in my tape based B cams. And then they are put to use in family members camcorders, never had a problem. If it makes you feel better use a brand new tape on important jobs. But tape technology is very mature, and these tapes are designed and built to be used many times. Remember to always take some test shots before serious use, be it a brand new, or used tape.
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Old October 29th, 2009, 09:06 AM   #4
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None. You can't safely reuse any tape. Period.
Adam, what's your evidence for this conclusion? I've seen this question asked many times, and only seen opinions in response. No one seems to have any real info.

Personally, I've reused tapes many times (in non-important usage, just in case), and have seen no issues at all.

Anyway, Bruce, try searching "reuse dv tapes" on Google, and enjoy reading!
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Old October 29th, 2009, 09:19 AM   #5
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Tape is the single least expensive component in the production chain.

*Why* would you want to re-use it?

Unless we're talking about non-critical personal use only.
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Old October 29th, 2009, 10:48 AM   #6
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In a test, I reused a pana dvm83pq up to 20 times before any issues. The dropout issue I had at that time may have been caused from the tape rewinder used (don't use them - there all junk).

I regularly reuse 83pq's up to 4 times after bulk erasing them without problem. Wouldn't reuse them without b/e due to latent imaging of previous recorded material showing through if a dropout does occur. I shoot using a dvd backup so odds are that if there is an issue your be safe having two sources.

Sidebar - I worked at a tv station many years ago and we used the 3/4 tapes many times after erasing. Yes, real estate is greater on the 3/4 tapes but mini dv like the Pany should be fine as long as their used in a relative clean environment - i.e. not dusty conditions - which is usually the cause of most dropouts.
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Old October 29th, 2009, 12:48 PM   #7
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Adam, what's your evidence for this conclusion? I've seen this question asked many times, and only seen opinions in response. No one seems to have any real info.

Personally, I've reused tapes many times (in non-important usage, just in case), and have seen no issues at all.
If it was truly a non-issue, wouldn't you be re-using tapes for critical once in a lifetime events? You only do this for unimportant stuff because you know that every time you run a tape over a rapidly spinning drum, you increase the chances of a problem.

Chris is right -- it's the cheapest thing in the food chain and reuse is false economy.

Evidence? Only the thousands of posts all over the web from people who have dropout problems and then admit they're reusing tapes to save a couple of bucks. And sure, you can have a problem with a new tape, but the odds are much less because the very act of using a tape degrades it and makes it more likely to fail.

3/4" tapes were less of an issue because they were analog and built to industrial standards, not just because they were bigger.
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Old October 29th, 2009, 01:00 PM   #8
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Hi Adam,

I don't reuse tape for important production because of these opinions I keep reading. But again, they are only opinions. No where have I seen actually evidence or tests that prove to me that reusing tape is problematic.

It's like the "do we only use one brand" controversy. All kinds of anecdotal posts all over, no real evidence.

Reuse is false economy? Perhaps. But it's good environmentally. Imagine the amount of tape that goes into landfills over the world. Reusing tapes just once would cut that in half. If we had solid evidence, and not just opinions, it could become good economy, and more environmentally friendly to boot.

In my own non-rigorous testing, I've reused tapes many times, and notice no difference.
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Old October 29th, 2009, 01:06 PM   #9
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No hackles, no worries ;)

Everyone has their own philosophy on this. Some people say I'm silly because I use the cheapest tapes I can find (Sony Premiums) but only use once and then file on the shelf (no landfills for my tapes -- I burn them or dump them in the ocean when I'm done).
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Old October 29th, 2009, 02:48 PM   #10
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Hey guys, how many of you used to throw away a VHS tape after using it once, in the recorder under your TV ?
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Old October 29th, 2009, 03:59 PM   #11
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a) it's analog, so a dropout isn't that visible,
b) the resolution is horrible, less than 4% of the effective pixels of HDV, so you wouldn't notice a dropout or other flaw anyway
c) time-shifting a TV show is the lowest priority thing I could think of, so quality is irrelevant anyway

...so the analogy is totally without merit.

But when I was archiving broadcast TV shows on VHS, each tape got recorded on once and then put on the shelf. Forever.
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Old October 29th, 2009, 04:04 PM   #12
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No hackles, no worries ;)

Everyone has their own philosophy on this. Some people say I'm silly because I use the cheapest tapes I can find (Sony Premiums) but only use once and then file on the shelf (no landfills for my tapes -- I burn them or dump them in the ocean when I'm done).

Hahaha.....that is fantastic!

I too use the Sony Premiums. In over 2 years of shooting weekly live music events on the same 10 tapes, I only had two slight dropouts on 2 different tapes, both at about the 16 month mark. I saved hundreds of dollars in tape, and only lost about 1 minute of actual footage combined.

I had one new tape that malfunctioned on it's first run, about 3 minutes in, where I lost about 2 minutes of footage

I understand that a lot of situations are too special to take a chance on ANY dropouts.....but judging by my (non-scientific) experiences, there is MORE of a chance of of a new tape dropping out than dropouts from a reused tape!

Also, I tend to use a second cam on mosy of my shoots.....I have access to a Sony and a JVC miniDV camcorder, that I can borrow. This way, I have some backup. The quality is not even close, so I just make it black and white, solarize it, and throw some dust and noise in for good measure. This gives the footage an "indie" look that a lot of my musical acts enjoy! And, I haven't lost any of their performance!
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Old October 29th, 2009, 05:27 PM   #13
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a) it's analog, so a dropout isn't that visible,
b) the resolution is horrible, less than 4% of the effective pixels of HDV, so you wouldn't notice a dropout or other flaw anyway
c) time-shifting a TV show is the lowest priority thing I could think of, so quality is irrelevant anyway

...so the analogy is totally without merit.

But when I was archiving broadcast TV shows on VHS, each tape got recorded on once and then put on the shelf. Forever.
No anology intended, just putting forward a question. There is so much paranoia regarding equipment these days. Is tape safe? is solid state safe? etc, etc. If we all worried about every little thing that could go wrong with our equipment, we would never work. We must trust the available technology.
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Old October 29th, 2009, 07:08 PM   #14
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I have to agree with Colin. You got to trust your equipment.

Yes, a tape most likely does start to loose its original design integrity (as measured in a laboratory setting) after one use but it doesn't mean it will self destruct on the second or third time now does it.

Let's face it, we live in a ligatious society, if tape medium was so fragile don't you think by now there would be warning stickers on every cellophane wrapper, on every tape, every package stating "WARNING - USE OF THIS TAPE MORE THAN ONE TIME MAY INCREASE THE CHANCE OF VISUAL DISCONTINUITIES"

Tape re-use is purely subjective as is brand preference. You can open a new one and have a problem as easily as a "field tested" one.
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Old October 31st, 2009, 12:35 PM   #15
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None. You can't safely reuse any tape. Period.
You admitted that you use the cheapest tape you can find (the same tape I use, by the way) but you're putting more trust in an *unknown* factor (will this cheap tape work the first time) instead of trusting in a *known* factor (this tape worked fine last time, it will work again.)
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