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Old November 5th, 2010, 03:13 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Hopkins, MN
Posts: 3
Questions about importing using different cameras


I have a Canon XL2. I have been using this camera to import my work to my computer after recording it on that camera. I know this causes extra wear on the camera heads, but I can't afford a deck. Is this a bad thing to do? Is it possible to buy a cheap Mini DV camera and use that to import? If I use a camera of lesser quality then the XL2 will I loose video quality importing from it?

Brennan Kelley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 5th, 2010, 03:24 PM   #2
Inner Circle
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,609
It makes no difference at all. Once the material is recorded on the tape, you could use a waffle iron to play it into your computer (if a waffle iron could play the tape that is-be careful with the waffle iron though-it could be vhs)

What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
Don Bloom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 5th, 2010, 05:36 PM   #3
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Location: Red Lodge, Montana
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This keeps coming up because there is some kind of urban legend about head wear that keeps coming back around.

Number 1, your camera uses different heads for playback and recording. Play back with your computer is not going to ruin the recording heads. And vice versa. Chris Hurd has gotten pretty testy about pointing this out, so don't let him find out that you've asked this question without doing a search of the forums.

Number 2, the reason you buy a small cam for playback is so you can keep using your main cam for shooting. You have the little cam/deck do some capturing while you take your XL2 out for some more shooting. It is a convenience thing.

Number 3, using a small cam isn't going to affect anything. Think about it this way: reading your e-mail on a cheap computer does not really change the content from what you get when you read it on an expensive workstation, does it? Once upon a time, back in the days of old fashioned analog cameras, the camera or deck you used could make a difference. But that was in previous century (he-he-he, I love saying that) and with analog and not digital footage. We are talkin miniDV here. That is digital. Digital in for recording. Digital out for playback. A cheap consumer miniDV cam will play it back just as well as an expensive one. That is, assuming that you are not trying to use a decrepit junker on its last legs. Think about it: you shot digital, you play back digital.

Number 4: rather than get a really cheap miniDV cam, you might want to think about getting something like a Canon HV40. It will shoot and play back standard def miniDV and also give you a foot in the HD camp when you want to go there. And, when want to do some multi-cam, standard def from an HV40 makes decent b-roll for use with footage from the XL2.

Number 5: if you really want to keep the heads on the XL2 pristine, consider getting a tapeless recording unit like the Datavideo DN60. If I recall correctly, it costs about the same as an inexpensive mniDV cam and you don't have to touch the tape heads or worry about having a second "deck" either. You just buy some CF cards. No more 1 hour or 1 hour tape limitation, either.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 06:03 PM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Sydney.
Posts: 2,569
+2. I've never seen a post that reported a prosumer user had to replace worn out DV tape heads through regular use.

Don't worry about it .. imo folks upgrade their camera years before their current heads need replacing .. especially these days.

30+ years with our own audio and visual production company and studios.
Allan Black is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 5th, 2010, 09:44 PM   #5
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Hopkins, MN
Posts: 3
Thanks for all the responses guys. I'm rather new to all this. I just have about 6 hours of tapes from 4 years ago I just wanted to digitize. I also will be shooting a lot of footage over the next few weeks. Knowing that they are different heads is really comforting. I just want to keep my camera nice.

Thanks again. I really appreciate it.
Brennan Kelley is offline   Reply

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