How many times can I re-use a minidv tape? - Page 2 at

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > The Long Black Line

The Long Black Line
Tape, tape and more tape; and decks; HDV, DV, VHS and more.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 1st, 2003, 08:29 AM   #16
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Clearwater, FL
Posts: 8,273
CD-R hold too little to be of much value. I have started using DVD-10 (a DVD-R, double sided, needs to be flipped) to store small projects. On one side I store a copy in DVD format (mpeg 2) and the other has all the raw elements ( video footage, graphics, voice over, music, sound effects). This only works for small projects like 30 second spots, product demos etc.

I do not recommend reusing mini DV tapes. It my opinion it is not worth the risks.

Jeff Donald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 1st, 2003, 10:52 AM   #17
Retired DV Info Net Almunus
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,943
Using a CD-R to archive video is no different than using it to archive any other type of files on your computer. It has no effect on the file. But a CD's capacity is relatively low for video, too low to be of much practical value for that purpose.
Lady X Films: A lady with a boring wardrobe...and a global mission.

Hey, you don't have enough stuff!
Buy with confidence from our sponsors. Hand-picked as the best in the business...Really!

See some of my work one frame at a time:
Ken Tanaka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 1st, 2003, 11:12 AM   #18
Regular Crew
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Germany
Posts: 54
I read once that a miniDV tape stores about 13 gigabyte. Is this correct?
Mark Härtl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 1st, 2003, 11:16 AM   #19
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Clearwater, FL
Posts: 8,273
It is a little less than 13 gigs per hour. So that is a safe figure and easier to do the math with than 12 and some fraction gigs.

Jeff Donald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 2nd, 2003, 08:27 PM   #20
Major Player
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 484
Archive to CD-R

DV is 216 MB/minute, so archiving to CD-R isn't practical. You can archive clips to DVD (not MPEG-2, just storage) and I'm sure someone has done the math in terms of cost per gigabyte. The problem is time to access and in the end I'm sure we'll all end up with external firewire drives or removeable drives or some other solution that keeps the files relatively accessible for the fastest possible retrieval. Even as a hobbyist I'm frustrated by the time it takes to recapture from tape or copy back from DVD.
David Hurdon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 8th, 2003, 01:37 PM   #21
Regular Crew
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 116
re-use DV

I have been shooting for 21 of the first rules of thumb is NEVER re-use tape for aquistition...there are WAY too many other things that can go wrong and tape is cheap...give your self a break, and do it right, you will save yourself headaches and money in the long run.
Omens carry only as much weight as we choose to assign them.
Steve Leone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 27th, 2010, 11:19 AM   #22
Regular Crew
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Redlands, CA
Posts: 35
Reusing mini dv tapes

Not speaking as an expert, but as someone that does a lot of shooting, I did want to say that "just for fun" I decided to beat some tapes to death (by rerecording) and see what happened.
I shoot a lot of test footage, so I decided to reuse the same handful of tapes and rerecord them every time I had a test to shoot.
Like everyone else in the forum, if I had an important shoot, of course I'd use a new tape and 1 pass max, and look forward to keeping my archive.
However, the results after more than a year and certainly dozens and dozens of rerecords on my test tapes are that I have no problems whatsoever. No drop outs, no interlace problems; nothing at all...
Further, I DO sometimes get a new tape with a drop out or a problem. (Usually this happens in the middle of my favorite take.) So, part of the reason I wanted to "pipe up" and be a contrarion here was that I suppose it's conceivable that a multi pass tape that you KNOW is a good tape could be more reliable than a brand new tape which could have a defect, or have been exposed to heat or some other storage issue. (I once had a whole batch of Panasonic professional grade tapes with problems.)
Also to be a contrarian again, I have to say that the more expensive "pro" tapes I used to use actually had a higher rate of problems than the consumer tapes I bought. So, given the substantial price difference, I've dropped down to consumer grade tapes without a problem.
I'm shooting largely on a Cannon XH A1, and I've used exclusively Panasonic tapes (since the fear of God has been put into me regarding switching brands. :-)
With my older cameras, I switched tape brands at will, also without problems....
I'm becoming terribly confident in my multipass tapes! Someone stop me before I stripe them and use them for something important!!!! The urge is almost overpowering now!!!!
Walt Noon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 27th, 2010, 03:00 PM   #23
Major Player
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sitka Alaska
Posts: 470
Do to my lack of financial resources, I have been re-using my Fuji mini-dv tapes. During the past year I have been re-using them 10-12 times each. I capture my footage, edit what I want to save, then store on hard drives. So far, I have re-used tapes that were shot 3-5 years ago with Canon HV10, 20 and 40's. I have also re-used tapes shot with a friends Sony. So far, no problems or dropouts. I believe a bad tape will go bad, regardless if it's new. Anyway, a tape that is used, and works well, has proven itself. Anyway, a guy has to do what he has to do to save a buck.

David Rice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 30th, 2010, 09:29 AM   #24
Regular Crew
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 145
Like Walt, I tried "beating to death" some Sony Digital Master MiniDV tapes when I first got my Z5. IIRC, it was somewhere between nine and a dozen re-records where the camera indicated that the head might be dirty and droupouts began. The camera was brand new, and the head was clean; the warning went away with a fresh tape and I never saw it again. Not particularly confidence-inspiring, and I never reused a tape after that.

Software Engineer, Video Hobbyist -- Sony FDR-AX100, HDR-CX12, Miller DS10/Solo, Premiere CS5.5, DYMO DiscPainter, 2010 Mac Pro 3.33GHz 6c
Aaron Holmes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 30th, 2010, 01:15 PM   #25
Regular Crew
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Brevard, Florida
Posts: 77
Wow, I don't know who is making these "golden rules," but my experience has been different. I started as a news photog when DVC Pro was released and we would cycle tapes at least 10-15 times before they were retired. DVC Pro and DV tape are so similar, you just need an adaptor cassette to play them on DVC Pro decks. To make a long story short, I still use this practice today with HDV tapes with absolutely no problems. High Quality tape is important, though, as well as clean techniques. I currently use Canon Digital Master.

I've had brand new tapes mechanically fail a handful of times and anybody will if you shoot enough. It doesn't happen often, but a new tape doesn't insure 100% anything. Such is life I guess.
John Kilderry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 30th, 2010, 04:18 PM   #26
Inner Circle
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Sydney.
Posts: 2,569
I only use new DV tape once, capture it, hold it for post then in some cases give it to the client. I very rarely reuse them.

I'm still using the last of the 250 Panasonic AVDVM83MQ stock I bought from BnH as a close out. It was touted as an 'archival tape.'
But I'm still of the opinion that most manufacturers have only 'one' tape. they just update the packaging .. eg: suddenly HD appears on the shelves.

Panasonic no longer import their DV cleaning tapes to Oz so I bought 10 locally, mainly to sell them with my cams as working units.

30+ years with our own audio and visual production company and studios.
Allan Black is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 27th, 2010, 09:00 AM   #27
Major Player
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 442
I have had dropouts a handful of times throughout the years, and it was on brand-new tapes. Never on tapes that proved reliable the first time and were re-used 2-3 times.

Yes, tape is cheap at about $4 on ebay, but consider that using a tape twice means a 50% drop in your tape budget, 3 times is a 66% drop, etc. That means that if I use 100 tapes three times, I've saved $800 - and I can easily use over 100 tapes a year. From a purely financial standpoint (and I presume that many people here operate a business), coupled with the high-reliability, it's a win-win situation.

Of course, eccentric millionaires who do this for fun and don't have to keep track of expenses can afford to blow $800 out the window. ;-)
Jacques E. Bouchard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 27th, 2010, 09:40 AM   #28
Inner Circle
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LOWESTOFT - UK
Posts: 2,207
Tape is cheap - so why risk re-using old tapes - I'm also starting to do the same with SD cards - the price is at the kind of level where it's just a consumable item. Using a brand new tape is a risk. Using an old one is just increasing it - so why bother? My experience is that it's the older tapes that suddenly trigger the need to clean the heads - storage conditions or just ageing I don't know - so I don't take the risk.
Paul R Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 27th, 2010, 09:55 AM   #29
Major Player
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 442
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
Tape is cheap - so why risk re-using old tapes
Like I said: because using 100 tapes three times saves $800, and there is no risk with good-quality tapes.

It's a no-brainer.
Jacques E. Bouchard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 27th, 2010, 01:42 PM   #30
Inner Circle
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Billericay, England UK
Posts: 4,711
I'm with Walt (reuse) and not with Steve (never reuse). Steve - it sounds like you're advocating using a brand new, totally untested, 22 component mechanical assembly costing all of $3 on a paying project and expecting each tape you unwrap to be perfect? Now there goes a trusting man. Whoooh, I wouldn't use an untested $100 mic on a paying project, let alone a tape.

I too have been shooting tape for very many years and I know the value of tested tape - and it's a lot more valuable than a brand new one. As Paul rightly points out - tape is cheap. As such we should all beware. And think on this - all tape is designed to be re-cycled and re-used. If it wasn't we'd never rewind the stuff to play it into our computers. Recording and playback; from a mechanical stress pov it's all the same to tape.

Tom Hardwick is offline   Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

(800) 223-2500
New York, NY

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Texas Media Systems
(512) 440-1400
Austin, TX

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

(800) 323-2325
Mineola, NY

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > The Long Black Line

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:50 AM.

DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2018 The Digital Video Information Network