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Old May 15th, 2006, 06:31 PM   #1
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Playback on mini-dv cam to transcribe

Wondering if it is OK to playback mini-dv tapes on a camcorder to transcribe interviews. Does it risk harming the tapes themselves? I understand it wears the heads on the camera, so would use a cheaper camera that would be devoted to this purpose. If not advisable, what are suggested ways to handle transcribing of interviews that won't risk harming the original tape.

Many thanks!
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Old May 15th, 2006, 10:04 PM   #2
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Navigating back and forth through the tape is always going to result in some degree of wear. That's just the nature of friction...and the tapes are designed for this as to normal use, and such wear is rarely detrimental...however, endless navigation will eventually result in more wear, and may perhaps eventually result in periodic drop-outs or other problems with the tape. It partially depends upon how much 'back'n'forth-ing' you need to do.

Why not just import the tape into a dv file on your computer using just some basic NLE? If you are on a PC, Windows Movie Maker should at least get the job done, and if you are on a Mac, iMovie will be a cinch, from which you can export to several differend compressed quicktime movie files and toss the capture to save space if that is a concern. (Standard dv capture will eat up over 12 gigs of space for every hour of dv tape.) One play into the computer and that's it...leaving the tape safe and pristine afterwards, while you can transcribe from the dv file forever and day.
-Jon
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Old May 15th, 2006, 10:35 PM   #3
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Or transfer the audio to micro or analog cassette and use a transcriber with a foot petal so you can keep your hands on the keyboard. Old School, but it works.
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Old May 17th, 2006, 10:17 AM   #4
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If I have to transscibe Mini DV's, I always transfer them to VHS and use a cheap VCR to do all the navigating. Turn on the on-screen display on your playback unit and you'll record the original timecode on the VHS tape. Works like a charm.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 02:17 PM   #5
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Thanks guys very much for the help! -chip
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