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Old July 7th, 2006, 01:04 PM   #1
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What are the advantages of using Sony HD tape vs Premium?

When I bought the Sony HVR-HC3 at best buy they were out of the Sony HD mini DV tape, and the guy said that it dosnt matter cause you can use the premium sony tape.

So is there going to be a noticable quality differnce if I use the better HD tape?

Or is the only differnce more likely to be drop outs or artifacts more common in the premium tape? SPecificly what am I buying if I spend twice as much on the HD tape?
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Old July 7th, 2006, 02:32 PM   #2
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Technically, I can't answer if you get anything better with one tape or other. But they all record the same signal. Whatever tape you use, if it is able to capture DV, it should also capture HDV, because all that is being recorded are the 1's and 0' which comprises the digital signal file. DV and HDV are close to same bitrates, as I understand it. I have used rather inexpensive DV tape in my FX1 for the first 20 or so hours, and have not had many issues regarding drop outs.... As far as Sony Premium v. HD, I am willing to bet there is virtually no difference in the two-- except a marketing ploy to get more cash from the same unit. Anybody differ on that ?
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Old July 7th, 2006, 03:31 PM   #3
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Hi there

I suspect it is the same difference as shooting with Fuji Sensia as opposed to Fuji Velvia .... you get a better quality control... the tape will no doubt be conditioned with more care and come from the best part of a batch...

But it will be pretty much the same tape and the information recorded will be identical...

I've used Premiums in both FX and Z1' s and had very very few drop outs...I never reuse a tape.

At the end of the day you pays your money you makes your choice...

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Old July 7th, 2006, 04:32 PM   #4
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From my understanding, the significance of using higher-quality tapes for HDV is merely that a bit error can affect a larger number of frames. While DV compresses each frame separately (as "I" frames), HDV uses "I", "P", and "B" frames. Since isolated “P” or “B” frames cannot be uncompressed by themselves (because of their dependency on other frames), a tape-related problem in one frame may cause problems for subsequent frames, too (up to something in the magnitude of half a second), while on DV it only affects a single frame. That's why many believe that it's worthwhile paying a little more for the HDV tapes, even though - as the previous posters pointed out - the recorded binary data, bitrates, etc. are no different.

Summary: if all data can be read from the tape correctly, there is no difference in image quality whatsoever between cheap and high-end tapes, both with DV and HDV. But when errors do occur, their impact on quality can be much bigger using HDV (compared with DV), so it pays off to invest in limiting the probability of such errors.

- Martin
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Old July 8th, 2006, 02:50 AM   #5
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A worn out drum might also affect performance, make sure your drum has a low amount of hours to ensure no dropouts on DigitalMaster or the consumer HD tape.
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Old July 8th, 2006, 01:53 PM   #6
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I taped 8 Maxell DV standard tapes with the HC-3 without a single dropout. Costs 1.50 EUR / Tape, ot more.
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Old July 8th, 2006, 02:38 PM   #7
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Quality Issue

I use the premium HDV Sony white tapes. They are down to about 10 bucks a pop. But if you only have one chance, and you are shooting in a place that you may never be again the peace of mind is worth it. Tape is a lot cheaper than a missed or blown opportunity.

I believe the HDV tapes also provide a lubricant. Anybody know about this?
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Old July 8th, 2006, 04:42 PM   #8
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I believe the HDV tapes also provide a lubricant. Anybody know about this?
From what I've been told all Sony MiniDV tapes use a wet lubricant and supposedly its been improved for the DVM-63HD to better withstand harsh operating environments and sudden changes in temperature which I'm guessing is part of the explanation for its supposed lesser dropout rate.

I have yet to buy the first tape for my A1U as I'm still on the freebie tape but so far it looks like I'm leaning towards Sony Premiums for around the house stuff and Sony HDV tapes for clients. I don't think mixing Sony tapes would cause any issues unless you guys have heard differently?
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Old July 9th, 2006, 09:39 AM   #9
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Sony's premium tapes have less drop-out and offers a more robust format to send the HDV/DV signal to.

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Old July 9th, 2006, 06:22 PM   #10
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The Premium seems to be sort of half-way between their standard consumer tape and their high end Digital Master tape. For important projects, I'm hesitant to cut corners when it comes to tape stock.

The first time I shot with an HDV camera was when the FX1 first came out and I innocently used Sony's standard DV tape and I encountered two drop-outs in one hour of shooting (and the long GOP makes sure that any drop out is spectacular in the sense you really notice it over several frames, it's not like the good old days of Hi8 tape problems which were usually limited to one field or at most one frame).

Then I started using the Sony Digital Master tapes and after dozens of hours of shooting I've not seen a single drop out like my dramatic first experience with HDV. A few more bucks is a small price to pay for "insurance" against drop outs. Is the Sony dual-layered Digital Master really tape worth paying more for? I certainly don't want to find out the hard way.

According to Sony's literature (which of course should be taken with a grain of salt):
"DigitalMaster tape exhibits greater packing density of magnetic grains, higher retentivity, higher output and lower noise. The result is a more robust tape with 65% fewer dropouts and 95% fewer errors, compared to consumer DV tape."
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Old July 9th, 2006, 07:20 PM   #11
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Just to make sure were all on the right page, is everyone referring to Sony Premium as the base model consumer tapes, with Excellence being above that and then topping out with the DVM-63HD before going to the $20 PHDVM-63DM DVCAM Digital Masters (like the one you get with the A1U)?

Sony Premium MiniDV - $3
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/images/items/132812.jpg

Sony Excellence (sans chip) - $7
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/images/items/132929.jpg

Sony 63m HDV tape - $10
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/images/items/352232.jpg

Sony 63m HDV (41m DVCAM) Digital Master - $20
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/images/items/364848.jpg

Links to Sony Media

http://b2b.sony.com/Solutions/category/recordable-media

http://bssc.sel.sony.com/DigitalMaster/index.htm
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Old July 9th, 2006, 07:38 PM   #12
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Whoops, I meant Digital Master myself!

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Old July 11th, 2006, 03:01 PM   #13
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No Drops

David is on the mark. No dropouts with HDV white tapes. Been shooting on them for a year, in a number of different climates and environments. Never, ever had a problem.
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Old July 11th, 2006, 05:45 PM   #14
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Tyson,
I use Panasonic DVM63PQ for both HD and SD shooting. I think I've had one dropout out of my last 40 tapes, due to a dirty head. It was HD, and really was not hard to clean up in PPro (DV drop-outs to me seem worse--but all the DV drop-outs I've seen were on a GL2--'nuff said).

In any case, I cannot say that I have had a defective tape yet. I've had problems with my GL2 (the infamous Eject Tape error), but after having the tape heads replaced, and keeping a regular tape head cleaner on it every 15 to 20 hours, I haven't had any dropouts. Nowadays I use an FX1 mostly, or sometimes in tandem with the GL2. As I mentioned, I had one dropout in HD, but I'm not sure if it was the tape or the heads. I cleaned the heads, and continue to clean the heads every 20 hours, and no dropouts.

About 3 weeks ago I did a weekend shoot using the DVM63PQ--25 tapes with no dropouts between the FX1 and GL2.

The key, really is: be consistent in which tapes you use, and ensure your camera is well-maintained. As long as you are using quality DV tapes, the two points above will prevent most, if not all, tape issues. How much you want to spend above that is up to you.

Just my $.02.

Thanks,
Matt
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