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Old April 2nd, 2003, 02:19 PM   #1
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Reusing Tapes

Okay, I realize this is not the best of all ideas in the world, but I need the straight dope on this. This summer I may get the chance to do some shooting out in the "boonies" of darkest America. I will have access to electrical power and a computer so I will be able to download, but getting Sony MiniDVs is going to present a problem. As this will be doco footage I have no idea how much tape I will need. Also, the money tree out back died (i.e. I no longer have a day job.) so I can't afford to buy a case load of tape. I will ofcourse, buy as much as I can. If I have to reuse tape, how may times can I get away with it before quality starts to suffer. Should I buy a bulk tape eraser (is there a special one for DV of will an audio one do.)Any help in this sad dark twisted area would be helpful.
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Old April 2nd, 2003, 02:47 PM   #2
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Joe,
This is a frequent topic. Use the Search function to see abundant remarks on the subject.

Here's one of the more recent threads.
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Old April 2nd, 2003, 02:56 PM   #3
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Consumer bulk tape erasers are just about useless with the newer metal tapes. The cost of a decent industrial bulk eraser would probably buy you a 100 blank tapes. If you must reuse your tapes just record over them. If you want the extra wear and tear on your camcorder you can black them first, but I consider it a waste of time and energy.
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Old April 2nd, 2003, 05:45 PM   #4
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DV-tapes handles reuse pretty well I suppose, although I'm not sure excactly how many passes one tape is supposed to last, it could easily be around the hundreds. Don't bother deleting material before recording, as the digital signal is so strong that any information recorded over will vanish without a trace. It should be said that my experience is with DVCAM, not so much miniDV. Most of the DVCAM-tapes I use has been in continous production circulation for as much as 2 years without showing signs of dropouts or other wear and tear symptoms. The main difference between DVCAM and miniDV is, as I understand, most likely build-quality and tape strength, so one could expect a miniDV tape be somewhat affected by the physical strain of an increased number of passes. I can't say it for sure, but it shouldn't be much of a problem.
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Old April 3rd, 2003, 08:55 AM   #5
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I agree with Eivind - don't be afraid to reuse tapes. I do, and I've not met a problem so far.

What I would say is this. Keep your tape path clean (and we're not just talking about head cleaning tapes here) and load and unload tapes as if you were undertaking a surgical operation. Don't do it in dusty conditions and put the tape immediately into its protective case and snap it shut.

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Old April 3rd, 2003, 11:52 AM   #6
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Much has been written on this subject. Use the search function to check various opinions (pro and con) on the subject.

It is a matter of comfort level, depending on your clients and the type of work you do. A single dropout can ruin a production and cause costly production delays and even force entire scenes to be reshot. It is not worth the risk to me. The cost of a new tape is insignificant in comparison to reshooting part of a production.
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Old April 3rd, 2003, 12:58 PM   #7
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I agree Jeff. A single dropout can ruin a production and cause costly production delays and even force entire scenes to be reshot. Don't entrust a valuable shoot to any component that you've not tested and checked, OK? Remember thisapplies equally to the video tape.

If tape manufacture is 99.99% "perfect" (and this is pushing the boundaries of credibility for a 13Gb matchbox costing $4), then every now and then a tape gets opened that is going to jam, or is shedding its oxide 12 minutes in, or is creased at 32 minutes or is over-width or not attached to the take-up spool. It's the law of production tolerances at play, and we can but pray that it won't be us that finds this sample.

Amen.

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Old April 3rd, 2003, 11:46 PM   #8
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If you have to reuse a tape, don't use the LP mode. I did that a couple of times and I got a lot of dropouts and other weird stuff. After that experience I never reuse my tapes. I also stopped using the LP mode.
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Old April 4th, 2003, 03:01 AM   #9
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the dreaded thoughts.. of the latin root "RE" HAHA I've accidentaly reused tape and it is not fun! Unless you want frame drops! Atleast if your going to reuse tape, go with an alternative route and buy COSTCO TAPES..
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