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Old December 20th, 2003, 12:40 PM   #1
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A BABY question from a newbie

I have just started doing corporate videos for our company. The other day a film crew came in with a PD-150 and used Sony 'DVCAM' tapes. I asked the guys why the Sony said 'Mini DV' on the side of it, but they were using DVCAM Tapes.

1. Can someone please explain the diff between miniDV and DVcam?

2. Can I use DVCAM Tapes in any MiniDV Camcorder?

3. What is the benefit to using DVCAM tapes instead of miniDV?

Thanks kindly!
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Old December 20th, 2003, 02:43 PM   #2
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1- Adam Wilt's DV FAQ has a pretty good explanation of this stuff. http://www.adamwilt.com/DV-FAQ-tech.html

The short story is that DVCAM is the "professional" version of mini-DV but there aren't major differences.

2- DVCAM and mini-DV tapes seem to be the same physical tape and can be used to record the other format.

3- Don't know. DVCAM tape might be more reliable but if you aren't getting any dropouts then there isn't any practical difference.
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Old December 20th, 2003, 03:56 PM   #3
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Also. . . no you can't run DVCAM tapes in all dv recorders. And. . . they cost more. And. . . they have a longer recording time.
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Old December 20th, 2003, 05:24 PM   #4
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I think you may want to clarify that. There are both full size and mini size DVCAM cassettes. The full size ones don't fit into the little cameras that record DVCAM, such as the PD-150, PD-170 and PDX-10. The full size cassettes have a longer recording time than the mini's by virtue of the fact that there's more tape.

The mini size cassettes will fit the above-mentioned cameras, but as Glenn notes you can actually use regular mini DV cassettes in these cameras and record them in DVCAM mode. However, for a given cassette size, switching from DV SP mode to DVCAM mode results in shorter recording times. It takes 50% more tape to record in DVCAM mode (eg: a 60 minute DV SP tape will only last 40 minutes when recording DVCAM).

Almost all of the Sony camcorders can play DVCAM tapes, but only specific models can record in this mode. In the prosumer line this is limited to the models listed above, plus I think the PD-100 which has been out of production for awhile.
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Old December 20th, 2003, 06:18 PM   #5
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You can use the mini size DVCAM cassettes in any miniDV camera if you want. Unless the camera is a DVCAM camera, it will record DV onto the DVCAM tape, and you will get 60 minutes of time off a 40 minute DVCAM tape. All DV and DVCAM tape is basically similar; the "mini" refers to the size of the cassette--there are mini size and full size cassettes. I use mini DVCAM tapes in my TRV900 because I consider it better quality tape, and I since my other cameras are DVCAM I like having all DVCAM tapes in house, in case I want to use a mini cassette in a bigger camera, which on rare occasion I do.

Just about all Sony miniDV cameras will play tapes recorded in the DVCAM format, whether the recording is on DV or DVCAM tape. Many other DV cameras and decks will not play DVCAM recordings. Sony DVCAM decks will also play DV and DVCPRO, but only record in DVCAM, except for the DSR11 which will also record in DV.

The reason Sony miniDVCAM tapes say 40 minutes is because that's how much you get when recording DVCAM. They really are 60 minute tapes, if you're recording DV on them. DVCAM records at a 50 percent greater track pitch than DV and uses more real estate on the tape stock, which is why the recording is better, in terms of dropouts, etc. The image quality is probably the same.

When I first got the TRV900 I wasn't aware that DVCAM tapes also came in the mini size and I used the Sony Premium miniDV tapes with no trouble at all. However, to me tape stock is the cheapest thing we spend money on, and I want the best quality available. I have seen miniDV tapes shot by other people on a variety of cameras that have had dropouts and other tape problems, though I never had any trouble on the ones I used.

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Old December 20th, 2003, 11:31 PM   #6
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You guys are the best.

Anyone know if the Panasonic DVX 100 records in this 'DVCAM' mode using mini DVCAM tapes?

The cnet website didn't seem to indicate it.

Thanks again for your answers.

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Old December 21st, 2003, 12:07 AM   #7
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No, the DVCAM recording format is proprietary to Sony. Panasonic has their own similar proprietary "professional" format called "DVCPRO", although the DVX100 does not support it.
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Old December 21st, 2003, 12:51 AM   #8
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Try playing a DVCAM tape in a Canon XL1. It'll play in chunky slow motion and without sound.
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Old December 25th, 2003, 05:04 PM   #9
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dvx 100 and dvcam

<<<-- Originally posted by Robert Knecht Schmidt : Try playing a DVCAM tape in a Canon XL1. It'll play in chunky slow motion and without sound. -->>>

hello there,

i played the tape recorded in DVCAM on my dvx100, and despite really few and very short strange mosaic-like "drops", everything was fine. i had 20 minutes DVCAM recorded tape, from which just maybe 5 sec. was incorect. (but the tape ITSELF was not DVCAM, - not in blue hardcover pack by sony, just ordinary mini dv tape)

this tape was used just for TEST reasons, was just played, no editing, remote-ing etc.

this was tested on brand new EUROPEAN dvx100(25p), i do not know about 24p/30p versions.

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