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Old April 21st, 2009, 08:44 PM   #1
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HDV Tapes Vs. SD Tapes

I am filming with 9 Canon XH-A1 Cameras and I have been using the Sony HDV tapes and it is getting pretty expensive. I am not sure but I have heard that the camera compresses the tapes at the same rate on each tape, so I am waisting my money on the expensive tapes. Is this true? I could save some money right now.
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Old April 21st, 2009, 08:49 PM   #2
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The information being written to tape is identical, regardless of what tape one chooses to use. The difference comes to light when you consider how robust you need your tape to be: can you accept the OCCASIONAL error/dropout or do you NEED to minimize (NOT eliminate) the likelihood of it happening? Do you plan on archiving your footage for years to come? Do you plan on recording over your tapes time and time again?

Premium tape is LIKELY (again, not guaranteed) to perform better than it's budget counterparts but ANY TAPE CAN have manufacturing defects OR have come into contact with clogged heads or other contamination.

If you have been using Sony premium tapes, I would suggest staying with Sony branded tape. Others have had no ill effects changing tape stock; I know I have had complete tape head clogs after as little as ONE non-Sony branded tape back when I was using my Sony PD-150. Your mileage may vary...
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Old April 21st, 2009, 08:54 PM   #3
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Thanks Shaun! That is what I was looking for. Since I am using the Sony Premium HDV tapes now, do you think if I switch to the Sony Premium SD tapes that I would be ok? I don't mind a little drop out, but I am shooting a national hunting and fishing show, but we shoot 400 -500 tapes a year some times and it would just save a lot of money. I am fairly new to the business and still learning some of the ins and outs. Thanks for the help!
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Old April 21st, 2009, 08:56 PM   #4
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PERSONALLY, I'd look into using cheaper Sony branded tape if I were you. BUT I'd make a point of capturing as soon as possible as I got in from the field. And before you change tape, clean all your heads with a head cleaner ACCORDING TO THE DIRECTIONS to minimize any possible contamination.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 01:47 AM   #5
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Hi Tommy, I have been using the cheap Sony dv premium tapes for two years now and have had only one drop out on tape so far. Maybe for mission critical stuff I would think about getting a HDV tape, but when there are multiple cameras or multiple takes, or there is plenty of room for b-roll footage in the story, I really don't see the need.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 03:12 AM   #6
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There have been many discussions on this subject in the past and I think that the general consensus is that if you start using one make of tape it is wise to keep using that make of tape as different tape manufacturers use different lubrications on their tapes ie; wet or dry. I don't think that anyone has said that it is not reccomended to use different models of tape made by the same manufacturer. So as long as you are not changing to a different manufacturer I would think that danger of clogged heads should be minimal but I am no expert. I have used different manufacturers tapes in the past but have always cleaned the heads first and have had no problems, I stay with same manufacturer now, hope this is of some help.

Alan
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 07:13 PM   #7
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Thanks

Thanks for the advice! That is exactly what I was looking for!
Tommy
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 08:54 PM   #8
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I use the Sony DVM60 tapes in my XHA1 and have had 0 (yes zero) dropouts. I paid $2.20 each my last batch and the quality is identical to the much more expensive Sony tapes DVM63HD tapes I used to purchase for around $10 each. I do find a use for DVM80 tapes (80 minute versions of the less expensive tapes) for interviews or programs that might go slightly over 1 hour. I paid about $8 each for these and use them when the content demands them. Great investment should an hour long program go a few minutes over.

I've heard the less expensive tapes aren't as durable should you want to tape over them multiple times, but I don't use my tapes that way. I capture, then store them and seldom use them again.
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Old April 23rd, 2009, 03:11 PM   #9
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I've been shooting cheap Sony PRM60 tapes for the last few years and have only had one issue with dropouts, and that was when I was running with the camera. These tapes are great, and for ~$2.00 a pop you can't beat it! Don't throw your money into buying better tapes, upgrade something else.
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