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Old August 29th, 2004, 10:15 PM   #1
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So many formats!!!

If I have a TRV-30 and am thinking about making a big jump to higher quality 3 CCD machine like an XL2 or a Panasonic machine, do they put out the same format on the same tape or do they merely use the same tape and record a slightly different format? I would like to be able to get another camera and a deck to edit and up/download video through my firewire port.

Can someone tell me the differences between the different formats? Can a regular, consumer grade Digital video camera that uses miniDV tapes (ie. TRV30) create a tape that can be read by most DVR decks? Many decks say they can play miniDV and DV but I don't know whether that is a format or merely a form factor/tape size. Can I rest assured that as long as they can "play" a miniDV tape that I have no worries?

I read that there is not much difference between the different formats but there must be enough difference to rename them. This must mean that the decks can read some and cannot read others. Since I would imagine that there is no deck that can read all of them. Can a DSR-11 or DSR-25/30/45 all read the same tapes?

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Old August 30th, 2004, 06:34 AM   #2
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miniDV is the tape and DV is the format etc. So everything that
talks about DV should be able to read and write eachothers
format. So yes, the DV from the XL2 is just as much DV as it is
with your TRV-30.

Some camera's have trouble reading tapes recorded in other
camera's, but I think most decks will read everything. The
difference is not in the format, but in the signal recorded to tape.
It can change slightly between camera's due to slight differences
in things like alignment of heads etc.

Rob Lohman,
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

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Old August 30th, 2004, 07:06 AM   #3
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Actually there aren't "so many formats" when you're talking about DV, like Rob says. The 1's and 0's that come from the camera are all the same whether it's your TRV-30 or an XL-2.

Now Sony has a recording format called DVCAM which runs the tape at a higher speed which is supposed to make the tapes less likely to have drop outs. Just about all Sony cameras and decks can play DVCAM tapes (even your TRV-30), but only designated cameras and decks can record in this format. But even in this case, the binary data is still exactly the same as regular DV. Mini DV just refers to the small cassettes that your camera uses. They also make full size DV cassettes which use the same tape and recording method, but the tapes are longer which means you get more recording time.

In terms of firewire, everything should be compatible. Cameras that can record in 16:9 still use normal DV as well and the image still consists of 720x480 pixels. However a signal is added to the recording which tells widescreen TV's to stretch the image horizontally so that it fills the screen. This is known as "anamorphic 16:9", based on the Greek words for "changed form." If you play one of these tapes on a regular 4:3 TV the image will be squashed so that everything appears too tall and skinny.

Here's a link to Adam Wilt's website. He provides some more technical details on the DV format which might be of interest:
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Old August 30th, 2004, 07:20 AM   #4
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Problems with LP recordings...

Just to add:
The only problems you might encounter would be with DV tapes recorded in LP (slower tape speed).
Always use SP to make sure your tapes can be read by any other cam or deck. Most camcorder manufacturers do not promise compatibility in LP.

P.S. Even Sony Digital8 cams put out the same standard DV signal that can be edited and mixed with MiniDV sources. It's the same DV25 "format" but the tape support was borrowed from Hi8.
Norm :)
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Old August 30th, 2004, 11:29 AM   #5
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Thanks everyone!

Ok, that's a relief. Ok, now I have to decide on a deck. I have heard good things about the DSR11 and DSR25. Are they both heavy duty models except that one has a monitor and time code read out? I will always use it with FCP or possibly to view a tape on my home theater on occasion but that's about it.

I assume that HDV and HD are not important issues for someone learning this stuff, right? Most people will be using SD eq. for quite a long time to come right? By the time I know what is going on with all this editing and SD stuff, HDV cameras should be coming as gift with purchase or stuffed in cereal boxes or at least a lot cheaper than they are now- correct?

IOW, SD is going to be useful for a long time to come.

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Old September 1st, 2004, 01:57 PM   #6
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i like your view on HDV coming with cereal boxes... but i don't think that'll happen for quite a while. heck we don't even have HD-DVD or blue-ray DVD recorders @1x yet!
bow wow wow
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