When do you use MiniDv or DVCam with the V!U? at DVinfo.net

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Sony HVR-V1 / HDR-FX7
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 09:02 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Houston, Texas
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When do you use MiniDv or DVCam with the V!U?

Hi, I am thinking of getting the V1U which can apparently use MiniDv or DVCAM tapes. I am completely unfamiliar with DVCAM tapes.

My questions are three.

1. are both tapes the same size? I assume they are.

2. When would you use MiniDV and when would you use DVCAM?

3. I assume the DVCAM tapes are "better". as they are more expensive, is
this true?

I appreciate your assistance.

Bill Carboni
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 09:46 PM   #2
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The mini DVCAM tapes that are used by the V1 are identical in size to miniDV tapes. Someone else can argue the quality difference between miniDV and DVCAM tapes, but I use TDK miniDV tapes from Costco and have no problems for years. I think the only situation I would ever use DVCAM is if a client specifically asked me for that format. With HDV, I always record in HD and downconvert if necessary. You could always deliver later in an HD format if you originated in HDV, but if you started in DV you are always stuck with SD. SD downconverted from HDV looks fantastic, so I see no reason to record in SD.

If you want more reliability from your recordings, you might want to use a redundant hard disk recorder like a Firestore or the Sony DR60.
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Old August 24th, 2007, 12:34 AM   #3
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DVCAM or DV tape are exactly the same. There are poor quality tapes branded/labeled with DVCAM just as there are top shelf tapes labeled as DV.
The difference is in track pitch and record speed. DVCAM records at a faster speed, thus the 20 minute difference in length, and has a unique track pitch that provides for greater contact and therefore lesser chance of dropout.
But at the NLE side of things, they are identical streams.
Douglas Spotted Eagle/Spot
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Old August 24th, 2007, 08:43 AM   #4
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According to Sony the DVCam formulation is more robust than DV. The following is from Sony's literature:

Durability. Pro media has an optimized DLC layer and surface treatment. This improves performance for editing and long-term archiving.

Dropouts. Controlled surface finishing helps cut DVCAM tape dropouts in half, compared to consumer DV.

Interchange. Tighter slitting tolerances mean DVCAM tape works almost flawlessly when recorded on one VTR and played back on another.

Shrinkage. DVCAM tape cuts dimensional shrinkage in half, an important benefit for archival stability.

I don't doubt their assertions as DVCam is intended for broadcast/professional use. I've been using it in DVCam mode for several years with almost no errors. With my V1U I use it for all three recording modes (DV, DVCam, and HDV) with excellent results. To me it's worth spending a bit more as a dropout in HDV mode can be significant due to long GOP recording.
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