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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old July 27th, 2004, 05:51 PM   #1
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dvcam selection on mini dv

My journalism professor told us when shooting with a PD-150/170 that even though shooting in mini dv you should select DVCAM in the camera menu regardless if you're using dvcam tapes or not. He said this would record with more quality. Is there any sense to this, or does this just waste tape?

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Old July 27th, 2004, 07:50 PM   #2
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This is a subject that has been covered alot here before so a search would bring up quite a lot of info however the long and short of it is both formats record 1's & 0's, DVCAM records them faster to the tape and SOME folks feel it lessens the chance of dropouts.
I DO however use only one brand and type of tape in both of those cameras and have over 700 hours on each of them and to my knowledge have never had a dropout.

As for quality, when I got the cameras I tried both DVCAM and DV and did not see any appreciable difference in quality. What I did see was a 60 minute DV tape recorded in DVCAM only ran for 40 minutes.

For more info search thru this part of the forum for DVCAM and I'll bet you come up with enough reading material and statisics to blow your profs mind.

Don B
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Old July 27th, 2004, 08:11 PM   #3
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Don, Thanks for the reply.

I have done quite an extensive search on this subject, but I think you're are misunderstanding my question. I have read that DVCAM tapes record at a faster rate than mini-dv tapes. But my question is my prof said when I use mini dv tapes, not DVCAM tapes and set the camera menu to DVCAM recording mode, that you record at a better rate. Unfortunately when you do this you cannot record as long on your mini dv tape as you normally would. Any comment on this question?

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Old July 27th, 2004, 08:40 PM   #4
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Don got it right. You're misunderstanding the answer. Quality does not change whether you record DV on DVCAM tapes, DV on DV tapes, DVCAM on DV tapes or DVCAM on DVCAM tapes. The only difference is the reliability of recording exactly the same sequence of zeros and ones. Quality wise, its either a zero or a one, there is no one-half or three-quarters with digital video.
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Old July 27th, 2004, 09:02 PM   #5
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Patrick,

You and Don are right, I misinterpreted his 2nd paragraph. So basically I'm figuring that if I'm using mini dv tapes, I shouldn't record in DVCAM mode because it's just a waste of tape, and my professor should bite it.

Thanks for your help,

Michael
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Old July 27th, 2004, 10:00 PM   #6
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Conventional wisdom is that if its really, REALLY important...shoot DVCAM. It just might lessen the impact of a drop-out. Otherwise, its a 33% tax on your taperun time, well above the marginal tax rate.
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Old July 28th, 2004, 05:07 AM   #7
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And also a 50% increase in the frequency of tape changeovers (and tape storage space needed) which can be inconvenient.
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Old July 28th, 2004, 12:05 PM   #8
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Patrick,

Just to double check what you mean, when you say shoot DVCAM you're meaning shoot in DVCAM mode on a miniDV not on an actual DVCAM tape. That was my original question.

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Old July 28th, 2004, 12:41 PM   #9
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Correct. DVCAM mode on MiniDV tape.
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Old July 29th, 2004, 08:25 AM   #10
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Someone said that DVCAM records faster to tape than DV. That's not it. The DVCAM head speed is the same, but since the tape is slipping by 50% faster, the track pitch is 15 microns wide, compared to 10 microns for DV, at SP. This means there's a wider buffer zone in between the magnetized tracking sweeps of the heads. In some types of advanced editing, such as stop-action animation-----if you'd even be doing much of that with DVCAM, there is less chance of crossover between tracks. If you play back a DVCAM recording on another machine and there isn't perfect tracking alignment between them, there's less chance of track crossover. There's other features like a slow-motion playback that may also work better.

But, in actual practice, few people have had problems with DV recordings that would have been prevented by using DVCAM.
Arguably, DVCAM tapes may be higher quality, both in their base and magnetic layers. They might phyically last longer and have better signal retention. You can get a full-size DVCAM cassette for larger camcorders and VCRs that has 3 hours recording time. This will give you 4 1/2 hours in DV at SP and 6 3/4 hours in LP (if the VCR will do DV LP). If I add a DVCAM VCR to my gear that uses full-size cassettes, I would use it frequently in DV mode for the 4 1/2 hour SP capability on the best quality tape (they're not cheap).

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