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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old November 17th, 2014, 09:14 PM   #1
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Defective tape catastrophe, time for tapeless?

Over 100 weddings on Fx1000 and FX1, new "Sony Pro Premium" tapes every wedding.Ingested 4 of 5 tapes as first tape is all blue screen. If I FF or Rewind I can see the image is there. Tried 3 cameras, all same. Recorded few minutes on new tape and that seems fine. Will call that Sony Media place tomorrow, just hoping the sweat stops rolling off my head long enough to sleep. 1 out of 500 tapes being bad sounds reasonable until its a clients wedding ceremony! Are the tapeless shooters less worried about issues with cards as tape shooters?
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Old November 17th, 2014, 11:32 PM   #2
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Re: Defective tape catastrophe, time for tapeless?

In the last 15 years I have had not a single card problem but I do buy good cards as you buy good tapes. Card cameras made me quite nervous when I started but technically they are better, no moving parts no transport issues and no clogged heads either!

If you stay with Sony I know some cams like mine (EA-50) can also take a 128GB FMU so you can record to both the drive and the card at the same time for peace of mind ..other cams will have dual slots so you can use two cards for security .... It would be a wise move so you can sell your current setup before they stop making tapes
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Old November 18th, 2014, 01:26 AM   #3
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Re: Defective tape catastrophe, time for tapeless?

I did have a corrupted SD card recently, so it does happen, but the sound recorder told me there was a problem with the card before I started recording, so I didn't lose anything. Also, that's one card out of about 60 that I've reused over and over for five years, and I've shot about 150-200 weddings as well as done other video production in that time.

I don't know how that failure rate compares with your experience; maybe it's about the same!

I haven't yet developed the sort of "tapeless discipline" that people like Danny seem to have, though I really should: CF card failure?.

In terms of other problems with tapeless... I've misplaced a micro SD (no data on it though) because it's so small, and I always worry about dirt getting into the grooves of a CF card, but I do think the advantages of tapeless outweigh the disadvantages.

For instance... I've lost any sort of "tape discipline" I used to have, but I remember there was a bunch of things I was in the habit of doing, like rolling five seconds of black, then five seconds of colour bars, at start and end of tape, clicking the "write protect" switch on, and labelling the tapes properly. I saw other people doing things like fast forwarding to end of tape, then rewinding, before starting a fresh tape.

Anyway, point is -- no more fuss with this stuff with tapeless! Quite apart from other advantages of tapeless -- faster ingesting, lower media cost in the long-term, instant playback of any clip you've recorded, etc.

I suppose one advantage of tape, in comparison, is that you've got the tape as a fairly long-term archival/backup solution.
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Old November 18th, 2014, 02:09 AM   #4
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Re: Defective tape catastrophe, time for tapeless?

I used to sweat about this constantly when I had my Z1/FX1 combo but now my main camera (Sony EA50) records both to SD card and 128gb flash drive so I'm pretty much covered - all my other cams record to single SD and I've yet to have a problem with Transcend memory cards - it would be bad if a card failed but as they are B cameras not the end of the world.

I would not like go back to having a main camera that only records to one media - worth it for the piece of mind alone!
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Old November 18th, 2014, 02:30 AM   #5
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Re: Defective tape catastrophe, time for tapeless?

If you see the image on playback it should be salvageable, most probably there are one or more drop-outs causing the issue, I have had a full tape failure with ceremony footage on my xh-a1, it was a brandnew tape and new camera and all was lost on that tape, had over 100 dropouts. Then I got a sony hvr-dr60 (which costed 1000 euro back then for 64gb) and had been shooting with much more peace of mind. It was a hassle though operating it as you had to switch on and off the recorder separately, especially during weddings. It did react to the rec button of the camera but when not in use I had to turn it off manually.

I use several camera's now and all record to a single card, am I worried? not while I"m shooting but I know it's not the safest way, if I can I always leave the card in the camera and transfer the footage with hooking up the camera to my pc and if one would fail, there is software to copy bit by bit from your card, if it's readable so you might be able to get some back, when I had that issue with my minidv tape there was nothing that could be done, if the dropouts are recorded on tape then that drop-out is lost forever.

I have been thinking on getting a atomos recorder but it just adds bulk for weddings and getting one for each camera would not be possible, when I shoot for a company though I just use one camera (my gh4) it might be a good addition to have a extra monitor as well.

Anyways, I hope you manage to get that corrupted footage back from your tape.
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Old November 18th, 2014, 08:39 AM   #6
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Re: Defective tape catastrophe, time for tapeless?

Tapes fail, cards fail. Cards a f'ing tiny and easy to loose. I HATE the microSD cards we have to use in some things with a passion.

Going tapeless wont really solve the problem of media failure but as Adrian says a good media strategy will. For us we change cards between each major part of the day. Preps, change, ceremony, change, mingle, change and so on. Its a tactic we adopted back when we too used tapes and means if there is a failure or you physically loose a tape then your loss is minimised.

The only way to really put your mind at rest is go tapeless with something that can dual record like the C100. We have a 64GB card in slot A and use 16GB cards in slot B. Slot A stays in all day and can record the entire day but the 16GB card we still swap after each part and keep that card on our person. If all goes well and the camera hasn't been stolen then we still have just 1 card to capture. But if anything happens to Card A then we still have our other ones.

You never know what can happen at a wedding. A few weeks my second shooter noticed that the camera wasn't recording any audio. Turns out a guest needed a AAA battery for his camera and noticed our C100 lying around while we relaxed. He took it upon himself to take our AAA battery out of our shotgun mic and use it in his camera. Its not something we normally check for, people borrowing our batteries out of in use cameras. Made me think about if someone decided they wanted a new SD card.
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Old November 18th, 2014, 11:22 AM   #7
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Re: Defective tape catastrophe, time for tapeless?

I don't know how to fix this myself, but this happened to a Video Production House that I use to work with before. The format was U-matic , the video engineer who salavged the tape recording, recorded a signal onto the tape, apparently it was missing a signal thus the blue screen, video when you rewind/FF. I know it is possible don't know how it was done.

I have the video engineer on FB, I'll email him and ask him how he did it.
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Old November 18th, 2014, 11:28 AM   #8
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Re: Defective tape catastrophe, time for tapeless?

Thank you Noel, that would be great! I took to my local place and I dont think they were very knowledgeable about this, I shipped to Sony Media Center in Texas, fingers crossed for few days. Looking at the Sony NX3 today, I like that you can record to 2 cards at once for backup.
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Old November 18th, 2014, 08:49 PM   #9
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Re: Defective tape catastrophe, time for tapeless?

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Originally Posted by Danny O'Neill View Post
We have a 64GB card in slot A and use 16GB cards in slot B. Slot A stays in all day and can record the entire day but the 16GB card we still swap after each part and keep that card on our person. If all goes well and the camera hasn't been stolen then we still have just 1 card to capture. But if anything happens to Card A then we still have our other ones.
Danny, You get the Tip-of-the-Day award, possibly Tip-of-the-Week! Brilliant solution
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Old November 18th, 2014, 09:25 PM   #10
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Re: Defective tape catastrophe, time for tapeless?

I've had great luck with the C100's dual SD card slots as I always make sure to have a card in both slots where one is recording a backup. I've never had an issue with either Card A or Card B, but it's nice to know that if I did then I have a backup. I use Sandisk as I've never had a problem with them and they seem to be rated highly on B&H and Amazon.

Having worked with mini-dv tape for several years, I can say that I "feel" much more comfortable using SDHC cards. I used a Canon XHA1 that we shot on a lot but after only 1.5 years about 1 in 10 tapes would not come out alive. The tapes were physically intact, but there would be sections that we just could not log and capture from no matter what camera or tape deck we used. We also used a Canon GL2 and every now and then tapes would have sections that were just mysteriously lost.

I've been shooting on SDHC cards with a Panasonic HMC150s, Canon HF M400, Canon C100, and Canon 70D and not once have I lost any footage. That's not to say that it can't happen, but I feel like my luck has been much better with SDHC cards and the cameras that use them than it was with mini dv tapes and cameras.

I've heard of people using cards made by brands that are pretty well known and having issues with them, but I think Transcend and Sandisk are probably two of the top brands in terms of reliability. I think Sandisk tend to be a bit more expensive but it's worth it to not have to worry about losing footage.
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Old November 19th, 2014, 04:34 AM   #11
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Re: Defective tape catastrophe, time for tapeless?

I also shot for many years on tape, U-matic, VHS, S-VHS, Hi8, MiniDV etc. I have had minor and major problems with all of them on odd occasions. I have recorded hundreds, probably thousands of hours on SD cards over the last few years, using various cameras and never lost any footage yet, or had a card failure. I have re-used some cards for several years, whereas I used to use new tapes for every shoot.

The convenience, cost and reliability of cards is far better than with tape, plus the transfer time and the ability to use the same cards with different equipment, still and video cameras, computers, sound recorders etc. Lets not also not forget the ability of a card recording camera to withstand more vibration and knocks without damaging the recording and the lack of moving parts for ware, tear and noise.

Some people suggest that tape is safer for storage, but I see no evidence of that after plenty of experience of oxide loss, magnetic interference and print through. Move on from tape, you will not regret it and wonder why it took you so long :-)

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Old November 19th, 2014, 04:55 AM   #12
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Re: Defective tape catastrophe, time for tapeless?

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Originally Posted by Vince Pachiano View Post
Danny, You get the Tip-of-the-Day award, possibly Tip-of-the-Week! Brilliant solution
And the reason we use slot B for the regular change cards is because you can access it without having to move the screen. Small but useful bit of info. We also set slot A as the primary so our timecode which is set to just run shows the total time filmed that day.

More tips over on our edu blog The Society of Movement | Minty Slippers
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Old November 19th, 2014, 07:33 AM   #13
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Re: Defective tape catastrophe, time for tapeless?

Thanks all for the detailed and encouraging posts. I am ordering the NX3 but my brain will not allow me to until Black Friday and Cyber Monday come and go, just in case any additional savings.

Did have another question about cards:

With tape, I would never review footage on the job as I was just too scared I could accidentally record over scenes. That basically can not happen with cards, correct? You can not overwrite scenes on a card unless/until you delete scenes to make room, correct?

Thanks again everyone!
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Old November 19th, 2014, 07:53 AM   #14
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Re: Defective tape catastrophe, time for tapeless?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryn Carroll View Post
Thanks all for the detailed and encouraging posts. I am ordering the NX3 but my brain will not allow me to until Black Friday and Cyber Monday come and go, just in case any additional savings.

Did have another question about cards:

With tape, I would never review footage on the job as I was just too scared I could accidentally record over scenes. That basically can not happen with cards, correct? You can not overwrite scenes on a card unless/until you delete scenes to make room, correct?

Thanks again everyone!
That is correct. I shot a few short clips on my B camera at last weekend's wedding, then left it for an hour while I used the main camera. When I picked the B camera up again I realised that it was still running, so just deleted the whole clip. With tape, it would have to be run to erase it, the card took a couple of seconds.

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Old November 20th, 2014, 12:42 PM   #15
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Re: Defective tape catastrophe, time for tapeless?

I spoke to the video engineer, the solution he came up with was to play the tape x 1 speed since normal playback will show blue screen and record to another recorder. he slowed the recorded video -1, lost audio which wasnt' that important for the finall edit.

he didn't do the record over with a signal as it was risky. hope this helps. you have video but unusable audio.
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