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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old March 27th, 2007, 06:42 PM   #1
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Do you recycle HDV tapes?

Hey - I'm a newbie here and will be shooting my first wedding in May. This may be a silly question, but do you save each and every one of your raw footage tapes? at $10-$15 dollars for a miniDV HD tape I had given thought to re-using for each event and archiving everything to hard drives (that get cheaper every day). Also, if I were to do this, what is the limitation to how many times you could re-record before quality degrades?
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Old March 27th, 2007, 07:03 PM   #2
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From what I've read, high quality regular mini dv tapes are pretty much the same quality as hdv mini dv tapes. I believe my Canon XHa1 came with a regular mini-dv tape as well. I haven't had any problems now have I heard of any from others who are using regular mini tapes for HDV. So, after the rambling, I would say, use regular tapes and then archive them. I woudln't tape over my tapes however if I paid as much as you are, I can see why you would consider it.
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Old March 27th, 2007, 07:56 PM   #3
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I re-record over a tape about four times before losing faith in them. It's sure a great question, especially considering how expensive they are. In the average wedding I go through 6 HD tapes between three cameras.

More opinions please!!
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Old March 27th, 2007, 08:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Varga View Post
Hey - I'm a newbie here and will be shooting my first wedding in May. This may be a silly question, but do you save each and every one of your raw footage tapes? at $10-$15 dollars for a miniDV HD tape I had given thought to re-using for each event and archiving everything to hard drives (that get cheaper every day). Also, if I were to do this, what is the limitation to how many times you could re-record before quality degrades?
As was said before: there is no difference between MiniDV and HDV tapes. They're all MiniDV. Ostensibly, the pricier tapes are higher quality and have less risk of dropouts, but who can really know?

Back when I was *really* pinching pennies, I bought the cheapest $3.00 MiniDV tapes I could find. I tried to re-use them several times, but I always got a few seconds of "corrupted" video on the re-used tape in random places.

Now I buy Panasonic Advanced Master Quality HDV tapes for $6.75 and I don't ever re-use them. If you start to worry about the cost, just think how much it would cost if you were shooting film. :-)

If you really were intent on saving money, my advice would be to buy the $3.00 MiniDV tapes instead of re-using the $15 MiniDV tapes.
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Old March 27th, 2007, 09:06 PM   #5
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Last year I shot about 500 tapes between 2 fx1's and 2 z1's. At first I tried just Sony Premium tapes and had a drop out here or there. I then moved to Sony Excellence Tapes and they also had dropouts here or there. I then used Sony HDV tape and experience no dropouts.

I have shot with the no hdv tape and had no dropouts. The only thing I use HDV tape for is ceremonies or multi camera shoots, since syncing can be a pain with multiple dropouts.

I never reuse tape. Not worth the risk. HDV tape is now under $8.50 a tape. I buy sony premiums for $2.30.

Jon
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Old March 27th, 2007, 09:46 PM   #6
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MiniDV tapes are made from a wide roll, then cut into tape-sized rolls. The film on the edges of the wide roll have a higher rate of deformation than the film in the center. So from what I understand, the center-cut tapes are sold as premium tapes, and the outside tapes are discount tapes.

There can be other factors as well, such as dual layering (whatever that is), or a special type of coating on the tape. In short, you really are paying for a higher quality of tape.

From your comments, though, I think I'll stop reusing tapes. I didn't realize that poor tape quality is such a common cause of dropped frames. I have enough trouble from my blasted PC!
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Old March 27th, 2007, 10:16 PM   #7
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back when there wasnt much competition and i was rolling in cash i never used to reuse tapes, but now, i do..
4 times at the most in fact.. this with Pana MQ's with the PQ's abotu 3 times... after that i use them or family stuff..

ive never had a dropout even on reused tapes..
dunno why i didnt reused them earlier.. this year alone, i saved over 3grand on tapes.. i hit between 6 to 12 tapes per job, approx 45 weddings a year
thats abotu 360 tapes approx 9bux an MQ tape (thats how much i get em for.. )

Ive also started using 83min tapes to save the hassles and these are only 10bux (PQ's)
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Old March 28th, 2007, 05:37 AM   #8
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I am even greener as I am still waiting for my camera :) While I don't expect to do weddings, I do expect to do events.

But I wouldn't even consider recycling tapes, they are part of the expenses the client will pay on top of my fee. At the end of the project, I will deliver the final cut and the tapes.

If the client has paid you to do a job, I find it only reasonable that he own all material produced. If you did it well, they will ask you again if they want a special edit. If you didn't they have the footage to get someone else to do it at their option.

You may say that giving them the raw material will hurt your business, I disagree, doing a bad job will.

Giving the tapes also have the advantage that you are not responsible for data loss, you don't get storage problems. With fresh tapes you also reduce risks of damaged tape that could cause loss of essential parts.
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Old March 28th, 2007, 06:12 AM   #9
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If your clients want tapes that they cannot play on anything, great. I recognize your desire to serve the client, but I have one caveat: if you give people anything more than the final product, they will feel short-changed. I learned this as a graphic designer. If you show the client ten designs, they will want number eleven. If you give them one, they will esteem you higher and happily go their way.

In the words of Jack Nicholson, "You can't handle the truth," for the consultant your words to the client might be, "You can't handle creative control." Trust me on this. Most clients would not have a problem with an element of creative control, but that one client will make you want to quit the profession. You are the pro, and the client needs to see that confidence. Providing raw data may make them want to redo it. If they have the means to watch it they can leverage it to criticize you for not using a certain cut. The client cannot lose sight that they hired *you* to make those decisions as a consultant. I use the word 'consultant' a lot in my contract, because it emphasizes why they hired me instead of their uncle.

On another note, it *would* make sense if an HD videographer gave clients the final product on MiniDV until Blueray prevails.

BTW, I've had more problems with bad tapes off the shelf than recycled tapes -- of which I've never lost a frame. You'll learn a lot when you get your camera.
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Old March 28th, 2007, 06:44 AM   #10
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good post Dana,
I agree...

clients cant handle the creative side of it and with raw footage, they will expect creative power within teh presentation itself.

for corporate work, which i continually archive, i use an Avid system which lets me pull u clips shot frmo the past.. i have these on tape as well and these are not recycled in case of disc falure or what have you.

Events and one offs are alse held for about 6 months until no further need for the tape archive is required. THATS when the cycle happens..
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Old March 28th, 2007, 07:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana Salsbury View Post
If your clients want tapes that they cannot play on anything, great. I recognize your desire to serve the client, but I have one caveat: if you give people anything more than the final product, they will feel short-changed. I learned this as a graphic designer. If you show the client ten designs, they will want number eleven. If you give them one, they will esteem you higher and happily go their way.
When you deliver the final cut you have closed the project. Any changes costs, if they come back to you with the tapes they will know that.

I don't know how you work with your client in the post production. But if they are unsatisfied and come for changes after a final version has been produced, shouldn't they have made such request before? Of course, they couldn't if they had no knowledge of the raw footage.

Whether clients will feel short-changed, I think, also depends on how you put it. You can give the tapes saying, "if you loose the original or ever need to edit a new version (for whatever reason) this is the raw footage." And they may think, "how nice, great service."

Now, things may be different for wedding videos, maybe you're right. I must admit that I am flavored by open source ideology - no user looks at the code, most are happy to know that they can do it if they need.
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Old March 28th, 2007, 09:33 AM   #12
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Erik, this is a great time to spend some time on your contract. Mine is several pages, and I read it to my clients, going over everything before they sign. I have space where they can write their wishes into the contract. That is their time for creative input. If it isn't written, I'm not liable. (I realize that in Spain, everyone doesn't sue everyone, so you may not need to be as anal.)
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Old March 28th, 2007, 12:24 PM   #13
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I never re use tapes.
I archive tapes so that if the client calls 2 years later, I have the project, tapes, and all material to either re-burn, fix an edit, etc.

I refuse to re use a tape, and I now use the ProHD tapes for my JVC, it is just worth it to buy new ones by the case.
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Old March 28th, 2007, 05:04 PM   #14
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I never reuse tapes. Although some might have success with reusing their tape stock, I figure tape is so cheap its not worth the risk. Everyone I know who shoots HD uses regular mini DV tapes and I haven't heard any problems with that. If I were you, play it safe. 2 bucks for a tape is nothing, but having a drop out during the vows/first dance/ etc. will cost you a lot more.
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Old March 29th, 2007, 04:31 AM   #15
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Four reasons not to store/reuse tape

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana Salsbury View Post
Erik, this is a great time to spend some time on your contract. If it isn't written, I'm not liable. (I realize that in Spain, everyone doesn't sue everyone, so you may not need to be as anal.)
I have four reasons not to store/reuse tape:

* Liability: If I don't store tape, I am certainly not liable for any loss due to incorrect storage.
* Liability: If I don't reuse tape, it is much easier(?) to fend of loss of footage due to errors on tape.
* Privacy: If I don't reuse and/or store tape, the client is certain that footage is not used without their permission or accidentally leaked.
* Storage space: You can only afford to store client's data for so long time or you run out of space. Letting them have the data, they decide if/when to destroy data and you have no space problems.

My day job is with computer security, confidentiality, data storage and destruction policies are essential. In Spain people don't sue as a knee-jerk reaction, but privacy is much more valued in Europe and laws much stronger.

The best way to stay out of trouble is to get rid of data that isn't yours, once the job is done, keep only what is required by law, leave storage of original footage to the client.
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