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The Long Black Line
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Old January 18th, 2007, 01:19 PM   #1
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Sony's Excellent vs Premium

Whats the differences? I've been using Premium since day one for my HDV cams.
Sales guy told me the Excellent is much better..the colors will come out better than the premiums.

Making Family Videos Not To Look Like Family Videos
Fred Foronda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 22nd, 2007, 03:43 AM   #2
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There couldn't be any difference in color quality between Premium and Excellence tapes, because the digital signal would be exactly the same from both. Only if glitches and dropouts in the tape caused disruptions, would you see any difference. However, over a long period of time and after many playbacks, the Excellence tapes may have an advantage. Even though they cost about twice as much, I never use anything but the Excellence type in my camcorder. I hope that these tapes will still play back in 20 years and the few extra dollars I pay now, might make that possible. I've had no visible dropouts in any recordings with them. I've used some of them as utility tapes for temporary recordings during editing, as many as a dozen times.
J. Stephen McDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 22nd, 2007, 07:41 AM   #3
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Fred, the sales guy is telling you lies. The image and sound track is captured as a digital bit stream of ones and zeros, and as long as they can be decoded on replay, it doesn't matter if you've recorded these bits on tape, disc or toilet paper.

JSM talks a lot of sense though, and if you can afford to spend more on tape, go ahead. If there are any differences whatever they just might appear in 10 or 20 years time.

Remember a Mini DV tape costs all of a couple of dollars. You're buying an assembly of 28 parts. all accurately slit, machined, assembled, tested and packaged. If you pay more you might just be paying for a more observant end of line inspection. What you won't be paying for is better colours.

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Old February 16th, 2007, 08:27 AM   #4
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The difference between HDV and DV tapes

I don't know whether anybody's posted this, but this is the best explanation I've read explaining the difference between the two types of tapes:

In accordance with HDV camcorder standards, the HDR-HC1 records to MiniDV tapes. There are major benefits here: the tapes are cheap, they’re readily available, and they are compact. However, we’re scoring HDV down half a point for media over regular DV because of the importance of using high grade tapes with HDV. All tape formats suffer from a problem called dropouts, when a frame isn’t recorded because a scratch or other defect with the tape. With MiniDV and many other formats, dropouts are not a huge problem, because one lost frame when you’re working with 30 frames a second will not be noticed by the human eye.

The HDR-HC1 and all HDV formats use something called key frame compression. This means that every half second the camcorder takes a key frame, somewhat like a reference frame. The next 14 frames after that frame are based on how the video changes from that original frame. With DV, every single one of the 30 frames is a keyframe and holds all the information. Theoretically, this means that with HDV if you loose a frame because of a dropout, you’re going to loose a half second of video, it will just display as black. However, the problem is not a serious as the theory suggests - not many have reported it or lost critical footage. The higher grade "made-for-HDV" tapes do reduce dropouts, when one occurs the camcorder's LCD and VF will freeze (blank out) for half a second but the FIREWIRE HDV output contains quite a bit of useful frames and often just 3 or 4 (out of the 15 GOP) are damaged. This is a small glitch compared to what people first feared would happen on a tape dropout. Another way around this is to capture the HDV output over FireWire or component directly to a laptop or external hard disk. DVRack is about to release their HDV upgrade and other manufactures of "Pyro Firestore" type portable HDDs that accept DV are being upgraded to work with HDV feeds.

However, if you use a higher grade tape it will significantly reduce the number of or possibility of a dropout. Sony has even made a special MiniDV tape that is specifically designed for HDV shooting. Of course, this tape doesn’t come cheap, it costs $13 per tape vs. about $6 per tape for standard MiniDV tapes. But if you are shooting something important it is really important that you use the high grade tape to minimize the chance of a dropout.

Like everyone else, I've been using DV tapes with no problems whatsoever and no dropout whatsoever.
Daniel Vazquez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16th, 2007, 05:21 PM   #5
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Tape quality

I've suffered a couple dropouts using standard MiniDV tape.
However, it was not until I went back and out of desperation recaptured the same key piece of footage to the PC from the camcorder that I discovered the "dropout" was really a glitch in the capture, not on the tape. The second pass at capturing picked up the footage perfectly.

In 15 hours of tape I had two of these episodes. I don't attribute this to the tape. So I am fine with the $3 tape in my Sony A1u though I use the included "master" tape for the priceless moments. I have not felt compelled to buy any more.

PS The old "more vivid colors" speech the sales guy gave Fred is only valid with analog videography. His knowledege is out of date or he is not understanding that you have digital. As mentioned before it's a 1 or 0 in digital.
James Harring is offline   Reply

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