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Mark Y. Palmer February 7th, 2004 05:28 AM

dvcam footage
Hi. I am looking at buying a pd150 and, as i understand dvcam footage is superior to dv, but am wondering about editing footage shot in dvcam mode. What software can deal with this and is it really much better.
Many thanks and please excuse my ignorance.

Don Bloom February 7th, 2004 07:40 AM

Much has been written about DVCAM vs. DV and frankly no one has been able to convince me that DVCAM is actually BETTER.

Search the forum and you'll find more reading than you might care to engage in ;-)

Having said that, there is no difference in editing or working with DVCAM.

Shoot, load into editor,edit.


Mike Gunter February 7th, 2004 11:04 AM

DV 25 is DV25, whether DV or DVCAM.

DVCAM has locked audio (nice for linear editors) and the tape travels faster - an effort to reduce dropouts.

The signal is the same in both formats.

I don't think any of the NLEs care whether the tape is DV or DVCAM.

Ram Nagarajan February 9th, 2004 01:24 AM

Mark: Don and Mike have it absolutely right - DV and DVCAM are both 25 MBps digital formats: Given the same camera, there is absolutely no difference between the two signals. Think of DV and DVCAM more as two ways of recording the digital signal to tape, and that will make it easier to understand.

1. DV and DVCAM do not make a difference where editing or software goes: FCP, Premiere and Vegas will all accept the DV and DVCAM with no software additions or differences in capture settings.

2. Don't get confused because you see some tapes on the market labelled DVCAM and some labelled DV. The PD150 will record in both DV and DVCAM mode on plain vanilla miniDV tapes (like the DVM 60 Sony). You just change the menu settings in the camera to select or deselect DVCAM. Also, DVCAM and DV tapes are both available in the mini- cassette size whih fits into the PD150. (Also see point 5)

3. DVCAM setting also means the tape speed across the heads is higher (approximately a third faster). Thus, in DVCAM mode, but with a regular 60 min miniDV cassette in the PD150, you'll get approximately 40 minutes of recording.

4. DVCAM, beyond giving locked audio (frame accurate audio and pic synchronization) also gives the benefit of accurate time code (TC), pro style. Each frame of video has an individual H/M/S/Frame identity, that is often helpful while editing and recapturing.

5. The greater tape speed in DVCAM does, in my experience, result in fewer dropouts in footage, which makes an important difference if you run the tape multiple times, or while storing footage. Tapes labeled DVCAM also have better quality of manufacture as compared to DV in terms of tape tensile strength and in terms of the magnetic emulsion. (DV was really designed as a consumer format, while DVCAM started off as a prosumer format, but has pretty much become a favourite among indie filmmakers). Combined with the higher tape speed, DVCAM mode recording on DVCAM tape gives much better and reliable recording as opposed to DVCAM on DV or DV on DV (in that order). Having said that, DVCAM tapes are considerably more expensive that DV tapes! :-)

6. Finally, Re:Point 3: If you pop in a mini DVCAM tape (like the Sony PDVM 32 or 40N) in the PD150, and the camera is set to DVCAM mode, the duration of the tape = the actual recording time (i.e. a Sony PDVM 40N tape gives you 40 mins of recording time, etc.)

Hope this helps!


Mark Y. Palmer February 9th, 2004 11:31 AM

Thanks for everything Don, Mike and Ram. I really appreciate your expert help on the matter. It now seems clear to me that I should buy the pd150 over the vx2000.
All the best.

John Hartney February 9th, 2004 08:20 PM

DVcam not only moves more tape over the heads, it also has wider heads... both of which insure a more stable medium.

That said, I've switched to all DVcam gear, but for the first few years with DV using a Canon GL1 and a JVC DV500, I had no problems with minidv format.

DV25 without dropouts using sony premium tape... I shot and used hundrends of hours without any dropouts. During that time, I never used a tape twice.

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