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Old November 16th, 2006, 05:02 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: France
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Which tape stock?

I'm in the middle of shooting a documentary and have been using Sony premium minidv tape up until now, first because I've just decided I'd like to use sony in general because I've heard good things about it. And second, because I just havn't come accross a higher grade sony tape in this part of France. I've shot some beautiful footage so far with no dropouts but feel a bit cheap and uncertain filming something that I plan to eek through into a festival or two and even perhaps get transfered to film, on something that I go down to the super market to get that ends up in the same bag with my cheap wine. Any thoughts? and does anyone know of any place to get a higher grade in europe with a quantity discount? Thanks.
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Old November 16th, 2006, 08:59 PM   #2
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Location: Columbus, Ohio
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Consumer grade tapes

If those Sony tapes are the ones you have access to, and you've already started the project on them... I'd stick with them.

Now, I've never transfered anything to film before, but I do charge for my time and I've put more than a handful (maybe two handfulls) of projects together on consumer grade tapes. I haven't (knock on wood) experienced any dropouts yet or anything that would make me really look at changing to pro tape stock. If the tapes are working well for you so far, I wouldn't rock the boat. But if you feel that there would be a large enough difference, start using the pro tapes on the next project.

Now I do subscribe to the "stick with one brand" school of thought on tapes, but that shouldn't be a problem for you. Sony makes a full line of tapes with several steps in-between consumer and pro.

Also, don't be afraid to buy in bulk, you'll save money and you'll eventually use the tapes. No money wasted.

About the pro vs. consumer grade thing... maybe I'm just too naive or too blind to know the difference...

"... the drama is on your doorstep..." - John Grierson
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Old November 17th, 2006, 10:15 AM   #3
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With miniDV, it's 1s and 0s recorded onto the tape. As long as those 1s and 0s are being read back correctly, then your picture will be exactly the same. There is also error correction, so you'll get the same picture if there aren't too many errors. If there's too many errors then you'll start getting dropouts.

I wouldn't worry about using cheap miniDV tape. Even if there is a difference between the cheap tape and more expensive stuff, it's too small to measure or care about (in my opinion). Most problems that do occur aren't because of the tape. Most of the worst dropouts I've seen was because the camera was breaking down.
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