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DV(HDV) Tape Issues


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#1 pakman

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 05:30 AM

Do you all just stick religiously to Sony HDV specific tapes, or is it safe to dabble with standard miniDV tapes. I can't seem to find anything definitive in the various video forums other than:

1) HDV tapes claim a lower dropout and error % vs standard miniDV tapes. And if you have a drop out in HDV format, that's like 1/2 sec vs a few pixels in DV format. So I guess most people will probably say why risk a ruined scene with a once in a lifetime shot just because you were too cheap to pony up for the $12 HDV tapes...

2) don't mix brands due to possible tape lubricant problems with the heads.

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#2 pmooney

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 05:41 AM

We stick to Sony DV Premium tapes ( I believe this is the mass market product ) for our daily video shooting.
The only extra thing we do is to lay a black signal down on the tape from beginning to end. This combined with the act of rewinding seems to give a pretty reliable performance.

I use Sony HDV masters ( same process ) for really important shoots.

"It's a Sony world "

#3 Hawkfish

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 05:48 AM

Are there any considerations with laying down the black signal? I hear people comment about getting dedicated decks - I assume this is to save the heads in their camcorders. Do you run into any problems with dirty heads, or more repairs because of laying down the black signal? Thanks.

#4 TheRealDrew

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 05:55 AM

Do you all just stick religiously to Sony HDV specific tapes, or is it safe to dabble with standard miniDV tapes. I can't seem to find anything definitive in the various video forums other than:

1) HDV tapes claim a lower dropout and error % vs standard miniDV tapes. And if you have a drop out in HDV format, that's like 1/2 sec vs a few pixels in DV format. So I guess most people will probably say why risk a ruined scene with a once in a lifetime shot just because you were too cheap to pony up for the $12 HDV tapes...

2) don't mix brands due to possible tape lubricant problems with the heads.



I have not done a full A/B, all I know is that I went with the Sony HDV tapes for my Sony's and shot alot of footage (few hundred tapes) with them with no problem whatsoever. So I guess I am erring to the side of safety and just stick to the Sony's. (Though I did shoot some DV tapes due to people not bringing enough HDV Tapes, we used those in cameras that were not primary ones and they worked, but did not feel comfortable about it.)

The way I see it the cost of jumping on a plane, hotels, food, dive gear, etc. is just so high that go through all that for me is to try to worry about the cost of the tape is de minimis in the grand scheme. I would rather skip a couple of beers or an appetizer during the week if I feel the need to try to save some money. Maybe if I had to chance to shoot alot more underwater I would change, but I just am set in my mindset that I can get 20-30 dives so I figure maybe 10 tapes a trip so about $50 - $70 more for the HDV tape. Someone may have a more definative answer on actual tests between the tapes.

FWIW you can get them for about $8-$9 (maybe better, but I have bought from the two links below)

http://www.taperesou...number=DV60HD-S
http://www.amazon.co...D/dp/B000592UIG

An thread (old one) discussing some issues

http://www.sonyhdvin...read.php?t=1744

#5 pakman

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 06:11 AM

thanks guys for the info.

What about mixing brands? Say switching to Panasonic Dv tapes?

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#6 DeanB

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 09:22 AM

I was out filming swallows nesting a while a go and like true pro I ran out of tapes :)

Nipped into a tourist shop and all they had was panasonic dv tapes so shot on that in HDV..No probs, no drop outs...

I've also used JVC PRO HD tapes and they worked fine...

Dive safe

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#7 Jules (Helioxfilm)

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 10:17 AM

The black signal is for ensuring no timecode break, which is very important for the "log and capture" way of capturing. If there is a timecode break, the logging and the batch capture will fail. During recording the balck signal, you are recording the timecode as well.

#8 jonny shaw

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 02:16 PM

I use the basic Sony mini DV's have mixed brands and never had any drop out. I only ever use a tape once though as I use them as backup.

Interesting about running black first so no time code break..

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#9 SimonSpear

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 02:25 PM

For HDV I've used Sony Premium and Sony HDV tapes and never mixed brands. I've had a couple of really badly timed drop outs on both formats, although there have been less on the HDV tapes.

Most people would say never ever mix brands, or if you do at least only mix certain brands. If you are mainly using Sony tapes then Fuji should be fine, but TDK and JVC should be avoided like the plague. Not sure on Panasonic.

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#10 Mini Dive

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 02:44 PM

I am using the Sony HDV tapes. I figure with the expense for everything else, the tape cost is the least of my worries.

However, during my last trip there was a kid on the boat with a HC3. He used the same non-Sony standard DV tape for 9 days of diving, 2 sub dives and land excursions. He would down load to a hard drive and rewind. He never had a problem. I asked him why he was only using one tape and he said the organization that sent him only gave him one tape.
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#11 Drew

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 02:51 PM

First the prevailing stories:
1. Blacking/Striping a tape gives continuous timecode and is essential for any shoot.
2. Mixing different brand tapes with different lubricants is bad for your video head.
3. Reusing tape is a bad idea and you should buy new tape everytime.

Timecode
DV tapes rerecords timecode once you rerecord over the existing material. So essentially it's new timecode anyhow. You may also run into problems mixing timecodes. You also double the workload by having to stripe each tape, not to mention the wear on the camera (which is really negligible). Why people advocate doing it is because back in the Beta days, you needed to get consistent timecode.
Why do you need to do it? Because when you review whatever you've shot, the tendency is to overshoot the clip on tape into timecodeless tape. And these people either don't use the END SEARCH function if available OR they didn't roll on for about 5-10 secs after, which gives you the buffer for previewing.
Another possible reason is Sony's own low power standby mode, whereby it stops spinning the drums and powers down the entire tape transport. Now I've never had this problem personally even with QUICK REC on. My timecode has always been pretty good.
Here are a few good habits to avoid timecode disruption:
  • Roll about 3 seconds before and 5 seconds after shooting. So even if you try to review, it will have a buffer to protect from creeping into blank tape.
  • Use the END SEARCH function on your camera if you have one after review. It'll save you lots of grief in capture.
  • QUICK RECORD function: I've never had a problem but some have had it. So if you are not shooting subjects that need faster recording response... turn it off.
Mixing Different Brands of Tapes
Over 10 years later and still it pops up, much like striping/blacking. :)
When Sony first came up with their DV tape, they used a wet lubricant whereas other manufacturers like Panasonic and TDK went with dry powder lubricant. They obviously didn't mix well together and caused much havoc. This was in 1996. In 1997, Sony and other manufacturers made sure their respective lubricants didn't mess each other up, essentially ending the problem.
Think about it. If the problem existed anymore, then Sony couldn't sell tapes to anyone who's used a drylube tape on their camera or vice versa, risking lawsuits. Do you think they'd live with that for 10 years?
Still it's cheaper to buy tape in bulk so if you have a preference for a brand for whatever reason, stay with it. But don't worry too much if you have to buy another brand in a fix. Just clean the tape head first with a tape cleaner of the same brand.

Reusing Tapes
If you black/stripe a tape, you're reusing a tape. For some who believe in this practice, they also say it's good as it tensions the tape to the camera and removes production flakes which usually occur in the first minute or so of a tape.
Sony has stated their tapes started showing irrecoverable dropouts and defects after 150 recordings. Adam Wilt has used a tape for record and playback for at least 300-500 cycles. Before TIVO, I used my mini-DV deck to record TV shows and have used those tapes hundreds of times with no problems. For most people, if the tape contains some good stuff that needs archiving, backing up to an old tape isn't a bad idea.
Manufacturers of tape want people to keep buying new tape, just like any other manufacturer. For the greener folks, there's plastic and energy waste to consider. For the professionals, $9 for a tape is cheap insurance. Still not every new tape is going to be error free. For underwater use, you're not going to shoot gems every time. So a backup copy on an older tape saves on tape storage space (I have over 400 tapes from shooting video since 95). I started reusing tapes (no more than 5 times) since 2005. I've bought 10 tapes since then.
So good habits to form with shooting is:
  • Clean your tape head with a cleaner tape after 50 hours of shooting.
  • Use ethynol alcohol to clean the tape head after 25 hours of use or before each trip. Oh and use a clean Q-tip :guiness:
  • Record colorbars for the first minute of the tape to remove manufacturing particles.
  • Rewind the tape and remove from the camera before storing the camera away.
Please note these are just recommendations and only for discussion purposes. :P

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#12 wagsy

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 04:57 PM

I had some real bad problems with Sony Premium back in 1999 getting eaten after I had placed another tape in the camera. I think they have sorted out the tape lube thing now but I still use to get drop outs with them.

Panasonic DVM 60 this end they work really well.

Have used $$ Sony DVCAM tapes...got dropouts.
Used $$$ HDV tapes, got dropouts.

So $5 Panasonics DVM 60's go in all the cameras now.

Keep to one brand and only use the tape once.
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#13 wagsy

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 05:18 PM

I can still suck in a tape with messed up / broken timecodes in one continuous go and it ends up as one file with one long unbroken time code on the computer still on my PC.

Messes using the batch capture method though. I don't think it's much of a problem with us small time fry as we mostly suck in the whole tape or just grab the section we want.
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#14 pakman

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 05:34 PM

interesting stuff guys.

Minidive- ha... I'm still a cheap bastard and will always look for ways to say a few $$... I'm the same way with flash cards for cameras. Can't stand paying the premium for Sandisk's latest/ greatest... :guiness:

Wags- that's good to hear... The shops around here only seem to be carrying Sony HDV tapes at around USD12-13 a pop and those Panasonic DVM 60's which go for just USD$3. Definitely makes economic sense for you guys doing dailies.

Oh well, watch for a post from me later this month crying about lost footage to dropouts on cheap tapes :)

Edited by pakman, 12 August 2007 - 05:39 PM.

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#15 pakman

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 01:01 AM

OK, went out and bought 12 Sony DV60 tapes in red packaging (DVM60R).

Now I'm a bit confused as the Sony Asia website (link above) calls this "premium grade mini DV tape" but the labeling has no mention of "premium" like the US version. Sony USA site doesn't show this DVM60R but do show the "premium" DVM60PR with the blue packaging which clearly say "premium" on the packaging...

Are these the same?
DVC Premium on Sony USA site

and then the Sony Aussie site has a DVM60EX (Excellence Grade miniDV tape)...

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#16 Mini Dive

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 02:46 PM

OK, went out and bought 12 Sony DV60 tapes in red packaging (DVM60R).



The R in the number stands for Reject :)

Edited by Mini Dive, 13 August 2007 - 02:47 PM.

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So long and thanks for all the fish . . .

#17 pakman

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 08:52 PM

The R in the number stands for Reject :guiness:


I suspected that... :)

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#18 Nick Hope

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 11:04 PM

I use Sony DVM60 tapes (red packaging) for both my VX2000 and my Sony Z1.

Last season I kept 6 tapes marked 1-6 and used the same tapes in the Z1 on all my liveaboard trips. I got timecode problems all over the shop because I had QUICK REC set on but I didn't get any dropouts that I remember.

Had trouble in the past with Panasonic and I never change brands now.

#19 Drew

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Posted 19 August 2007 - 07:03 AM

Merged the 2 threads together. Sorry I didn't see it before.

Nick, as I already said, reusing tape isn't a bad option, especially for the work you are doing. If they are built to withstand 150 passes, 20-30 shouldn't be in the realm of ridiculous.When did you have troubles with the Pana tapes? I find the Pana AMQ and MQ tapes to be top notch and error free for HDV.
I've since transferred all work from the 1st generation tapes (pre 1998) with the anti-social lubricants to newer universally accepted lube tapes. Well all the work that warranted saving. :P

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#20 Nick Hope

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Posted 19 August 2007 - 11:00 AM

Drew I'm talking about 10-8 years ago and my old Panasonic DX100/110 cameras (I've had 3). The trouble may have been with the recording head, I remember one was replaced. Things have no doubt changed but I'm happy with the Sonys.