Jump to content


Photo

DV Tape Quality


  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 Chris Durham

Chris Durham
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 290 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • New York, NY

Posted 03 October 2006 - 10:48 AM

Forgive me because I'm new to this; but I've noticed a pretty big variance on tape prices and I was wondering whether there is a substantial difference in the quality. Is it an archival thing? Is it marketing? If there is a true quality difference, which product do you recommend? Thanks.
  • 0

#2 Josh Bass

Josh Bass
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 552 posts
  • Other

Posted 03 October 2006 - 11:54 AM

Here's what I've heard. Others will likely correct me/supplement my speakings.



So, there's some sort of sheet that the magnetic tape is cut from (I know this is lamely unscientific, but it's all I know). Most tapes come in three grades. The lowest price, and lowest grade of tape is cut from the outer portion of that sheet, meaning it's more exposed to the elements/contamination, and therefore more prone to glitches of various types. The middle grade (more expensive), it follows, is cut from between the outer portion and the center of the sheet, and is less prone to contamination/glitches. The highest grade/highest price is cut from the center of this sheet, and is the least exposed to possible contamination.

As far as picture quality--no. No difference.

As far as whether it's all BS or not. . .I don't know. I'd rather play safe than sorry. I use Premium or Master Quality Panasonic tapes (that's the middle and high grade). I've had a few issues with the lowest grade on the few occasions where I've used them (bad luck or bad tape?).

It's also conventional wisdom (though disputed) that one should stick with one brand of tape and never mix brands in the same camera, because of the different types of lubricants used by the different manufacturers. Again, this may one day be proven to be BS. Right now it's unproven either way, and I say better safe than sorry.

As far as pricing, that may depend where you buy. Here in Houston, I can get the low grade Panasonics for $3 a tape, the mid grade for $4, and the high grade for $5-6. Some places absolutely rape you on price.
  • 0

#3 Jay Gladwell

Jay Gladwell
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 144 posts
  • Miami, FL

Posted 03 October 2006 - 02:06 PM

Josh is right on just about all counts.

The quality from one brand to another can and will vary, as will the price. Just remember the old addage: "You get what you pay for." Some tapes are most robust than others, hence they cost more.

Do your own research. Use the Internet and read whatever you can find about different brands of video tape. Compare the differences between brands and tape grades. There is a difference! That's what you're paying for.

Considering what people spend on video equipment these days, I cannot for the life of me figure out why so many people skimp on video tape. It's the least expensive part of the equation regardless of what you pay.

Edited by Jay Gladwell, 03 October 2006 - 02:11 PM.

  • 0

#4 Josh Bass

Josh Bass
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 552 posts
  • Other

Posted 03 October 2006 - 02:41 PM

Oh yeah. . .

Seems Maxell and TDK have bad reps. I can't say whether they're justified or not.


Fuji, Sony, and Panasonic have good reps.

Edited by Josh Bass, 03 October 2006 - 02:41 PM.

  • 0

#5 Bryan Darling

Bryan Darling
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 227 posts
  • Director
  • Sacramento, CA

Posted 03 October 2006 - 09:51 PM

For what it's worth, I've been an avid user of Panasonic's Master tapes. I have a dealer in the bay area that gives me great rates and overnight shipping. It's California Media Solutions. If you talk to them tell them that Bryan from the Home Movie Store referred you.
  • 0

#6 Michael McIntyre

Michael McIntyre
  • Sustaining Members
  • 96 posts
  • Other
  • Denver, Colorado

Posted 04 October 2006 - 01:28 AM

I'm not a rep or salesman and have no axe to grind but simply put, Sony has never let me down.

I have had weird issues with other brands that never surfaced with Sony tape.

Consistently, Sony has always proven best (for me) across the board.... DV, DVCam, BetaSP, DigiBeta, D2, D5, 3/4" even......

I actually almost typed Hi8 but couldn't bring myself to add that format to any list of any sort.

You truly do "get what you pay for".
  • 0

#7 Josh Bass

Josh Bass
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 552 posts
  • Other

Posted 04 October 2006 - 03:00 AM

Sometimes.


There's a store in town, I won't name names, let's just say it rhymes with "Pooston Camera Exchange", and paid $70 for a box of 5 tapes. 5 Panasonic DVC (that'd be the low grade) tapes. I had neglected to get them earlier, and it was the only place open I could find, and I needed 'em right there and then. So, yeah, that sucked.
  • 0

#8 Ryan McMackin

Ryan McMackin
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 28 posts
  • Student
  • Seattle

Posted 04 October 2006 - 03:10 AM

Regardless of what brand you choose, I've been told is that it's a good idea to stick with one tape manufacturer for a particular piece of equipment because of the differences in lubrications that the tape manufacturers use. It's my understanding that there are basically two types of lubrication; wet and dry. When mixed, these can cause build up in your camera or deck resulting drop-outs during recording and playback.

Maybe it's just clever marketing on behalf of the manufacturers...I don't know. What I do know is I've used only Panasonic's "Master Quality" tape stock in a DVX100 for more than a year and a half now and have had far fewer issues than ever before....

-Ryan
  • 0

#9 Michael McIntyre

Michael McIntyre
  • Sustaining Members
  • 96 posts
  • Other
  • Denver, Colorado

Posted 05 October 2006 - 03:04 AM

Stick with one tape manufacturer for a particular piece of equipment because of the differences in lubrications that the tape manufacturers use. It's my understanding that there are basically two types of lubrication; wet and dry. When mixed, these can cause build up in your camera or deck resulting drop-outs during recording and playback.
-Ryan


Very good point, Ryan. I'd heard about the same head / same stock before but not explained further.

I guess my Sony pitch still applies since I shoot Sony but I could see the need to match brands for other cameras.

I also feel Josh's pain thanks to those meanies at "Pooston Camera Exchange"....
  • 0

#10 Hal Smith

Hal Smith
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2280 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • OKC area

Posted 05 October 2006 - 08:14 AM

I guess my Sony pitch still applies since I shoot Sony but I could see the need to match brands for other cameras.
I also feel Josh's pain thanks to those meanies at "Pooston Camera Exchange"....

For miniDV I've been using Maxell with 100% reliability, but I always use fresh tape stored in an air conditioned environment. I've used that approach for audio tape over the years, never trust tape that's sat around in humid air for any length of time.
  • 0

#11 Sam Wells

Sam Wells
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1751 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 05 October 2006 - 09:42 AM

I always use fresh tape stored in an air conditioned environment. I've used that approach for audio tape over the years, never trust tape that's sat around in humid air for any length of time.


Yes, I think storage conditions are usually more important than brand.

(I still don't know about the DV tape - lube issue; I don't own a DV camera, when I've used them I just get what the owner says works..)

I've had a post house that likes Fuji tell me a glitch problem was my Sony tape (Beta, D-beta, etc)

And post house using Sony say the opposite :D

-Sam
  • 0


Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

Wooden Camera

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Opal

FJS International, LLC

Aerial Filmworks

Rig Wheels Passport

Metropolis Post

CineTape

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Glidecam

Technodolly

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport

Metropolis Post

Tai Audio

Glidecam

Broadcast Solutions Inc

rebotnix Technologies

Technodolly

Visual Products

Abel Cine

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

Ritter Battery

Wooden Camera

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineLab

CineTape

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Opal