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Do Tapes lose Quality?


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#1 Tyler Leisher

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 01:51 PM

So I bought a MiniDV camera, with two tapes and a USB 2.0 cable to transfer to my computer for editing. My plan is to record on the tapes, transfer to my computer then record over the tapes so I wont have to buy new tapes everytime I need an hour more footage time.

My question is, do tapes lose quality if you record over them over and over again?
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 03:09 PM

Tapes do suffer a small amount of wear and can stretch a bit when you leave the camera in stand by. Some broadcasters reuse Betacam tapes for news, but for a only limited number of reuses (often about 5 times). Because MiniDV isn't the most robust of formats you'll be increasing the chances of drop out by reusing the tape. So, if you're planning to do this, I'd limit the number of reuses.

I wouldn't reuse tapes to shoot important material.
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#3 Frank Barrera

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 05:15 PM

No No No. I repeat: No No No. Do NOT reuse your mini DV tapes. Mini DV tapes are not a professional grade format. They do drop out and they do not take much abuse. And you can find them online for about $3 a piece for 60 minutes. It just doesn't make sense to reuse these things. If you are shooting material that you think is total garbage then I don't see why you'd be capturing it on to your computer in the first place. But let's say you do shoot something and then capture it onto your computer and then record over the camera original tape. Guess what: your computer is more prone to mistakes than your tape stock and you will run into a situation where you will want to re capture material and if you don't have the original tape.... Those tapes are your masters and that's just the way it is.

There are lots of places that a starting out filmmaker can save money but re using mini dv tapes is not one of them.
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#4 Tyler Leisher

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 06:24 PM

So, don't reuse it all to save quality and to save the masters for the future in case something goes wrong.

Correct? Thanks for the advice.

If you could link me to a place that sells tapes for 3$ for an hour I'd appreciate it, I bought mine from Best Buy for $10 for 2.
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#5 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 07:52 PM

So, don't reuse it all to save quality and to save the masters for the future in case something goes wrong.

Correct? Thanks for the advice.

If you could link me to a place that sells tapes for 3$ for an hour I'd appreciate it, I bought mine from Best Buy for $10 for 2.



Check out edgewisemedia.com they have panasonic minidv's for as little as 2.60 ish per tape in quantity. i would, however, strongly recommend spending that 4 or 5 bucks you are currently spending by getting pro grade tapes which seem to be less prone to dropout which plagues dv when reused (and sometimes when fresh)

-Rob-
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#6 Frank Barrera

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 08:03 PM

Correct?

Correct.

Here's a link to B & H Photo for cheap tape.

They come in boxes of 5 or 10. You should just get a box. It probably wouldn't hurt to spend a couple of extra bucks per box for a little better quality. You always get what you pay for. And you should become familiar with B & H; they are probably the cheapest for everything you might need production wise.

good luck

Edited by Frank Barrera, 15 January 2007 - 08:05 PM.

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#7 Tyler Leisher

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 02:00 AM

Correct.

Here's a link to B & H Photo for cheap tape.

They come in boxes of 5 or 10. You should just get a box. It probably wouldn't hurt to spend a couple of extra bucks per box for a little better quality. You always get what you pay for. And you should become familiar with B & H; they are probably the cheapest for everything you might need production wise.

good luck


Is B & H the highest quality in tapes possible, or is there another place where I could buy them for 1-2 dollars more for higher quality?
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#8 Frank Barrera

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 03:04 AM

Here is all the tape at B & H.
Or just do a Google search for Mini Dv tape and do some comparative shopping.
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#9 Nate Downes

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 09:05 AM

Do not use USB for video transfers. While the bandwidth isn't bad, the CPU overhead can, and likely will result in a lot of dropped frames. Use an IEEE 1394 link, aka Firewire or iLink.
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#10 Nicholas Jenkins

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 11:36 AM

So, don't reuse it all to save quality and to save the masters for the future in case something goes wrong.

Correct? Thanks for the advice.

If you could link me to a place that sells tapes for 3$ for an hour I'd appreciate it, I bought mine from Best Buy for $10 for 2.


I never recommend Best Buy for tapes. At least the one here in Missoula is overpriced. I've found good deals at Target actually. But tapestock.com should have some decent prices as well. B)
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