How soon will camcorders stop using tapes?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by Doctor Q, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #1
    With ever increasing flash storage cards, such as the 1GB Secure Digital (SD) card, the 2GB Memory Stick Pro, and the 4GB CompactFlash, there is enough capacity to consider flash storage for camcorders. I don't know the current capacities available in MultiMediaCard and SmartMedia formats, but they are all going up.

    I read that Sharp and SanDisk are now using 3D-SiP (a die-stacking process) to stuff more memory in the same form factor and that this technology (now in use for SD) is likely to spread to Memory Sticks and CompactFlash too. So they will continue to grow.

    With larger and larger capacity flash storage, camcorders could become more compact and avoid the mechanical requirements for use of tapes. At present prices and capacities, it's not irresistible yet - with 4GB you can only film 28 minutes of DV, and the 2GB Memory Stick Pro and 4GB CompactFlash each cost approximately $1000. But prices will drop and storage will grow.

    So, is this where we are headed, to tapeless camcorders for the masses?
     
  2. kgarner macrumors 68000

    kgarner

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    Utah
    #2
    Unfortunately, I think that before the media becomes affordable we will be switching to HD video (at least, I hope we can get an HD camcorder in the next 5 yrs) on the cameras and that will require even more memory. The other problem is that they would need to be very inexpensive to compete with tapes (~$7). I like to keep all of my video backed up on the tapes so if I need a clip later on I can get the original.

    Basically, before tapes end I see two things that must occur:
    1. VERY affordable media, and
    2. VERY affordable hard drives (this is getting there quick).

    I see Mini-DVDR replacing tape before solid-state media.
     
  3. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #3
    The thing is that tape is perfectly suited to video. Video is a serial medium. There is no real advantage to random access (especially whilst recording) so tape makes a lot of sense. Tapes are really cheap for the amount of storage. A 60 minute mini-dv tape is like £3. Until you can get enough storage for this (around 13GB!) I don't see tape going anywhere.
     
  4. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Los Angeles
    #4
    Tape isn't going any where any time soon (for reasons already stated).

    There are already prosumer level HD cameras and consumer level ones won't be too far behind, but don't expect "Hollywood" or broadcast quality HD. There are/will be many levels of HD quality just like there are many levels of SD (standard definetion) quality (VHS, DVD, DV, Betacam, Digibeta, etc.,.).

    robbieduncan, I have to disagree. There many advantages to going to solid state or HDD based solutions. 1. fewer moving parts (no more heads and transports) so less things to break and/or get dirty. 2. Tape is very sensitive to heat, cold, and humidity. 3. With tape you are limited to captureing video in real time, and if you have multiple captures points on the tape you have to wait for the deck to shuttle from one point to the next, que up, and the start capturing. 4. In the field you can check what you've shot and not have to worry about accidentally recording over footage because you forgot to que the tape up.

    Panasonic, I belive, is working on some tapeless cameras aimed at news shooters. I can't remember if they will use HDD or solid state media, but it will be enough to capture 28 or 30 minutes of video (the largest Betacam tape you can put in shoulder camera is 30 min so nothing is lost there). Because of the tight deadlines, and relative short amount of video used, news is really the only place that can justify the higher cost of going tapeless right now.

    EDIT: In regards to the Mini-DVDR's. IMO, they look like crap compared to DV (which has a much higher quality format than DVD).


    Lethal
     
  5. kgarner macrumors 68000

    kgarner

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    #5
    Agreed, but they don't have to record in DVD/MPEG2 format. They do for the "gee whiz" feature of playing it immediatley in a DVD player. The media could record DV format if the manufacturer wanted to. I still think tape is the better format for the time-being, just saying that I think Mini-DVDR will replace them before solid-state.
     
  6. aswitcher macrumors 603

    aswitcher

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    #6

    I agree with the others, whilst we will see a few harddrive cameras (1 out now) they are really prototypes and I dont think we can expect to see a decent reasonably priced unit with high quality until memory is even cheaper. Sure you could put an 80 gig harddrive in a camera, likely adding $400 US to the price, but then you have to consider camera weight, battery life, limitations to length captured by having to down to make camera available again, write speeds for cameras with larger ccds, expensive backup of raw footage etc (as mentioned by others).

    I am going to get a dv camera later this year and think it has a good 5-10 years in it as dv tapes won't vanish fast even when affordable harddisk or solid state machines become available.
     
  7. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #7

    I don't see optical media replacing tape unless it gets a huge boost in storage capacity. It's not just for convience that they record in the DVD MPEG-2 standard it's also because of the limited storage space the DVD offers. MiniDV is about 3-4 times the data rate of DVD quality MPEG-2. An hour of DV is around 13 gigs and those mini DVD-R's are only about 1.4 gig.


    Lethal
     
  8. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

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    #8
    That could be done with a transfer/archive step, i.e., you could use convenient but more expensive (solid-state flash media) storage while taking video in the field, then store it on cheaper (mechanical tape serial) storage when you get home. The camera would only need storage for one shooting session. Back at your desk, you transfer it to a videotape recorder peripheral, directly or though your computer.
     

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