MiniDV tapes - best quality? which brands?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by cb911, Sep 12, 2004.

  1. cb911 macrumors 601

    cb911

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2002
    Location:
    BrisVegas, Australia
    #1
    hi,

    i'm just wondering what brand MiniDV tapes are the best quality?

    i was at the store on the weekend, and had a look at some. there are some Panasonic tapes called "Linear Plus" for AU$8.99 a tape. then there were some Sony tapes for AU$22! :eek:

    what's the difference between those tapes? there must be a good reason that Sony tape is alot more expensive...

    oh yeah, this isn't really a Mac question, but i figure there must be alot of DV people over here. :)
     
  2. cb911 thread starter macrumors 601

    cb911

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2002
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    BrisVegas, Australia
    #2
    anyone out there know a bit about MiniDV tapes? anyone at all? :confused:

    if still no answers, i might check back on the weekend, probably everyone is too busy being the start of the week now. :p
     
  3. JLS macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2004
    Location:
    Kent, England
    #3
    Sony junk is always more. Go with a half decent name - like panasonic (which will only mean you get less chance of a defect) than a no-name with high fault tolerence standards.
     
  4. jrv3034 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2002
    #4
    From experience, and the advice of pro videographers over at www.dvinfo.net, I recommend the Panasonic MQ (Master Quality) tapes. Their official name is Panasonic AY-DVM63MQ.

    One thing to remember... Always use the same type of MiniDV tape. Meaning: Don't use Panasonic MQ tapes one day, Sony tapes the next, Fuji after that, etc. Each brand and model uses a different type of lubricant, which gets all over the heads of the camera by default. If you only use one type of tape, it's fine, but if you mix them up then the different lubricants combine and form this gunk all over the innards of your camera, which may cause dropped frames, static, and other defects in your recording. If you must use different brands, then run a head-cleaning tape for a couple of seconds before switching.


    Also, to avoid paying too much for tapes, go to www.taperesource.com

    Hope this helps!
     
  5. PeterBonnar macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2004
    Location:
    England
    #5
    I personnaly use Sony DVCAM tapes (chipped) but thats only cause work pays for them.

    But the above quote is very true do not mix and match tapes! it really can mess things up. We lost two cameras form this and they had to repaired at some cost
     
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #6
    This is why I'll always come here to ask about anything tech related, even if its not really Mac related. Good advice. :)
     
  7. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

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    #7
    I've also read in various places that with miniDV tapes you should record them all the way through once (even if you just leave the lense cap on) as it sets the timecode on the tape. Maybe somebody else can shed some more light on it.
     
  8. Rod Rod macrumors 68020

    Rod Rod

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    Sep 21, 2003
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    #8
    I used to use JVC brand tapes exclusively but I switched to Fuji. The JVC tapes were fine except I'd get a dropout in just about every tape. I was mostly lucky though because the dropouts occurred during non-critical moments. But instead of pressing my luck any further I changed over to Fuji.

    I have had zero problems with Fuji DVM60AME tapes.

    I used a couple of TDK tapes (the dark blue ones) and I had a dropout on one of them while a bride was entering the hall. After that I won't use TDK again. This is all on clean recording heads (I cleaned them before switching brands each time). My friends who swear by Panasonic MQ tapes haven't had any problems.

    I like www.totalmedia.com as my tape source.

    You need to do that if you're editing on a linear (tape-to-tape) system, and only for your program tapes (not your source tapes). As for your source tapes (the tapes you feed your camera), DV cameras lay down timecode along with the video signal, and any timecode already on the tape would be overwritten. In short it's a waste of time to lay black on your source tapes.

    It might be advisable to fast-forward and rewind through every tape you get, just to give your tape a little exercise and prevent any unwanted looseness or bunching up. I've read that advice somewhere but I haven't followed it. However, it makes a lot more sense to do this, compared to laying black / timecode on all your source tapes.

    It is a good thing to record all the way through and not rewind and playback in the middle of recording, so as to avoid timecode breaks. Timecode breaks are your enemy both in linear and nonlinear systems.
     
  9. Laslo Panaflex macrumors 65816

    Laslo Panaflex

    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Tokyo
    #9
    I 100% agree with jrv3034, I only use the panasonic tapes, and I get them from tape resources as well.

    I have one thing to add, DO NOT USE TDK TAPES!!! They will ruin your DV cam. They have some sort of crazy lubricant that just destroys DV cams, expecially consumer ones.
     
  10. pdpfilms macrumors 68020

    pdpfilms

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    Vermontana
    #10
    I do alot of DV filming, and also recommend the Panasonic Master tapes (AY-DVM63MQ). They're all I use, and I love them. I've found them for about $6 online, filmemporium.com. They've got awesome quality, and I've seen no degredation. Pretty good price too.

    It's not a bad idea. The only reason to do this is to eliminate timecorde breaks so that logging is easier. I tend to skip this step, and just record without reviewing footage, ensuring that there is never a break. There are no quality benefits (as far as i can tell) in pre-recording a tape.
     
  11. crees! macrumors 68000

    crees!

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    #11
    If you do not want to or don't have the time to record with the lens cap on over an entire blank tape then when you're done shooting what you're shooting put the lens cap on, while still recording, record for 10-20 seconds. This will achieve the same effect as recording over the entire tape and eliminating lost timecode.
     
  12. cb911 thread starter macrumors 601

    cb911

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2002
    Location:
    BrisVegas, Australia
    #12
    thank you all for your replys. very helpful. :)

    i think i'm going to go with Panasonic MQ (AYDVM63MQ), they seem to be very good quality tapes.

    and thanks for the links as well, i had a hard time finding any online MiniDV tape sources. but if anyone out there's got some more... i'd really appreciate a few links to Australian online stores.

    but if i do buy from overseas online stores, would there be any problems with the tapes being in shipping for a couple of weeks? i'm guessing that if they get bumped around a bit it's not going to hurt them like electronic goods?

    and what if i buy bulk tapes? would they keep in storage okay? what's the longest time you'd leave them stored before using them?

    about the timecode... yeah i'd have to agree, leave the tape running just a bit after you've shot what you wanted to. i didn't do that, and it just jammed FCP, couldn't quit it, and it ended up filling an enire 250GB HD. :eek:

    well thanks for any futher advice. :) i would have gone to DVfreelancer.com forums, but i knew that you guys here would know a bit about this stuff. :D
     
  13. crees! macrumors 68000

    crees!

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    #13
    I don't know too much about FCP but from my usage and problems as such with timecode I switch to iMovie to import the video I need, export, then import to FCP. Yes, it's a pain. I don't know any other way around with broken timecode in FCP but iMovie seems to ignore it for the benefit of the ordinary, unknowing family movie taker that's out there.
     
  14. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Los Angeles
    #14
    I use those Panasonic tapes too. I get them from Tapestockonline.com


    As another poster said, recording video would over-write the laid down timecode so you can still have timecode breaks. black & coding tapes would only be needed if you were doing linear editing.



    Lethal
     
  15. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

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    Sep 19, 2002
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    Los Angeles
    #15
    At a Best Buy, I found a multi-pack of Sony Mini-DV tapes (DVM60) for a price higher than other brands (sorry, I forget the price). Then I looked around some more in the store and found the same package priced a couple of dollars less than the others on another rack! Same exact product, but slightly different colors on the packaging, so it must have been from another batch. I bought the ones with the better price and got good tapes for a good price.
     
  16. PeterBonnar macrumors member

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    May 23, 2004
    Location:
    England
    #16
    I was getting some training the other day, on some new equipement. The lady teaching us ask why we use the expensive sony tapes and went on to explain the expense. Saying that the DVCAM tapes are supposed to be specially developed by Sony for better picture quality etc and so they charge more over a MiniDV tape, despite being cross compatable tapes. The BBC labs tested the sony tapes and said the only differnce was the price. I think she said the BBC recommended Panasonic tapes.

    In fact, you can buy the BBC's second hand tapes. I think you need to know the right peope to ask.... But some peopel swear by a tape thats been used before cause it takes the shine off it and it and they say gives a slightly better picture. (i think it's in the mind on that one)
    Another reason to look at second hand tapes, is that (if it a pro place) the tapes are blanked and checked. For each tape you buy you get a recipt which lists where any drop outs might occur, or any other oddities in the tape. Mainly in the fist 20 and last 20 seconds, cause of where the tape has been handled. But they also know if its been a bad batch with drop outs in minute 16 etc.
     
  17. cb911 thread starter macrumors 601

    cb911

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2002
    Location:
    BrisVegas, Australia
    #17
    i thought that DVCAM tapes were for... DVCAM's? but i can buy a DVCAM disk and use it in MiniDV camera?

    i've never thought of using second hand tapes before, but good point, i can see how some people might prefer it. :)

    well im going to have a look around Brisbane for somewhere that sells those Panasonic tapes. hopefully i'll find somewhere, or i'll order online.

    any thoughts about buying bulk? :confused: say i but 30 or 50 tapes, and store them, how long would they keep? they'd store alright, yes? i guess so because people store their footage on tapes...

    i don't think i could get any tapes from the BBC... maybe the ABC? :p
     
  18. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #18
    I use sony's I bought a few JVC's b/c they were on sale, and most of the tapes were defected......
    I heard about using tapes over that you should record over your old stuff with black (put the lens cap on and just let it record) why, i have no clue, i just use a new tape cause they aren't that expensive
     
  19. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #19
    Some people do buy DVCAM tapes and use them in MiniDV cameras because the DVCAM tapes are more robust (which is one reason they cost more).

    -Lethal
     
  20. pdpfilms macrumors 68020

    pdpfilms

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    Location:
    Vermontana
    #20
    I am guessing that storing for extended periods of time is totally fine. As I'm sure you're aware, they'd be safe from dust and even most light because of their cases. I have tapes that were recorded around 3 years ago, and they're all fine, looking as good as new.

    They'd get REALLY screwed up if you were to store them in a box made out of magnets however...
     

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