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Thread: Tape capacity

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    London, England

    Default Tape capacity

    Can someone tell me the capacity of a digital video tape?
    I believe these are about 1hr duration (presumably different playing times are available?) I want to Edit some tape-based footage... this will be converted to SDHC card ( which I can handle)...I don't have firewire, nor a working digital tape camera.
    If the footage last 1 hour, what size memory card will that need - I have a spare 4G (ie empty) - should I format it - somewhere I recall these cards are FAT16, not NTFS....

    I think the original was shot on a Z5 or Z1, will this make any difference - definately UK footage, so I presume there is some PAL in the tape, but I'd like to be better informed before I put this slice of an Epic into my PC.

    Are there any other issues I need to be aware of? - The colour balance is said to be OK, and I don't normally have colour issues which I can't correct... BTW I'm using Vegas Studio v10, which is probably more capable than I. + I Edit my own HD - but suspect the tape is nearer to SD, -but don't know the pixel numbers, sorry.
    Also, I read Colour Numbers like 4,4,2 and fail to understand their meaning - once the (better) colour is recorded on the tape does it remain there when transferred to a different digital format, so I won't notice it?

    PRO memory:
    On a slightly different tack, but not urgent at all (for my understanding, really). I see modern Pro-cameras with a strange Memory-cards (not like SDHC, or the other consumer memory variants).
    Are these just repackaged flash-memory (to extract a huge profit?), or is there something about them that isn't available in the Consumer memory modules, like (I'm guessing!) some parallel recording/play - to achieve faster "data-flow"?
    - - Of course larger memory-modules are more difficult to lose, and may have space to write the Job No. on . . . but then they could be replaced with an "Adaptor" - - - - I can't imagine Pros wouldn't - if they could.
    Last edited by vidmanners; 02-11-2012 at 05:25 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Blog Entries


    DV tapes are one hour in length. Some were manufactured to be 90 mins, and cameras also have the option of recording in LP mode, which increase the amount of footage available. According to this calculator Video Space Calculator - Digital Rebellion, you'll be looking at around 11 gb, so that means a 16gb card, however, this assumes that you maintain the original format, i.e the video is not transcoded.

  3. #3


    It's had to answer your questions with out much more specific info but here is a bit of general info that might help. The length or duration of the footage will depend on the run time of the tape this is very commonly 60 mins but you can get different ones like these examples. I don't know how you will be capturing and converting the footage or what format you will be ending up with so I don't know what size card you will need.

    If you have a look at THIS it might help you to understand what is meant by 4:4:2. Basically the more 4's you have equals the more colour information in the video. Whether you keep the info will depends on the way they the video is transformed from it's original to what ever you end up with. BUT at our level it's not usually and issue if it's 4:2:2 or 4:4:2 or what ever.

    One of my cameras has "strange memory cards" they are called P2 cards and they are, as you suggest, a set of cards put in some sort of parallel to enable you to records faster bit rates.

    Hope this help a bit.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    London, England


    Marc Peters: thanks I'll try to remember that calculator - looks like 10-12G for each tape=hour...

    Midnight Blue: As you can see from my imprecise ans above, I'm not (yet) clear what formats will be involved.
    That 4:4:2 link - yep a bit confusing right now, but I guess it's why pro gear footage looks better( and maybe the lens and Operator!).
    That P2 Memory link: - wow it's 20x the price I pay for Class-10 SDHC which is nearly 3x faster than my 1920x1080 50i camera demands (Class-4), so I'm wondering why two Class-10 cards couldn't be wired in parallel. ... just thinking..

    Many thanks all.

  5. #5


    so I'm wondering why two Class-10 cards couldn't be wired in parallel. ... just thinking..
    You and the rest of us P2 card users. I suppose in the day when the technology was introduced it was the best solution at the time. I like to think of the price of a P2 card as being part of the price of the camera which was reasonable for it's day.

  6. #6


    AN hour footage from a DV tape is 13Gb an hour as rule of thumb, it is an AVI file.

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