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Thread: Mini DV tapes?????

  1. #1

    Smile Mini DV tapes?????

    Hi everyone

    Just interested to find out what your opinion is on selecting Mini DV tapes?

    I have Panasonic NVGS400 in case you don't already know

    and have been using Panasonic tapes as I read once that you are best to use the same brand tape as the camcorder???

    I normally use the basic Panasonic DVC tapes about 1 each but recently bought some Panasonic AY-DVM63PQ better quality tapes about 2 a tape.

    Must admit I can't really tell the difference in fairness ??

    I remember reading somewhere that the better quality /more expensive tapes wont give better quality but are less likely to show faults??

    oh yea do you guys use a tape once and that's it or how many times can you safely re record over a tape before you notice deterioration ???

    Is it best to record with a lens cap on to produce a black recording if you are going to re record over a tape again or is one recording a tape the best way to go ???

    I make sure to store my tapes upright and fully rewound ...I also fast forward and rewind them ever 6 months.

    I have footage also stored on HD'S and DVD's just in case

    Just really interested to hear what you more experienced guys do or recommend with regards tape selection , re use and storage

    Cheers everyone

  2. #2


    I'm not saying you can't re-use your tapes. I just very rarely have. So I have no idea how many times you can re-use them.

    Keeping the original footage is my back up, back up. I have needed to us it on more than one occasion as it's just so easy to press the delete key or the back up copy you have can become corrupt or the hole hard disk can fail.

    I suppose it depends on how important you regard the stuff on the tape. For storing unrepeatable precious family moments or other important shoots, I would never consider taping over it. If it's just me messing about then I wouldn't mind re-using that tape.

    In my opinion you need a back up, back up and mini DV tape is an excellent medium to do this. At a pound or two per tape it's great value for this purpose.

  3. #3


    Thanks MB
    What about mini DV tape selection???
    Am I doing the right thing buying Panasonic tapes what tapes do you buy???

    Must admit I find it hard to tell the difference (quality of footage) between 1 and 2 tapes?????

    Gardening season is now in full swing so long days and tired at night not posting as frequently as before but not going anywhere !!!! Just in case you think I am a vanishing act !!!

    hoping to work on tweaks/recommendation on weekend (light testing video) if I am off !!!

    Will get results posted as soon as I can for you to see!!!

    Cheers MB

  4. #4


    I usually by known brand tapes like Panny and Sony. BUT that's not for any logical knowledgeable reason. It's just what is in the local tape shop. I don't know enough about the different brands.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    My understanding is this:

    Quality of tape
    All tape from a manufacturer are manufactured in much thicker bands and then split into the width required for MiniDV. Where manufactures offer "premium" (which they usually recommend for HDV), these are the slices cut from the middle of the original "wide" tape. The standard tapes are cut from the outside edges. So the tape is all the same material, same process etc. the difference is that those towards the edges are slightly more likely to have stretched or warped in teh manufacturing process (just think how the outside edges of flat elastic is always more misshapen than the middle.
    Now, exactly the same information is recorded digitally whatever tape you use - so there is no possible difference in the quality of the image recorded/played back.
    The difference is that there is a slightly greater chance of dropout on the standard tapes than the premium ones.
    For standard definition, this will almost certainly be unnoticable unless you are looking for it. Drop out on one frame causes a 1/25 second flicker in half the image (remember the image is made up of two fields - the odd and even lines)
    For HDV it is far more serious as the compression uses inter frame compression as well as intra frame compression - in other words the successfull decompression of one frame depends on other frames - only about one in 15 frames is complete, in its own right. Therefore a single dropout will potentially effect 15 frames - far more serious.
    I've never heardof real world example sof people shooting HDV suffering this problem with standard tape, but the Pros will tell you, if you're shooting someone's wedding, you don't run the risk dfor the sake of a few extra quid.

    Not mixing tapes
    Good idea. There was (is?) a problem with different manufacturers using different lubricants on the tape surface. These didn't always mix well. Obviously some residue gets left onthe tape transport mechanism and this is where they mix. Hearsay alert! I seem to recall being told one particular problem is where one manufacturer used a dry (powder?) based lube and another a slightly wet one and ths caused stuff to gunge up.

    I don't know how true or how serious any of this is, but as there's no reason not to buy the same brand of tape - it's always seemed a sensible precaution to take.

    I'#ve always used the standard Panasonic AY-DVM60FE and the only time I've exoerienced any dropout when capturing is when I was loading from a tape shot by someone else.

  6. #6


    Thanks MB

    Really helpful info Tim !!!!! Very interesting stuff thank you for explaining that for me
    Basically because I have the same camcorder as you if standard Panasonic AY-DVM60FE are good enough for you then they are definitely good enough for me

    Plus some good deals on those .....wonder how long before mini dv tapes are unavailable ?? hopefully not for a few years yet !!!

    Cheers guys

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