HDV Tape Dropouts!

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by David Ruether, Oct 10, 2008.

  1. OK, here we go again... :-(

    Yes, I have occasional dropouts with Sony EX tape (a good $5-6
    per tape grade for Mini-DV) while shooting original HDV material,
    but I figure I can cut around them when necessary most of the time.
    And, yes I use a Sony cleaning tape more often than I would like
    for head safety. But today, while copying a video to three of the
    better grade tapes (about $10 a tape - and I now have $400 worth
    of this...), I had dropouts on two of the archive copies of this short
    ten minute video! YUCK!!! This is ridiculous. (I know that I will
    see the same responses I had after posting my first complaint about
    this, as in, "I've been shooting that tape for HDV for years without
    problems", "I've been using the $2.50 tape, no problems", "I've been
    mixing tape brands without dropouts", "Must be a bad batch of tape",
    etc... But, I'm REALLY tired of all the problems I've had with this!
    (Especially since I seem to be alone with having these very frustrating
    problems...) I just want to shoot and edit, without having to struggle
    with the medium - and at this point, THAT SHOULD NOT BE TOO
    MUCH TO ASK!!!
    David Ruether, Oct 10, 2008
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  2. The problem appears to track back to a bad batch of tape, with a 1 in 2
    chance of having the dropout between about 39:00 and 41:00 on the tape.
    The tape is beyond the return/exchange time for both the seller(s) and
    Sony, but fortunately I think I now know where on the tape the dropout
    is likely to occur, and the problem has occurred with the first batch of 10
    tapes, which are of a different batch number from the later batch of 30 I
    bought (also too old to return). Here's hoping the tapes in the second batch
    don't have problems...

    BTW, I would not regard Blu-ray as an archiving system (tapes last longer,
    and once recorded successfully, I have not seen problems develop later
    with playback). Also, stored (unused) hard drives are none too reliable
    either. While tape is subject to dropouts while recording, it is quite good
    afterward. For taping important things in Mini-DV (the same would work
    with HDV), I used to FireWire-connect a second cheap and small camcorder
    to the first for making a real-time backup. Chances are very small that both
    tapes would suffer a problem at exactly the same point, so if needed, the
    second could be put on another track in synch with the first and parts could
    be cut into the first when needed.
    David Ruether, Oct 11, 2008
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  3. The tape is your archived master, not the relatively impermanent disk
    (preferably at least two tape copies for safety...). There is also the matter
    of losses due to transcoding HDV to the disk format.
    I've had many HD failures, as likely have others here (both while in use
    and while in storage). They are good for "in process" use with editing, or
    for convenience for outputting tape copies or disks - although I do keep
    4 copies of everything on my active HDs, so I'm unlikely to lose them all
    at once...
    Not with multiple tape copies (checked for faults before being well-stored).
    You have named two that depend on dyes and/or gelatin. The others
    (memory cards and hard disks) have their problems, too. Tape isn't
    perfect, but it is OK if used carefully.
    David Ruether, Oct 12, 2008
  4. The advantage of flash is that you can, say after 20 years,
    read it in, then write it back, and it will be as new.
    Solid state is the future.
    Jan Panteltje, Oct 12, 2008
  5. What industry. Melting metal? ;-)
    You tape story is full of requirements for special precautions,
    I have plenty of floppies, VHS tapes, other tape stuff, that became
    useless because of fungus in moist climate.
    So you need very special air conditioned storage.
    Flash will just work.
    And hard disks as storage medium will work too.
    Same for optical media.
    Tape is the worst of all, and should be abandoned.
    Jan Panteltje, Oct 12, 2008
  6. Well, I would like to know what company that is, so I can avoid them :)
    You must be aware that much of todays electronics uses code in flash,
    say many micro controllers, you find those in anything from your microwave
    to your mouse, to toys, to DVD players to PCs.
    And those will simply work for 10 years or more.
    One micro controller manufacturer now talks about 100 year data retention
    for flash, at normal temperatures.

    mm, I have a lot of tapes stored there too.

    Say 10 years minimum.

    I use Seagate, no failures yet, also when on 24/7.

    As to optical disks, sure, I only use Verbatim.
    If you buy the stuff in the supermarket that is indeed a bit cheaper,
    then you may lose your data in less then a year.
    Even had TDK CDs with fungus (spots in it, returned some of those).
    That company just seems to buy wherever they can get cheap.
    So, as with cameras, quality matters.
    So far I have zero problems with Verbatim.

    I do not care about what the -masses- say.
    The masses also invested in the safe US stock market, and now lost half their life savings.

    Do you REALLY think that if flash was so erratic that all those electronics gadgets would work,
    from cellphones to mp3 players?
    It is one of the most reliable things there is.

    See, that is a false statement,
    'Playable' means full of dropouts if it still moves at all, right ;-)????

    Oh, 4, 5 years, perhaps more often, one should copy the digital stuff,
    but that makes sense as the storage media sizes will increase, so your 1000 CDs become
    140 DVDs and then 50 Blu-Rays, decreasing physical storage size.
    What is next? Extrapolate the curve for FLASH and be amazed.
    Jan Panteltje, Oct 13, 2008
  7. Maybe you do not know it, but in embedded application *including you camera likely*
    a single bit error will crash the program or read wrong data and cause big havoc
    (a singe bit used a flag would already cause a jump to where-ever - the wrong code).
    This does not normally happen, your gadgets keep doing what the program dictates.

    So maybe if you are so worried about flash memory, you should write to Sony and Canon
    to replace their FLASH based embedded hardware as soon as possible by:
    ???? TAPES?????

    ROM, OK that would work, no firmware upgrades anymore though.

    Core memory, yes that would be cosmic ray proof too,
    was used in the old spacecrafts (Apollo),
    but your camera would be heavy, need a few trucks.

    In the end, it seems to me, that in multimedia streams in flash we can add correction bits,
    making it repairing lots of errors, bad sector maintenance like any hard disk has, etc.

    There are only advantages, somebody else mentioned the mechanical stuff you will no longer need.
    Then there is the fact that if I drop a memory card or stick it does not make any difference,
    even if it lands in the water, just wipe it off.
    Then there is the issue of size and weight, and the issue of absence of any gyroscopic effect
    when shooting.
    There is the issue of dust, flash does not care, and the drop-outs mentioned.
    Moisture, condensation (got me a couple of times, recorder had been in a truck outside at night,
    brought it in, no way would it work).

    etc etc.

    Have fun.
    Jan Panteltje, Oct 13, 2008
  8. "Current Flash chips are estimated to have a useful lifetime
    of around a decade for most applications."

    "around a decade" is not my definition of "archival" YMMV

    OTOH, the cited article DOES say that a new type of Flash
    memory made the news a couple months ago which has the
    promise of archival life expectancy. But it will likely be "around
    a decade" before the price of this new type of Flash is attractive
    as an archival medium for consumers.
    Richard Crowley, Oct 13, 2008
  9. Nice, yes very high density FLASH has more problems.
    For archive the re-write limit of a couple of thousand is not a problem,
    if you read the flash, and then write it back once every 10 years (or say 5)
    it will be OK again, and you can do that 10000 times at least with current flash,
    makes it usable for 100k years, but humans, if still present by then,
    will likely want to copy to some more advanced medium before that :)

    I just hope they do not make memory cards smaller then they are now.
    Jan Panteltje, Oct 13, 2008
  10. There are a great many more failure modes than just loss of
    signal charge in the cells. The "lifetime" refers to the chip itself,
    not the data stored in the chip.
    Richard Crowley, Oct 14, 2008
  11. Sure, but I have not seen a 'lifetime' spec from any FLASH manufacturer yet.
    Of course the above example of 100k years is a bit extreme, but I also
    pointed out that one should copy every 5 years or so, and then likely to a medium
    of bigger size, as those will then exist.
    Not so long ago I had 32 MB cards in my DMP100 mp3 player (say before year 2000?).
    Today they talk about 32 GB cards:
    In January 2008 Sandisk announced availability of their 12GB MicroSDHC and 32GB SDHC Plus cards.
    <end quote>
    So, say a factor 1000 in 10 years? MORE then Moores law!
    If that was to continue, then in 2020 we should have 32 Tera byte cards.
    Now I am not betting on that, but it would be nice :)
    Jan Panteltje, Oct 14, 2008
  12. David Ruether

    Mr. Tapeguy Guest

    Well this will be partially solved with the disappearance of the Sony
    EX, an overpriced consumer tape. Still, you shouldn't have had this
    problem on the HDV tapes but I have some better recommendations for
    you. The new Sony HDM63VG is less expensive than the EX and 63HD and
    it's a professional product and better tape. When you have a defect
    we can get it sent back to the factory for evaluation. For REALLY
    critical stuff you might want to try DVCAM or the Digital Master.
    More expensive, yes. Completely infallible, no -- but far less likely
    to have a problem statistically. Panasonic has better options as


    <A href="http://www.pro-tape.com">Pro-Tape Systems</a>

    Mr. Tapeguy, Oct 16, 2008
  13. David Ruether

    ushere Guest

    don't know what to say - been shooting cheap sony tapes for 10yrs and
    have very rarely ever had a drop out. (pd 150 > 170 > v1p)

    tapes used once > dumped to pc > shelved for archive.

    ushere, Oct 16, 2008
  14. Unless you know what to look for, unless the subject is not in
    motion in the small area of a frame where a dropout occurs, if
    you are shooting D25 (Mini-DV/DVCam), and if you are not
    sensitive to the fleeting small defect in part of a single a frame, you
    will be unlikely to see dropouts with cameras like the PD150. I
    am sensitive to these minor errors with Mini-DV, and with Sony
    EX tape, I had an average of tiny part of one frame showing a
    slight problem (but not a "show stopper") only with maybe one
    tape out of 5 or 6. Mini-DV error correction is excellent, and the
    effects of dropouts are minor. With HDV, though, any dropout
    will cause a picture freeze of about a half second(!), VERY hard
    to miss, with the audio dropped - but during editing, if the bad
    frame can be edited out easily (if it comes near to a scene change,
    for instance), all will be well with the rest of the footage in the area
    of the dropout. BTW, I have never had problems with repeated
    plays of Mini-DV or even HDV tapes if it has been successfully
    recorded without defects in the first place.
    David Ruether, Oct 16, 2008
  15. Well this will be partially solved with the disappearance of the Sony
    EX, an overpriced consumer tape. Still, you shouldn't have had this
    problem on the HDV tapes but I have some better recommendations for
    you. The new Sony HDM63VG is less expensive than the EX and 63HD and
    it's a professional product and better tape. When you have a defect
    we can get it sent back to the factory for evaluation. For REALLY
    critical stuff you might want to try DVCAM or the Digital Master.
    More expensive, yes. Completely infallible, no -- but far less likely
    to have a problem statistically. Panasonic has better options as




    Thanks for the info and advice.
    David Ruether, Oct 16, 2008
  16. David Ruether

    Mr. Tapeguy Guest

    True. In analog, dropout was a "flick" that could be almost
    unnoticeable. Digital dropouts are nastier screen-dominating
    pixelated messes but high-definition digital takes the cake. AND once
    you've passed the capabilities of the camera or playback decks error-
    correction capabilities you know it has to be bad. All I can say
    ushere is you have been VERY fortunate.


    Mr. Tapeguy, Oct 19, 2008
  17. David Ruether


    Oct 20, 2008
    Likes Received:
    have a nice day

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    chalee, Oct 30, 2008
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