Which MiniDV Tape?

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Dan Wenz, Apr 24, 2006.

  1. Dan Wenz

    Dan Wenz Guest

    I need to stock up for a vacation trip in May, and I have a choice
    between Sony's DVM-60EX and DVM-60PR. The PR is cheaper, so I'm
    wondering whether there's any reason to buy the more expensive tape. Any
    comments, anyone, as to whether you can tell the difference on a non-HD TV?
    Dan Wenz, Apr 24, 2006
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  2. Dan Wenz

    PTravel Guest

    It's digital -- there's no difference in video quality. The concern is how
    well the tape will hold up to flaking, which results in drop out, and
    coercivity, which can effect archival characteristics.

    I'm strictly an amateur, but I always use Sony Excellence, rather than the
    less expensive formulation. I don't re-use tapes -- after they're recorded,
    I transfer the video to my computer and then the tapes get stored in a cool,
    dark, dry place. In the hundreds of hours that I've shot, I've never had a
    single drop-out.

    It all comes down to how important is your video to you. If you don't mind
    the possibility of a drop-out, or you don't intend to access the video you
    shot years, or even decades, down the road, then go with the cheap stuff
    (the Sony cheap stuff, that is). If you want to ensure that your video data
    is preserved, then go with the Excellence.
    PTravel, Apr 24, 2006
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  3. The difference is the risk of less drop-outs on the more expensive tape. So
    if you're fine with running the risk of maybe a drop-out on the cheaper
    tape, then buy them. And I say "maybe" because you don't have to suffer
    drop-outs on a cheaper tape.


    Never be afraid to try something new.
    Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark.
    A large group of professionals built the Titanic.

    Inviato da X-Privat.Org - Registrazione gratuita http://www.x-privat.org/join.php
    Martin Heffels, Apr 24, 2006
  4. Dan Wenz

    P.C. Ford Guest

    Thought I would add my $0.25.

    I've been using Panasonic tape in my PD 150. Panasonic is by far the
    most used tape by professionals here in Seattle.

    I recently took my camera to the repair shop to replace the heads. (My
    "partner" had put 750 hours on the drum and 4500 thread count by using
    the camera as a deck.)

    Anyway, the repair guy said that Sony tapes were best for Sony
    cameras. Kinda makes sense to me. He said the camera was set up to use
    Sony tapes and will work best with them. Certainly makes sense to me.
    I used Sony tape in the beginning but since everyone used Panasonic I
    started using it too.
    P.C. Ford, Apr 24, 2006
  5. Dan Wenz

    Dan Wenz Guest

    Thanks to responders! My camera's a Sony, so to Sony tape I'll stick.
    Might as well get the "better" tape. The tape I'd been using is/was
    DVM60, no dropouts as far as I recall (I don't reuse).
    Dan Wenz, Apr 24, 2006
  6. Dan Wenz

    mv Guest

    I don't buy that Mr. Ford. I have over 2,000 recorded miniDV tapes since
    1996 that have been particularly shot on four cameras, a VX1000, a
    PD150, a PD170 and a Z1, which equates to a lot more drum hours than
    that. 99% of it on basic consumer grade Panasonic tape and perhaps half
    of that in 'challenging' environments. Never had a single issue caused
    by either tape or head wear. In fact the 750 hours you mention should be
    well within the service life of PD150 heads. Early faults are usually
    due to some other issue than simple wear caused by tape abrasion, such
    as the ingress of foreign particles, moisture or misalignment due to
    knocks and bumps. Head wear is so much more tolerant with digital
    formats than it was for analogue. Some early miniDV cameras have
    literally thousands of drum hours without failing.

    There used to be an issue caused by differing tape lubricants, but all
    the tape manufactures have long since resolved that one, however
    archived tapes form the mid 90's should be treated with caution. All
    this gumph about Sony tapes being specially suited to Sony equipment is
    rubbish. It's just more marketing hype of the kind that asserts that
    spending 1,000% more on 'pro' branded tape will prevent drop outs, make
    the tapes last longer, increase ones I.Q. or make one especially
    attractive to women. It's DV or miniDV, a formally agreed multi brand
    standard defined by contractual intercompatability. I've heard some
    pretty daft assertions about why for example a Sony tape is better for a
    Sony camera, such as the camber on the tape is minutely different to fit
    a minutely differently cambered shaped head or the metal used on the
    head is especially formulated to maximise some subtly unique tape

    This is an industry where more faux expert misdirection exits than
    almost any other I've come across, nearly all of it traceable to
    misdirectors own investments or a compelling need to be top nerd. Which
    of course is me.
    mv, Apr 24, 2006
  7. Dan Wenz

    Steve King Guest

    In another thread I recently offered that I had my first occurance of drop
    out with Sony DVM60. On various cameras I've run through several hundred
    tapes over the past several years. My video editor (with his own shop) has
    had two or three occurances of drop outs among all his clients since he
    switched from a BetaSP/Avid facility to DVCAM and MiniDV on FCP. Another
    producer friend has had one occurance in four or five years, but it involved
    a scene with kids in a documentary for which there was no alternate scene.
    Would the incidence of drop out be less on "Excellence" tape. Hard to know.
    My friend switched to Excellence after his experience, and I think that I
    shall also switch for acquisition. No matter what, these few drop outs in
    so many rolls of tape is remarkable reliability.

    With analogue tape including BetaSP I was in the habit of checking all
    keeper shots to be sure there were no drop outs. I have gotten out of the
    habit, become complacent. I plan to do shot reviews more often, now.

    Steve King
    Steve King, Apr 24, 2006
  8. Dan Wenz

    Steve Guidry Guest

    There used to be an issue caused by differing tape lubricants, but all
    I don't think they're resolved that issue so thoroughly as you do . . .

    I got bit by that wet/dry issue last month : I had been using Maxell tapes
    exclusively in my JVC BR-DV6000 deck. I switched to Sony large shell tapes
    in order to get the longer record length for a concert. Well, there were
    LOTS of dropouts throughout the tapes - - 4 of them. After a thorough head
    cleaning, the problem disappeared.

    I probably won't do Sony again.

    Steve Guidry, Apr 24, 2006
  9. I have had no problems mixing Panasonic and Sony, but TDK after using them,
    clogged the heads immediatly for me. From reading here, YMMV.

    The OP already said he wouldn't mix, so all will be fine for him :)


    Never be afraid to try something new.
    Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark.
    A large group of professionals built the Titanic.

    Inviato da X-Privat.Org - Registrazione gratuita http://www.x-privat.org/join.php
    Martin Heffels, Apr 24, 2006
  10. "Steve Guidry" wrote ...
    That is my experience, also.
    And I have seen exactly the flip-side of that coin.
    I probably won't do Maxell again.

    The issue appears to be with the SWITCHING back and forth
    more than with which brand you STAY WITH.
    Richard Crowley, Apr 25, 2006
  11. mv wrote ...
    Which appears to completely support the notion that sticking with
    a particular brand of tape is far more important than exactly which
    brand (or even model) tape you stay with.
    Richard Crowley, Apr 25, 2006
  12. Dan Wenz

    Mr. Tapeguy Guest

    The tape is the same and the difference is a matter of the selection
    process. Depending on your budget, if you want to stick with Sony your
    best bet is to move up to either the Sony DVM-63HD or DVCAM PDVM-40N.
    Otherwise, you can buy Panasonic AY-DVM63PQ at a comparable price to
    the PR and get a much better tape. If you've been using Sony so far,
    run a head cleaner through your machine before switching.

    Mr. Tapeguy, Apr 25, 2006
  13. Dan Wenz

    Mr. Tapeguy Guest

    As per your experience, Panasonic is a better tape especially for the
    money. Some repair guys will parrot the typical Sony sales line and I
    know several others who will tell you that they get far more repair
    issues related to Sony tape than any other. You experience with
    Panasonic in your PD150 suggests that the repair guy may not know the
    full story. I certainly have heard otherwise. If he's going to talk
    about Sony cameras being "set up" for a specific 6mm ME tape as if
    there was some kind of different bias or something, I'd sure like to
    know what the engineering is.
    Mr. Tapeguy, Apr 25, 2006
  14. Dan Wenz

    Mr. Tapeguy Guest

    DVM60R is the same as DVM60PR3 is the same as DVM60PRL.

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it - but Panasonic PQ is a better tape.
    Mr. Tapeguy, Apr 25, 2006
  15. Dan Wenz

    Mr. Tapeguy Guest

    Were you using DVCAM or 120 / 180MEM consumer Sony?
    Mr. Tapeguy, Apr 25, 2006
  16. Dan Wenz

    Mr. Tapeguy Guest

    Only true if you fail to clean the heads.
    Mr. Tapeguy, Apr 25, 2006
  17. Dan Wenz

    P.C. Ford Guest

    You don't have to.

    Here's a few points.

    1. Regarding the "best" tape:

    I have read to
    a. buy Panasonic tape. Common around here.
    b. buy Sony tape for a Sony machine. (Recommended by independent
    repair shop.)
    c. always use the same brand of tape
    d. always mix tape brands. (Adam Wilt)

    Lots of opnions. Probably means that there is not a clear answer for
    this one. But I will use Sony from here on out.

    2, Regarding time on camera:

    As I mentioned, my "partner" had put 750 hours on the heads by using
    it to edit. Thread count was 4500. He has a G5 (with the 23" screen)
    but prefers to edit using two cameras. Does not want to learn to use
    the Mac. It is insane to use a camera like this. He will not be using
    the camera any more.

    Also, a cleaning tape was used frequently; repair shop suggested every
    100 hours.

    The repair shop guy said.... (Oh, by the way, this is a professional
    level shop, the television stations in Seattle and the University take
    their gear to this shop.) ...that a 150 head could fail anywhere
    between 350 and 2000 drum hours. My guess is that the heavy editing
    use caused a premature failure. I had dropouts on two tapes. He could
    not get drop outs in the shop. He said the only way he would guarantee
    that there would be no dropouts was to replace the heads. I have an
    important client that has people come in from all over the world to
    shoot. If there are drops, it is not possible to just come back on
    Thursday. It can take weeks or even months to reschedule a shoot.

    I realise that there are many opinions regarding this stuff. I have
    made my decision regarding head replacement and tape; I am happy with
    it. You may agree or disagree; I presume you will be happy with your
    P.C. Ford, Apr 25, 2006
  18. Dan Wenz

    Specs Guest

    Well, there's your problem.

    Any clog that can't be cleared with simply playing a normal tape through
    should be sent for head cleaning (its cheaper in the long run). The sale of
    head cleaning or should that be "head evaporating" tapes should be outlawed.

    Regarding tapes I have always help the philosophy that if one spends a
    considerable amount of money on a camera, operator, audio man then putting a
    cheap tape in to record seems foolhardy in the extreme.

    I got into the habit of using Sony premium tapes, no reason than they were
    the first brand I tried and just stuck with them because I've never had a
    problem with them. Why change?

    I know a technician at the local University and he tells me he sees very few
    tape problems and the cameras he looks after have every known brand shoved
    in them. The main problem is the students using the same tape time and time
    again which does cause the odd drop out. Beer or Tape? What do you think?
    Specs, Apr 25, 2006
  19. Dan Wenz

    Steve King Guest

    And I'd sure like to know what you mean by "better" referring to Panasonic
    vs. Sony tape. It may be, but without explanation your statement is

    Steve King
    Steve King, Apr 25, 2006
  20. Dan Wenz

    Steve King Guest


    Steve King
    Steve King, Apr 25, 2006
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