why do professional cameras still use dv tape

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Brian, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. Brian

    Brian Guest

    I was taking a look at some Sony professional cameras to find out what
    features professional cameras have and was surprised to learn that they
    still use DV Tape rather than flash memory.
    Is there a reason for this?
    Brian, Feb 15, 2012
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  2. Brian

    ushere Guest

    i shoot for abc tv rural, and a number of other clients around the
    country. they ALL DEMAND tape.

    until broadband gets bandwidth / cost affordability reasonable, and / or
    cards become as cheap as chips, tape is the easiest, most reliable,
    archival format available.
    ushere, Feb 15, 2012
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  3. What "ushere" said, plus at least one prosumer Sony camera
    can shoot the HDV format to both a card and a Mini-DV tape.
    Too bad the card version of HDV didn't appear earlier and
    more commonly - it has the ENORMOUS advantage of being FAR
    easier to edit efficiently than high data-rate MP4 formats.
    28Mbps 1920x1080-60P AVCHD or 100-140Mbps 1920x1080-60I may
    look better than 25Mbps 1440x1080-60I HDV, but it is FAR more
    difficult to edit and it requires considerable hardware and
    software "horsepower" to do it, so HDV still serves a purpose
    when editing resources are more limited (which they are for
    many with limited finances).
    David Ruether, Feb 15, 2012
  4. Brian

    Mxsmanic Guest

    Inertia and a certain degree of snootiness. While DV is better than AVCHD,
    it's often hard to tell the difference ... especially after all the other
    post-production that the video goes through.
    Mxsmanic, Feb 15, 2012
  5. Brian

    Mxsmanic Guest

    Well, some ad agencies used to demand 6x6 for still photography, and that was
    just as useless, since no magazine could do justice to 6x6, anyway. And
    digital broadcast after compression isn't likely to show much difference
    between tape and memory cards, either.
    Mxsmanic, Feb 15, 2012
  6. HUH??? SD Mini-DV footage is by no means, under ANY circumstances,
    better than good-quality HD AVCHD material (the former format's
    flaws are legion: see --
    http://www.donferrario.com/ruether/vid_pict_characts.htm ), and
    HD HDV material can be quite good, but beaten by the very best
    AVCHD material (although HDV handily beats "AVCHD-Lite" material).
    David Ruether, Feb 15, 2012
  7. Brian

    Mxsmanic Guest

    I'll take your word for it. I haven't used DV at all. Some have told me that
    DV is supposed to be better. Since I consider anything using tape to be
    obsolete (at least for my purposes), I haven't looked into it.

    Frankly, I'm tired of storage methods that require moving parts on devices
    that are themselves portable and moving. It's just too much trouble.
    Mxsmanic, Feb 15, 2012
  8. Brian

    Chuck Guest

    We send out spots to two different relatively decent sized markets and there
    is at least one TV station in each that still demands tape... well one of
    those will take digital formats archived on flash drives or DVDs but they
    charge you extra. Of course these are the stations that have yet to make the
    conversion to HD....
    Chuck, Feb 15, 2012
  9. In the days of SD, Beta-SP was used for pro work, and while it was
    relatively free of the many image flaws that Mini-DV was subject
    to (and it was as a result much more pleasant to view), it was of
    slightly lower resolution than Mini-DV, and it did not hold up as
    well as Mini-DV did to multiple generations of copying. SVHS was
    the next quality level down, and regular VHS was below that. Ugh!;-)

    Then you have missed easy archiving and easy editing (and also the
    occasional dropout...;-).

    Tsk, tsk, tsk...;-)
    I'm still amazed by how many advertisers waste their money and
    time with SD ads, since the production costs for HD should be
    similar these days, and HD (if necessary) can be "dumbed down"
    for SD presentation, if necessary...
    David Ruether, Feb 15, 2012
  10. Brian

    Steve King Guest

    It is a matter of perspective. If one is making videos for one's own
    amusement, documenting family life, and recording the occasional school
    concert a certain set of criteria might likely apply, simplicity and light
    weight falling high on the list I imagine. However, if one is making a
    living in video, the tools requirements become much different. Shoulder
    mount cameras, expensive lenses and lens accessories, tri-pods with heads
    smooth as silk, thousand dollar plus microphones, audio mixers and external
    recorders, and a truckload of lighting kit is not only NOT too much trouble
    it may be the price of admission for maintaining an ongoing business. And,
    like Chuck said, depending on one's client list one camera may not be
    enough. I have clients who still want digital beta; others who prefer P2
    cards, and others who are still quite content with DV. I consider each of
    these clients to be making pretty rational decsions on format based on their
    individual needs and archiving practices. So, to say something is 'too much
    trouble' without qualifying the statement suggests to me a very limited
    experience with video production. I mean no disrespect. If one hasn't
    experienced a film or video shoot with a crew of five, or ten, or more
    skilled people, one probably can't imagine why in the world anyone would
    need that many people or that much equipment. But, when the script says,
    "Travelling Shot. Jack appears out of the fog, pauses under a street lamp
    to light a cigarette....." Give me as many people as the budget will allow,
    four or five prime lenses, a truck-load of dolly track, and another truck
    load of lights, and crank up the gennie. It's all a matter of perspective.
    Horses for courses. And, generalities usually don't apply.

    Steve King
    Steve King, Feb 15, 2012
  11. Brian

    ushere Guest

    well said....
    ushere, Feb 15, 2012
  12. Brian

    Brian Guest

    Thanks for your replies.

    I can see more disadvantages in using tape compared to using flash memory
    (sdhd memory card and memory built into the camera.

    Disadvantages of using tape (such as DV tape)
    Battery length is shorter as it has to power the motor for the tape.
    A problem when reviewing what you have recorded and want the tape to move
    forward to the place where you last recorded.
    You need to rewind the tape to view the first shot.
    You can accidentally record over a recorded tape.
    Tape can get tangled.
    Tape can be distorted if near a magnetic field.
    Tape has a limited recording length.
    Tape can wore out if used many times.
    Tape is slower to change than plugging in an Sd card.
    There is no indexing so finding a certain scene can take time.
    More moving parts in the camera to wear out.
    You need to rewind the tape each time you want view what you have recorded
    You can't delete certain scenes from he tape and leave the wanted scenes
    undeleted if you run short of recording time.
    You can't split a scene to delete a small part of the scene in the camera.
    You can't protect certain scenes from being accidentally deleted.
    There is a longer delay before you can record as the tape needs to load and
    get up to speed.
    Drop outs can occur when using tape.

    Well there seems to be a lot of disadvantages when using tape as a video
    recording media.

    I have been using mini DV tape for 10 years and have recently upgraded to a
    flash memory camera. I am enjoying the advantages of flash memory.
    Brian, Feb 16, 2012
  13. Brian

    ushere Guest

    if you have to worry about battery life you're using the wrong batteries.
    i have never 'reviewed' what i've shot in camera.
    ditto card - and the record tabs on tape are very easy to lock.
    only if you don't maintain your equipment
    cards are subject to electrostatic shorts
    ditto card
    ditto cards - and who the hell uses tapes more than once!?
    a new slant on run 'n' gun?
    boy, you have to be a pretty average cameraman to have to need to review
    what you've shot.
    bad planning
    well, if you want to edit in camera....
    never mind framing the shot, just press record....
    wait till you get a duff card
    served many people very well for a very long time. maybe that time has
    passed, but tell that to broadcasters and major corporations
    me too. but i still shoot tape at the same time. never look at it but
    instant archiving.
    ushere, Feb 16, 2012
  14. Brian

    Mxsmanic Guest

    Yes, although that is less and less true nowadays.

    One of the side effects of advancing audio and video technology is that it is
    highly democratizing, allowing even parties with tiny budgets to produce
    results that are comparable to what used to cost huge amounts of money.

    The net effect is that ultimately talent and technique are what separate the
    pros from the amateurs, rather than how much money they've spent on equipment.

    Anyway, moving parts are just as much of a problem for the pros with big
    budgets as they are for anyone else. There are inherent risks in having a
    slanted head spinning on contact with a thin strip of tape continuously.
    Dropouts and jammed tapes can ruin anyone's production, no matter how much
    money is being spent on it. I'm not sure why pros would stick with tape
    insofar as they can obtain comparable results with non-moving media.
    I don't currently do video production for money, so my only metric is the
    amount I must spend to produce something, keeping in mind that it's always a
    100% loss (none of the cost will ever be recovered).
    I've experienced it. Some productions require it, some don't. When you a large
    budget, you also have a tendency to end up with lots of people standing
    around. This is especially true if it's a union production.
    Why? Who is going to see the difference in the final result? Will there even
    be a difference? If you replace all that track with a Steadicam and a good
    operator, what do you lose? If you replace the primes with a single zoom, who
    notices? And do you really need to light the set like a stadium?

    Blowing through huge sums of money just because your producer has given you
    huge sums of money isn't a guarantee of a quality result.
    Mxsmanic, Feb 16, 2012
  15. Brian

    Brian Guest

    If you have an important scene or recorded something while on holiday then
    its a good idea to check to make sure you have a good recording else it may
    not be possible to record it again.
    The common mistake is in thinking that the camera is recording when you
    still have the camera in standby mode.
    If the card is full then you need to delete recordings on a card before you
    can record on the card. I have heard of cases where people had forgotten
    that they had recorded to a tape and have overwritten valuable recordings.
    The record tabs is a good idea but if you have forgotten the you had
    rewinded the tape and want to add more recording to the tape then it's
    goodbye to current recordings on the tape.
    But this is rare.
    I get one hour of recording on a tape in standard recording mode but I can
    record for several hours on an SDHC card.
    It gets expensive to have to buy tapes if you use them once.
    Some camera allow you find a scene by the date. So scenes are grouped
    together by the date they were recorded.
    Good we agree on something
    Most people are keen to watch what they had recorded at the end of the day
    on a TV.
    Some cameras allow you to select a scene and mark it protected.
    I have lost a few great shots because the camera was too slow starting up.
    By the time the camera was recording the moment was over.
    There should not br any problems with a well known card brand. I have had
    drop outs when recording on tape at LP speed.
    Equipment is expensive to upgrade so I can understand not wanting to
    upgrade to the latest camera if the current tape camera is still working
    There are some advantages in using tapes such as the cost of tape is cheap
    compared to the cost of fast SDHD cards.

    There are some disadvantages in using cards
    A common disadvantage with cards is that they are so small that they can be
    lost. If you accidentally drop a card they are hard to find.
    Cards are too small to write titles on.
    They are expensive buy.
    Cards from unknown manufactures may not hold the full capacity stated on
    the card.

    Two more disadvantage in using tape is that you can't plug the tape into a
    computer or some other playback device. It takes longer to transfer the
    recording as it is done in real time.

    Thanks for your reply ushere. I have written a few comments between your
    text above.
    Brian, Feb 16, 2012
  16. Brian

    Brian Guest

    An experienced video photographer can make a great video with a simple
    camera and a amateur can make a dull video using the latest high tech
    The old saying is "if I owned a expensive camera then I could make great
    movies" is not true.
    However many special effects that were expensive to make in movies can be
    made with todays software for the home user.
    Brian, Feb 16, 2012
  17. Ummm...., tell me about it...:-(
    I was following two blue herons with the video camera (they are
    large birds that resemble pterodactyls, and they are surprisingly
    common [but shy] here) as they unexpectedly flew very low directly
    over where I was standing. I quickly "started" recording, only to
    (UGH!!!!!!!!!) discover later that I had instead stopped recording!
    Ugh, ugh, ugh, ugh, DARN!!!!! (I'm substituting "polite" words for
    the originals...)
    David Ruether, Feb 16, 2012
  18. Brian

    Steve King Guest

    An unfortunate mistake that is totally independent of recording medium.

    Steve King
    Steve King, Feb 16, 2012
  19. Brian

    Steve King Guest

    Inertia, I believe. Some operations, including many broadcast stations,
    still live in a tape world. Those of us who supply program material to them
    have to supply what they want to buy. Of course, this is becoming less and
    less true.

    Archiving is a big fear for many. Tape is what is used to archive almost
    all the financial records of the world, even today. Video tapes from 50
    years ago still play. Data stored on hard drives has to be refreshed, which
    requires maintaining a backup schedule. Data on cards? No one is certain
    what the decades long ramifications of data maintenance are.
    It might seem that way, and sometimes it is. However, if you have thousands
    of dollars of celebrity talent on the set a few extra bodies at $400 per day
    are insignificant compared to the overtime or reshoot issues if something
    goes wrong. My point... it all depends.
    I will. Usually, my client will.

    Will there even be a difference?


    If you replace all that track with a Steadicam and a good
    Depends on the precision and complexity of the move. Sometimes nothing.
    Sometimes a steady cam simply can't do what a dolly shot can do.

    If you replace the primes with a single zoom, who
    Often low key lighting takes longer than 'light(ing) the set like a
    True. However, in my world production considerations determine budget, not
    the other way around. Sometimes I go out with a camera alone. Sometimes
    with a crew of two. Sometimes with a larger crew and more technical
    resources. It depends. You seem to have a very narrow view of how things
    should be done. But, maybe I am misinterpreting what you say. I have a
    whole different view of making video if I'm taking pictures of a family
    vacation, or Christmas morning, or of my dog playing with my grandchildren,
    a view much like yours, than I do of my professional work.

    Why do you seem to believe that the professionals who comment in this
    newsgroup don't know what they are doing? And, that you know better how
    they should conduct their business? Amazing.

    Steve King
    Steve King, Feb 16, 2012
  20. That, in fact, is how I bolixed my separate sound channel on that
    first-in-years documentary project (which was entirely experimental so
    it doesn't "matter", but sheesh).

    I think I have a clearer idea of *which* red light on the sound recorder
    means it's recording now. Also, I have reserved a special spot in hell
    for the designer who thought a red light in a prominent location was a
    good way to indicate something *other* than "recording".
    David Dyer-Bennet, Feb 16, 2012
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