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A former member
james2001 posted:
I'm also looking to get a new camcorder after Xmas. Not that there's really anything wrong with my current one (it's a cheap JVC VHS-C model) but after using my cousin's Hi-8 over the summer, I want oent hat has some of the functionality that her camcorder has (including 16:9- the model I'm looking at does actally have extra picture on the sides on 16:9 mode, rather than most (including my cousin's) which just cut off the top & bottom of the 4:3 picture, meaning it is blurred & pixellated). Though I am looking at Digital 8 as well as Hi-8, I'm not aure as one of the things I'm looking for is the ability to paly back my aunt's old 8mm tapes (she used to follow us around with it everywhere, yet we never saw the tapes. She has a box full of them, but her camcorder broke in 1997 and she never bought a new one, so we can't play them) but I'm not sure if all Digital 8 models can do this- I know some can, and I know Hi-8 ones can as well.


Hi-8 is awful. You get awful tape interference in many cases, as shown in my first post. Get a digital camera. They are the technology of the future!
andyrew147 posts since 29 Apr 2001
You still get picture break-up on digital camcorders, mini DV particularly in LP mode (Digital8 the same I suspect). No format is perfect (I have had too many DigiBeta's clogging on TX to realise this), if a tape/head clogs or mistracks you are going to lose data, and even with the best error correction in the world, you are not going to get back what isn't there!

*

grab from my camcorder, dropout quite evident

Don't get me wrong, I have had my mini DV camcorder for over five years and it is fantastic, but don't be fooled into thinking it's perfect..... you need to look after it to get good results. Plus you can stick a firewire card in your PC and edit away with wearing out the tape or camcorder heads.
noggin14,455 posts since 26 Jun 2001
andyrew posted:
You still get picture break-up on digital camcorders, mini DV particularly in LP mode (Digital8 the same I suspect). No format is perfect (I have had too many DigiBeta's clogging on TX to realise this), if a tape/head clogs or mistracks you are going to lose data, and even with the best error correction in the world, you are not going to get back what isn't there!

*

grab from my camcorder, dropout quite evident

Don't get me wrong, I have had my mini DV camcorder for over five years and it is fantastic, but don't be fooled into thinking it's perfect..... you need to look after it to get good results. Plus you can stick a firewire card in your PC and edit away with wearing out the tape or camcorder heads.


Yep - whilst analogue tape formats suffer interference and drop outs gracefully - digital formats really do die pretty effectively when they fail.

That said I remember the launch demo of the DigiBeta format where they disconnected one set of heads, to demonstrate how robust it was. (Though it is so robust people don't maintain them - and wait for them to fail these days...)

As for MiniDV LP - ISTR that this runs at the same video data rate as SP, though with reduced audio capabilities, but runs the tape slower and reduces the guardbands between tracks. This means that although the picture quality is identical - the recording is far less robust (as it is squeezed onto less magnetic tape) - and much less compatible with insert editing.
A former member
Thank you for the information, I've got to start looking after my cameras - I've dropped them too many times!

andyrew posted:
Plus you can stick a firewire card in your PC and edit away with wearing out the tape or camcorder heads.


Do you mean that editing with firewire does damage it, or doesn't ?
Davidjb1,510 posts since 23 Mar 2001
andyrew posted:
You still get picture break-up on digital camcorders, mini DV particularly in LP mode (Digital8 the same I suspect). No format is perfect (I have had too many DigiBeta's clogging on TX to realise this), if a tape/head clogs or mistracks you are going to lose data, and even with the best error correction in the world, you are not going to get back what isn't there!

*

grab from my camcorder, dropout quite evident

Don't get me wrong, I have had my mini DV camcorder for over five years and it is fantastic, but don't be fooled into thinking it's perfect..... you need to look after it to get good results. Plus you can stick a firewire card in your PC and edit away with wearing out the tape or camcorder heads.


Your camera was operating under extreme conditions in that photo. Were you at 60.000ft and travelling at Mach 2.00?
james20012,588 posts since 4 Sep 2001
chrisb posted:
Hi-8 is awful. You get awful tape interference in many cases, as shown in my first post. Get a digital camera. They are the technology of the future!


My cousin has a Hi-8 and I've never seen any tape interferance whatsoever on any of her recordings. If anything, the interferance is a fault with your camera. I've never had any problems at all relating to my VHS-C camcorder tape-wise (though it has had to go into the shop twice with a fault with the zoom knob, and once with the tape door).
A former member
peterrocket posted:
Digital 8 cameras can play back the hi8 or 8mm tapes that you've previously recorded on, but it's more model specific if it will do this or not. Most should tell you in the specs.

One thing with digital8, you can use any 8mm tape to record on and you get the same results, so don't be fooled into Sony's marketing of Digital8 tapes.


Really, it doesn't detect what sort of tape you've put in?

In the same way you can record S-VHS or D-VHS onto normal VHS tapes -but you need to make a hole in the bottom of the cassette casing at one end of the groove that runs along the back . S-VHS (IIRC has a hole on the right hand side, D-VHS on both ends
andyrew147 posts since 29 Apr 2001
noggin posted:
As for MiniDV LP - ISTR that this runs at the same video data rate as SP, though with reduced audio capabilities, but runs the tape slower and reduces the guardbands between tracks. This means that although the picture quality is identical - the recording is far less robust (as it is squeezed onto less magnetic tape) - and much less compatible with insert editing.


From what I understand DVCAM is exactly the same as DV except the tape runs faster and have wider tracks to make the format more robust for professional use. Incidentally, I have made several recordings on broadcast DVCAM decks and played them back in my camcorder.

chrisb posted:
Thank you for the information, I've got to start looking after my cameras - I've dropped them too many times!

Do you mean that editing with firewire does damage it, or doesn't ?


Just try and keep the heads clean and use decent tapes, not cheap ones. As mentioned earlier in the thread, you can buy pro tapes quite cheaply rather than expensive lower quality tapes in the high street.

Sorry, I did mean to say it doesn't wear the tape out. You digitise it on your computer and then you can discard the tape altogether.

Davidjb posted:
Your camera was operating under extreme conditions in that photo. Were you at 60.000ft and travelling at Mach 2.00?


Hardly extreme conditions (inside anyway). Maybe I got a bit of caviar on the tape.

Don't know what caused it, but sometimes a jolt causes a drop out, or a bit of sh*t on the tape or head. If it were analogue you probably wouldn't have noticed it, but with the DV you get a pretty pixelated picture and a nice audio splat.

DigiBeta is great..... when it goes, it goes big style. You get traffic lights on the machine and a display on the monitor output of how the error correction is working. You start to get worried when you see this creep up or an amber light appears, you keep your fingers crossed. Then the audio may start to splat, pics pixelate and if you are really unlucky, complete grey and splatting. Most head clogging is caused by tapes parking on the same pre-roll point, and if the tape has been played many times it gets very worn in the same place and sheds oxide onto the heads. Sometimes you only realise when the tape runs that you have got a problem!
thegeek4,967 posts since 1 Jan 2002
chrisb posted:

andyrew posted:
Plus you can stick a firewire card in your PC and edit away with wearing out the tape or camcorder heads.


Do you mean that editing with firewire does damage it, or doesn't ?

With DV editing, you can record the footage into your computer, edit it there, and then dump it back to tape - meaning you don't have to scrub back and forward on the tape, etc.

Annoyingly, due to some EU rule or other, digital camcorders which let you output video from your computer back onto a tape cost more than those which will only output from tape to the computer. But a more expensive camera will also let you digitise other video (eg plug it into a digibox via a scart breakout cable, and you'll be able to capture all the Sky News you like). And some of the nicer Sony models come with Memory Sticks, and let you chromakey video onto a still from your memory stick.

MiniDV ain't perfect, but apparently striping tapes before you use them (filling the tape with blank audio and video first so there's a contiguous timecode) can help make them a bit more reliable.

[edit]at 550-ish, the Sony DCRTRV19 is the cheapest one they do which does DV in/out, and the DCRTVR22 comes with a memory stick (and works reasonably well as a stills camera too.)
peterrocket1,365 posts since 5 Sep 2001
Larry Scutta posted:
peterrocket posted:
Digital 8 cameras can play back the hi8 or 8mm tapes that you've previously recorded on, but it's more model specific if it will do this or not. Most should tell you in the specs.

One thing with digital8, you can use any 8mm tape to record on and you get the same results, so don't be fooled into Sony's marketing of Digital8 tapes.


Really, it doesn't detect what sort of tape you've put in?

In the same way you can record S-VHS or D-VHS onto normal VHS tapes -but you need to make a hole in the bottom of the cassette casing at one end of the groove that runs along the back . S-VHS (IIRC has a hole on the right hand side, D-VHS on both ends


It knows if it's an analogue recording and will play it back both 8 and Hi8. You can also fool a Hi8 camera into thinking an 8mm tape is a Hi8 tape by removing a wee bit of the casing - but it's not really recommended!

When Digital 8 first came out, Sony sold it as "record onto 8mm tapes in Digital". Then about 2 years later, they realised they could get lots more money by packaging tapes up making them look like they're specially for Digital8 by sticking Digital 8 on the labels and your standard consumer goes and buys the tapes, giving more money to Sony!

andyrew posted:

From what I understand DVCAM is exactly the same as DV except the tape runs faster and have wider tracks to make the format more robust for professional use. Incidentally, I have made several recordings on broadcast DVCAM decks and played them back in my camcorder.


That's all it really is, a 60min DV tape will record 40 min in DVCAM, nothing special. even the Sony PD150 DVCAM camera which everyone seems to use is just the Sony VX2000 but with an XLR bit stuck on the top. The lens and CCDs are exactly the same on both models so it's the same picture quality. The only other things are features, such as TC setting, REC Run / Regen etc.

The picture quality of them however, is outstanding. Normally you can tell the difference, but on a bright sunny day with little movement, I didn't know what camera was what and it even surprised me how good it was. Admittedly it was in 4:3. They don't do 16:9 properly and stretch the image!

Andyrew posted:

Then the audio may start to splat, pics pixelate and if you are really unlucky, complete grey and splatting. Most head clogging is caused by tapes parking on the same pre-roll point, and if the tape has been played many times it gets very worn in the same place and sheds oxide onto the heads. Sometimes you only realise when the tape runs that you have got a problem!


It was quite funny a while back, when we got in about 30 DVC Pro tapes which were "dodgy". When they went out in the ENG cameras, they would record fine and there was no problem, but when they came back to be played in a VTR, it was having none of it, it kept freezing and the servo lights went mad as if they were having a disco.

They played fine in the camera that recorded on the tape, but not in any other cameras, the only other machine they would play on was a field VTR which was a bit crap and as they needed to be digitised and the field machine only had composite/s video connections, we had a bit of a problem!

It was decided just to dub the tapes onto new tapes, and then argue with everyones favourite broadcast suppliers, McMillan, over a possible refund!
A former member
thegeek posted:
chrisb posted:

andyrew posted:
Plus you can stick a firewire card in your PC and edit away with wearing out the tape or camcorder heads.


Do you mean that editing with firewire does damage it, or doesn't ?

With DV editing, you can record the footage into your computer, edit it there, and then dump it back to tape - meaning you don't have to scrub back and forward on the tape, etc.


It may be me being silly, but what's the point in exporting the video back onto your video camera?

I only need an output anyway - capture video in high res on my PC, edit it, and then put it on a VHS tape with my TV-out card.
peterrocket1,365 posts since 5 Sep 2001
If you edit it back to digital tape you've got a high quality backup version of it, rather than relying on saving say 4Gb of HD space for the video, or trusting a VHS tape if you need to re-edit it.