Larry Scutta 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!
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!
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!