View Full Version : Mini-DV Deck


metrov
06-25-2009, 03:14 PM
Hi,

I'm looking at the new HD camcorders that are coming out, both consumer & prosumer, and getting ready to go HD for the first time. Though I'd prefer to simply use Flash card or HD to record on, I see that many of these camcorders record HD onto mini-DV tape. I currently own the standard def Panasonic mini-DV tape deck which I use to capture footage onto my computer. So my question is, wouldn't I need an HD mini-dv tape deck in order to get the HD information onto my computer? Is there any way I can use my old standard mini-DV tape deck? What's the most common way of working with HD recorded onto mini-DV tapes? Alternatively, I guess some of the new HD camcorders use HD mini-DV tapes? Again, do I need to get a special HD mini-DV deck... or else capture directly from camcorder to computer which is probably not a good idea in terms of preserving tape heads.

thanks for your help on this!

sonnyboo
06-25-2009, 03:29 PM
So my question is, wouldn't I need an HD mini-dv tape deck in order to get the HD information onto my computer? Is there any way I can use my old standard mini-DV tape deck? What's the most common way of working with HD recorded onto mini-DV tapes? Alternatively, I guess some of the new HD camcorders use HD mini-DV tapes? Again, do I need to get a special HD mini-DV deck... or else capture directly from camcorder to computer which is probably not a good idea in terms of preserving tape heads.

thanks for your help on this!

YES - you need a new deck or camera to digitize HDV, even though they use the same tapes, they use entirely difference information on the Mini DV tapes to read or play the footage.

Mini DV tapes are used for multiple formats, even in Standard Definition. There's straight up MiniDV Digfitial Video format, then there's Sony's DVCAM format which runs faster on the same tapes, and also Panasonic's DVCPRO format which usually uses bigger tapes, but some of them can use Mini DV cassettes or adapters for that. Each format requires a different deck or camera to be able to play back.

HDV is recorded on mini DV cassettes, but it uses M2T, the MPEG2 Transport Stream format on those cassettes. With HDV there are multiple formats on those tapes, so again depending on if it's 24P, 24I, 24F, 60i, 50i, 25P, 30P, and in the format of 1280x720, 1920x1080i, 1920x1080P, and every variation therein - this will determine what deck or camera you use to play back.

The Canon HV20 makes a great VCR for me because it plays every variation of 1080 HDV from Canon, as well as most SONY formats too. Plus is plays back standard DV tapes too.

metrov
06-25-2009, 03:46 PM
The Canon HV20 makes a great VCR for me because it plays every variation of 1080 HDV from Canon, as well as most SONY formats too. Plus is plays back standard DV tapes too.

So you are saying you use the camcorder itself as the tape deck? I've always heard that this wears out the recording heads faster. Have things changed on this matter?

I'm beginning to think maybe I should get a camcorder that uses Flash memory cards instead of tapes. Much easier to just stick a card into my computer rather than digitize from tape, right? Are there advantages in using tape over Flash cards?

Thanks

sonnyboo
06-25-2009, 06:11 PM
So you are saying you use the camcorder itself as the tape deck? I've always heard that this wears out the recording heads faster. Have things changed on this matter?

I'm beginning to think maybe I should get a camcorder that uses Flash memory cards instead of tapes. Much easier to just stick a card into my computer rather than digitize from tape, right? Are there advantages in using tape over Flash cards?

Thanks

You will wear out the heads of either a camera or a deck by using them to play and record no matter what. I use this camera as a deck in most HDV situations, but I have a JVC Mini DV deck for standard def mini DV and DVCAM tapes.

Flash memory cards each use their own CODEC (Compressor/Decompressor) software. Make sure that whatever camera you use is something that is compatible with your editing software. Some editing software packages can't edit with consumer grade codecs, at least not yet.

metrov
06-25-2009, 08:00 PM
I use Premiere Pro CS4 which claims it can handle any HD format out there. I'm leaning more and more towards the Canon VIXIA HF S10 since it seems to be getting the best reviews for a consumer level device. I'm hesitant to get a more expensive camcorder [prosumer or pro] because the last time I did, it was practically obsolete before I even had a chance to use it! LOL