DVCam, striping tape?
This must be as old as the hills, and I'm sure many noble elders on here must tut "not a another one", but indulge me, I've been employed to shoot some B roll material DVCam with my Sony V1 for a TV programme (taking time out from my HD event videography) for a 'proper TV' production company, and I'm at odds, a quandary, trying to decide whether to stripe (black) tape. I did ask but the response was just to confirm we were shooting 16 by 9 DVCam, when I was really asking do you need me to to strip tape, thinking their logger/editor will have his head done in by DVCam tapes of stop restart timecodes, as I'm thinking of 'log and capture' in FCP is a nightmare without it.
I'm told they have loads of VTR decks. I do not. Which I thought nothing of until one of my broadcast cameraman chums told me he'd never striped an entire tape ever. He justs records 30secs of bar and tone, and got on with it. That's bars and tone and timecode starting one hour later for each tape, and keep a reasonable note of whats on each to submit at the end of the day (a shot list nearabouts) I'm guessing the Bars and Tone are generated in camera? (A DSR of some flavour maybe or) On a deck. Neither which I have access to, the V1 doesn't generate bars and tone and I don't think from my reading that FCP will output bars and tone down firewire.
So broadcast jedis, what's common practice regards DVCam tape, stripe or not stripe? That is the question.
The V1 actually does generate bars and tone. You can assign bars to one of the buttons on the side of the camera, otherwise you'd have to go in to the menu every time. You also have to set the tone to on, otherwise it will be bars without tone when you use it.
Putting bars and tone on the first 30 seconds is okay, but these days, it is mostly just to protect the useable shots from any damage done to the tape during the loading/unloading process. I would opine that if you have the time and power for it, it is useful to "re-pack" the tape, by fast-forwarding it to the end, then re-winding it, in the camera, but I'd be a liar if I said I did this a lot. You already got the skinny about the time code signals, I won't repeat that.
As far as using the bars for what they originally were meant for, (set-up of the tape to matching standards), well, I am of the opinion that the only bars that count for that any more are what you shoot off of an actual chip chart, under the actual lighting and white bnalance conditions, thru the lens. Back in the analog days, it was different. Today, the internally-generated bars of a camera can bear little relation to what is actually recorded. In a way that's sort of a backeards step, IMO. I would love to buy a small 6 inch plastic card with a dry erase white balance slate on one side and a reasonably accurate color bar set on the other. Having the bars under the actual white balance and lighting the lens sees would help me start from a known standard with color correction, IMO.