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.
If these are field tapes, I don't see the necessity for pre-striping them. I don't even think it's standard operating practice to do it, because some cameras will search until they come to a spot on the tape with no time code -- that's where they begin recording. In such a case, your idea would be counter-productive.
For recording time code, I'd set the camera to Record-Run rather than Free-Run. If you want to be kind, roll off about 10 seconds at the end of the tape with the lens cap on.
Hey, editors are used to logging tapes, and if they aren't, they should be. Just don't leave any gaps in the tape with no time code. That would drive anyone nuts.
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and thank you, Dave.
Incidently thinking over my own workflow, as I shoot HDV and capture as Pro Res in FCP, for multi clip/cam shoots and where I have a mixture of Timecode cameras and ordinary consumer B roll cameras, so can't multi clip sync by timecode, and where 'log and capture' does not work, and 'Capture Now' has to be deployed, is there actually any point striping tape for myself, I could understand why I did it with log and capture for DV, but I do it out of habit when shooting HDV, but actually now wonder if there is any point to pre striping HDV tapes with timecode? (Forgive me if this sounds slightly mental).
[Chris Simpson] "...[I] wonder if there is any point to pre striping HDV tapes with timecode?"
I don't think there is. I'd bet every camcorder made in the last 20 years uses assemble edits on the tape, and not insert edits. Thus, the camera records over such things as control track and time code.
The last field recorder I recall that actually made use of insert edits -- for which pre-striped tape is essential -- was the old Ampex VPR5, a portable 1-inch field deck. I think the folks Nagra had a hand in building it, too.
Remember that relic?
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[Dave LaRonde] "I'd bet every camcorder made in the last 20 years uses assemble edits on the tape, and not insert edits. Thus, the camera records over such things as control track and time code."
I agree, especially with digital formats like DV and HDV, which record a data stream to tape. They don't have "proper" separate timecode tracks.
In fact, pre-striping a tape before recording could actually cause fits for the editor if there's any discontinuity in recording and if the tape runs at a slightly different speed in the camera than it did in the deck that striped it. It would leave timecode breaks of only a couple frames, which would be maddening during capture. Not that this ever happened to me...
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I've pre striped hundreds of HDV and dv tapes in handycams then used them in another camera without any wander in the timing of the subsequent tapes, this is admittedly using nothing but Sony camcorders but also stands comparison in multi clip sequences utilising QT files shot by card based onboard cameras, that have themselves been transcoded in Compressor from 1080/720 30p or 60p to 1440/1080 50i at very worst there maybe a single frame out over 15mins, which I put down to the transcoding of the QT files.
Did a bit more Internet and discovered my V1s do have bars and tone of it's forebear PD150/170 lineage so I'll put a minute of bars and tone on each tape as previously suggested.
Pre-striping SHOOTING tapes before you shoot is one of the biggest loads of hogwash to hit the web. No professional shooter EVER pre-stripes tape. This only came about because a lot of amateurs were recording, then rewinding to review the shot, then stopping AFTER the last recorded image on the tape. This caused a timecode break, and the camera saw this as a new tape, and started the code over again at 0:00:00:00. A very consumer camera behavior. So to avoid this, someone had the bright idea of striping a tape with code to avoid this break.
Only, as mentioned, EVERY SINGLE CAMERA MADE doesn't do INSERT editing to tape. The only reason to black a tape is to INSERT edit. EVERY camera Assemble edits...so that blacking and code gets wiped away when the camera starts recording. Not only that, but now you are recording on used tapes...tapes with an image already recorded onto it. This means that there is more of a chance of digital artifacting a other errors.
It is BAD practice. It is a complete NOOB invention, by people who have no grasp of video technology, and are "Cliff Claven-ing" their way through their "professional" lives. (Cliff Claven was a character on CHEERS who was known to make up odd facts...complete untruths)
Blacking tapes to get continuous code for shooting is an urban myth. Don't do it. Utter hogwash!
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[Walter Soyka] "I agree, especially with digital formats like DV and HDV, which record a data stream to tape. They don't have "proper" separate timecode tracks."
True, but they do have seperate sectors in the data stream for video, audio, tc and control. These can be independently overwritten, so the same principles apply when it comes to "crash", assemble and insert edits. (And by the way, dvcpro actually have seperate control- and cue-audio tracks.)
Anyway, back on topic; I guess I don't need to repeat that one shouldn't stripe entire tapes before shooting, but I thought one thing sort of drowned a bit in the discussion: What we all want is nice, unbroken timecode, and my best tip to achieve that is to leave the cam running for a few secs extra so you always have something to pick up the tc on in case you need to rewind or eject the tape for some reason. And when you're done with a tape, add a few more seconds, so the nle gets some postroll.
I know, it's basic stuff, but (hopefully) well worth repeating.
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.