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What happens to mini dv tapes over time? Do they lose quality?

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Jeff David
What happens to mini dv tapes over time? Do they lose quality?
on Aug 10, 2017 at 1:45:55 am

Yup - I know min DV tapes are outdated and the new mode is SD cards, but I still have the old camcorder that uses mini DV tapes and hours and hours of footage that I shot anywhere from 1 to 4 or so years ago.

Someone mentioned to me they lose their quality over time. I.e. the sharpness etc. Is that true?

IF so - what can be done to prevent the deterioration?

Of course - I know if you capture them to your drive, then they reside on the drive, and I assume do not deteriorate, but I have too much footage to transfer to drives so then - what is the best option to preserve them (assuming tapes do deteriorate).

Lenovo quad core i7 16gb of ram, Windows 8.1 MS 13 64 bit Thumbnail is view out of the Olde North Church window where the signal lanterns were hung, as in, "1 if by land 2 if by sea" looking across the Charles River to the Charlestown Naval Yard where rebels awaited the signal April 18th, 1775.


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Aaron Star
Re: What happens to mini dv tapes over time? Do they lose quality?
on Aug 10, 2017 at 1:48:33 am

No they won't lose sharpness. The tapes might develop dropouts though which will in turn lead to video corruption.


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Jeff David
Re: What happens to mini dv tapes over time? Do they lose quality?
on Aug 10, 2017 at 2:10:47 am

Is there any way to prevent drop outs or are the tapes doomed in the long run?

Is there a best way to store them so as to prolong them as long as possible?

How serious are drop outs? Do they corrupt the entire 60 minutes of the tapes?

or

Am I correct to assume only certain portions would be ruined?

Lenovo quad core i7 16gb of ram, Windows 8.1 MS 13 64 bit Thumbnail is view out of the Olde North Church window where the signal lanterns were hung, as in, "1 if by land 2 if by sea" looking across the Charles River to the Charlestown Naval Yard where rebels awaited the signal April 18th, 1775.


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Jeff David
Re: What happens to mini dv tapes over time? Do they lose quality?
on Aug 10, 2017 at 2:16:46 am

I was searching the internet for other info on "drop outs" and found this advice which might pertain.

"I don't know if this is true anymore but in the old days magnetic tapes should never be stored after the last operation was a playback (since you needed to rewind I guess that this was the case) as the tape was stored in tension and could produde sound lower in pitch due to the stretch...

The last operation were always to be full (re-)wind of the whole tape to ease the tension of the throughout its length. (Audio tapes should alwas be stored at full playout to minimize tape echo occuring before the recorded event).

Since the tape is secured at the take-up spool I can only assume that the stretch/tension is at its worst there and eases the tension after some length of tape...

If the strech is severe enough (think very small tolecances here!) then the camera can't track the tape properly since its dimensions are not within the correct tolerances anymore and therefor unable to correctly record its data.

Combine this with tapes that may have been exposed to heat (i.e. out in the sun, stored near a heater...) then you have all the ingredients needed for your type of problem."

Lenovo quad core i7 16gb of ram, Windows 8.1 MS 13 64 bit Thumbnail is view out of the Olde North Church window where the signal lanterns were hung, as in, "1 if by land 2 if by sea" looking across the Charles River to the Charlestown Naval Yard where rebels awaited the signal April 18th, 1775.


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Jeff David
Re: What happens to mini dv tapes over time? Do they lose quality?
on Aug 10, 2017 at 2:34:08 am

Below is a discussion I found. It addresses some of the issues of drop outs.
They also talk about buying higher quality tapes. The only tapes I’ve ever seen are Sony DVC at Walmart for about $15-$20 for a 3 pack. Each time I go to Walmart I’m worried they won’t be selling them anymore. I’m usually luck if there are any on the shelf. There is usually only one or two on the shelf.
Following is the discussion:
______________________________________________________________________________
I'm about to purchase a whole lot of miniDV tapes for my soon-to-be-delivered A1.
I know I can use any miniDV, but the question is...should I?
The miniDV HD tapes that claim higher quality are way more expensive (probably not worth it?)
I'm also wondering which panny tapes use their new S-AME coating, I've heard that's the best.
______________________________________________________________________________
They are as neccessary as MONSTER CABLES are for your home theater.
Take that how you want. *smile*
Here's the deal: with tape, the potential of dropouts exists. With better tape, you're supposed to get fewer dropouts. With lower quality tape, the potential of dropouts should be higher. Not that it always works out that way, but that's the way it should be.
_________________________________________________________________________________
With HDV, dropouts are far more devastating than they ever were with DV. With DV, a dropout might corrupt a few small blocks on a frame. With HDV you're looking at losing a half-second of your footage (on the Sony version) or having corruption smear through 1/4 second of your footage (on JVC). Don't know what happens to Canon when they get a dropout.
If what you're shooting is important, then prudence would dictate that you use the best tape you can get your hands on. Every aspect of what you're doing -- every dime you pay for actors, props, sets, wardrobe, locations, equipment rental, time, energy, money, effort -- it all comes down to what gets recorded on that tape.
So do you really want to go saving an extra dollar on that tape?
That's up to you, obviously. But if I were shooting HDV, I wouldn't consider using anything but the best tape I could get my hands on.
I've mostly been shooting on cheap DV tapes with no problems, but in theory the HDV tapes are far more resistant to dropouts. As Barry said, if you're shooting something important where you won't get a second take, why take the risk of a half-second dropout in order to save a few dollars?

Otherwise though, $2 DV tapes are probably good enough... I've shot dozens of them with no dropouts so far. Sooner or later it is going to happen though, and you don't want it to destroy footage you can't replace.
_____________________________________________________________________________________
What causes dropouts and is there any way to avoid it? Do the Canons only take Canon tapes?
_____________________________________________________________________________________
Dropouts happen for all sorts of unpredictable reasons. It can be due to a tiny fleck of oxide flaking off the tape, for example. When that bit of magnetic material falls off, the data that was on that bit goes too. Or it can happen repeatedly if a bit gets stuck to the record head or something. Dust can cause it too.
It's not that dropouts are all that common, it's just that the severity of a dropout is much worse with HDV because if any dropout hits, an entire group of pictures gets impacted.
_____________________________________________________________________________________
I've experienced a few dropouts with the XL-H1, but they've only been of the playback variety. Strangely enough, these "dreaded HDV dropouts" have been corrected on second or third playback passes with all the frames recovered and captured. In other words, that 1/2 second pause known as an HDV dropout will often not be there playing the tape back a second or third time.
Just practice good tape hygiene and you'll be fine. (stick with one brand)
I recommend using good quality DV tapes like the Panasonic MQ's. (as low as $5 a tape) No problems for me thus far.
_____________________________________________________________________________________
Just bought 20 panny MQ's as a matter of fact!
Also, as far as changing tape brands - it really only exists when one of your brands is Sony, doing some research I found a chart that shows all brands are *dry* but sony is *wet*. This wetness cuases gumming up when followed by a *dry* brand. But you should have no problems switching from Panny to JVC or Fuji (they are all nearly identical)
The Panny MQs are good because they have a higher density of magnetic material on the tape, and have a smoother surface (saves heads over longer time)
_____________________________________________________________________________________
Sony switched to dry 7 years ago. there are no more wet tapes.

Lenovo quad core i7 16gb of ram, Windows 8.1 MS 13 64 bit Thumbnail is view out of the Olde North Church window where the signal lanterns were hung, as in, "1 if by land 2 if by sea" looking across the Charles River to the Charlestown Naval Yard where rebels awaited the signal April 18th, 1775.


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John Norton
Re: What happens to mini dv tapes over time? Do they lose quality?
on Aug 10, 2017 at 8:57:31 am

Jeff, are you sure transferring to digital isn't an option, how many is too much?

Seagate do a very reasonably priced 8tb external archive desktop drive.

In the time it took you to post all of this you would already have digitised 1 tape😂.

I recently purchased a firewire card to digitise my "two" DV tapes. Worked really well using the Built in Vegas capture app. It has an option to capture a whole tape as well as selectively by time code. Imho if the content is important to you it's the way to go.

The great thing about DV as against vhs, svhs, is that you're "capturing " (really copying) a file from the tape because its digital, as against analog capture with vhs svhs.


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John Norton
Re: What happens to mini dv tapes over time? Do they lose quality?
on Aug 10, 2017 at 9:08:55 am

Meant to say (no edit option I can see) that as you may well know, because the data rate for DV is constant, you can easily work out you're total storage needs, at 13gb per 1 hour tape.


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Dave Haynie
Re: What happens to mini dv tapes over time? Do they lose quality?
on Aug 10, 2017 at 9:42:50 am

[Jeff David] "Yup - I know min DV tapes are outdated and the new mode is SD cards, but I still have the old camcorder that uses mini DV tapes and hours and hours of footage that I shot anywhere from 1 to 4 or so years ago.

Someone mentioned to me they lose their quality over time. I.e. the sharpness etc. Is that true?
"


Well, a couple of things there. Yes, SD cards are the common means of video acquisition these days. DO NOT USE THEM FOR LONG TERM STORAGE. The typical consumer SD card may start showing drop-outs after a year or two.

DV tapes are, of course, digital as well. In both cases, it's all or nothing. It's absolutely impossible for the image to degrade at all, in any way, as long as you can read the tape. The problem is that, over time, you get bit rot -- small errors start creeping into the tape data. What might have been a few sync or image glitches in the analog days becomes a digital glitch, or drop-out, in the digital age.

If the format is DV or DVCAM or similar, this is likely to show up as some digital noise over a few blocks in a frame, but it can of course hit anywhere on the tape, including various headers and other formatting. The older the tape gets, the more you'll see these. On HDV and similar, you have a greater chance of a glitch that'll affect a whole series of frames, based on the way MPEG-2 works versus DV compression.

I put all my Digital8, DV, and HDV material on a RAID drive over a decade ago. That's backed up on Blu-ray BD-R HTL discs, which are far longer lasting than tapes. And more recently, BDXL M-Discs, even better.

-Dave


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Jeff David
Re: What happens to mini dv tapes over time? Do they lose quality?
on Aug 10, 2017 at 4:54:10 pm

Thanks!

Lenovo quad core i7 16gb of ram, Windows 8.1 MS 13 64 bit Thumbnail is view out of the Olde North Church window where the signal lanterns were hung, as in, "1 if by land 2 if by sea" looking across the Charles River to the Charlestown Naval Yard where rebels awaited the signal April 18th, 1775.


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Bruce Brent
Re: What happens to mini dv tapes over time? Do they lose quality?
on Aug 10, 2017 at 5:02:28 pm

Something else to consider: Lubrication of the tape. Different brands use different methods of lubrication. If you use JVC, Panasonic brands, you may gum up the recording drum. Sony brand digital tape is considered optimum and won't gum up the drum. Mix brands and you're in for trouble.

My 2¢


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Francois Pénzes
Re: What happens to mini dv tapes over time? Do they lose quality?
on Aug 11, 2017 at 6:47:55 pm

Another thing to consider is that the support for the oxide is plastic based. It will shrink over time and the oxide will fall off.

I just did a bunch of archive, some were on 1/2 inch, 3/4 inch and 1 inch tape (I know, stuff from the stone age...)

First problem was with a phenomena called ghosting, that's when the image recorded on the tape is transferred to the part it's sitting on top off thru magnetic transfer. On digital tape, it causes drop outs.
The other problem, as I mentioned before, is that since the support has a tendency to shrink over time, the oxide will fall off. Just as a measure of the work involved when transferring older tapes, I had one shot for each tape 'cause after one pass, the oxide would fall off and the original material was rendered useless. Not to mention that the tape reader had to be completely cleaned after each pass !!!

As it was mentioned previously, digitize you original source material sooner than later.

Here's a good read if you want the down-low on archiving and transfer.

https://www.scart.be/?q=en/content/short-guide-choosing-digital-format-vide...

Cheers !

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Cameras: Canon XF305 + Canon XH-A1

''When the cutting stops, the editing begins...''


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