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does blank media affect video quality ?

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kathreen anachioti
does blank media affect video quality ?
on Nov 14, 2014 at 3:33:54 pm

good afternoon to all,

i am not quite sure if my question is in the right place

please, i wish to ask if blank media like dvcam, sd card have any affect on the video recording quality assuming that we record with the same settings on dvcam and on sd

i ask this because i have watched lately some really very good videos from an old sony dsr 370 (dvcam format) sd resolution with aspect ratio 4:3

i have watched also some very bad hd videos from canon xf 100 hd resolution of the same event (wedding)

yes there differences between hd and sd video but i think that if the video recording from the canon xf 100 was done on a dv tape the quality would be much better than on sd

i have been told by an old friend that video recording on dvcam give that natural and sweet color

from the other side digital video on sd card give very good high definition but does not have that natural look at all

i hope to understand my question

sorry for my bad english


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Jeff Pulera
Re: does blank media affect video quality ?
on Jan 5, 2015 at 5:45:24 pm

Hi Kathreen,

In the days of analog video recording, such as VHS and 8mm, tape quality could and did make a difference. A higher-quality tape would be capable of recording "more signal" to the tape, providing a more faithful reproduction of the electronic signal coming from the camera image sensor.

However, with DIGITAL formats like DV, DVCAM, AVCHD, or XDCAM, the signal recorded to the tape or card is DIGITAL, meaning a sequence of ones and zeros. Regardless of the brand of SD card or DV tape, the EXACT SAME ones and zeros are getting recorded to/written to the media, so any brand will record/playback with identical quality.

A good analogy might be printing a .jpg photo with your inkjet printer. Glossy photo paper will yield better results than plain paper. The printed photo is like the "analog video" recording. The media makes a difference in that case.

Now print the DATA making up that .jpg photo as ones and zeros on the page (1 and 0), such as 001101010101010101. Whatever quality of paper you use, you will be able to read the ones and zeros just the same. The digital data is unchanged regardless of paper quality. As long as your eyes can read the ones and zeros, the original image data is fully intact.

There are really only a few brands of digital tape such as Panasonic, Sony, JVC, Maxell, and some of them likely come from the same factory and just have different branding on them. Not like there are "off brands" of DV tape from China. All brands of DV tape will record and play back the DV data exactly the same. The only potential difference is that IF a digital tape were of lower quality, if could potentially have more glitches/dropouts (errors), but the picture quality is always identical. But having used different kinds of DV tapes over the years for DV and HDV recording, they all seem pretty consistent.

As for SD card media, there are different classes or "speeds", so you want to make sure to use at least what the camera maker recommends for the recording mode you are using or the SD card will not be able to save the data as fast as the camera is providing it. Classes are 2, 4, 6, and 10. A Class 2 card may not work for HD recording and you may need a Class 4 or 6 card instance. More info here -

Each SD manufacturer may have different price levels of cards, within the same class, such as a "Gold" or "Premium" card or whatever they wish to call it. The RELIABILITY is what comes into question with SD media. The more costly card may be good for more read-write cycles, longer life, less errors. But as long as the SD card used has the correct Class rating for the camera, quality is going to be identical between cards - the data on them is the SAME.

Back to the original question, the camera makes a huge difference in the resulting video recording. The DSR370 is an expensive pro camera with a professional lens and image sensor, so it will naturally record a more "broadcast quality" image than a cheaper camera.

You can buy a basic AVCHD camera for $250, and another "pro" AVCHD camcorder costing $4000. Use the SAME brand of SD card in either and guess which one has the better image? The better camera, even if both are recording the same format such as AVCHD at 24Mbps. Better lens, better image sensor chip.

Many years ago, I had a Sony DSR-250 DVCAM camcorder, and the DVCAM tapes cost me a whopping $45 EACH. I also had a cheap Sony "Digital 8" consumer camcorder. Both cameras had a Firewire connection. I could make a digital copy of the DVCAM tape over to a cheap 8mm tape on the D8 camera, and since I was just moving ones and zeros from tape to tape, the D8 playback was identical to that of the original DVCAM recording. Same data, different media. No difference in quality.

Hope this clarifies the whole thing. Use quality media for reliability, don't worry about "picture quality" as that will not change with digital recordings.


Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers

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