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 MINIDV

Mini DV - Articles
AMQ...The Ultimate DV / HDV / DVCAM Tape
Mini DV versus DVCAM Formats - Sony TechPort Article
DVCAM The Ultimate Mini DV Tape - Inhouse Article
Differences between DVCPRO, DVCAM, miniDV and DV

Mini DV - Frequently Asked Questions

» Panasonic Mini DV

Can standard DV be recorded to DVCPRO cassettes on a Panasonic DV2000 (Mini-DV/standard DV) recorder? And, will they play back on DVCPRO equipment?

What's the difference in Panasonic's new "Master" Series miniDV?

Why does your Panasonic miniDV look different than others?

Panasonic - Formats compatible with miniDV, DV, DVCAM tape.

Panasonic - DV formats recording and playback times


» Sony Mini DV

What's the difference between Sony's PR and EX Series miniDV?


» Miscellaneous
What are the DV and DVCAM tape speeds?

Can I use the DVCAM tapes in my consumer miniDV camcorder?

I'm wondering if you can tell me what this "chip" is on some of the higher end miniDV tapes?

Is it recommended that I remove the tape from a DV camera when it is turned off stored in its case?

When I shoot a mini DV tape can we assume that it will play on any other DV digital camcorder?

I have read some rumors about an upcoming release of a 3 hour mini DV tape. Any comments?

We recently shot with DVCAM in a Canon XL-1. When I tried to play the tape back in a JVC SR-VS10U the deck gives me an error message.


FAQ





 CAN I USE THE DVCAM TAPES IN THE CONSUMER miniDV CAMCORDER?

There should be no issues as the only difference is the quality of the tape. The cassette shape is exactly the same. Panasonic has brought out a MQ Master tape to rival the DVCAM, and it is a miniDV tape. Also, because DVCAM cameras run faster than miniDV cameras, the PDVM-32N actually records 48 minutes and the PDVM-40N records 60 minutes in a miniDV Camera.

Note that most miniDV cameras only fit smaller shell DVCAM tapes
(the smaller shell PDVM-32N and PDVM-40N tapes).

Please see the following articles for more information: DVCAM the Ultimate MiniDV Tape, DVCAM vs. DV Formats

DVCAM, Sony DVCAM, DVCAM Tape,  DV DVCAM,  FUJI DVCAM, Head Cleaner, DV Head Cleaner, Digital Head Cleaner
View DVCAM

MiniDV, Mini DV, Mini DV Tape, MiniDV Tape,  Panasonic tape clean, mini dv head cleaners, minidv head cleaner, mini dv tape cleaner, mini dv head cleaner, mini dv cleaning tape, head cleaner, dv head cleaner, digital head cleaner

View MiniDV

View DVCAM Formats  |  View Mini DV Formats  |  Back to Main FAQ  |   Back to the Top


 DVCAM - THE ULTIMATE MINI DV TAPE

Looking for the ultimate miniDV Tape... you should be using Sony's DVCAM Tape. Why DVCAM? Because it is pro media for both DVCAM and mini DV cameras. Why is it better .

Lower Dropout Rate
DVCAM media has a 50% lower dropout rate, and a 4-5x improvement in error rate margin. The chart below clearly shows that the dropout rate of DVCAM is significantly lower than DV.

DV Dropout Test, Sony DVCAM Dropout Test    Consumer DV Tape Shrinkage, DVCAM Tape Shrinkage Comparison

Maximum Durability
Although both DVCAM and DV use DLC technology, the DLC layer for DVCAM is optimized for maximum durability. It offers a 25% higher level of strength for the type of still frame, multi pass editing used by professionals.

Still Frame Evaluation - The recorded signal level of DV showed noticeable loss after 20 minutes in pause. DVCAM held signal level even after 60 minutes.

Editing Simulation - Editing tests have shown that DV media begins to show picture disturbances after 150 passes. DVCAM shows no noticeable disturbances or loss in picture quality after 150 passes.

Improved Physical Stability
Magnetic tape is susceptible to expansion and contraction due to temperature and humidity variations over time. Excessive shrinkage disrupts the position of the recorded tracks and often results in "Off-Tracking". This simply means the recorded tracks have shifted and the play heads cannot accurately read the information. This type of shrinkage is usually associated with long-term storage.

To minimize the potential of tape shrinkage and recording/playback problems, DVCAM media exclusively uses a base material with 50% less shrinkage. The benefit is added reliability and confidence that the recorded material is there and will play back even after years of storage under reasonable storage conditions.

Tighter Width Specifications
DVCAM and DV have a width of 6.35 mm (1/4"). The more uniform the tape width, the better the record/playback stability and compatibility between recorders. DVCAM width is held to a tighter tolerance to offer a higher level of reliability and compatibility. DVCAM uses an ultra-accurate slitting machine to assure correct tape width.

Maximum Picture & Sound Stability
Friction increases between tape and recorder heads after repeated passes on the tape. DVCAM media has a significantly lower friction coefficient than DV. For the professional, this means greater recorded signal longevity, higher reliability, increased durability and overall improved performance.

There is a difference when you use DVCAM media. As a professional, you and your customers deserve to have the best and most reliable end result the format can provide. When quality videography is at stake, use the media that was designed for professionals - DVCAM.


View DVCAM Formats  |  View Mini DV Formats  |   Back to Main FAQ  |   Back to the Top

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 DVCAM VERSUS DV FORMATS - SONY TECHPORT ARTICLE

DVCAM and DV tape compared
If you're reading this, you probably understand that DV and DVCAM tapes and VTRs are broadly compatible. For example, it is possible to record professional DVCAM signals onto consumer DV tape. It is also possible to play back a consumer DV recording on a professional DVCAM VTR. In a pinch, it is possible to use consumer media in professional DVCAM hardware. But we don't recommend making a habit of it. Here's why:

  • Cassette memory - IC-equipped pro models offer four times the memory of consumer models.
  • Durability - Pro media has an optimized DLC layer and surface treatment. This improves performance for editing and long-term archiving.
  • Dropouts - Controlled surface finishing helps cut DVCAM tape dropouts in half, compared to consumer DV.
  • Interchange - Tighter slitting tolerances mean DVCAM tape works almost flawlessly when recorded on one VTR and played back on another.
  • Shrinkage - DVCAM tape cuts dimensional shrinkage in half, an important benefit for archival stability.
  • Running time difference - DVCAM machines use a transport speed
    faster than DV machines. So you'll experience differences between the marked and actual recording times. For example, a 60-minute DV cassette holds only 40 minutes of DVCAM footage.


When to Use Which?

From this analysis, we can develop a clear direction on choosing tape:

  • Consumer hardware - For general shooting, use Sony consumer DV tape. For critical shoots, archival recording, news stringers or wedding videography, choose DVCAM tape with or without cassette memory.
  • Entry-level DVCAM equipment - Users of the DSR-200 and DSR-30 should choose Sony DVCAM tape with or without memory.
  • High-end DVCAM equipment - If you use ClipLink operation, you should choose only Sony DVCAM tape with Cassette Memory.

By following these recommendations, you'll be able to enjoy the full operational power of your DV and DVCAM hardware. And you'll be making the most intelligent use of the technology we build into DV and DVCAM media.

DVCAM - Advanced Metal Evaporated (AME).
Unlike Metal Particle (MP) tape, AME uses pure cobalt, undiluted by nickel. Unlike MP, AME uses an ultra-fine grain of metal that's vapor-deposited in a vacuum chamber! And unlike previous Metal Evaporated tape, AME protects the magnetic grain with Sony's super-hard Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) layer. The result is a breakthrough in recording density, retentivity and carrier-to-noise ratio.

AME is a key enabling technology behind the DVCAM system. And it's a key factor in the DVCAM success story We're pleased to see that demand for DVCAM media is booming. So we're aggressively adding capacity to our AME production lines. In the same way, we're adding new DVCAM tape models. And that's the subject of this TechPort.
With Sony's latest DVCAM tape product introductions

You'll have more options than ever before. You'll be able to record on DVCAM tape with and without cassette memory. That's in addition to exchanging tapes between consumer DV and professional DVCAM equipment. And you have an entire range of Cassette Memory functions in consumer entry-level professional and high-end pro equipment.

While choice is an undeniably good thing, it can get confusing if you're not paying close attention. That's why we'll review your DVCAM media options. We'll cover when to use which media What to expect in compatibility. And what Cassette Memory functions work on which pieces of Sony hardware.

DVCAM - An expanded line
Sony is responding to customer demand for a more affordable alternative that does not sacrifice picture quality. We're also accommodating the latest DVCAM hardware, models which do not include the cassette-memory-dependent ClipLink feature. So starting in November 97, Sony will be offering DVCAM tape that does not include Cassette Memory. The result is an extended line of 14 DVCAM models.

DVCAM - Cassette Memory and Its Uses
The proliferation of DV and DVCAM models means a growing range of applications for Cassette Memory. Consumer-grade machines can store date and photo data, which do not make intensive use of Cassette Memory. That's consistent with the 4 kbit memory Sony builds into IC-equipped consumer tape. Entry-level professional machines also make moderate demands on the memory chip. However, a key feature of Sony's top DVCAM models is ClipLink operation, which makes full use of the 16 kbit memory of Sony's IC-equipped DVCAM tapes.

View DVCAM Formats  |  View Mini DV Formats  |  Back to Main FAQ  |   Back to the Top

 DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DVCPRO, DVCAM, miniDV, AND DV
Mini DV, DV are a consumer format that a number of manufacturers agreed on to become the next consumer standard. It has been so good a format that many professionals, and semi-professionals have begun using it. The format uses ME tape. Standard lengths are 30, 60 and 80min for the miniDV and 120, 180 (and some 270min) for the DV. There are also two speeds in DV and miniDV, so a 80min mini can provide 120min of recording.(Low quality)

At the same time, Sony & Panasonic brought out their professional versions, named DVCAM and DVCPRO. Sony's professional DVCAM format, although similar to miniDV, runs 50% faster. So, its longest tape in the mini size is 40min. There is a 184min DVCAM tape, which will run 270 minutes in a DV machine! Recognition holes in the tape tell the machine what tape you have loaded. In addition the professional format of DVCPRO and DVCAM have locked audio.

Panasonic's DVCPRO runs at a faster speed than the Sony DVCAM, but its main difference is the use of MP tape as opposed to ME. Panasonic, inventors of miniDV and the ME tape, did not think the tape robust enough for professional use and chose to go with MP tape. The physical cassette size for DVCPRO is also larger than miniDV for the shorter lengths... a kind of a 'medium' size. Long lengths use the same size as DV. MiniDV can be used in a DVCPRO deck, but only with an adapter, and only for playback. (SB)

Format Bit
Rate
Resolution
& Sampling
Compression Tape
Width
Tape
Speed
Tape
Type
 DVCPRO 25Mb/sec 720x480, 4:1:1 (NTSC)
720x576, 4:1:1 (PAL)
5:1 1/4" 33.82 mm/sec ME
 DV / Mini DV  25Mb/sec 720x480, 4:1:1 (NTSC)
720x576, 4:2:0 (PAL)
5:1 1/4" 18.812 mm/sec. ME
 DVCAM 25Mb/sec 720x480, 4:1:1 (NTSC)
720x576, 4:2:0 (PAL)
5:1 1/4" 28.193 mm/sec. MP

View our Mini DV Formats, DVCAM Formats, DVCPRO Formats, DV Formats

Back to Main FAQ  |   Back to the Top

What's the difference in Panasonic's new "Master" Series miniDV?
Panasonic's new Master MQ series of miniDV uses their S-AME technology (Super Advanced Metal Evaporation) to provide 4 times the magnetic particles by reducing the size. It provides a 1db better output as well as a 1db better S/N ratio than the standard PQ series. In addition they claim to have the lowest headwear using their tape.

View Mini DV Tapes  |  Back to Main FAQ  |   Back to the Top


Why does your Panasonic miniDV look different than others?
We only sell the professional series of miniDV tape. That's the MQ and PQ series. Panasonic does make a consumer version, EJ. All our tape however is clearly labeled "Professional".

View Mini DV Tapes  |  Back to Main FAQ  |   Back to the Top


What's the difference between Sony's PR and EX Series miniDV?
The Sony EX miniDV has a superior Carrier to Noise ratio of about 2db over the PR

View Mini DV Tapes  |  Back to Main FAQ  |   Back to the Top


I'm wondering if you can tell me what this "chip" is on some of the higher end miniDV tapes?
The IC chip in the tape are for use by some camcorders to remember settings of such things as apertures, f-stops, and other data etc. It is best to read your camcorder's instruction manual. If it doesn't offer the IC option or even mention it, don't spend the extra money for the IC chip, because your camera won't be able to use it.

View Mini DV Tapes  |  Back to Main FAQ  |   Back to the Top


Perhaps you could tell me: Is it recommended that I remove the tape from a DV camera when it is turned off stored in its case? I have had two tapes get tangled recently after turning the camera on. I wonder if that is because the camera is not working correctly, the tape was bad, or just that you are supposed to remove the tape. ( Jim, January 2001)
It is recommended to remove tapes before shutting cameras down. It is also recommended to rewind the tapes back to the beginning when finished. SB

View Mini DV Tapes  |  Back to Main FAQ  |   Back to the Top


When I shoot a mini DV tape on my Sony TRV 900 can we mail that tape to any global destination and correctly assume that it will play on any other DV digital camcorder in the world? I realize that signals from camcorder to TV must be altered for PAL or NTSC... BUT I am asking only about the DV tape's ability to be played on a foreign country Mini DV digital camcorder. (Steve Tanenbaum)
Playback will depend on the capabilities on the camera or deck that you use. Generally, most NTSC cameras will not play PAL DV material, while PAL cameras often have some ability to play NTSC DV material. The camera's manual needs to be consulted to determine the extent of its playback capabilities when playing NTSC material in a PAL camera, as playback may be limited to the camcorder's LCD or may only playback in black and white. To avoid these issues, certain decks such as the Sony DSR-11 can be used to play and record both PAL and NTSC DVCAM/DV material.

View Mini DV Tapes  |  View Mini DV Cleaners  |  Back to Main FAQ  |   Back to the Top


A friend of mine said that you can record and play a small DVCAM tape in a miniDV deck (thereby getting the higher quality) when you shoot it in miniDV. We recently shot with DVCAM in a Canon XL-1, and it appeared to work just fine. When I tried to play the tape back in a JVC SR-VS10U the deck gives me an error message. Is this a deck issue or does the DVCAM tape not play back when shot in an XL-1? (Brian Tetamore)
The playback should have been fine? Any one out there have any suggestions or similar problems?

Even when equipment is labeled miniDV or DV, every manufacturer has a different way of encoding digital signal to tape. The basic signal recorded to tape is the same, however, when using different manufacturers for record and play back I've noticed there is some compatibility problem. There is nothing wrong with the camera, deck or tape. I've encountered similar problems before when recording was done with XL-1& PB in Sony DSR-30. There was nothing wrong with any of them. When PB in XL-1 it was just fine (of course if you recorded in LP mode in XL-1 it's a whole different problem to start with) My suggestion is try PB with another deck and if that does not work, try PB in XL-1. If that still does not work, then you most likely have a recording problem (probably a bad camera). (Kenny Morimoto)

View Mini DV Tapes  |  Back to Main FAQ  |   Back to the Top


I have read some rumors about an upcoming release of a 3 hour mini DV tape. Any comments? (Roger Rockey, VideoStreams)
We have not heard anything like that. Physically, it would be very difficult to put that much tape in a miniDV shell. As you know there is an 80min miniDV, when used on long play (extended play) gives you 120min. So that would mean we would need a 120min on miniDV... a stretch, possible, but not that we have heard of. The reason probably is that we at Tape Resources deal mostly in professional tapes, as opposed to consumer.... and the pro's don't want to stretch and risk quality for the sake of length (and the quality loss of extended play).

But there is news that Panasonic will be introducing a 180min tape, but it is a full size DV shell. They are also bringing out a 270min tape! A number of the newer cameras for use in "prosumer" now take the full size DV.

View Mini DV Tapes  |  Back to Main FAQ  |   Back to the Top


 WHAT PANASONIC FORMATS ARE COMPATIBLE WITH miniDV, DV, DVCAM TAPE?
 WHAT CAMCORDERS AND DECKS CAN BE USED WITH THESE FORMATS?
 WHAT ARE THE RECORDING AND PLAYBACK TIMES?

MiniDV / DVCAM Compatible Cassette


MQ-Series:  Master Quality:  "DV Master"
Series Model No.
Recording Time
Hardware Models that accomodate these Tapes
 
DV
DVCAM
Length
Camcorders
Decks
AY-DVM63MQ
63 min
42 min.
73m
AG-EZ1, EZ20, EZ30, EZ50, AG-DVC10, DVC15, DVCAM Camcorders
AG-DV1000
AG-DV2000
AY-DVM83MQ
83 min.
55 min.
96m
AY-DVMCLA mini Cleaning Cassette
All miniDV & DVCAM Camcorders
All miniDV & DVCAM Decks

PQ-Series:  Professional Quality
Series Model No.
Recording Time
Hardware Models that accomodate these Tapes
 
DV
DVCAM
Length
Camcorders
Decks
AY-DVM33PQ
33 min.
22 min.
39m
AG-EZ1, EZ20, EZ30, EZ50, AG-DVC10, DVC15, DVCAM Camcorders
AG-DV1000
AG-DV2000
AY-DVM63PQ
63 min.
42 min.
73m
AY-DVM83PQ
83 min.
55 min.
96m
AY-DVMCLA mini Cleaning Cassette
All miniDV & DVCAM Camcorders
All miniDV & DVCAM Decks

Large DV / DVCAM Compatible Cassette

MQ-Series:  Master Quality:  "DV Master"
Series Model No.
Recording Time
Hardware Models that accomodate these Tapes
 
DV
DVCAM
Length
Camcorders
    Decks    
AY-DV96MQ 96 min. 64 min.
111m
AG-DVC200
DSR-300
DSR-370
DSR-500
DSR-570
AG-DV2000

Standard DVCAM Recorders
AY-DV124MQ 124 min. 82 min.
143m
AY-DV186MQ 186 min. 124 min.
213m
AY-DV276MQ 276 min. 184 min.
315m
AY-DVCLB Large Cleaning Cassette
All Large Cassette DV & DVCAM Camcorders
All Large Cassette DV & DVCAM Decks

PQ-Series:  Professional Quality
Series Model No.
Recording Time
Hardware Models that accomodate these Tapes
 
DV
DVCAM
DVCAM
Camcorders
Decks
AY-DV96PQ
96 min.
64 min.
111m
AG-DVC200
DSR-300
DSR-370
DSR-500
DSR-570
AG-DV2000

Standard DVCAM Recorders
AY-DV124PQ
124 min.
82 min.
143m
AY-DV186PQ
186 min.
124 min.
213m
AY-DVCLB Large Cleaning Cassette
All Large Cassette DV & DVCAM Camcorders
All Large Cassette DV & DVCAM Decks

View Mini DV Tapes, DVCAM Tapes, DV Tapes

 Back to Main FAQ  |   Back to the Top


 WHAT ARE DV TAPE AND DVCAM TAPE SPEEDS?

DV Tape Speed: 18.812 mm/sec.
DVCAM Tape Speed: 28.193 mm/sec.

View Mini DV Tapes, DVCAM Tapes, DV Tapes

 Back to Main FAQ  |   Back to the Top

Online Formats
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DISCS: LINE 1 MEDIA BLU-RAY, BLU-RAY, CD-R DISCS, DVD FOR CAMCORDER, DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM, LIGHTSCRIBE, XDCAM PRO DISC
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Misc

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