Mini DV Tape FAQ

Mini DV Tape FAQ

Memory card / Hard drive video cameras VS Mini DV tape cameras?

Which is better when dealing with professional level video. I’ve used both types of cameras, I am looking into buying a professional level video camera but I am seeing a lot of the higher end video cameras still use Mini DV tapes. I like the convenience of Memory card cameras when uploading, but is the quality better on tapes vs memory cards?

Are you really dealing with professional level video? Just making sure, because the answer to that has a HUGE influence on which you choose.

Consumer cameras:
MiniDV tape is the way to go for quality. You risk tape dropouts and you have longer capture times, but tape is cheap, and the formats are higher quality. Having an instant archive, and getting higher quality, that’s worth it to me even if it means longer capture times. Standard definition on DV runs away as the only consumer format in which each frame is compressed within itself, without relying on information from other frames. In HD, the HDV format does use interframe compression, which is a drawback, but then again, so do all the other consumer HD formats.

Pro cameras:
Cameras that record to solid-state memory definitely seem to be the wave of the future here. Panasonic uses its DVCProHD format on P2 cards, and Sony uses its XDCam EX format on SxS cards (or SDHC cards! look it up!). These formats DO have their advantages over HDV, and therefore, in the professional realm, cameras based on solid-state memory are what I’d be looking at if I was looking at pro cameras.

That said, some “borderline” pro cameras use AVCHD video recorded on SD cards. I would probably avoid those. As you step up, you start to see the “AVC-Intra” format, THAT’s a good format. So, for solid-state memory, I’d be happy with DVCProHD, XDCam, and AVC-Intra. There are even better formats higher up the price chain, but if you’re looking to jump up from consumer into the pro formats, these are a good start, and really will do a lot for you.

How would I connect a Mini DV tape to my computer?

I have a Mini DV tape from my Sony camcorder, and I’m wondering how I can connect it to my computer. Please give me links to the product if possible.

Depending on the features available in your camcorder model, here are a few things that you can do:

  • If you have firewire port in your camcorder, get a firewire card installed in your PC and then using the s/w provided with the camcorder, transfer the video onto the PC.
  • If your camcorder supports USB streaming, then you can you the USB port on your PC to get the video transfered onto your PC.
  • If your PC has a TV tuner card, give the o/p of your camcorder to this tuner card and then get the video transfered onto your PC

When recording on a mini-dv tape, are there really differences in tapes?

My understanding is that digital video is a series of “1’s & 0’s”. Besides the price, are there really any differences in a mini-dv tape and the tapes that claim to be HD mini-dv? Open for any suggestions for good quailty recording tapes and a modest price.

I have been recording and editing HDV video for about 10 years.

I use inexpensive regular “Sony Premium” 60 minute (standard definition, SP mode) tapes. They record up to 63 minutes of HDV format video. I get them at Amazon.Com in 10-packs for about $27.00.

I do not re-use tapes – they are my “archive” of the original video. I also export the finished project from the computer back out to the camcorder as the archive for the “highest quality” version of the project. If you choose to re-use the tapes, then you can expect to have issues with drop-outs.

I have used special “HD” tapes. They have better video quality and less drop-outs.

How to make a mini dv tape unplayable forever?

Is there any way to make it so a mini dv tape appears / looks fine, but the tape is damaged so it will not play forever? Can I tear the cartridge, draw on the tape, or do something to it?

Find someone with a tape degausser, it will magnetically erase a tape to a factory new condition.

If you can find something with a very strong magnetic field, that will wipe out a tape. With some skill involved, you could get a same blank tape, open the cartridge, and swap the tape inside for a blank one.

Anyone know of a Mini DV tape and DVD Direct burner that works right on site?

I am trying to find a DVD Direct burner that will record a DVD while plugged into my camcorder while it records what I am filming onto a Mini DV tape? I thought Sony had one that does it but maybe I was wrong.

Sony, panasonic and jvc all have what you need. I would have go with Hard Drive based recorder for it be more reliable than DVD Burner on site workings, but the choice is yours.

Is there no hope for my glitchy Mini DV tape?

I captured some footage from my Mini DV tape, but I used my camera to do it, and the heads were dirty. The footage gets worse as it goes, getting more and more glitchy. Should I just use a tape deck or another camera to capture my footage, or is my Mini DV now ruined?

I assume you mean that you first noticed the problems after you captured the video to your computer, is that correct? You did not (knowingly) have the dirty heads problem when you shot the footage. I will base my answer on that assumption.

If the tape and camera were OK when you shot it, using another deck or camcorder will probably work fine. The problem is likely the camera, not the tape. Playing back a tape on a deck with dirty heads should not ruin the tape itself.

If the tape is glitchy no matter what deck you play it in, you’ve got a tape problem, and there’s really no turning back.

In short, DEFINITELY try another camera or deck, and see if it’s glitchy in the same spots.

How do I transfer (Vegas Rendered) videos back into a Mini DV tape?

I’m going to need to put videos that I edit back into Mini DV tapes ( not the same ones, new tapes).What format shold I render it ( I use Vegas 6) and what should I use to transfer the video back? I use a firewire cable to get the video out from a small camera.

With the video on the time line, simple tell it to “print to tape”. have a new tape loaded in the camcorder. the firewire is a 2 way connection so Vegas will start the camcorder to record for you and output the program.

When i play a mini dv tape in my video camera it has lines through the image and audio skips.. how can i fix ?

My camera is a canon ZR500, and takes mini dv tapes. when i play a tape in it, it gets 6 or 7 dark grey lines that go horizontal through the image. the audio also cuts out every few seconds. this has happened with a couple tapes. Any idea what causes this? is it the camera, or the video tape? Is my camera destroying tapes? or is this mini dv tape going to be fine in another camera?

Sounds to me like the tapes are bad. Tapes degrade over time and the first thing to get bad is the audio and then you get the lines. Try a new tape.

I recommend converting your miniDV tapes to digital files. You can do this yourself by importing the video into your computer with a firewire cable. I use StashSpace.Com’s free video editing software to do this and it works great. They also let you send it tapes for professional encoding on their decks. This may help you recover the data from your damaged tapes but I am not sure.

How many times can I re-record on a mini DV tape?

Could you please let me know how many times I can reuse the same mini DV tape for capturing videos with mini DV camcorder? If I re-record 2 – 3 times will it affect video quality?

As long as you don’t physically damage the tape, it will last for years. The tape stores a magnetic signal, and you just rewrite the signal when you re-record. How many times have you used the same video tape, it’s only the same.

How do i edit a mini dv tape?

I have to edit some footage for a school commercial, but the person who gave me the footage gave it to me in the form of a mini dv tape. i need to find out how to get it on my computer. can i somehow go to a store to get it turned into a cd? what can i do?

You will need a miniDV camcorder or miniDV player connected to your computer using IEEE-1394 interface connection cable (FireWire, iLink). So your computer will need to have a port for that (many computers don’t). If you do, then connect the cam to your computer, and launch your video editing program and use ‘capture’ to copy the video from the cam (tapes). You can use Movie Maker (PC) or iMovie (Mac), but those free programs don’t include a DVD burning feature. You can use Nero, Sonic, Roxio, etc. to do that. A more featured video editing program will allow burning DVDs.

Why is my mini DV tape the wrong format in my Panasonic PV-GS80 Mini DV ? Aren’t all DV tapes the same?

I have used the tape previously in a different Sony camcorder. I know it has footage on it and I am afraid I have lost it. The DV tape is a standard Fuji 60 minute tape.

The tapes are all the same – but the camcorder may use different encoding methods for video… I know I’ve had problems with Panasonic cams and wirdescreen, for wexample – Sony does “real” 16:9 widescreen – where as the Panny video did a letterboxed 16:9 inside a 4:3 frame… If the video was recorded on a Panny, then play back in a Panny. If recorded in a Sony, playback in a Sony – this will help reduce format errors. By the way, if you LOCK the tape, it cannot be written over. Slide the little tab so it is open.

How do you get a mini dv tape to a vhs tape?

It old i know, but it would be cool.

you will need the recording on the DV tape in the camcorder, use the 3 phono leads, red, white, yellow and plug into corresponding holes on a VCR machine, select the appropriate AV channel on the VCR and press play on camcorder and press record on VCR. This will then copy the same footage on to a VHS tape for you.

You do exactly the same for a DVD recorder, but this may have the benefit of a DV in socket for better quality copying.

How to copy a hi8 tape to mini dv tape?

How do you copy the content of a Hi8/8mm tape to ur PC or mini dv tape?

You need a Mini DV camcorder with in-body analog-to-digital decoder such as my Panasonic NV-GS200.

HD Camera with Mini DV tape?

What is a good HD camera, that uses Mini DV tape, mainly to be used for filming short movies.

All are available for viewing and purchasing at the respective manufacturer’s web sites.

Consumer grade standard definition:
Canon ZR960
Panasonic PV-GS90, GS83, GS80, GS85, GS320

Consumer grade high definition:
Canon HV40

Prosumer standard definition:
Canon GL2

Professional standard definition:
Canon XL2
Panasonic AG-DVX100

Professional high definition:
Canon XHA series, XHG series, XLH series

And don’t forget, there are flash memory camcorders that record to DV/HDV, too – Like the JVC GY-HM series. And there’s the Panasonic AG-HVX200 and the entire AG-HPX series lineup that records DVCPRO HD to P2 cards. Or the Panasonic AJ-HDX900 and AJ-SDC615 cams that record to DVCPRO tapes.

Sony – the HDR-FX7, FX1000, HVR-V1, Z1, Z5, HDCAM and XDCAM systems are widely used, too.