I recently bought a MiniDV camera and would like everyone's input on how different brands of MiniDV tapes perform in terms of sound, picture, etc. What do you prefer and what would you recommend?
Thanks for the help.
I haven't run enough tape as yet to see a degedation in one from being over taped. However, with any magnetic media (Mini DV is magnetic tape), it's going to go sooner or later. I have tapes from the station that I can't use becuase they've been taped over 20 and 30 times.
I've used Sony and Maxell and stuck with Maxell as that what the station uses.
I know it doesn't help much, but I would say that once you decide on a brand, stick to it. You will certainly have less issues that way.
The brand of MiniDV tape isn't too important... However, once you pick a brand, STAY WITH IT! Most brands use different lubricants, and mixing the lubricants can clog the heads. So, if you must change brands, run a head cleaner thru the camcorder for 10-12 seconds (NOT THE WHOLE TAPE!!!). I've used Sony and Maxell in the past, though folks will support most brands...
I only use tapes once... You'll notice that if you reuse tapes, you'll see an occassional artifact from what you are shooting over... In other words, if you are shooting on May 29th over the footage from May 28th, you may occassionally see 'bits' of May 28th footage in your 29th/current footage. It's a bad thing... I've seen some folks recommend running your tape through with the lens cap on to 'black-out' the footage, but that shouldn't affect these artifacts (you'll just see black artifacts instead of previous footage)...
I have reused tapes quite a bit. The only time I have had your so-called "artifacts" is if I stop and review some part of the tape and stop it too late to start recording the next session. I havn't ever done this on a chase, but have on other personal vacations and stuff. It isn't a problem since I can always edit those clips out. they don't take away from what I have recorded. I have used some tapes over 10 times. After that, I will toss the tape. I always dub off any usable footage onto another MiniDV or Digital8 tape as soon as possible. this makes it easier after the season to make my highlights. I only have about 15 tapes instead of 45+ tapes to go through.
For storm footage, I want to be able to store each event in a couple of different places before I'm done, so I save the original tape (I never re-use a tape for storm footage), and if it's important enough to really save, I'll save it again onto a dig 8 tape as well. I also don't want to run the risk of digital artifacting on storm tapes, and treat them like my children. Though I've never had a noticeable problem with it, if you drop your recorder (yes, done it) ... or get it close to a magnetic field or something, you'll mess with the digital signal and get all kinds of craziness.
When doing video for use on the air, I often record over shots multiple times on the same tape and never notice artifact issues during editing. These are typically the standard people walking down the street in the rain or sunshine shots that you see on TWC - and I have to watch closely anyway to make sure there are no digital issues or other 'glitches' (color, focus, composition, etc.) before the video goes in, naturally.
I've never noticed a difference between brands, but usually buy Memorex mini-DV tapes and Digital 8 tapes both.