Archive for the ‘MiniDV’ Category

Transferring professional tapes for editing? Go to MiniDV tape, NOT DVD!

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

A great number of our clients want to edit at home or the office but their origina masters are on a professional videotape format such as BetaSp, Digital Betacam, 1″, 3/4″, or DVCAM. The clients usually request that we ( transfer their masters to DVD for later importing and editing in Final Cut Pro, Avid, Vegas, or Premiere.

Don’t transfer to DVD for editing!! There is far too much video compression. Not only that, but the material has to be “ripped” off the DVD prior to being editable. This ripping, especially on longer videos, can have a sync drift between the audio and video. There are also other artifacts that can pop up depending on the method of ripping used.

Additionally, a DVD makes a terrible archive for this purpose. We can assume that the original professional tape format of the master is fading out of its technicalogical lifespan. While it’s a good idea to archive them, DVDs are not a great format for archiving of professional material. DVDs are suseptable to scratches, warping, and being technologically outdated over time.

We always suggeset transferring to MiniDV tape standard defition editing and archiving. MiniDV tape is very robust as a format. Many people consider the image to be of poor quality these days, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. MiniDV looks pretty bad when shot is someone’s camcorder with poor lighting and a cheap lens. But when you transfer to MiniDV directly from a professional source, MiniDV looks absolutely phenominal. That’s because it is all digital and encoded in good old 1’s and 0’s. we have done blind testing where we show people MiniDV footage and Digibeta footage and nobody can discern the difference. They can’t tell which was played back from which!

The MiniDV tapes are very small, easy to store, and deliver a crisp and vivid image.

It’s such a great format that HDV (the first format for consumer high defintion video) is based on the MiniDV tape.


The tapes import for editing with any standard MiniDV camcorder using the firewire or DV cable that comes with the camera.

Plus, the MiniDV camcorder is the most ubiquitious camcorder ever made. It’s everywhere. So if you don’t have one, call up your neighbor and ask to borrow the camcorder so you can digitize your footage into your editing system. It’s really easy!

MiniDV tape is cheap! LP mode will kill you.

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

If you’re shooting a wedding or event and don’t want to run out of MiniDV tape during the event, do not use LP mode on your camcorder!  Just don’t do it. The compression is pretty substantial for LP mode and your footage will have many undesirable video artifacts, especially if you plan to use video effects with this footage.

And if it’s about saving money, fuggettaboutit. MiniDV tapestock is the cheapest item on the production budget, weighing in at a whole $2.95 each.

Okay, so how do you record a 90 minute wedding without LP mode and only using 60 minutes worth of tape?

Here’s what you do. Before the wedding, have one tape in the camera and a second tape unwrapped and sitting on the box under the tripod.  At the exact moment where the wedding guests are falling asleep as the pastor goes on and on about the joy of the marriage, quickly eject tape #1 and insert #2.  And yes, you are going to lose about 30 seconds of the ceremony, but I don’t think the people watching the tape are going to be too bothered. In fact, I think they would thank you.

Make sure the bride and groom know in advance that 30 seconds of the wedding will not be recorded… either that… or they can have inferior video quality. Believe me, the want the best!