Mini DV tape - the era's end?

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tom hardwick
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Mini DV tape - the era's end?

Post by tom hardwick » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:41 am

Editor Garth tells me there's some consternation in the letters page over my assertion that the Mini DV tape era is over and I'd just like to expand on that a little. Writing these words in my review of the NX5 I only meant it from a manufacturer's viewpoint; no new cameras will be introduced that record to Mini DV in the same way as no new cameras will be introduced for VHSc, Digital8, Hi8, MicroMV and so on.

That doesn't mean MiniDV camcorders are no good - far from it. And Sony still produce some pretty expensive camcorders that use tape - the Z5 and FX1000, the V1 and FX7 and the Z7. Amazingly Canon still list the XM2 (4:3 SD) as well as the lovely HV40, XL2. XH A1 and G1, XL-H1 - all of which record to Mini DV tape.

I've really loved the Mini DV tape era - it's been a cheap, reliable, backwards compatible (DV and HDV) medium that has served me faithfully and well, and I still have two Mini DV camcorders here that work perfectly.

tom.

Arthur Bates
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Re: Mini DV tape - the era's end?

Post by Arthur Bates » Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:27 pm

I wonder, when those young couples whose wedding Tom often records, reach their golden wedding anniversary and wish to look back at their wedding video what will be the medium they will be using. I doubt if it will be the original DVD. I wonder what the future holds. Will it be solid state or is anything new on the horizon. Arthur B.

tom hardwick
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Re: Mini DV tape - the era's end?

Post by tom hardwick » Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:47 pm

Arthur - most couples only have the DVD, nothing else. Some opt to buy a DVCAM (full sized tape) from me and I have had couples come back years later to request more DVDs when the offspring have bitten into the original, say. But I'm sure it's going solid state - as having a mechanically spinning disc that has to constantly have its speed changed depending where the reading laser's positioned sounds quaint and old fashioned, even today.

tom.
Last edited by tom hardwick on Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

Lee Prescott
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Re: Mini DV tape - the era's end?

Post by Lee Prescott » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:44 pm

:evil:

My contribution to Tom and Arthur's topic (re what medium will todays "young couples" have to play their wedding movies in say 2095!....) but perhaps my offering aint worth much! I recall a film from ages ago starring Michael Rennie I think it was and entitled "Lost in Space" or some-at where Rennie and his "daughter" were the sole inhabitants of a weird planet full of canibalistic "electronic monsters". In one sequence he placed a small multi faceted crystal object above a small platform or some such and it played movie recordings, (videos), as "real life" holograms.

2095s aged couple would not only be able to watch their wedding video but smell everything too - and once again trip over some ridge in the tiled floor of the aisle!....

:mrgreen: Lee.

col lamb
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Re: Mini DV tape - the era's end?

Post by col lamb » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:36 pm

I think that the movie you are referring to was "Forbidden Planet" with Walter Pigeon, Anne Francis and a very young Leslie Neilson not to mention Robby the Robot that went on via a few upgrades to star in the sixties TV series "Lost in Space". The IMDB link to this classic movie is:- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049223/

Solid state has to be the way of the future, wether it is stored on solid media, hard disc or non spinning optical media.

As MiniDV is dying do not forget to copy your tapes into a medium you can access before your camcorder dies.
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Mike Shaw
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Re: Mini DV tape - the era's end?

Post by Mike Shaw » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:09 pm

I think 'Forbidden Planet' was a modern day (as in futuristic!) version of Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' wasn't it?

Caused quite a stir when it came out I believe.

Or was that another dream, in another time...

granfer
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Re: Mini DV tape - the era's end?

Post by granfer » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:30 pm

My usual answer (cynical though it may be) is that the life of any medium on which a Wedding Video is supplied to the "happy couple" is totally unimportant.... it's certain to be longer than the marriage lasts.

My own marriage confirms this... our Standard 8 Kodachrome is standing up well to our more than 50 years!

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Mike Shaw
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Re: Mini DV tape - the era's end?

Post by Mike Shaw » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:53 pm

Good point. I edited all the tapes from happy guests at a wedding for a friend recently, wanted to give iot to them as sort of 'gift'. Took me about two weeks to 'blend' them together and cut out the trash, add in a few ooohs and aaaah points. Took about another week to finally contact my friend for passing on ... "Oh don't worry about that" he said. "They've split up...". Must have lasted all of two months, that one.

daveswan
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Re: Mini DV tape - the era's end?

Post by daveswan » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:10 pm

tom hardwick wrote:no new cameras will be introduced that record to Mini DV in the same way as no new cameras will be introduced for VHSc, Digital8, Hi8, MicroMV and so on.

tom.
Creative Video lists the Sony PD 175E Mini DV (DVCAM) camcorder at £2580 (Last time I looked) It's an up-to-date model with three lens rings and waveform on the LCD.

Dave

tom hardwick
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Re: Mini DV tape - the era's end?

Post by tom hardwick » Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:32 pm

The PD175 has been available for some time (it's effectively a Z5 that down-converts to SD on the fly), but again, I'm pretty sure that no new cameras MiniDV cameras will be introduced ever again.

col lamb
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Re: Mini DV tape - the era's end?

Post by col lamb » Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:14 pm

I agree with Tom but I am a bit more up front, new MiniDV is dead, your existing MiniDV camcorders are dying, it is just a matter of time before they expire and they will expire. OK some will see us all out but for the majority of us their time is limited they do have moving part and electronics after all.

Whilst the quality is OK, blow it up onto a 50" plasma and you see the difference between SD and HD very easily.

I kept my old Hi8 camcorder when I got my first MiniDV in 2000 so that I could record the Hi8 tapes onto my Storm edit system, when I came to do so no joy, the camcorder would not work. No power, nothing. Good job I had backed up the Hi8 tapes onto MiniDV tapes three years previously and that all my MiniDV tapes are now backed up onto a hard drive.

£2580 for a PD 175 is quite a lot to have to pay to rescue the video on your old tapes when your present MiniDV camcorder gives up the ghost.

Whilst there is still some live in the old dog (the camcorder that is; not the reader;-)) why not give the old tapes a good sort out and capture those that you want onto a hard disc. About 14Gb hard disc space per tape will be required.
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Dave Watterson
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Re: Mini DV tape - the era's end?

Post by Dave Watterson » Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:48 pm

There is good sense in that suggestion, but remember that hard drives are also delicate mechanical devices are still seem to have a mean life of around 7 years before failing. If you are determined to preserve your movies you will have to keep re-transferring to new discs and eventually to new media every few years.

The great question you hint at: what is really worth preserving?

That silly one-like joke movie you made 3 years ago?
A record of your holiday in Ireland in 2001?
Scenes from your daughter's wedding?

Dave

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Mike Shaw
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Re: Mini DV tape - the era's end?

Post by Mike Shaw » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:18 pm

I still happen to think that miniDV tapes are far more reliable than any hard drive storage device. I have over 140 miniDV tapes. Even the earliest of them plays back just as fine now as it did the day it was created. I have never had a miniDV tape failure. I know that doesn't mean I won't get a failure, but I think it is far less likely than a hard drive packing up - and I've had enough of those instances to know that, if its on a hard drive, it most definitely needs backing up.

The only 'user' advantage I can see for solid state storage is the speed with which files can be copied - negating the need to 'capture' video from miniDV. But alongside that 'advantage' is the extra cost for all the extra computing power needed to work with solid state files (HD, AVCHD etc).

I may be a ludite, but I'll stick with miniDV ... and from all the people I make movies with, I am not alone by a very very long chalk. And I have been assured by my supplier, there will be no need to worry about miniDV supplies in my lifetime.

Just for the record, I won't be going 3D either, although the editor I now use can handle all - or most - forms of 3D.

I'm all for bew technology, but let's not lose the baby with the bathwater...

col lamb
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Re: Mini DV tape - the era's end?

Post by col lamb » Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:21 pm

Mike

I agree with you tape, and it does not matter the format is a pretty stable storage.

Mind you the last time I played back some VHS tapes recorded in the 80's they were starting to suffer.

The point is, what is the point of having the video stored on tape if you do not have a means of playing it back?

Not necessarily now, but in 5 or 10 years time!

As for my storage drive where the AVI's of my tapes now reside, it was removed from the PC and is now safely stored in a cool dry static free box well away from vibration or electrical circuits (I have caddy systems on my boot and store drives and so swapping them is simple).

So whilst there is a market I can sell my MiniDV camcorder for £90 on ebay and also sell all the tapes that have only been passed across the camcorder head twice, (once to record and once to capture). There again I could keep the MiniDV camcorder, check it out regularly and then sell it to one of you guys for a reasonable sum in 5 years time when your MiniDV camcorder has packed up and there are no others available to play back that vital MiniDV tape.
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Mike Shaw
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Re: Mini DV tape - the era's end?

Post by Mike Shaw » Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:24 pm

With three miniDV camcorders (one of which is nigh on ten years old and still going strong) - and a Sony GVD1000 miniDV player/recorder, I think I'll be OK for the next few years or so - by which time I'll no doubt be well into pushing up daisies or waiting for my telegram from the Queen. Or King, as the case may well be then. But thanks for the offer - make sure you keep it in good running order! It is a valid point that players for miniDV may be few and far between as the years go by - though VHS recorders are still available, and I'd say that system was now nearly as dead as BetaMax.

I think the point is any system is short lived these days: wire recorders - remember them? And reel-reel tape recorders. (I still have a pile of my Dad's reel-reel tapes, and he died over 15 years ago at the ripe old age of 94). And gramophone records (I have hundreds of them - all speeds from 78s... and a fairly new player for them. Strange, for a defunct system they still make players ...). And 9mm film. And 8mm film ... players etc for all are still fairly readily available - though the digitizing transfer business is doing well at the moment. So, whatever system is current and all the rage now, expect it to be defunct and delegated to the shelves of antiquity within the next few years. DVD gives way to blu-ray, blu-ray will dissolve in the face of ... what? When? Sooner than you'd hope for, that's for sure. In the meantime, I'll stick with miniDV. It serves me well. It's easy(er) to edit (though slow on the captures ). And I don't have to go on a never-ending spend to keep up. Of course, if I depended on this stuff to earn a living, it wouild be an entirely different story.

Horses for courses. But please don't mock my desire to stick with what works for me, and will continue to satisfy the needs of me and my family.

PS ... What price the tapes? Could be interested in a bulk buy for providing tapes for festivals and other clubs and so on - costs me a fortune (not really) supplying films on miniDV those. And most Clubs/Festivals I know prefer miniDVs to DVDs with their start up displays and menu problems which make cueing up tricksy ...

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