MiniDV vs DVCAM vs HDV tapes

This is a report on a test ran at our production facility recently. We had read the articles and heard from fellow producers that MiniDV, DVCAM and HDV tapes were essentially interchangeable. We decided to actually test this theory on are Sony HV1U Camera which supports all three formats.

This is a report on a quick and not too thorough test ran at our production facility recently. We had read the reports and heard from fellow producers that MiniDV, DVCAM and HDV tapes were essentially interchangeable. We decided to actually test this theory on are Sony HV1U Camera which supports all three formats. I’ll cut to the chase… all three formats performed wonderfully as you would expect them too on MiniDV tapes. We shot DVCAM and HDV with our standard MiniDV tape and the result was perfect.

Another reason we were most interested in seeing if MiniDV tapes could be swapped for DVCAM/HDV is price. DVCAM tapes are expensive and HDV are ridiculous, upwards of $25 from some retailers, but MiniDV tapes can be found anywhere for about $5. So for those of you who are in a pinch for cash (or just can’t get your hands on any of the higher grade formats), MiniDV is a viable substitute.

However, there is a downside you should all be aware about. DVCAM and HDV tapes are more expensive for a reason, they are higher quality. And I don’t mean visual quality of the image, but the amount of drop our and errors when recording to tape is lower with these higher grade tapes.

In the end using MiniDV as an HDV or DVCAM substitute might fit your needs from both a technological and economical standpoint. But remember if its piece of mind you want, staying with the tape format that you’re recording at might make you feel better during those live events.

One Comment

  1. Posted August 24, 2011 at 6:51 am | Permalink | Reply

    Mini DV tapes have many features which makes it capable of replacing format of tapes.

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