Mini DV FAQ
- Do you sell the Sony DVM60EX MiniDV tape?
- How does the Sony HDM63VG compare with the PHDVM63HD?
- I have a question about MiniDV tapes with the IC memory chips. What exactly does the chip do? I've heard that it gives the tape TC capability (as MiniDV cannot record TC normally). Is this true?
- How many tapes come in one package/box for this model: DVM60PRR
- Can MiniDV tapes be used over and over again?
- What is the difference between MiniDV and Digital 8?
- Is there a difference in quality between brands of tapes? What is the difference between wet and dry lube MiniDV tape?
- Do you carry a cassette adapter that allows you to play Mini DV tapes in a VHS machine?
Unfortunately, the Sony DVM60EX tapes have been discontinued. Sony has released the new HDM63VG which is their new videographer grade tape geared toward both MiniDV and HDV use. This tape is taking the place of the DVM60EX.
Sony's Digital Master tape is their highest grade 6mm tape product. It is manufactured with 2 layers of magnetic material which increases performance. The 2 layers also improve carrier to noise ratio which reduces errors. Sony recommends the Digital Master tape for professional HDV recording. The VG's are meant to be competitive with prosumer Mini DV tape. They are not on the same level in terms of performance like the Digital Master or DVCAM tape. Instead the VG's are positioned between consumer Mini DV tape and the DVCAM/Digital Master tape. Right in between.
If you have been using the PHDVM-63DMs then I would most certainly stick with that higher quality tape. Using the VG's would be a down grade.
I have a question about MiniDV tapes with the IC memory chips. What exactly does the chip do? I've heard that it gives the tape TC capability (as MiniDV cannot record TC normally). Is this true?
The IC memory function greatly improves the efficiency of the video production process by recording various editing related data on tape when shooting. If you have a camera and a cassette tape with IC capabilities you can save information to the memory chip. Then with an IC featured deck you can retrieve the saved information. Such as a "Table of Contents" of the tape that can be accessed automatically to locate a particular recording date, index point or even add titling to the memory that can be turned on and off during playback.
Certain DVCAM cameras have a feature called "Clip Link" that utilizes the IC chip to store small still frames of footage for easier retrieval during editing. Each record start and stop writes in an image and it's associated time code to the chip. Also, the camera operator can mark a scene as "good" or "bad" with the push of a button.
The MiniDV tape (DVM60EXM) only has a capacity of 4kbits, while the DVCAM tapes have a capacity of 16kbits.
DVM60PRR comes in packages of 5 or a master carton contains 100. We sell the tapes individually, and this product listing/price is for one tape.
Yes, Mini DV tapes can be reused, however it is not recommended. There are some that reuse tapes over and over and never have problems, but there have been complaints of quality going down the more times they are recorded over. Depending on your use, it would probably just be better to buy new tapes.
Both Mini DV and Digital 8 produce the same picture quality, and can be used in the same equipment though Digital 8 is more expensive and harder to find. Mini DV is considered prosumer, whereas Digital 8 is considered consumer.
Is there a difference in quality between brands of tapes? What is the difference between wet and dry lube MiniDV tape?
These are excellent questions. In general there is not a difference in tape quality between brands. All the major brands that we sell will provide you with a consistent and quality medium for recording video. The difference will come within each brand. For example, using Sony HDM63VG Mini DV tape can result in fewer dropouts compared to the standard Sony DVM60PRR. The same would hold true between the Panasonic AY-DVM60EJ and the higher quality Panasonic DVM63PQUS, or the Panasonic AY-DVM80EJ and the Panasonic AY-DVM83PQUS. If you're recording HDV footage, you might want to consider the difference between the Sony DVM63HD Mini DV tape and the Sony Digital Master PHDVM-63DM tape. Both of these are high quality tape geared specifically toward the HDV format.
While wet vs. dry was an issue about 10 years ago, the general consensus today is that this is no longer an issue to even be concerned about. All the major brands have modified their manufacturing methods to the point where this is no longer a problem.
One thing to consider, however, is staying consistent with the brand you purchase. Some people have claimed issues when switching from one brand to another. At the same time, however, I've personally seen other people mix and match brands regularly without trouble. So much of the time, it's all about who you talk to, so definitely get the opinion of others. Especially people who are using your same equipment. For more details about the differences in tape lubricants, read this article from Sony.
We get this question frequently and, unfortunately, there is no such device available.
The device that people are actually thinking of is what is known as a VHS-C tape adapter. These were for a variant of VHS, not DV or Mini DV.
A VHS-C cassette is simply a small VHS tape. It uses the exact same 1/2 inch magnetic tape wound into a smaller shell.
The smaller size of the VHS-C cassette allows for smaller camcorders. (You may recall those big VHS cameras folks used to lug around. They were big because VHS tapes are big. Very inconvenient.) Since most VHS machines don't have the mechanisms to accept VHS-C cassettes, an adapter was created that allowed consumers to view the tapes on their home televisions.
DV tape isn't in any way compatible with VHS. The width of the tape is much narrower and the signal being recorded is completely different from the signal used for VHS. So, even if such a device existed, the VHS machine playing it back couldn't even load the tape properly, much less display a usable picture.
Now, if what you really want to do is playback a DV or Mini DV tape on a home TV, most DV camcorders have outputs that allow you to connect a cable from your camcorder directly to the TV. Then you'd use your camcorder just like a VHS tape deck. Check your equipment manuals on how to do this. It's a very simple process. Most camcorders even include some basic cables for just this purpose.