Sizes of DVC/DVCPRO Tape
1/. How many different sizes of DVC/DVCPRO tape are there? I found out last night when the client brought the wrong size that there are at least 2 : Large and Medium.
2/. Is there DVC tape in all sizes? Is there DVCPRO tape in all sizes?
3/. What's the proper terminology for the various flavours of DVC? Does "DVCPRO" only relate to DVCPRO50 or is there DVCPRO (25 megabit) and DVCPRO50 (50 megabit)?
4/. Is there an actual difference in the tape stock between DVC and DVCPRO50 and if so, what is it? Is it like the difference between DV and DVCAM whereby DVCAM records at a faster speed and different track pitch, but you can record DVCAM on regular DV tape? And DVCAM tape is physically more robust but will work with either recording mode?
5/. Will a DVC deck play both DVC and DVCPRO tapes or just DVC? Will a DVCPRO deck play both DVC and DVCPRO tapes or just DVCPRO?
Thanks for any information including questions I may have forgotten to ask. This is not just a curious fact finding mission but questions of timely necessity.
Dan "Format War Monger" Coplan
>1/. How many different sizes of DVC/DVCPRO tape are there?
Medium and Large. There is no "mini"
>2/. Is there DVC tape in all sizes?
Mini and Full size (also known as Standard)
>3/. What's the proper terminology for the various flavors of DVC?
DVCPRO is general term for Panasonics pro tape formats, but generally DVCPRO is DV25 codec, DVCPRO50 is DV50 codec, DVCPROHD is HD running at 100 Mbps.
>4/. Is there an actual difference in the tape stock between DVC and >DVCPRO50 and if so, what is it?
DVCPRO and DVC use the same tape width. Otherwise its quality of tape.
I believe DVCPRO tapes are the same size whether you use DVCPRO or DVCPRO50 or DVCPROHD so the should be interchangeable. They just run at different speeds. Now there may be a quality difference but I don't know about that. I haven't tried to use them interchangeably so I don't know if they do anything to them like sony does with 8mm and Hi8 where they add a whole to the case so that Hi8 won't play 8mm unless you pop the plug out.
Can anyone confirm interchangeability?
>5/. Will a DVC deck play both DVC and DVCPRO tapes or just DVC?
Depends. Some Sony units will play MiniDV, DVCPro,and DVCAM but not Full size DV. And generally will not output DVCPro through firewire. Panasonics usually play Minidv, DVCam and DVCPro. Of course you need a DVCPRO50 deck to play that codec as well.
Not sure about the fullsize DV tapes but I don't think Sony or Panasonic decks that can play the above 3 formats can also play DV fullsize. I think the tape case is not the same size as DVCPro medium. If you find out, please let me know.
I notice that the AJD-D960 specs on the panasonic website state :
Multiple Formats - Works in DVCPRO50 and DVCPRO in either 525 NTSC or 625 PAL standards.
Multi Format Playback - Playback Mini-DV, DV and DVCAM tapes with variable speed Slo-mo ranging from -1 to +1x normal speed.
So maybe they can play full size DV? Anyone know for sure?
I've been thinking of buying the DVC200 which uses Full size DV tapes. Would like to know what my editing options are as far as VTR's.
Sorry about quoting the questions Geoff, didn't know how the answers were to make sense without the questions. I won't do this again if it's a problem.
Thank you, D.J., for your response. I still need to know the following :
1/. Will a DVCPRO compatible deck also play DVCPRO50 or do I specifically need a DVCPRO50 deck? I have a Sony 1-chip miniDV camera I use as a deck that plays back miniDVCAM tapes with no problem.
2/. Will a DVCPRO50 compatible deck also play DVCPRO or if I'm using both formats, do I need a deck that specifically plays both? In other words, is a DVCPRO50 deck necessarily backwards compatible?
3/. Do DVCPRO tapes come in both the medium and large size? How about DVCPRO50?
4/. Using the SDX-900, I recorded DVCPRO50 on a DVCPRO tape. Does this mean I have a DVCPRO50 formatted tape or does it mean I have a DVCPRO tape that happened to record at a faster speed? What's required to play it back?
Sorry for the seemingly picky little questions, but I need to know exact answers for a client.
> Will a DVCPRO compatible deck also play DVCPRO50
No, you definitely need a DVCPRO50 deck.
class="style6" > 3/. Do DVCPRO tapes come in both the medium and large size?
class="style6" > 4/. Using the SDX-900, I recorded DVCPRO50 on a DVCPRO tape.
There's no difference between DVCPRO and DVCPRO50 tape. There is no tape specifically made for DVCPRO50 - you should even see on the label a check box for 25/50 so the editor knows what kind of deck is needed for playback.
> 1/. How many different sizes of DVC/DVCPRO tape are there?
DV(DVC) has the mini and the large.
DVCPRO/50/HD have three, sort of. The medium cassettes work in all of the DVCPRO25/50 camcorders and the large works in the HD camcorders. There is another Extra Large cassette that allows for longer record in HD.
> 3/. What's the proper terminology for the various flavors of DVC? Mini->DV and DV
>Does "DVCPRO" only relate to DVCPRO50 or is there DVCPRO (25 >megabit) and DVCPRO50 (50 megabit)?
DVCPRO references the 25Mb, DVCPRO50 refers to the 50Mb and DVCPRO HD refers to the 100Mb.
> 4/. Is there an actual difference in the tape stock between DVC and >DVCPRO50 and if so, what is it?
DV(aka DVC)is a Metal Evaporated Tape, and DVCPRO and its extensions are on a Metal Particle Tape.
>Is it like the difference between DV and DVCAM whereby DVCAM >records at a faster speed and different track pitch, but you can record >DVCAM on regular DVtape?
Beyond the tape differences, there are track differences. The DVCPRO formats record at 18 microns, wider than that of DVCAM or DV. The new Mastering machine will record DVCPRO HD with 48 tracks at 9 microns instead of the usual 18 Microns that normal DVCPRO HD record. This offers a 2 hour recording in HD. There are other subtle differences in the recording like there is a Control Track recorded so that the machines will search up to 100X speed, and an analog cue track. Additionally the audio signals includes some additional information.
> 5. Will a DVC(DV) deck play both DVC and DVCPRO tapes or just >DVC?
>Will a DVCPRO deck play both DVC(DV) and DVCPRO tapes or just >DVCPRO?
All of the DVCPRO decks will play DV, DVCAM or DVCPRO.
The newest DVCPRO50 decks will play all of the formats, the DVCPRO HD machines will play all formats, except the AJ-HD130, which is HD tapes only.
Hope this helps,
> 1/. Will a DVCPRO compatible deck also play DVCPRO50 or do I >specifically need a DVCPRO50 deck?
A DVCPRO deck will not play the DVCPRO50 format as unlike the DVCAM analogy the DVCPRO50 recording has 20 tacks to make up a single frame. With the DVCAM it is still only a matter of 10 tracks per frame.
> 2/. Will a DVCPRO50 compatible deck also play DVCPRO or if I'm >using both formats, do I need a deck that specifically plays both?
The DVCPRO50 machines will play both DVCPRO and DVCPRO50. Depending on the age of the machine, you may have to go into a menu to change formats. The AJ-SD930/955 will auto recognize.
class="style7" > 3/. Do DVCPRO tapes come in both the medium and large size? How >about DVCPRO50?
The formulation on the tape is identical AN AJ-P66M is 66 minutes in DVCPRO and 33 minutes in DVCPRO50.
> 4/. Using the SDX-900, I recorded DVCPRO50 on a DVCPRO tape.
This means that you have recorded DVCPRO50, 20 tacks per frame, 4:2:2 color sampling with 3.3:1 compression. You will need a DVCPRO50 machine to play it back. It is not the tape that determines what is recorded on it, it is the machine that does the recording.
Hope this helps,
You will need a DVCPRO50 deck to play DVCPRO50. All Panasonic DVCPRO50 Decks will play MiniDV and DVCPRO. And The HD Decks will play/record DVCPRO and DVCPRO50.
> 3/. Do DVCPRO tapes come in both the medium and large size? How >about DVCPRO50?
DVCPRO and DVCPRO50 come in medium and large. And according to Panasonics tape pamphlet, they can be used interchangeably. Keep in mind that a Large format Camera can not play/record onto medium format tapes, but the VTR's can do both sizes. I believe you can purchase any of panasonics DVCPRO(25 or 50) camera's in either size format. Best to ask a panasonic rep to confirm that though.
class="style7" > 4/. Using the SDX-900, I recorded DVCPRO50 on a DVCPRO tape.
You have a tape recorded at double speed with 50Mps/sec in the DVCRPO50 codec recorded onto it. You will need a DVCPRO50 or DVCPROHD compatible deck to play it back.
Side note : Not all decks were firewire capable. The older Panasonics were not. The AJ-D455 was I believe the first deck to offer an optional internal firewire card. Newer decks are compatible but I haven't really looked into whether this is an optional add-on or not. And the newer cameras have a optional firewire ability.
I'm not sure about recording one format over the other, but I would assume this is possible, but would be leery about doing that unless you tried it in advance. I've seen problems with people trying to black tapes with NEW timecode over old timcecode/footage (with DVCPRO25) as it's dependent on a menu setting and an option, if my rusty brain is correct, that certain older panasonic VTR models do not have. (I believe the deck in question was an AJ-D450) This is in regards to VTR's, The cameras can record over old footage/timecode easily.
I haven't actually had the pleasure of using DVCPRO50 myself, though I have researched it quite a bit. I'm still stuck in a DVCPRO25 world. Mostly AJ-D610's and 700's.
Thanks to everyone for your very informative and timely response to my questions -very helpful! Just a few more should wrap up this discussion:
1/. If I understand correctly, the medium size tapes are for DVCPRO and DVCPRO50 only. The large tapes are for HD only. And there's an extra large tape that's for extra run time for HD only.
But looking at the following link (thanks, George) :
Three run times are indicated for the DVCPRO tape. I assume DVCPRO/DVCPRO50/and...HD?
Will HD take the medium sized tapes?
Additionally there is one large tape that is specifically labelled as DVCPRO50. Is this some higher grade version of the standard DVCPRO tape?
Panasonic's tape brochure lists both medium and large sizes for DVCPRO which is counter to my previous understanding that DVCPRO tapes are only medium size.
2/. What would happen if, hypothetically, I recorded DVCPRO50 on a tape and then half way through switched to DVCPRO? I'm guessing a DVCPRO deck would only be able to read the DVCPRO portion, but a DVCPRO50 deck might be able to read the whole thing with no problem? Would I drop timecode?
I didn't do this, honest. I simply have nothing better to do on a Sunday after a shoot that ended at 6:30AM than chat about tape stock. I guess I could take a nap...
What I did do, however, is record bars and tone at DVCPRO50 at which point the producer decided to switch to DVCPRO so I rewound the tape and relaid bars and tone at DVCPRO. I wonder what's actually on that portion of the tape.
Dan "Master of Tape Formats" * Coplan
* soon to be
>This means that you have recorded DVCPRO50, 20 tacks per frame, >4:2:2 color sampling with 3.3:1 compression.
The tacks, of course, are used to pin down the extra color information that otherwise slides right off the narrow DVCPRO tapes...
/video geek and no help at all sometimes / menlo park ca usa
> This means that you have recorded DVCPRO50, 20 tacks per frame, >4:2:2 color sampling with 3.3:1 compression.
Adam Wilt explained:
>The tacks, of course, are used to pin down the extra color information >that otherwise slides right off the narrow DVCPRO tapes...
Pretty tacky, Adam.
Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614