Is tape dead?

5 replies [Last post]
tom hardwick
Joined: Apr 8 1999

What about the Z7? I feel it's rather expensive compared to the Z1 and very close in price to the EX1, but to me it seems like a very sensible way forward. Much cheaper CF cards and back-up to tape at the same time. I'd miss not having the on-board stereo mic and I don't really need interchangeable lenses, but even so, a nice one Sony.

Tape is dead in the overall scheme of things, but I still find it very reliable, affordable, convenient for archiving and a very compact 13 gb matchbox.

Saying all that though I had my first tape crinkle last weekend. In fact I had a tape crinkle about 10 years ago with my TRV900 - it was a well known problem with feed and take-up spool tensions at the time, but since then, nothing.

Until last Saturday. Of course I was not made aware of it and I filmed happily on with the Z1, but come the wedding edit and I've had to accept the loss of a few scenes as the guests milled about, champagne in hand.

Then I took the b & g away to film them on their own down by the lake and someone up there loves me because the tape smoothed out and all the shots were perfect. (Perfectly free from dropout that is, not perfect as in tom only shoots perfect footage).

This was a many times recycled tape - it could well have been 5 years old, or more. I don't see how this fact made it any more likely to crinkle up in any way, as I always fast fwd and back in the DSR-11 before I use them again.


foxvideo's picture
Joined: Sep 9 1999
tom hardwick wrote:
This was a many times recycled tape - it could well have been 5 years old, or more.


Tom, With tapes at around £1.20 each, I don't see the logic to this!

Dave Farrants Fox Video Editing

tom hardwick
Joined: Apr 8 1999

The logic is that as they're so cheap, the chance of you getting a faulty one is stastically dangerous. 28 high-tec parts inside every MiniDV tape all for a third the price of a sandwich? There's no end of line inspection at £1.20 a pop.

I don't go on shoots for paying clients with untested kit. If I've got a tape that's proved itself then that's tested kit, no more to it than that.


Gavin Gration
Joined: Jul 29 1999

Judging by the number of HDD cameras that are sent to us in order to get the footage off them I'd say tape is sadly missed.


Good old Jessops slightly OT but......

One recent example. A construction/building maintenance company bought a Panasonic HDD camera on the advice of Jessops to do video surveys - cost around £500.00.

If it was solid state & they could pull SDHC cards out I could half understand it but a HDD? Bizzare advice!

And yes the footage quality was dire!

Joined: May 26 1999
Gavin Gration wrote:
A construction/building maintenance company bought a Panasonic HDD camera on the advice of Jessops to do video surveys

It's crazy how many companies undervalue the work we do. They must think "it's only pointing a video camera, any fool can do that", so they go and 'do it themselves' only to regret it later; even some very large firms. I have even come across a large legal practice turning over millions who have 'had a go' at making their own promo video... to save money; completely laughable. A couple of years ago one 'building' company wanted me to film for 2 hours every day for 3 months (their request) then edit the rushes into a 2 hour instructional programme (with a presenter!). They were amazed when my quote was above £5.5k!! Which was ballpark what they expected (my quote was nearer £40k). :rolleyes:

I wonder if these companies would service their own vehicles, do their own electricals, maintain their lifts, do their own artwork and marketing or install their own air conditioning units? Actually the building company might do some of those I suppose :o

But you see what I'm getting at. The video production business is often undervalued compared to other professional services that businesses use. Is it because there are so many cowboy operators out there or 'retired' people doing it for pin-money meaning the industry is not taken seriously? :mad:

Joined: Mar 8 2007

Chrome I think you can now include ITV in the list of companies who expect people to do things for pin money, if not now then just watch over the next year and see their corporate structure go into meltdown.
They whinge on that they cant afford the franchises that they bid for, well who did their business plan and model?

Everyone needs to earn a crust but the trouble is that in the case of broadcast things are going to get a lot worse and it just doesnt add up that video makers are expected to invest in new tapeless kit for HD production when the big boys cant afford their rates now never mind when they have cut back the programming budget more.

Major post houses are already going under and freelancers are struggling to get work even in London so it is not looking good at the moment.

Here's hoping that IPTV gives a fresh approach to TV content using lower cost technology such as the Z7 and EX-1 so that at least people can earn a decent wage from the lower budgets that are going to be the norm for production.

Tape is not dead as it is still required for archiving and final delivery back-up but I really feel that TV is and there needs to be a new way forward to bring back quality programming that is viewer rather than advertiser budget driven.