Mini HD tape blackening

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    • #43772
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      I’d read posts from two years ago debating the necessity of blackening tapes. What is the current consensus of blackening HD mini DV tapes? (I recently purchased a HD camcorder.)

      Thanks in advance for any info/opinions.

      Gary

    • #183419
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      that there is no need to do it.

    • #183420
      AvatarIan
      Participant

      I always “stripe” or “blacken: new tapes.

      It has two functions,
      1. To run the tape through the camera and make sure it spools correctly.
      2. But most importantly to put one continious time code on the tape for the whole of its length.

      The time code is not changed when you record on it later, even if you take the tape out the camera and use it in the camera at a different time later on a different spot on the tape the time code will still be continious.

      This is important when you are capturing to the computer, especially if you onlywant to capture some of the scenes as if you have two or more scenes with the same timecode, the editing software can become confused as to which scene is required.

      The only trap is that on most cameras, HD striped tapes and SD striped tapes are not intercangable for the other format.

      It is worth the effort.

    • #183421
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      if you want to make sure your tape will spool correctly, simply fast forwardand rewind it. there is no need to stripe the tape, unless you want to put a lot more hours on your heads that needs to be.

      John

    • #183422
      Avatarjerronsmith
      Participant

      >>2. But most importantly to put one continious time code on the tape for the whole of its length.The time code is not changed when you record on it later, even if you take the tape out the camera and use it in the camera at a different time later on a different spot on the tape the time code will still be continious.<<

      While I will admit my strength is post-pro and not production, I believe that in modern digital camcorders timecode is written every time the camera records to a tape. So even if there is already timecode on a tape it is overwritten when the tape is recorded over. So while you won’t get two points on a tape that read as the origin (00;00;00;00) you can still end up with duplicate time code locations with this technique, this can still lead to timecode breaks.

      BTW: The simplest way to fix a tape with timecode breaks is to dub the tape. Of course the tapes new timecode will no longer match your shooting log, but there isn’t much I can suggest for that.

      >>if you want to make sure your tape will spool correctly, simply fast forwardand rewind it. there is no need to stripe the tape, unless you want to put a lot more hours on your heads that needs to be.<<

      Wouldn’t running the tape through the camera at FF or FR put more strain on the heads than running it through at the normal record speed?

    • #183423
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Wouldn’t running the tape through the camera at FF or FR put more strain on the heads than running it through at the normal record speed?

      no, but then again, I haven’t retensioned tapes since working with analog systems. The Mini DV cassettes are very small and have a “ratchet” sprocket on them that keeps the tape from being unwound when not in the tape transport. I have never had a problem with time code issues because I use quality tapes in my cameras and usually experience a single frame drop out very infrequently.

      John

    • #183424
      AvatarIan
      Participant

      “I believe that in modern digital camcorders timecode is written every time the camera records to a tape. So even if there is already timecode on a tape it is overwritten when the tape is recorded over.

      That is correct, but most cameras sample the time code from a frame on the tapeprior togoing into record mode, when you start recording, so that the time code is written from that position, preserving continuity.

      None of the cameras I have, Sony, Canon or Panasonic, change the time code once the tapes have been striped avoiding duplicate time codes on the same tape.

      As to head wear, I have a Sony DCR-PC7E camera which I have had for at least a decade as it was one of the first MiniDV cameras made, which is inferior to todays cameras in picture quality and features, which I keep exclusively for striping and capturing, and I have never had a dropped frame and the heads are still going strong. Of course it is no good for striping HD.

      Cheers

    • #183425
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Back in the old days, when all video editing was a linear adventure, “black striping” your tape was a requirement for doing insert editing. And I’m betting that anyone under thirty has little idea of what constitutes an insert edit. If you’re not going to do any insert editing you will never need to “black strip” a tape. Back in the day, we never striped tapes to shoot in the field. Seven seconds in front of our current record point, an erase head cleared the tape of any previous signals. But we always retensioned. (And by the way, when you FF or RW you stop the tape so it pulls back and doesn’t contact the heads while the tape is moving. So retensioning a tape has no impact on the heads. Now if you are scanning or reviewing the tape, you’re doing it wrong.)

      Now about this “time code” thing. Digital recording doesn’t work in totally the same way as linear recording, even though the equipment is very similar. But just like analogue recording, all recordings start by backing up over an already recorded segment. When recording starts, the tape rolls forward to reach the correct speed for recording. While it rolls forward, it reads the signal it backed up over and the instant the recording starts erasing whatever was on the tape, the camcorder continues the time code it backed over. Using the normal consumer defaults when there is no time code, recording will start with zero time elapsed. So when you record your one minute of header (color bars or black) on your tape, your time code will start at zero and run to one minute. And every time you record more on the tape, the time code will be the relative time code from the beginning of the tape. So if you start your time code recording with one hour instead of zero seconds, the time code will be continuous from one hour through two hours.

      So a tape that is not “black striped” will have exactly the same time code as a tape that has been “black striped.” Of course the striped tape is now a two pass tape and the deck it was recorded on has an hour less head life, for no reason whatsoever. However, if you’re sloppy with field reviews and start recording where the tape is blank, the time code will start over. Now in that case, the striped tape will not restart the time code since there is no blank area on the tape. Just the bit of black between the last shot & the new shot. Now if the camera operator properly cued the tape before shooting, it won’t happen.

      So to wrap up and agree with other posters, you do not need to “black stripe” videotape (like you don’t need to “format” a DVD-RW) as the digital video recording process always erases anything else on the tape. Not striping the tape has nothing to do with maintaining continuous time code. It just adds wear to your recording heads & your videotape stock. But do retension your videotape by FF & RW from a stopped position. (By the way, all videotapes have always had a device to prevent tape spooling. Retensioning adjusts the tension of the tape on the spool after shipping has made rings of loose & packed areas. Which you can actually see through the tape window.)

      Good luck with your future productions.

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