I sometimes strip the tape


I sometimes strip the tape. I have mixed feelings about this. While I think its good to set down a base timecode on the tape, it becomes a used tape from that point on. Its been a known secret that brand new (unused) tapes provide the best picture quality than a tape that has been used, I don’t know if this holds true to digital. The only real purpose for striping is to ensure there are no breaks in the timecode. When you start to record your actual content, its going to re-record the timecode anyways.

One thing I ALWAYS do is fast forward the tape to the end then rewind back to the beginning the day of my shoot. If a tape sits too long, it can bind to itself. Even though it would "unbind" itself during recording, it would snag momentarily causing a slight variation in the tape speed. The recorded content at this moment would reveal digital artifacts, distortion, etc. I never have this issue (anymore).

In my experience, I have found that camcorder of all types typically backup a few frames when switched from record to pause. This is for 2 reasons. 1) to ensure there are no gaps in the recorded content and 2) to allow the tape to get up to the proper recording speed before it actually starts recording. The only time one would get breaks in the timecode is if they rewound the content to review it and didn’t cue the tape in quite the right spot. If I don’t review the content, I don’t get timecode breaks. Since most of us do review from time to time, its a good idea to record just a bit longer (say 1 second), just to allow proper cueing.

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