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Andy's DV tip #1


There are a few places where it make no sense to try and save money. One of the most important is tape stock.

Choosing the right brand of stock is critical not only for the longevity of your image that you've spent so much painstaking time capturing, but for the health of your equipment. In the past, the lubricants used in Panasonic brand tapes were allegedly incompatible with Sony, and seemed to cause clogging issues...I know of a facility that put a Maxell brand tape into their Digibeta deck, and then needed to replace the $2500 head as the tape actually caused damage. Another facility used Ampex brand stock, and found drops outs to be pretty common. The Ampex rep said "well, use a different take!".


The point I'm getting to is, you may want to consider only using Sony brand video tape stock. At our facility, we do not allow the use of anything else. SONY - IT'S NO BALONEY!!!

Having worked with video now for going on 2 decades, Sony tape stock is the one that has exhibited the least problems, held up the best, and provided the most peace of mind - Tape stock is the WRONG place to be stingy!

If you are working with MiniDV, you might also consider using DVCAM stock. The small DVCAM cassettes are the same size as MiniDV, but the tape quality is higher, and we've found fewer dropouts using DVCAM stock instead of MiniDV stock when shooting MiniDV. Note that while the longest small size DVCAM tape says 40 minutes, that actually equates to 60 minutes when shooting in MiniDV. The appropriate item number is:


For more useful information, visit our website at:

Till next time - happy shooting!

Andrew Somers is an editor, member of the Motion Pictures Editor's Guild,and is the Filmmakers Alliance Director of Technology, you can contact him viaGeneral Titles & Visual Effects


Andrew Somers has been at the forefront of the digital filmmaking revolution. These pages have some archives for memories sake of some of the early days and trials of digital cinema technology.