on your tape and you should see one of the symbols below
PAL * M-PAL * N-PAL * SECAM *
us Toll Free 800-662-8336
We'll be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Mini DV tapes are the smallest of the video
formats. They take and maintain crystal clear images because of the nature of a digital
format. Editing enthusiasts benefit from Mini DV as well, since copying between two units
is done with no quality loss. That means edited or copied video looks and sounds every bit
as good as the original footage. Mini DV tapes are available in 30, 60,63 and 80 minute
lengths. You can also have Mini DV tapes transferred to VHS
so you can watch them on a normal VHS VCR. Digital camcorders have the highest
resolution of all the camcorders, starting at 500 lines.
For more information on Mini DV, Click Here.
a format that is far superior to HI-8 or 8MM. Sony was the first to introduce this format
and has done a great job. It is backwardly compatible, meaning that the new Digital8
camcorders and VCR's will also play your 8MM and HI-8 tapes. You do not have to buy
special tapes to record in Digital8. A regular 8MM or HI-8 tape will record up to 60
minutes of digital video and audio. Because of the design, using regular tapes is not a
problem, but it uses twice as much tape. A 2 hour HI-8 or 8MM tape will record 60 minutes
when done in the Digital mode and records up to 500 lines of resolution.
record their signal at about 400 lines of resolution, slightly less than Mini DV, but
substantially higher than 8mm or regular VHS formats. Most often, HI-8 camcorders record
sound in hi-fi stereo. Slight quality loss is suffered when copying or editing from HI-8,
but a better than average image is maintained.
Tapes from HI-8 camcorders generally must be played using the camera
as the source, which means the user often must connect cables to their television or VCR.
HI-8 tapes can be bought in 30, 60, and 120-minute lengths.
often have many of the best features found in higher priced HI-8 units, including image
stabilization, strong optical and digital zooms and innovative special effects. Regular
8mm tapes are the exact size and shape as their HI8 counterparts, but record video at a
lower resolution level, and therefore, are less expensive than camcorders which product
better image quality. 8mm can record for up to 2 hours and has a resolution of 270 lines.
HI-8 and regular 8MM tapes cannot be put into a standard VHS video
recorder, a common misconception. There are no adapters to achieve this. They must be transferred to VHS in order to be viewed on a regular
and full size record at a
slightly lower resolution than 8MM. A standard T-120 VHS tape has a recording time of 2
hrs, and the resolution is 250 lines. Their appeal, or course, is the convenience of easy
playback. The large VHS camcorders are almost a thing of the past at this point. There are
still a few models available, but their substantial size and weight make them a difficult
sell against smaller camcorders. VHS/C compact models, on the other hand, remain a popular
choice, offering many of the same key features as 8MM camcorders, at an equally affordable
Super VHS, a full-size format with resolution
similar to that of HI-8, is virtually out of the consumer camcorder market. The format
still is a strong player in the industrial market, but its future may be bleak with the
release of newer and better digital formats. This format is used for videographers mostly
for shooting and editing. The S stands for super, as the resolution jumps from the VHS
standard of 250 lines to around 400 lines. Unfortunately, most VCR's will not play a super
VHS tape and has to be transferred to a regular VHS format in
order for it to be viewed on non-S-VHS machines.
Camcorder users who prefer to insert their video tapes directly into
their VCR may want to consider using the VHS/C compact format. VHS/C is regular VHS video
tape wound into a smaller cartridge.
Since the cartridge is smaller, the length of VHS/C tape is limited
to a maximum of 45 minutes - though longer times can be achieved using a long play mode,
the quality usually is poor compared to the faster (sp) speed. The compact tapes are
inserted into your VCR using a cassette adapter which comes with each VHS/C camera. Once
inserted, the tape plays just like any other VHS tape youve ever used.
Betamax tapes were a format
originally introduced by Sony in the 80's. It was thought to be a better format at the
time. However, the Beta vs VHS wars took place and VHS was the victor. There are still a
few Beta fans out there though and you can still get a Betamax machine if you look around.
Click Here for more information on the Betamax
known as 3/4" video tape. The format was introduced in 1971 but it is still used by
some videographers who have been using the format for a long time. It can produce good
quality video and 3/4" decks are still commonly available in duplicating houses.
However, there is little reason for somebody to persue this format given the technical
advantages of some of the other more recent formats. UMatic has been used by professionals
the world round and found mostly in studios. The format is slowly being replaced with
digital equipment such as DV and Mini DV.
BetaCam was first introduced in 1982. It is currently geared for broadcast use, although there
have been some less expensive models destined more for industrial use. Pictures you will
get using a BetaCam system (or other component format) will generally be markedly superior
to those you would get using any of the preceding formats. Colors in particular come out
looking much more vibrant and objects appear three-dimensional. The superiority of
BetaCam shots comes partly from the technical aspects of the tape format but also in large part
because of the use of superior optics and other camcorder and VTR components (and
generally better operators!).
The difference between BetaCam and BetaCam SP, introduced in 1986,
is in the tape. BetaCam SP uses a metal tape and is an improvement over
BetaCam cassettes are large. Ninety minute cassettes measures 5.5 by
10 inches (14 by 25 cm). Typically BetaCam field units (camcorders or dockable decks)
handle only smaller cassettes with shorter lengths of tape (30 minutes and less). These
smaller cassettes are 4 by 6 inches (10 by 16 cm) in size.
BetaCam SP is still the de facto standard for professional
broadcast videotaping, partly because of the large number of units out in the professional
videotape community. Some authors assume that over 90% of all professional videotaping is
done using Betacam and Betacam SP.
in 1986, is Panasonic's answer to BetaCam SP. All MII tape is metal. The 90 minute
cassette at 4 by 8 inches (11 by 19 cm) is considerably smaller than the 90 minute
BetaCam SP cassette. However the dockable decks take only a small 20 minute cassette (3.6 by 5
inches - 9 by 13 cm).
Technically, MII is equal to or superior to Betacam SP. Panasonic
MII field equipment includes several small dockable decks usable with a variety of camera
heads and some excellent portable decks.
Be aware if you get into MII that at some point repairs may become
an issue and that few duplicating facilities or clients are likely to have MII. Therefore
you will probably have to copy your MII programs to another format at some stage.
Want to know how long that UK tape will play
in the USA?
Click Here for a full comparison of Video Tape, Time & Speed.
NTSC - SECAM
Every country uses a
different system to record video.
What's It All Mean? Click Here to find out.
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