Digital tape - in this case
miniDV tape, continues to be a good, solid, affordable, low compression video, storage media.
And frankly, the storage media is not the important part - it is how the video is captured/compressed - then stored. For example, Vitec (acquired Focus Enhancements' FireStore line) and Sony make external hard disc drive and flash memory based portable storage devices that record low compression DV, HDV, DVCPro, DVCProHD and other low compression video file formats. These external devices connect to the DV/IEEE1394/firewire port of the (miniDV tape or other similar low compression video) camcorder.
Some camcorders can use various flash memory for low compression storage (P2 cards in Panasonic DVCPro HD camcorders like the AG-HVX200 or SD cards in Canon XF series camcorders).
terfyn, please tell us which audio cassette tapes caused "print through". This is usually a potential issue with analog audio tapes and not digital tape (whether audio, video or other data). Comparing analog and digital tapes is not appropriate.
Generally, digital tape is indeed a fine archive media. This is true whether video or other data. As an IT manager and 20 years of shooting with miniDV tape, my experience and the industry continues to show this is the case. Hard disc drives are getting large and inexpensive enough, but they continue to be the exception when used for archiving important data.
While it is true that flash memory re-use can be more cost effective than not re-using miniDV tape, the archive portion of the process flow should be understood. Flash memory is certainly not an efficient long-term storage option. I have found that use of a multi-hard drive RAID1 system (as a Network Attached Storage device) works best. When one drive fails, the RAID1 (other drive) has the data. Replace the failed drive with a working one and the mirrored data is copied to the new drive.
The real trick is to stay away from the high compression AVCHD process used because of the way the compression algorithm was developed. It is fine for finished product use, but fast action and high compression just don't get along to well. The professional implementation is not so bad at the high end, but at the consumer end, if you have a choice, it is best left to others to deal with.
MiniDV tape, when capturing high definition video, captures HDV format low compression. Lower compression means less video data is discarded in the acquisition/storage process. The HDV format is 1080 horizontal lines of video resolution.
Prosumer cams (like the Sony HDR-FX7 and HDR-FX1000) differ from their "professional grade" siblings because they have a 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo audio input rather than XLR audio inputs (and they cannot deal with professional grade DVCAM or HDCAM video formats). Then the jump to the pro HVR series. This is not to say AVCHD is always bad - the upper end of the XDCAM series from Sony is good, when the very highest quality settings are used.
As always, step 1 is to set a budget. and don't forget the other stuff (if you don't already have it): god tripod or other steadying devices, lighting, various mics, cases, cables and possibly computer hardware and video editing upgrades...
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