View Full Version : MiniDV tape drive -- does such a thing exist?

04 April 2005, 04:14 PM
I have to upload videos to PC all the time. Right now my method is simply using a firewire cable attached to a miniDV camcorder. I was wondering if anyone knows of a product that would make this easier. I know there are standalone MiniDV tape decks, but that's not exactly what I'm looking for. Basically, what I sort of envision is something that looks like a tape backup drive for a computer, except it takes miniDV and can record them out straight to the computer or maybe just interface with IEEE 1394 so it could be used in other applications. Anyone ever seen anything like this?

04 April 2005, 09:10 PM
I'm not sure what distinction you are drawing between the tape backup drive and the mindv deck? Do you want a deck that loads in a drive bay? I've never seen something like tht but it may exist. MiniDv decks are very nice, but expensive. :( One cheapo alternative I've seen is to buy a crappy, inexpensive DV camcorder on ebay and use it as a deck.

04 April 2005, 09:17 PM
Do you want a deck that loads in a drive bay?Exactly. I do a ton of DV editing on my computer, and right now I just use a cheap DV camera like you suggested. I have to move my computer from 2 locations somewhat often, though, and what I'd really like is if I could find something that I could just install in my computer so I wouldn't have to worry about moving much equipment.

04 April 2005, 05:28 PM
Ther external decks are the way to go if you are interested in quality because they have better signal processing m(DSPs) than the cheap cameras. That's why they are so much more expensive than a camera. I saw a relatively inexpensive tape drive a few years ago but have not seen it since. Do a seach on the B&H photo site for DV

05 May 2005, 05:03 PM
hi, i have a question, the format of mini dv is 320x280?using as dvcam format the minidv is half of time 30. is this correct?



05 May 2005, 12:43 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but miniDV is 720x480 (NTSC). A normal DV tape runs 60 minutes. DVcam runs 40.

05 May 2005, 03:33 PM
There are different lengths of both DVCam and miniDV tapes available beside 40 and 60 minutes. A miniDV isn't automatically NTSC, it depends on the camera recording format you are using, if you recording for PAL the the size is 720*576 with 25 fps.

@gardocki: All DV-decks I was working with were using the Firewire interface. Of course it is possible to acces the DV-signal with an extra editing-card, but why? It is one of the advantages of DV that you can record/digitize into your computer with an cheap and stable device like firewire-cards.
Afaik there are no special miniDV decks available(I haven't seen anything like this and I don't know anybody using stuff like this for editing),a camcorder should do the job. DV contains more signals than miniDV, so there a special playback device for a DVCam-tape is a must.

06 June 2005, 07:30 PM
Ok, Colintheys is right. MiniDV is 60minutes, at 720x480 (NTSC). DVC (aka DVCam) is 40 minutes, same resoloution. DVCam is better, because it runs the tape faster (remember Hi8 vs Super8?). DVCam can play/record MiniDV cassettes.

As for your miniDV Tape drive, no they dont exist. I wish they did too. Using a junker DVcam off of ebay might not be the best. MiniDV/DVcam is nice, but sometimes incompatable, some cameras will only record maybe 12bit audio, others 16, some switchable, some not. Say you get a tape from a big ole cannon XL and your little camera is way older, it may not play the audio. I think in all my time i had something like 2 errors on my camera, because of some WEIRD audio settings from the previous. Now, if the tape is incompatable, it just shows up as "Error" on the screen. Isnt technology great?

The tape deck is called a VTR, and theyre a few grand. However there is a cheaper soloution. hit up ebay for the JVC HR-DVS3u SVHS/MiniDV. Its a VCR deck, just like you would have at home, only it plays both MiniDV and SVHS. Im not too sure about DVcam. Im almost 100% sure its firewire, plus has a remote. So if you ever end up using SVHS your set.

Most VTR decks take FullDV IIRC, and the miniDV tapes just kind of slip into it, or doesnt one need an adaptor? The VTRs will give you amazing results. If you took a camera from a high end camera, put it in your little junker, your not gonna get the best results. You'd be better off using the high end camera to play/edit.

Your best bet, is just get a VTR. You wont have compatability issues, you could do some amazing things. IE use Avids/FCP's offline footage feature, which saves diskspace. Then when the project is done, insert your tape, and let the app figure it out for you. Ive used a miniDV cam for this. it works OK, but its pretty slow, and not as exact as a VTR would be.

Hope this helps someone!

06 June 2005, 10:51 PM
Well i have Sony DHR-1000.
This is miniDV / DV videorecorder with all the imputs you can imagine + IEEE1394.
It supports miniDV as well as Full DV formats up to 3hours.

Specifications here:

Some Pictures i made:

This editing deck is very good.
It supports both interlaced and progressive signals.

and if DHR-1000 is too professional for you .. here's a "mini" version:
only that this video walkman only supports miniDV (no Full DV).

07 July 2005, 08:50 AM
i've seen your drive, also been thinking about getting one since it fits snuggly into a computer's 5.25 drive bay.

it's a Sony DRV-1000. do a search on B&H

it's been awhile and i'm not sure if the option is only for the sony Xpri editing systems but the thing is suppose to download/capture video at 4x speed.

i hope this is what your looking for.

07 July 2005, 09:55 AM
your deck does exist, it's a DRV-1000 DVCAM computer drive.

do a search on B&H.

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