Advantages and Disadvantages of Tapeless Video Production

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit

A move to a tapeless-based production is not an easy one but in the end should prove to be rather beneficial. Of course, no technology is without a downside. If you are on the fence about a move from tapes, this article is the perfect starting point.

Advantages of Tape Based Productions
Tapes have one big advantage that even today still shine through. Tapes are very durable. Some tape collections can be decades old and still work.

Disadvantages of Tape Based Productions
Degradation – Tape degrades over time and sometimes portions of the tape can be so badly degraded that the content is unrecoverable.

Storage – Tapes take up a lot of space and will fill shelves quickly. Depending upon how well the tapes were labeled, it can take a long time to find something. A constant updating of the library is essential.

Advantages of Tapeless Production

Stable recordings – If properly taken care of, digital media will not suffer from the sometimes-bizarre jittery behavior that can often occur when using tapes.

Reliability – Once recorded you can quickly make copies of what you shot on site. Often times once backed up elsewhere you can reuse the same cards and hard drives over and over again without loss of quality. Digital transfers do not degrade, no mater how many copies of the original are made.

File based recording – Files make indexing and retrieving a file easier. Naming of files is entirely personal and can be quickly changed.

John Devcic is a freelance writer and videographer.

Read “Weighing In on the Tapeless World” at VideoMaker.com.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit

10 thoughts on “Advantages and Disadvantages of Tapeless Video Production

  1. I like that you point out that digital copies will not degrade not matter how many copies you make. I can see why a video tape or DVD could become slightly distorted if you had to make a bunch of copies of it. My mom is wanting to copy all of the family videos to her computer. I’ll have to talk to her about making sure that she only makes copies from the computer and not from a DVD.

  2. I know this is an old post, however that is the reason for commenting. I think it’s great to be able to look back and see just how far we have come in almost 10 years that this was once a conversation.

  3. I went with LTO-5 package from the Tollis Group (on Power PC Mac Pro!) and all my footage is secure and all my hard drives are free to re-load for edits. Much easier to set up then I thought, everything backed up twice to tape and I sleep much better at night….

  4. Peculiar that the advantages and disadvantages of tape are in conflict.

    Nevertheless, these days it’s all about tapeless HD. Many indie filmmakers can’t afford a media manager or an archivist. Hence, those with sloppy and inconsistent file management are screwed from the onset.

  5. The recommended archive solution for tape-less production is LTO tape backup (expensive) or BlueRay Disc (less expensive). I use multiple DVD burned with Toast on the Mac. A pain in the butt until I scrape up cash for a Blue Ray burner.
    Tape is not archiveable for the average producer. And unless you retain a machine for every format there is no way to retrieve it. Anyone try to find a working, reliable, inexpensive U-matic deck? Have you ever tried send a client a tape via FTP? ;-]
    Tapeless should be renamed digitally recorded. The only difference in format is the recording media (CF, SDHC, SxS, etc.) and the wrapper and/or encoding format (Quicktime, MPEG, H.264, etc.)
    Retain and maintain your tape machines in order to digitize the old footage you have and then put them behind glass. Or use as a boat anchor. Anybody in the market for a SONY VO-2850?

  6. lol that is retarded, you actually wrote that and sent it out to thousands of people?
    ————————————————————————————————————-
    Advantages of Tape Based Productions
    Tapes have one big advantage that even today still shine through. Tapes are very durable. Some tape collections can be decades old and still work.

    Disadvantages of Tape Based Productions
    Degradation – Tape degrades over time and sometimes portions of the tape can be so badly degraded that the content is unrecoverable.
    ——————————————————————————————————————–

    Thats like an oxymoron! … tapes are great they last forever!, except they break down and dont last forever…

    kind of like saying cars are great they can last forever! …except they break down and dont last forever…

    anyways, our station has been tapeless for years, it’s awesome, fibrechannel SAN, raid6 protection on everything, 10X better than tape editing. capture, ingest, edit, encode and export right to our broadcast server. doesn’t get any better.

    And yes we backup data to blurays and 2TB external USB3.0 drives for shelf storage.

    1. Key word is advantages and disadvantages. Not “that is retarded!” I always scoff when some “know-it-all” anus tries to one-up people in the same industry trying to have a “friendly” rapport. Nothing is perfect, expecially as displayed by YOU! (oh boy, now you can make me feel aweful by calling me names!)
      Good thing many others who know a hell of a lot more than you invented everything that you can claim is only yours!

  7. Tapeless is no answer. Try working with a project where the camera people dowloaded to drives with a
    Mac-cenrtic FinalCut mindset and you edit with AVID. You are forced to upgrade your AVID, purchase MacDrive and still there are clips you can’t import. Clients have no idea how things were shot, hire people who play loose with the specs.

    Camera people also feel they can let things run. Is not the purpose of stop/record so that claip are instantly created. The editor still suffers.

    I am not impressed. The drives themselves are vulnerable and need monthy exercise. Consider the prospect of a media recovery cost and that will scare you economically back into the tape world. The sure world.

  8. Archiving is my largest issue. Now that I have moved to a tapeless workflow, how do I archive my raw footage and working files for future use? I have talked with several colleagues in the industry to see what are they doing. The guy that does the largest commercial work explained to me his archiving process:
    1.) Shoot redundant tape & file recording if possible
    2.) Archive footage & project files to hard drive
    3.) Archive footage & project files to DL Blu-Ray(s)
    4.) Archive footage & project files to Network Attached Storage

    Does anyone know of an archiving workflow that is reliable but also easy on the budget? I work for a non-profit and don’t get a large budget for archiving and backup.

  9. You have forgotten the most important issue–archiving. Tapes are self-archived. Put them on the shelf and if the drives crash, you always have the footage. Now what happens to that vast and growing HD library on disk when a drive crashes? And what happens when the library keeps growing and growing and then the drives are 5-6 years old. It’s going to be a constant problem to keep moving the data to newer, larger drives. A constant expense and headache. No way around it–the world is going that way. But that doesn’t mean we have to like it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *