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Tapeless Digital Storage

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 9/30/2009

Considerations for the debate between digital video tapes and tapeless digital storage.

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    Going Tapeless

    The fully digital storage methods for digital video cameras are fast becoming the replacement of the future. Instead of being forced to use SD DV tapes or even HD DV tapes many new cameras allow you to plug in a digital storage device and have the media you record automatically captured in a digital format. With this you can completely bypass the capturing of tape footage that so many of us have had to suffer through. Instead you can just drag and drop these video files onto your computer directly from the digital storage device that you used. Then you can just import them into your non-linear video editing software as a solid video file, where they can be edited and cut into your project. This is a much cleaner and easier process, but has its own limitations.

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    Issues With Tapeless Digital Storage

    Remember that going tapeless is not usually the cheapest choice for quick filmmakers. Easy to use tapeless digital storage options, like memory cards or certain flash drives, are fairly expensive and do not store much footage. Portable hard drives are often too large and need an external power source. It is also not as easy to move around and transfer these items as digital video tapes are.

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    Benefits of Tapeless Digital Storage and Dropped Frames

    One of the biggest advantages of tapeless digital storage areas are they are not subject to dropped frames in the same way tapes are. Dropped frames may be one of the biggest challenges when capturing video from digital video tapes onto your computer. This happens when there is gaps in information on the magnetic code, but since the digital storage areas do not deal with this you are in the clear. You also can forgo purchasing a video capture card and a DV tape deck to do the capture.

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    Laptop Capture and Other Options

    Another option is to plug in a laptop directly to your computer and capture video in real time. This can really only be done in situations where the video camera remains stationary, such as with documentary interviews. This is actually the easiest way of getting footage onto your computer, but also the most limiting. The best choice is to use a digital video camera that can handle both DV tapes and tapeless digital storage media and then respond to each situation with the best individual choice.