Originally all film making was done by making a picture on to film. Essentially light would pass through the lens of the camera and onto the film stock, which was continuously fed through the camera, so that about 25 frames of film stock would be recorded per second.
Then came the digital camcorder. The digital camcorder, allowed light to pass through the lens in the same way as the film camera, but the light would hit a digital sensor and make an image on there. The image would then be recorder on to magnetic tapes. The advantage of the tape was that it was vastly cheaper than film and could be used over and over again.
Then the manufacturers began to make cameras that recorded the picture onto digital storage cards, and now you can not buy a camera that records onto tape.
So why has the tape almost completely disappeared. What are the advantages of the memory card over the tape?
1, The digital memory card saves a lot of time. This is because in order to get the footage off a tape, you must go through a process called capturing. In capturing the tape is played and the images are captured into the editing system. So if you have three hours of tape, it takes three hours to capture. This not only takes up the time of the person who is carrying out the capturing, but delays the point at which the editor can get and edit the footage. With digital you simply select the files to import and the computer brings them in with out the need for some one to control the process.
Its is also much faster, so you can begin your edit much sooner. This is especially important if you have a deadline on the project.
2, Tapes were vulnerable to drop out. Drop out is when a frame or frames become damaged and can therefore not be captured. This causes a break in the capturing and therefore the footage. Although memory cards can become corrupt it is very rare, and therefore memory cards are considered a much more reliable recording media.
3, If you look after a memory card you essentially use it forever. Tape how ever drops in quality every time you use it. This means that if you are buying new tapes the cumulative costs rise on a continuing basis.
4, With the digital memory card you are able to continuously record until the card is full. So you could record for in excess of ten hours if need be. With tape, you are restricted to just over an hour. If you were recording a wedding ceremony and it went over an hour you would have to change tapes and would therefore miss some of the ceremony.
In summary, the digital memory card has many advantages over the tape. Its is however worth noting that if you have a camera that can record both, the tape is a great back up tool.
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