miniDV : how relevant after 10 years ?
April 30, 2006 5:18 PM   Subscribe

MiniDV is ten years old. What can be said about this format after a decade?

Was the introduction of miniDV a watershed moment or was miniDV just another format in a long line of formats...?

Did miniDV have an impact on the way some Hollywood films are thought, prepared, produced? Is it still being used by some indie directors ? What about artists working in developing countries --have they embraced miniDV ?

Is miniDV here to stay? What is the next miniDV ?
posted by amusem to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's made non-linear editing accessible to the masses. That's significant. Combined with the titling and transitions afforded by computer editing software, it's been a potent tool for good and evil for amateur filmmakers.

The only mainstream movie that comes to mind for being Mini-DV would be Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, which was shot in PAL (then reverse telecined to film) on Canon XL-1s. I'm sure a ton of it can be found in documentaries.
posted by evil holiday magic at 5:40 PM on April 30, 2006

I'm not entirely sure if this answers your question because I don't know how miniDV is different from other digital video formats, but I had the pleasure of seeing Tadpole (which was shot in DV) at Sundance a few years back. In the Q&A after the film, the director (Gary Winick) talked about how digital video is a huge boon to the independent filmmaker.

It allows films to be shot in substantially less time (Apparently, there is better post-production capabilities and less concern for things like lighting than with film.)

Searching IMDB for films shot in DV turns up 546 films, some of which might be relevant.
posted by JMOZ at 6:15 PM on April 30, 2006

Reading more about the formats on Wikipedia (something I suppose I should have done BEFORE answering), I see that my answer was actually relevant to the DVCAM format, which is a semi-professional version of DV/miniDV, but with a higher tape speed. I hope that's still useful in some way.
posted by JMOZ at 6:19 PM on April 30, 2006

i don't know if he uses MiniDV specifically, but all of Robert Rodriguez's films since Spy Kids 2 have been shot on HD-DV, in his commentaries he makes it clear that he absolutely stands by it and it has completely changed the way he makes movies.

His prediction is that within a few years, nearly all movies will be shot on DV because of the conveniences it provides (non-linear editing, using the source for dailys, etc).

i love my MiniDV camera; Cheap good cameras and programs like Final Cut Pro and After Effects have really put the ability to make films into the hands of the little guy.
posted by quin at 6:36 PM on April 30, 2006

Some notes (having just been at NAB).

DV is huge. Cost of editing went from $20k+ camera to less than $2k. News organizations and many cheaper networks (like MTV) have totally gone over to DV.

Films like 28 days later, Deep Water (ok, I can't remember the damn horror film), I think green day's concert film, Chelsea Walls, Timecode and others are shot in DV - in other words, mostly hand held, cheap horror.

Many hollywood films do a quick storyboard or test shots with DV. It's everyway - documentary filmmakers are using it...and abusing it,.

Reallistically, it's caused the same problems as movable type and typewriters. More great stuff is there. More (far, far, far more) crap is out there. More 'filmmakers' (videographers) don't understand how to think in pictures and overshoot due to it's low cost.

Quin, Rodrieguez is using full HD (either the Viper, which is totally uncompressed.)

This year brought about the HDV camera - HD on DV tapes. I've seen a camera for as little as ~$1600.

Now there are a hundred headaches with HDV (and DVCProHD is a significantly better picture)...but the next "DV" is "HDV"
posted by filmgeek at 7:27 PM on April 30, 2006

filmgeek, Thanks for clarifying that. i'm pretty new to digital editing (most of my experience is on old betamax systems) and i'm just beginning to get my head around the plethora of formats that exist in the world of DV. Right now i'm working in standard DV and DVCPRO, but i'm hoping that with the cost of HD coming down i can make the transition. i figure i'll cut my teeth and learn the systems with the less expensive equipment that way when i finally can afford it i'm not wasting my time.

/sorry for the derail all.
posted by quin at 8:31 PM on April 30, 2006

Just to clarify JMOZ's comment - DVCAM is the same quality/resolution as miniDV.

The tape speed increase with DVCAM (and the higher quality tape) minimises dropouts (digital artefacts) that occasionally appear on footage.

It's also wise to lay down mastered or finished edits to DVCAM tape as it has a greater life expectancy than miniDV (all to do with different tape base materials to minimise shrinkage, ware, etc)
posted by strawberryviagra at 5:53 AM on May 1, 2006

I can't speak to the professional side of things, but miniDV has allowed my daughter and her classmates to actually create video performances for class projects. The combination of our ZX-50, iMovie and iDVD is pretty powerful for a home user.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:31 AM on May 1, 2006

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