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DV - contents & links
  Detailed listing of this site's DV contents, and links to other sites.
you are here >
DV Technical Details
  The DV Formats Tabulated; standards documents & where to get them.

DV FAQ - technical
  DV formats, sampling, compression, audio, & 1394/FireWire/i.LINK.

DV FAQ - editing
  linear & nonlinear; hard & soft codecs; transcoding; dual-stream NLE.

DV FAQ - etc.
  16:9; film-style; frame mode; slow shutters; image stabilization, etc.

DV Pix
  DV sampling, artifacts, tape dropout, generation loss, codecs.

Video Tidbits
  Tips & tricks, mostly DV-related; getting good CG.



 
The DV formats tabulated:
Format specifications and current equipment capabilities
(not guaranteed to be all-inclusive or up-to-date; check with manufacturers for exact details)
  DV DVCAM DVCPRO Digital8
suppliers consortium of 60 manufacturers including Sony, Panasonic, JVC, Canon, Sharp. Sony, Ikegami Panasonic; also Philips, Ikegami, Hitachi. Sony, Hitachi
intended market segment(s) consumer (although JVC makes a dockable DV VTR, DV camcorder, and DV VTR for the pro/industrial market) professional / industrial professional / industrial / ENG / EFP / broadcast consumer (Video8 & Hi8 replacement)
who's actually buying the stuff consumer / professional / industrial / ENG / EFP professional / industrial / ENG / EFP / broadcast professional / industrial / ENG / EFP / broadcast consumers, a few pros
tape type ME (Metal Evaporate) ME (Metal Evaporate) MP (Metal Particle) ME, MP (uses Video8, Hi8 tapes)
  DV DVCAM DVCPRO Digital8
track pitch 10 microns (SP) 
6.7 microns (LP)
15 microns 18 microns 16.34 microns
track width 10 microns (SP) 
6.7 microns (LP)
15 microns (10 microns on some early gear) 18 microns 16.34 microns
tape speed (SP mode) 18.81 mm/sec 28.215 mm/sec 33.82 mm/sec 28.7 mm/sec 
Tape usage
(SP mode)
120 mm2/sec 180 mm2/sec 215 mm2/sec 230 mm2/sec
Drum diameter 21.7 mm 21.7 mm 21.7 mm 40 mm
cassettes & max. loads miniDV: 80/120 min (SP/LP)
std: 3.0/4.6 hrs (SP/LP) 
(4.6/6.9 hrs possible using DVCAM 184 min tape)
miniDV: 40 min. 

std: 184 min.

small: 63 min. (note: small is larger than miniDV cassette) 
std: 123 min./184 min.**
Video8, Hi8 standard NTSC 120 minute tape: 60 min; standard PAL 90 min tape: 60 min.
max. camera load 80/120 min. (SP/LP) 184 minutes ~63 minutes (AJ-D400/610/700/810); 
123 min. (AJ-D200/210); 
184 min. (AJ-D410)**
60 minutes
compression 5:1 DVC-format DCT, intra-frame; 25 Mbps video data rate 5:1 DVC-format DCT, intra-frame; 25 Mbps video data rate 5:1 DVC-format DCT, intra-frame; 25 Mbps video data rate 5:1 DVC-format DCT, intra-frame; 25 Mbps video data rate
  DV DVCAM DVCPRO Digital8
resolution & sampling 720x480, 4:1:1 (NTSC) 
720x576, 4:2:0 (PAL)
720x480, 4:1:1 (NTSC) 
720x576, 4:2:0 (PAL)
720x480, 4:1:1 (NTSC) 
720x576, 4:1:1 (PAL)
720x480, 4:1:1 (NTSC) 
720x576, 4:2:0 (PAL)
bit depth luma: 8 bits
chroma: 8 bits
luma: 8 bits
chroma: 8 bits
luma: 8 bits
chroma: 8 bits
luma: 8 bits
chroma: 8 bits
audio recording 
(see FAQ's "locked vs unlocked")
2 ch @ 48 kHz, 16 bits; 
4 ch @ 32 kHz, 12 bits; 
will accept 2 ch @ 44.1 kHz, 16 bits via 1394 I/O; unlocked (but can record locked audio via 1394); JVC Pro DV gear records locked @ 32 & 48 kHz
2 ch @ 48 kHz, 16 bits; 
4 ch @ 32 kHz, 12 bits; 
will accept 2 ch @ 44.1 kHz, 16 bits via 1394 I/O; locked (but some VTRs can be made to record unlocked via 1394)
2 ch @ 48 kHz, 16 bits; locked, plus one analog audio cue track; plays back 32 kHz, 12 bits and presumably 44.1 kHz, 16 bits. 2 ch @ 48 kHz, 16 bits; 
4 ch @ 32 kHz, 12 bits; 
will accept 2 ch @ 44.1 kHz, 16 bits via 1394 I/O; unlocked (but can record locked audio via 1394)
These tapes can play back in... DV, DVCAM, & DVCPRO VTRs DV*, DVCAM, & DVCPRO* VTRs DVCPRO VTRs; DSR-2000 DVCAM VTR Digital8 camcorders & Digital8 Video Walkmen
These VTRs can play back... DV & DVCAM* tapes DV & DVCAM tapes (DVCPRO in the DSR-1xxx/2000 series) DV, DVCAM*, & DVCPRO tapes Video8, Hi8, Digital8 tapes
IEEE-1394 I/O 
(a.k.a. "FireWire" or "i.LINK")
Most camcorders and VTRs, except for some very early models (some European models: output only) All but early DSR-300 camcorders (option on some VTRs, standard on others) AJ-D210/215 camcorders and AJ-D230 VTR with optional adapters; AJ-D250 and AJ-D455 VTRs; more VTRs will gain 1394 as time goes by. yes
  DV DVCAM DVCPRO Digital8
SMPTE 259M SDI (serial digital interface) playback only in DSR-1xxx series, DSR-2000 DSR-60/80/85, DSR-1500/1600/1800, DSR-2000 VTRs with adapter AJ-D850/780/750; 650/640; & 450/440 VTRs with adapter no
4X digital I/O (SDTI) no DSR-85 VTR, ES-3 NLE;
DSR-1xxx series, DSR-2000
AG-D780 VTR; NewsByte NLE with onboard VTR no
Analog component I/O JVC BR-DV600, playback only in DVCAM or DVCPRO VTRs with component outputs DSR-40 and higher-numbered VTRs AJ-D850/780/750; 650/640; & 450/440 VTRs no
Y/C & composite I/O yes (DRV-100 & many camcorders: output only) yes (DRV-1000: output only) yes (no Y/C on AJ-D850, 750 or 780) yes
Edit control LANC & i.LINK  (Sony, Canon); 
Panasonic 5-pin (Panasonic); J-LIP (JVC); 
RS-422 (JVC BR-DV600)
LANC & i.LINK (DSR-V10, DSR-20/30/40, DSR-200/200a/250/PD1500/PD150); 
RS-232 (DSR-20); 
RS-422 (DSR-40/60/80/85/1xxx/2000)
RS-232 (AJ-D230/640/650/750/850) 
RS-422 (AJ-D640/650/750/780/850) 
LANC & i.LINK

  *Interformat interchange:

  • SP-mode DV plays back in all three format VTRs; DVCPRO VTRs require a cassette adapter to play back miniDV tapes.
  • DVCAM plays back in most Sony DV VTRs excepting the DCR-VX700 and DCR-VX1000 camcorders which were designed prior to the introduction of DVCAM. With the exception of some recent (2001+) Panasonic and possibly JVC machines, DVCAM does not play back on other manufacturer's DV equipment. Check with the manufacturer to find out if your machine will play back DVCAM.
  • Early model DVCPRO VTRs (made before June 1997) require an EPROM upgrade to allow the servos to track DVCAM. Check the serial number: it's of the form MYxxxxxxx, where M is a month letter, A-L, and Y is the last digit in the year. F7xxxxxxx means the machine was built in June 1997, and it's OK. H6xxxxxxx would mean the machine was born in August of 1996 and the EPROM upgrade would be required. All current DVCPRO equipment plays back DV and DVCAM.
  • To play back DV or DVCAM in a DVCPRO machine, use the setup menus to specify DV or DVCAM before you insert the tape! The playback mode "locks in" when the tape is inserted, so if you set DV or DVCAM mode after loading the tape, playback will still be attempted as if the tape were a DVCPRO tape.
  • PAL 4:2:0 DV and DVCAM played back on a DVCPRO are digitally resampled to generate a PAL 4:1:1 DVCPRO signal.
  • DV in LP mode will not play back in DVCAM or DVCPRO VTRs other than the DSR-2000.
  • 80-minute miniDV tapes will not play back in DVCAM or DVCPRO VTRs.
  • miniDV tapes cannot be played back in the NewsByte VTR even with the cassette adaptor.
  • DV in SP mode (60-minute or shorter tapes) appears to be the universal tape format: it will play back in any of the VTRs.
  • DVCPRO VTRs and the DSR-1xxx/2000 appear to be the universal playback VTRs: they'll play back any of the DV-based formats. Only the DSR-2000 plays DV LP mode tapes, however.
  • See also: How DVCPRO (D-7) plays back DV tape -- and why it doesn't record DV (which also probably explains why most DVCAM decks won't record DV either). Courtesy Panasonic Broadcast and Digital Systems.
  • The 4X high-speed transfer decks will not perform 4X play with a DV cassette!
  • Some DV camcorders will play back (but not record) tapes in the opposite standard, i.e. PAL playback in NTSC machines, and NTSC playback in PAL machines. The DSR-50 DVCAM VTR also offers this "foreign tape" playback capability.
  • The DSR-50 VTR and DSR-PD150 camcorder will record in either DV or DVCAM modes.
  • The DSR-11 records and plays back both DV and DVCAM; it also records and plays back both NTSC and PAL! Note however that it does not transcode between NTSC and PAL formats.
  • The Panasonic AJ-D455 is the only VTR that will play back any of the DV25 format over 1394, either as Blue-Book -compatible DV, or as D-7-compatible DVCPRO25 data!
  • The Sony DSR-1500A will play back DVCPRO25 over 1394 as DVCPRO data.

  • [Bernard Adolphe supplied many technical figures for Digital8, and reported that over an 8 month period he had no dropouts on Video8 tape, unlike the performance from his DV format TRV900. Merci, Bernard! Tom Hardwick supplied PAL Digital8 runtimes; thanks!]

    **DVCPRO std. cassette run times:

    The "standard" standard cassette holds 123 minutes of tape, but there is a newer, 184 minute tape load available using the same sized cassette. All DVCPRO equipment accepting the std. size cassette should be able to record or play for 184 minutes, but only the newer equipment (such as the AJ-D215, AJ-D850, later model AJ-D230s, and the 400-series VTRs) has been programmed to "understand" the larger load. If you put a 184 min. cassette into an older bit of equipment, it'll think that such a cassette can only hold 123 minutes, and as a result operations like fast-forward or rewind may only work as expected for 2/3 of the tape, after which the machine will slow the tape down, expecting it to end. The operation will proceed at this reduced speed while the machine is waiting for the tape to end (any minute now!); this can take quite a while... Before using the longer tape in older gear (600-series and 700-series VTRs, AJ-D200 and 210 cameras, and pre-NAB-1999 AJ-D230 VTRs), you might want to check with your Panasonic rep, or at least do a dry run to see how the older gear will behave with the longer tape.
     

    Standards Documents

    DV

    The current DV standards document is IEC 61834. This publication of the International Electrotechnical Commission, a standards body related to the ISO and the ITU, is an evolving, ongoing work; as of September 1999 parts 1, 2, 4, and 5 are actively published and updated, with other parts in committee review (some parts due for publication, other parts apparently languishing, for example the parts dealing with recording of now-obsolete HDTV systems). This document grew out of the Blue Book, using it as the "first draft."

    Cost of the four parts currently available is approximately US$450. The best way to find this information is to search for IEC document number 61834 using the catalog search pages in either English or French. You can order the documents on-line from the IEC's secure server. 

    IEC 61833 covers transmission of DV data using 1394, and is also available from the IEC. 

    The original DV format standards document was the "Blue Book", officially titled Specifications of Consumer-Use Digital VCRs using 6.3mm magnetic tape; HD Digital VCR Conference, December 1994. The Blue Book was available from Mr. Mineo Mino, who held the position of:

    File Keeper of Dissolved HD Digital VCR Conference and Manager of Development Planning and Technology Liaison,
    Video Equipment Division,
    AVC Company,
    Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
    1-15, Matsuo-Cho, Kadoma-Shi, Osaka, 571-8504, JAPAN
    However Mino-san retired in 2001 and I do not have contact information for the current File Keeper, if there is one. Fortunately the information in the Blue Book is available in the IEC documents listed above.

    Cost was reported to be around 50,000.
     

    DVCAM

    DVCAM standards documents are not generally available as far as I know.  However, Sony Canada offer a DVCAM Format Overview brochure (PDF) with most of the necessary info, as well as an excellent overview of DV-format compression, macroblock structure, block shuffling, and tape recording (a tip o' the hat to David Auner for this link, and J.C. Bouvier for telling me when it moved). Sony's excellent Canadian DVCAM site also offers PDFs of equipment manuals, brochures, and other truly useful information. Why can't Sony USA do half as good a job?

    DVCAM is very close to DV; if you take the information in IEC 61834 and compensate for (a) 50% higher track pitch, track width, and tape speed; (b) 1/3 shorter run times per tape length; (c) defaulting to locked audio; and (d) no support for LP mode, you should have most of what you need. Conversely, you can reverse-engineer a lot about DV from this DVCAM information and unlike the DV standards documents, this info is free!
     

    D-7 (DVCPRO), D-9 (Digital-S), DVCPRO50

    The D-7 (DVCPRO) standards documents are
    SMPTE 306M-1998, Television Digital Recording ---- 6.35-mm Type D-7 Component Format ---- Video Compression at 25 Mb/s ---- 525/60 and 625/50
    and
    SMPTE 307M-1998 Television Digital Recording ---- 6.35-mm Type D-7 Component Format ---- Tape Cassette.

    The data structure for both DVCPRO and DVCPRO50 (and presumably, JVC's D-9 / Digital-S) is described in
    SMPTE 314M-1999, Data Structure for DV-Based Audio, Data and Compressed Video ---- 25 and 50 Mb/s.

    The D-9 (Digital-S) standards documents are
    SMPTE 316M Television Digital Recording ---- 12.65-mm Type D-9 Component Format ---- Video Compression ---- 525/60 and 625/50
    and
    SMPTE 317M Television Digital Recording ---- 12.65-mm Type D-9 Component Format ---- Tape Cassette.

    From SMPTE's website: "To order SMPTE documents, please fax, phone, email or postal mail your order with payment information to SMPTE Headquarters. You may make payments by credit card (American Express, MasterCard or Visa) or by a check payable in US dollars on a US bank."

    SMPTE
    595 West Hartsdale Avenue
    White Plains, NY 10607 USA

    Tel: +1-914-761-1100
    Fax: +1-914-761-3115

    email: smpte@smpte.org

    Prices in US dollars as of September 1999:
     
            306M-1998 (D-7 compression)   $55
            307M-1998 (D-7 tape cassette)   $26
            314M-1999 (DV25/DV50 data)   $34
            316M (D-9 compression)   $50
            317M (D-9 tape cassette)   $20

    To be on the safe side, double-check these prices by reviewing current information on SMPTE's website.
     

    File Formats

    Basic AVI file format information is available from Microsoft (search online), as is a discussion of Type 1 and Type 2 DV AVIs.

    The specification for DV Data in the AVI File Format , Version 1.01 is available from Microsoft as a self-extracting executable file (Mac users: download it and use Stuffit Expander to open it). It expands to an RTF text file.

    The OpenDML extensions as used in DirectShow 5.1+ are available from Matrox as a PDF.

    The root of all QuickTime documentation is here. If you want to get right into the file format, that's OK, too!
     
     

    Copyright (c) 1998-2005 by Adam J. Wilt.
    You are granted a nonexclusive right to reprint, link to, or frame this material for educational purposes, as
    long as all authorship, ownership and copyright information is preserved and a link to this site is retained.
    Copying this material for a publicly-accessible website (instead of linking to it) is expressly forbidden except
    for archival purposes: this page is dynamic and will change as time goes by, and experience has proven that sites
    copying my material do not keep their copies up-to-date, thereby doing their visitors, themselves, and me a disservice.



    DV - contents & links
      Detailed listing of this site's DV contents, and links to other sites.
    you are here >
    DV Technical Details
      The DV Formats Tabulated; standards documents & where to get them.

    DV FAQ - technical
      DV formats, sampling, compression, audio, & 1394/FireWire/i.LINK.

    DV FAQ - editing
      linear & nonlinear; hard & soft codecs; transcoding; dual-stream NLE.

    DV FAQ - etc.
      16:9; film-style; frame mode; slow shutters; image stabilization, etc.

    DV Pix
      DV sampling, artifacts, tape dropout, generation loss, codecs.

    Video Tidbits
      Tips & tricks, mostly DV-related; getting good CG.


     
     
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    Last updated 2005.08.28