DVCAM

Sony DVCAM digital video tape in PAL / NTSC
grey and lilac-coloured, rectangular plastic DVCAM cassette

Sony DVCAM cassette

introduction to DVCAM cassette transfer

DVCAM is a variation of the DV (Digital Video) tape format, released by Sony in 1996 and aimed at the semi-professional and smaller-budget professional market.

DVCAM uses the same type of tape and compression as DV and MiniDV but at a higher speed (almost 50% faster). It is more robust because it was housed in a bigger cassette.

We offer a range of delivery formats for our video transfers. We use the International Association of Sound & Audiovisual Archives Guidelines for the Preservation of Video Recordings, delivering FFV1 lossless files or 10-bit uncompressed video files in .mkv or .mov containers. We create viewing files as H264 encoded .mp4 files or DVD. We can deliver any other digital video files,  according to your needs. 

We can provide the appropriately-sized usb media for your files, or use media supplied by you, or deliver your files online. Files delivered on hard drive can be for any operating system MacOS, Windows or GNU/Linux and filesystems (HFS+, NTFS or EXT3).

Due to varying tape durations and their gradual physical degradation, it’s not always appropriate to create fixed prices for our services. We’ve found that assessing tapes prior to confirming costs a more accurate and fair method.

We offer free assessments please contact us to discuss your project.

DVCAM cassette machines

  • Sony DSR 20 PAL, Sony DSR 25 PAL / NTSC, Sony DSR 1500 AP PAL, Sony DSR 1500A NTSC, Sony DSR 2000P PAL
  • Sony HVR M15E, Sony HVR-1500

DVCAM format variation

DVCAM cassette, open to show ¼ inch / 6.35mm tape inside

Sony DSR-1500AP (PAL), Sony DSR-1500A (NTSC) & Sony DHR-1000UX DVCAM machines

DVCAM cassette larger size: 12.4 x 7.7 cm. We also transfer S-size cassettes (6.5 x 4.8 cm)

DVCAM tape risks & vulnerabilities

DVCAM format history

DVCAM was launched by Sony in 1996, as their professional extension of the DV format, in competition with Panasonic's DVCPRO (1995).

The DVCAM format used 8-bit digital component recording with a 5:1 compression ratio and a sampling rate of 4:2:0. DVCAM's wider track pitch of 15 µm (compared with 10 µm for DV) facilitated frame-accurate insert editing. It also offered superior digital audio performance: a two-channel mode with 48 kHz/16-bit recording or a four-channel mode with 32 kHz/12-bit recording.

Its relatively small size and weight made it versatile for film makers. As Sony boast in their 2002 catalogue, Michael Winterbottom's feature film story of Factory Records, 24 Hour Party People, was recorded entirely on DSR-PD150P DVCAM camcorders!