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#1 Rickii Kapoor

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 02:53 AM

Hi,
I own an Arri SR3 camera with a video assist. This is used mainly for ad films or music videos. I have so far been using a VCR for recording from the video assist. But good quality proffessional vcr's are getting tougher to find and service, also they are not really great for slo-mo playback for checking out high speed packshots. Could anyone suggest what would be a good replacement for the vcr format. How are the 'Hard Disc DVD Recorders'. Do they let you playback in slow-mo. frame by frame etc. I would have an outside budget of a $ 1000/- for whatever I buy. Any suggestions?
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#2 Daniel Stigler

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 09:27 AM

Do you have a notebook computer? If you do I suggest you get a small Analog to DV converter and record the videosignal to your harddrive. If you get an additional external harddrive and recording software (eg Quicktime Pro) you will still spend a lot less than $1000.
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#3 Mitch Gross

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 11:23 AM

Carrying a laptop around on set is just a pain in the ass. What is wanted here is decent disposable technology. We're talking tap footage here, and the interface and setup for using a laptop is way to cumbersome.

Most consumer DVD recorders are essentially harddrive Mpeg2 encoders that dump to the DVD once you have completed the file. This makes them good for archiving your favorite TV shows but not great for dealing with take after take on a set. Small HD recorders like the Archos work well but are not full resolution, which may or not be okay for your tap footage. I know a number of Steadicam ops use them for this. The problem with most consumer HD setups like a TiVo box is that they are really meant to sit on a shelf and will not survive long in the field. And they generally don't like the kind of signal that can come out of a tap -- off voltage, fluctuating sync, shifting levels due to the flicker if the tap isn't in Flicker-free), so the footage might not record well.

Currently I would still reccomend using a tape-based system such as a DV deck or camcorder. Just make sure to get a unit that has AV inputs and VTR controls that are easilly accessible. Most every unit I've come across allows for slow-mo playback. Panasonic has a nice unit that is a portable deck with nice big VTR buttons, and it is essentially a camcorder with no camera head (but it is a bit pricy at around $1100).

I still use a VHS deck for my tap, and yes, time is likely running out for the format. But at $50 a deck how wrong can you go?
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#4 Daniel Stigler

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 12:50 PM

Carrying a laptop around on set is just a pain in the ass.



That can't be denied. But Rickii was asking for slomo and frame by frame playback which is easiest done by a laptop. For tap recording i'd get a small camcorder with AV input. I worked with some steadicam operators that keep small camcorders attached to their rigs to record all takes for their archive.
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 03:19 PM

Hi,

I (rather foolishly) built a complete rig for doing this. Hard disk record and playback, speed ramps, anything you want, in a peli case. It's basically the laptop solution but with more stuff built into the one box, which makes it a bit - a lot - friendlier to use. A reasonably computer savvy director could probably run it himself, but to do the advanced tricks is really always going to take someone to set them up no matter how you want to do it.

Phil
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#6 oscar jimenez

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 04:49 PM

Maybe just using a small sony LCD screen portable DV recorder is a great deal, Portable, battery last a lifetime, having a Laptop for only stuff like that or a hard drive is too expensive and time consuming, to show clients that at the end are somewhat experienced to understand that they are seing a reference, not the final thing, even using a VHS is still ok.
Cheers.
Oscar
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#7 Rickii Kapoor

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 01:44 AM

Thanks guys, all that information was quite useful. The laptop option is a no-no. The camera usually goes out on hire and not exclusively used by me. So there is an attendant with the video assist, who will not be able to handle a laptop. The dv recorder does seem like the best option. Thanks once again.
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