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S-VHS ENG Camera annihilates my digital 8...


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#1 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 12:37 PM

I guess this is just a rant.

I won't do a live shoot with only one camera because I like to use stereo mikes on the crowd and two more mikes for the performers on stage. In an effort to simplify my life I thought I would use my one-chip digital 8 camcorder which actually does a nice job in certain environments as my second camera and keep using my S-VHS ENG camcorder for the primary camera. I am having a difficult time intercutting the two because the digital-8 footage is way too soft, and the color is really meek as well on the digital-8 footage.

I'm sure the excuse that will be given is that because I dubbed the digital-8 footage to S-VHS that I lost a ton of quality. but I don't buy that argument because on my scopes I see that critical video and color information just does not exist on the footage transferred to super-vhs.

The clarity, color resolution and and contrast is just stunning on the JVC-KY 19B that I used. Probably the reason I get such good results is I did buy an aftermarket lens for the JVC several years ago, and when combined with my knowledge of the camera menu set-up and the DNR adjusting I can do on the JVC editing machine I use, I must be in an area that few people bothered to tread.

It just frustrates me to see so much quality come out of a camera/format that has been poo poohed for years by people who never even tried optimizing the format in the first place. The remaining question is, just how much better are the digital three chip cameras compared to the digital-8 camera that I was using. I tried a side by side several years ago between my camera and the Sony 3-chip one-piece that came out in the late 90's (I think it was called the 200) and my camera had a sharper image back then. That Sony camera did seem to put out better color BUT, I could easily match the color when I ran the signal through my MX-50 switcher, the only remaining difference being that the sony image was softer.

What I think has happened in the last 10 years is that camera prices have come down so much in price and this has allowed so many newer people to enter the field filled to the brim with enthusiasm yet with no prior knowledge of what cameras came before their time, combine this with people of my generation who never really fully committed to the proper gear needed to optimize the picture quality and I guess everything is as it should be. Not.
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#2 David W Scott

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 01:11 PM

There was some really great gear released in S-VHS. Especially the last generations of ENG camera.

On the other hand, I've never seen a Digital-8 that wasn't simply a consumer home-movie machine. Poor quality single CCDs, cheap lenses. Like comparing a Polaroid camera with a Nikon SLR.

However, the Digital 8 format itself is bit-for-bit identical to DV.

I'd be curious what kind of picture you get if you connect S-Video OUT of your ENG camera, IN to your Digital 8, using it simply as a recording deck. (Not playing back prerecorded tape from the ENG camera, actually just taking the live image and recording to the tethered Digital 8.)

I suspect this combination would deliver the best of both worlds -- a good camera, and solid 4:1:1 DV recording.

I know you're a fan of analog video... First-gen S-VHS can look quite nice, but it doesn't hold up in multiple generations. That's where you could gain some advantages from this technique.

Good quality S-VHS ENG cameras are going for ridiculously low prices now. I think hanging a DV-Walkman or cheap DV camcorder on one of these cameras would make a lovely package!
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#3 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 01:37 PM

There was some really great gear released in S-VHS. Especially the last generations of ENG camera.

On the other hand, I've never seen a Digital-8 that wasn't simply a consumer home-movie machine. Poor quality single CCDs, cheap lenses. Like comparing a Polaroid camera with a Nikon SLR.

However, the Digital 8 format itself is bit-for-bit identical to DV.

I'd be curious what kind of picture you get if you connect S-Video OUT of your ENG camera, IN to your Digital 8, using it simply as a recording deck. (Not playing back prerecorded tape from the ENG camera, actually just taking the live image and recording to the tethered Digital 8.)

I suspect this combination would deliver the best of both worlds -- a good camera, and solid 4:1:1 DV recording.

I know you're a fan of analog video... First-gen S-VHS can look quite nice, but it doesn't hold up in multiple generations. That's where you could gain some advantages from this technique.

Good quality S-VHS ENG cameras are going for ridiculously low prices now. I think hanging a DV-Walkman or cheap DV camcorder on one of these cameras would make a lovely package!


I combatted the multiple generation issue by never editing S-VHS to S-VHS. I would edit directly to betacam sp and the results were really astonishingly good. MY digital 8 seems to do a fine job if the person is close to the camera or if it's outdoors and well light. Ever since I discovered the Digital 8 spotlight menu option I have been able reduce contrast and retain more information during the acquisition process so it's been a shock to finally do a comparison and see the digital-8 so wanting in the indoor environment I was shooting in.

The digital-8 camcorder still fills a need for me when I need an additional camera or I'm in tight quarters and a Betacam SP camera will be too bulky or the budget isn't there to justify using one. However interview style of shoots I require an XLR input so those automatically go to Betacam SP even though my S-VHS has XlR's as well.
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#4 Patrick Nuse

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 03:51 AM

Is your digital 8 a single chip camera? because the difference between single chip and 3 chip makes far more of a difference than the format S-VHS or Digital8.
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