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Newbie Digibeta Question


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#1 dean alexander

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 08:34 AM

hello all,
ive been shooting low budget music videos for some time now on my trusty sony vx2100 and i use vegas everytime to edit and print back on to dv tape, the most easiest workflow possible and i love it. HOWEVER...i am now about to shoot my first music video using a digibeta camera and i have no idea how im going to get the digibeta footage from my camera into sony vegas then back onto a digibeta tape.

Now the workflow that makes sence in my little head (which is probably wrong) is this...

1. Record the video on digibeta
2. connect the digibeta camera to a digibeta deck which then is connected to your pc (not sure if this can be done or if you need a blackmagic declink card to interface via sdi)
3.capture the digibeta tape at its native format (what ever that is)
4.use an intermediate codec for editing (or maybe edit in its native format if computer is powerful enough)
5. once editing is completed re-digitalise from intermediate codec (somehow reverting back to the original recorded resolution quality)
6. print back to tape via the deck (or maybe you could bypass using a deck and from a black magic card go straight to the camera for printing to tape)

Ok so thats what id assume the workflow is for digibeta but i would love for some corrective advice from you pro's. Thanks very much.
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#2 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 10:19 AM

hello all,
ive been shooting low budget music videos for some time now on my trusty sony vx2100 and i use vegas everytime to edit and print back on to dv tape, the most easiest workflow possible and i love it. HOWEVER...i am now about to shoot my first music video using a digibeta camera and i have no idea how im going to get the digibeta footage from my camera into sony vegas then back onto a digibeta tape.

Now the workflow that makes sence in my little head (which is probably wrong) is this...

1. Record the video on digibeta
2. connect the digibeta camera to a digibeta deck which then is connected to your pc (not sure if this can be done or if you need a blackmagic declink card to interface via sdi)
3.capture the digibeta tape at its native format (what ever that is)
4.use an intermediate codec for editing (or maybe edit in its native format if computer is powerful enough)
5. once editing is completed re-digitalise from intermediate codec (somehow reverting back to the original recorded resolution quality)
6. print back to tape via the deck (or maybe you could bypass using a deck and from a black magic card go straight to the camera for printing to tape)

Ok so thats what id assume the workflow is for digibeta but i would love for some corrective advice from you pro's. Thanks very much.



The disclaimer here is that once I shoot the tape, I hand it off to a Producer and then one day I might see something that resembles a cut piece.

That said, I have issues with #2 on your list. Yes, like any camera, you acquire your images, usually on tape. Then you take that tape and put it into a playback deck, hopefully with some kind of timebase corrector to "smooth out" any potential problems (it's been awhile since I worked in any kind of post, but that's how we did it back when I was shooting and editing 3/4"). I don't know the particulars of your software, but digitizing Digibeta should be the same as digitizing just about anything else. It's just an NTSC signal. The only thing to maybe watch for is if the footage was shot in 16x9 vs. 4x3. Digibeta is switchable unlike something like HDCAM which is always a wider frame from which you extract the ration you want.

I'm not sure why you think that the camera comes into play in the digitizing stage or later when you want to go back to tape. All you need is a playback/record deck. Once you've shot the footage, the camera can go back to the rental house and stay there. Heck, at that point, you should be able to take your cut piece to any format you want, not just Digibeta.
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#3 Phil Connolly

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 07:26 AM

Varous Digi-beta post workflows

Standard Off-Line/On line Edit

1) Capture camera tapes onto computer, using digibeta deck. At off-line resolution - this is a lower quality mode that is used if you don't have enough storage space for full uncompressed on-line quality, eg lots of footage. But you may be able to skip this step and capture at On-line resolution for a short project such as a music vid. You will still need an SDI capture card to capture the footage from the deak such as a Black Magic Deck link

2) Edit you off-line footage and create an EDL (edit decision list).

3) Re Capture your footage from digi-beta using full on-line uncompressed footage, you will need a fast RAID based hard disk and an SDI card. But you only capture the bits you need fromm your EDL.

4) your edit is now re conformed using the EDL you made in the off-line but using the On-line footage.

5) do any colour correction needed

6) lay back to digi-beta


You could skip the off-line stage and edit directly in on-line mode, if you have a fast machine theres no reason to use an intermediate codec. Saves re-capturing the footage and hiring the deck twice. The direct to on-line works best on short projects such as music videos where their isn't too much footage to deal with and the off-line/on-line process is used on longer progects such as documentories where you may have 100 hours plus of footage - too much to fit on a disk at full quality


The above method assumes you have an SDI card and a RAID array on you PC. Buts its still quite expensive as you have to rent and insure a Digi-beta deck twice.


What might work out cheaper and what I tend to do on Digi-beta projects:

1) shoot digi-beta

2) got to facilites house and get Digi-beta tapes dubbed to DVCAM with matching timecode

3) edit the project at home using the DV tapes, using a cheap consumer camera to capture from.

4) generate and EDL for the project

5) go to a facilites house that does digi-beta grade online editing.

6) get them to do and online conform using the digi-beta camera tapes from your home generated EDL. (but you need to test that their kit understands the EDL files that your edit package at home spits out)

7) colour grade and have them lay off to digi-beta/DV/SP whatever


This approach may seem expensive as on-line edit sessions can be expensive - but you may be able to get a deal. But overall it I find it to be cheaper as your home edit kit can be cheap, no need for RAID array hard disks and SDI cards. Also Renting of Digi-Beta Deaks is quite expensive and the cost of insurance for the rental may stack up.

Basically you need to price each method up with the costs of stuff in your area.
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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 02:13 PM

Hi,

Two observations further to the above, some of which may only be relevant if you're setting up to do it at home:

- I wouldn't personally bother offlining it. Setting up an edit station to produce an EDL that won't cause confusion later is actually much more difficult and expensive than setting up an uncompressed SD edit station, so just do the latter. Offlining may still have some application in HD.

- You don't need much of a RAID for SD. A single drive will usually do it, though not terribly well; two certainly will.

- Digibeta decks are horrendously expensive, but an SD blackmagic card isn't. Rent the deck.

Also ensure that the input card has software compatibility with Vegas. Premiere is usually the first Wintel app to get drivers for this sort of thing, and is generally better anyway.

Phil
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#5 Michael Collier

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 02:43 PM

If you have a relativley new computer, you should be able to online it. If you have a fast SATA drive, you probably don't need a RAID setup. I have a recent dell desktop. It was well equipt a year ago. The only mod is upgrading from 1Gb ram to 2Gb ram, and we added about 1.2 Tb of internal SATA storage (not hooked up to raid.) even with that setup I am able to edit and color correct in real time a feature length movie (uncompressed avi codec) I am seeing about 30Mb/sec for the video (the SD master is around 150-200 GB for a 90 minute feature), and my computer is able to playback and add the color corrections in real time (though if its not rendered, it only does one of the interlace fields, so I guess you can say 1/2 resolution in real time).

As for the black magic, yeah you should capture to SDI. think of SDI as the firewire of digibeta. I myself am not sure what the native codec specs are (i think something like 4:2:2 with little or no wavelet compression) but if you get your source from SDI, it will be the highest quality source possible.

To brian. It has been a while since you have edited hasn't it. I was visiting our sister station in state capitol Juneau once and saw a 3/4 Umatic. It looked like a relic to me. I was amazed at one how big it was, and two how few features it had on the deck. I hear stories about back in the day when a camera man would have the camera on sticks and the deck around his shoulder. Makes me glad I got into the game a bit later on down the road. I also saw a 1" tape reel (for video apparently) and was quite ammused that there was a time when a reel to reel video deck was the norm (I have heard rumors that some post houses still use 1" to move masters around, but I don't know that I believe it) I am young however. I started professionally editing when I was 14, at a time when I was jazzed that mini-DV had just come out.
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#6 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 06:16 PM

To brian. It has been a while since you have edited hasn't it. I was visiting our sister station in state capitol Juneau once and saw a 3/4 Umatic. It looked like a relic to me. I was amazed at one how big it was, and two how few features it had on the deck. I hear stories about back in the day when a camera man would have the camera on sticks and the deck around his shoulder. Makes me glad I got into the game a bit later on down the road. I also saw a 1" tape reel (for video apparently) and was quite ammused that there was a time when a reel to reel video deck was the norm (I have heard rumors that some post houses still use 1" to move masters around, but I don't know that I believe it) I am young however. I started professionally editing when I was 14, at a time when I was jazzed that mini-DV had just come out.


Man, I feel old sometimes though I know I'm not, relatively speaking. B) I got my start at a PBS station in Ohio in '87. The cameras were Ikegami HL79s with a cable to the portable recording deck which the Audio guy carried. Those were the days. I remember the engineers moving the 1" machines from the tape room with handtrucks into the "field" satellite trailer when we went on location to shoot concerts or sporting events.

That's not the end of it. Not only was 1" the workhorse for the premiere projects, when I started there the station still had three 2" reel-to-reel video machines active in the tape room. Happily, most of what I edited while there was in the 3/4" bay with the occasional 1" online, but I made the active choice to not pursue editing as a career as I preferred daylight to living in a cave. So I kept on shooting. :) When I was leaving around '91/'92, non-linear post was just coming in over the horizon but I was already on my way out the door with my things packed for California. As I was making headway into the film industry as a Loader and Camera AC, I kept one foot in video and got my first taste of an all-in-one camcorder using Betacam 400 and 600s. Those cameras and the BetaSP format is still alive and kicking in a lot of circles, although most of what I do now is Digibeta and HDCAM. The cameras are easier to use now in some respects, but I remember those HL79s (tube cameras) having just beautiful pictures.

Whatever we use, a camera is still just a box with a hole in it. B)
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#7 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 07:42 PM

It's funny, I went to film school and got involved in this industry in just 2001 when digital was starting to make significant headway, and I came to work at this production facility which is a little over 25 years old. Now, we are very modern with all our suites linked by fiber optic cable to raid drives and lots of digibeta decks and DVCPro, etc, but in our dub facility we still have a working 1", a 3/4" deck and a D2 machine. Some of the smaller tv stations in rural KY still receive their spots on 1" and 3/4"...crazy. I thought it was fun to learn how to thread the machine and play with all the "vintage" equipment, but it definitely gave me an appreciation for how far things have come!
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#8 Michael Collier

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 09:18 PM

I thought it was fun to learn how to thread the machine and play with all the "vintage" equipment, but it definitely gave me an appreciation for how far things have come!



That it does. The 1" was a PSA sent to us (though they didnt check with us first, we only have betaSP at our station) But even today the SP seems a bit antiquated (it is, but still kickin') its funny to look at old tech. Gave me new respect for older film cameras. The one I am using for my short is older than dirt (CP-16) but in terms of image quality, it is just as good as any other crystal sync camera (baring those with double registration perhaps) My beta at work is 12 years old and starting to crap out a bit. Now the station is considering P2 complete conversion (an idea I pitched to them. Always fun to walk in the GMs office and ask for $220,000) from 2" reel to reel to solid state digital recording (next will be automatic wireless internet direct to the edit bay)

Though I do have a longing for the old days.....you had audio guys in news!! (or was this other production) I spend way more time than I would like checking my levels and batterys and mic placement. I can do audio, doesnt mean I like it. These days the last time I saw an audio guy with a news crew, the guy kept the mic BEHIND where it would be had it been on camera, not a boom (and it still fed into the channel 2 on their betaSP or betaSX, meaning the photog still had to keep an eye on levels.) Or even older than that--oh to shoot film every day! that would be great experience. I met an old timer who was telling me about those days.
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#9 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 09:29 PM

Though I do have a longing for the old days.....you had audio guys in news!! (or was this other production) I spend way more time than I would like checking my levels and batterys and mic placement. I can do audio, doesnt mean I like it. These days the last time I saw an audio guy with a news crew, the guy kept the mic BEHIND where it would be had it been on camera, not a boom (and it still fed into the channel 2 on their betaSP or betaSX, meaning the photog still had to keep an eye on levels.) Or even older than that--oh to shoot film every day! that would be great experience. I met an old timer who was telling me about those days.


For the record, I never do news. Yuch! News and live tv have never been my thing. So yeah, we always had a sound guy carrying the 3/4" deck around. I don't think there was a mixer in between...just plug the XLRs right into the deck and ride the pots on the front. I can do basic audio...just keep it out of the red. But the theoretically the reason Producers hire professionals, and pay a premium, isn't because we can do the jobs we do when everything works correctly. Any monkey could do that. But I like to remind them that I am being paid what I am because if something goes wrong, do they want some cocky kid right out of filmschool in charge or someone who has been around and can figure out ways to avoid trouble in the first place? Even now, Producers try to send us out with no audio person, but sometimes there are problems and I've warned them that if anything happens, I'm not qualified to fix it. But they want to take those chances anyway just to save a buck. They'll never learn...
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