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Beta vs. DigiBeta


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#1 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 02:28 AM

I'm currently VFX Supervisor for a fellow student's short film, shot on Super16. The director's current plan is to transfer the whole thing (~40 minutes of footage) to Beta SP, have the editor make the rough cut, and then I will work on the effects shots based on his EDL. I was thinking, however, that we could get an offline transfer to miniDV at our school for free, and then get just the EDL transferred to DigiBeta, hopefully offsetting the $300 deck cost because we're transferring so much less- probably 5-7 minutes worth.

I've never seen a direct comparison between Beta and DigiBeta, and while I'm aware of their technical specs of each, I'm not really sure whether there's enough of a difference to justify the added cost and hassle of DigiBeta. Keep in mind that about half the shots in this film are effects shots, and that probably all will require at least some sort of color work.

Also, in the event that we do decide to use DigiBeta, will I encounter any issues with timecode? I'm not exactly sure how this process works, because this is my first time dealing with it. If we get an online transfer based on the EDL of the offline transfer, I'm assuming that the new tape now has its own timecode. How do I conform the project based on the EDL? I'm probably going to be finishing this on a Flame, and I'm pretty new to Flame as well, so if I'm way off, please let me know.
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#2 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 05:50 AM

DigiBeta is miles better than SP. In fact, even straight DV is better than SP. It's an old analogue standard that should've been retired 10 years ago.
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#3 Stephen Williams

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 06:43 AM

DigiBeta is miles better than SP. In fact, even straight DV is better than SP. It's an old analogue standard that should've been retired 10 years ago.


Adam,

Whilst I am not a fan of BCSP I don't think thats totally correct. A factory fresh BCSP will produce a far better blue screen composite than DV.

A 15 year old machine out of spec is another matter.

Stephen
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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 07:46 AM

Hi,

Exactly, that's always been my position on SP.

It can be utterly great, but unless the deck deck has been very very carefully and expensively maintained, which most haven't, DV outperforms it.

The only reason for this is that DV is not subject to a gradual performance falloff as mechanical components wear; it either works or it doesn't.

Phil
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#5 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 09:47 PM

The only reason for this is that DV is not subject to a gradual performance falloff as mechanical components wear; it either works or it doesn't.

Unless it half works because of deck to deck (to camera to camera) slight tolerance issues which is all too common with DV and almost never happens with BetaSP. Dvcam and Dvcpro are of course entirely different.

-Rob-
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 02 November 2006 - 05:15 AM

Hi,

In about ten years of using both DV and DVCAM in a professional capacity, including use as the principal origination and edit format on broadcast TV, I've only ever had a programme interchange problem once. The incident involved one of those super-cheap, super-nasty JVC dual VHS/DV decks and was eventually isolated to it.

Of course, DVCAM is more robust.

Phil
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#7 Vincent De Paula

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 10:26 AM

I've used Betacam SP many times in the past, and ocassionally still use it for some work going straight to the US.
I have a Sony DSR 500 as part of my equipment. I do not like to use any prosumer DV cameras...

Using the cliche, most of the look and quality of the picture is going to be dictated by your lighting and composition skills, but apart from all that, I like Betacam SP better than DVcam. It is true that with DVcam you don't get the dropouts and head clogs of Betacam, but I like how it renders colours better than DVCam.

Of course Digibeta is far more superior than these two, and I personally try to use it as much as I can.

My 2 1/2 cents...
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#8 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 11:44 PM

Much of the hi-end eng style camera work done in NYC (nad around the US) is shot with D600 and equivalent betacam equipment, the format which will not die. I agree that the color is nicer than DV we mostly use decks for transfer from telecine and I have not ever had any bad problems with our 1800 but it is serviced regularly.

We ship hundreds of DV tapes every month from our 2 telecine suites and I get maybe 1% yearly which have deck incompatibility problems, i.e. someone using a consumer camera to ingest which is probably not quite aligned right and the tape has dropout or timecode issues. This is frustrating in a anoying little way, maybe not a bad price to pay for a cheap quality format (could be Hi8!) I have known a few people who shot allot of XL or DVX footage and everyone I know who shoots allot of DV has run into a camera which made tapes only that camera could play back properly, it's happened to me.....

DVCam or DVCpro do not seem to have these problems but allot of people on a budget do not even have the budget for a DSR11 so DV has to make do.

-Rob-
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