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MiniDV vs. Betacam SP for 16mm format


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#1 andres victorero

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 03:28 AM

Hi I´m working in a "no budget" projet.
the 16mm film will be telecined to miniDV or Betacm SP. i can handle two formats, but which you prefer? miniDV or BTC SP?

thanks in advance
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#2 John Carreon

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 03:38 AM

Betacam is better quality...

But unfortunately, the betacam tape is worthless unless you have a betacam deck...so if you plan on editing on your home computer you either have to rent a betacam deck (relatively expensive for a "no-budget" shoot) or get a mini-dv dupe made from the Betacam and then go to a post house afterwards and have them cut the Beta for you (relatively expensive)...

My guess is that you can only afford Mini DV...

I would recommend looking into getting it transferred straight to hard-drive and then you can export it out at a higher quality later...uncompressed, or HD...

Just my unknowledgable two-cents...

John
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#3 Matthew Buick

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 03:26 PM

Betacam will be a lot better (625 lines over 525), but as John Carreon mentioned you do need the proper equipment.

I'm not sure about HDV as an alternative to Mini DV, I did hear that the video is compressed to death on these tapes, and I'm not sure how widespread acceptance for this format is.

Just my even more unknowledgable two-cents...


Best Regards - Matthew Buick. :)
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#4 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 05:22 PM

Hi I´m working in a "no budget" projet.
the 16mm film will be telecined to miniDV or Betacm SP. i can handle two formats, but which you prefer? miniDV or BTC SP?

thanks in advance



I would go for the Beta.

-Rob-
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#5 Frank Barrera

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 07:27 PM

Hi I´m working in a "no budget" projet.
the 16mm film will be telecined to miniDV or Betacm SP. i can handle two formats, but which you prefer? miniDV or BTC SP?

thanks in advance

with "no budget" i would go with the Mini DV and Beta SP. The mini DV goes straight into FCP and the Beta will act as a master. If you come into some money down the road you can take your EDL and go back to the negative and do a proper beta or Digi Beta final master.
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#6 Michael Collier

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 07:56 PM

Betacam will be a lot better (625 lines over 525), but as John Carreon mentioned you do need the proper equipment.

I'm not sure about HDV as an alternative to Mini DV, I did hear that the video is compressed to death on these tapes, and I'm not sure how widespread acceptance for this format is.

Just my even more unknowledgable two-cents...
Best Regards - Matthew Buick. :)


Beta is 625 lines in PAL, and 525 lines in NTSC. DV is 480 lines (720x480 to be specific)

HDV is generaly not accepted as a professional format, since yes it is quite compressed. The interesting thing is HDV is not needed for SD delivery. You get an increase in chromanence (since its still 4.2.0, the extra pixels get combined to make an effective 4:4:4, though not true 4:4:4), but at the cost of heavy MPEG artifacting (which negates it being higher in color space). HDV is 19MBs to render 1440x1080. mini-DV is 25 mbs (megabaud, not bite) to get 720x480 (though audio is included in that 25 figure, and not in the 19. I have yet to find exactly how much bandwith the audio takes up. I assume when audio is removed they are both around 19Mbs)

DVCAM is accepted as professional, and so mini-DV is an acceptable transfer method, though if you have an exibitor they'll likley request DVCAM or DVCPRO given they are more reliable. Quality wise they are equal.

Beta-SP, to get back to the original question, IMO is better quality, though I have no hard and fast numbers to back it up (other than resolution) The problem you might have though is if your capturing at home and do not have access to a quality analog capture card, it may end up being lower quality. If your taking Beta and running it into a converter box then into your firewire, you might as well go mini-DV in the first place. If your capture files aren't going to be more than 3.6MB/sec, you might as well go with the mini-dv.

All that said, I got my transfers on DVCAM, and they look great. very sharp, great color, etc. I will finish with a better format, but if you don't have the money, DV is cheap and it looks acceptable.
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#7 Michael Nash

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 08:43 PM

Beta-SP, to get back to the original question, IMO is better quality, though I have no hard and fast numbers to back it up (other than resolution) The problem you might have though is if your capturing at home and do not have access to a quality analog capture card, it may end up being lower quality. If your taking Beta and running it into a converter box then into your firewire, you might as well go mini-DV in the first place.


That's what I was thinking. Betacam SP is analogue and has to be converted and/or compressed to be used in an NLE. That capture and compression is the weak link, not the original tape format in this case.
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#8 John Mastrogiacomo

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 09:31 PM

That's what I was thinking. Betacam SP is analogue and has to be converted and/or compressed to be used in an NLE. That capture and compression is the weak link, not the original tape format in this case.

The Beta SP deck can also make a difference in quality. The UVW decks do not have as good specs as the PVW, BVW and DigiBeta decks. B)
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#9 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 09:50 PM

Betacam is better quality...

But unfortunately, the betacam tape is worthless unless you have a betacam deck...so if you plan on editing on your home computer you either have to rent a betacam deck (relatively expensive for a "no-budget" shoot) or get a mini-dv dupe made from the Betacam and then go to a post house afterwards and have them cut the Beta for you (relatively expensive)...

My guess is that you can only afford Mini DV...

I would recommend looking into getting it transferred straight to hard-drive and then you can export it out at a higher quality later...uncompressed, or HD...

Just my unknowledgable two-cents...

John


If you can find a "betacam sp buddy" who can go kona card or black magic card (and avoid firewire) into Final Cut Pro or an equivalent system, that is probably the ideal low budget way to go. If you can't find a betacam sp buddy, then mini-dv is a good choice. The uncompressed method is a good plan until you run out of memory and discover you no longer have a raw version of your original film transfer. That ultimately becomes the advantage of videotape, is that over the long haul, you might find it easier to hold onto the original videotape transfer versus storing it for a few years on a hard drive. If you are comfortable with the possibility that you don't care to keep your original film transfer to hard drive for more than a few months, then uncompressed becomes an interesting choice, but if you see value in being able to go back to a film to tape transfer a year or two or three later, then mastering to videotape is still a good idea. I still retrieve footage from Super-8 transfers I did over a decade ago, because of that I just can't see transitioning to Hard drive with the idea that I will actually leave original transfer footage on it for several years.
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#10 Jaxon Bridge

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 09:59 PM

I would recommend looking into getting it transferred straight to hard-drive and then you can export it out at a higher quality later...uncompressed, or HD...

Just my unknowledgable two-cents...

John


Is this is standard service? What is the resolution and format of the video stored on the hard drive? Is this pretty expensive?

-Jaxon
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#11 Ralph Oshiro

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 10:02 PM

My $0.04 . . .

Videography magazine did a side-by-side test a looooooong time ago, using an identical camera head, but with different recorders. They compared the recorded signal quality of analog BetacamSP, recorded on a dockable Sony PVV BetacamSP deck, with a dockable Sony DVCAM deck (DSR-1?). Using dockable recorders allowed the authors to compare apples to apples, using the same camera head (I forget which head it was). While Betacam may win the resolution claim, I distinctly remember the article claiming that the DV bitstream exhibited superior chroma characteristics when compared with the analog Betacam signal.

As far as the resolution claim, I think that claim may benefit from an explanation with a bit more detail (excuse the pun), since we're comparing two essentially disparate formats, one, analog, and the other, digital. So it's not really an apples to apples comparison when talking about resolution, if I understand this correctly. Perhaps someone here, more engineering-savvy than me can do the math, but luma resolution, when measured in an analog format, is a calculation which I don't exactly remember, but as I recall, the rule of thumb used to be something like 100 lines of resolution per 1 MHz of bandwidth. So, the Betacam PVV VTR's 4.5 MHz of luma bandwidth is roughly equal to about 450 lines (vs. DV's luma bandwidth of 5.0 MHz). Feel free to correct me if I have this screwed up somehow.
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#12 Bernhard Zitz

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 03:21 AM

I would recommend looking into getting it transferred straight to hard-drive and then you can export it out at a higher quality later...uncompressed, or HD...


I'd say the same thing, it's not much more expensiv than miniDV (at least at my local lab) and you get the quality of DigiBeta.

By the way DVcam and MiniDV have the same datarate (quality). DVcam has more timecode options and the tape is more robust, but the picturequality is exactly the same.
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#13 Bernhard Zitz

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 03:37 AM

[quote name='Jaxon Bridge' date='Mar 30 2007, 04:59 AM' post='163706']
Is this is standard service? What is the resolution and format of the video stored on the hard drive?



It's more an more a standard service. You give an external firewire harddrive to your lab or posthouse and they put the footage in the desired format (mostly quicktime) on it.

I normaly use SD Pal(720x576) 10bit 4:2:2. Depending on the hardware of the posthouse "Apple FCP 10bit" or "Blackmagic 10bit", both work in FCP.

Edited by Bernhard Zitz, 30 March 2007 - 03:39 AM.

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#14 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 04:11 AM

Ive never had a professional telecine done but I plan to sometime in the future. The transfer to hard drive seems like an attractive option (similar quality to DigiBeta without the need for renting a deck) but the only concern I have is whether my pc could handle the massive file size when editing.
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#15 Bernhard Zitz

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 07:26 AM

but the only concern I have is whether my pc could handle the massive file size when editing.

for editing on a slow pc you can convert the footage to DV or even lighter codec and reconnect when everything is done with the source-media...If you wan't to edit directly the uncompressed footage, a RAID and fast PC is of advantage. I already managed to edit uncompressed SD on my powerbook with fire-wire harddrive, but only when the harddrive isn't to full and it's a bit of a hassle. Downconvert and reconnect is the better solution for slow PC and harddrive.
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#16 Elliot Rudmann

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 07:42 AM

with "no budget" i would go with the Mini DV and Beta SP. The mini DV goes straight into FCP and the Beta will act as a master. If you come into some money down the road you can take your EDL and go back to the negative and do a proper beta or Digi Beta final master.


I completely agree with Frank. I've had 16mm projects transferred to Beta SP and they look significantly better in quality (they retain more latitude than the MiniDV). I never even thought of using a mini DV for a low-rez edit , I always just down-rezzed the Beta SP footage when importing it into Avid.
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#17 Graeme Nattress

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 08:35 AM

It amazes me to read such forum postings! BetaSP has 100 more lines than DV! 525 v 480! That's vertical resolution and defined by the format. Sure, NTSC has 525 lines but we know that only 486 are for active picture information. ALL NTSC formats have 486 lines, from VHS through to DigiBeta (although some, like DV have 6 of those lines as black, effectively).

Resolution, in video, usually goes off the horizontal resolution, as all SD formats have the same vertical resolution. When tested BetaSP has about 3/4 of horizontal resolution of DV or DigiBeta.

Chroma resolution is harder as it's generally sub-sampled. In Digital formats, it's on a number basis like DigiBeta is 4:2:2, and DV is 4:1:1 etc. BetaSP is not digital, so you've got to measure it. It's chroma resolution turns out to be not as good as Digibeta, but a little better than DV - somewhere in the middle.

Overall, DV looks a bit better than BetaSP, and is obviously cheaper to get into your system.

Graeme
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#18 Ralph Oshiro

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 08:42 AM

By the way DVcam and MiniDV have the same datarate (quality). DVcam has more timecode options and the tape is more robust, but the picture quality is exactly the same.

It's true, all three formats, miniDV, DVCAM, and DVCPRO25 have the same 25Mbps datarate. Just to clarify, however, miniDV and DVCAM tape are pretty much identical (both are metal evaporated). It's DVCPRO tape that is more robust (metal particle vs. metal evaporated). The DVCAM format's specification for a wider track pitch makes its signal slightly more mechanically robust than miniDV, and DVCPRO's even wider track pitch makes it the most mechanically robust (and with its metal particle formulation, its media is also the most robust) of the three 25Mbps tape formats.
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#19 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 09:06 AM

"...for editing on a slow pc you can convert the footage to DV or even lighter codec and reconnect when everything is done with the source-media..."

Forgive me for my lack of knowledge of video editing and all the terminology that goes with it but what exactly do you mean by 'reconnect'? Additionally, wouldn't converting the footage to DV give the same resulting quality as if you had telecined the footage to MiniDv / DVCam in the first place?
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#20 Ralph Oshiro

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 10:06 AM

I think he means, "reassemble." Meaning, when finishing, "assemble" (edit) using the footage higher quality "master."
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