Have I biten off more than I can chew ? Production Van
I am up against the wall. I brought a used Wolfcoach ENG van with intend on turning it into a 4-5 camera production vechile 4yrs ago. I brought most of the gear that I thought I need to start. The van had a GVG100 switcher and several other pieces of video equip' on it when I picked it up. Talked to as many eng's as I could before starting to make sure that I had thought of everything. Installed all of the gear that the eng's recommended.
Well, 4 LATERS I am no closer than when I started. Purchased a used Videotek Prodigy swithcher and I was unable to get that to work right. Finally talked a guy who maintans a studio to take a look at my van. We were unable to get the GVG or the Prodigy to work right.So he recommend that I pick up a simple switcher and start from there. So I picked up a JVC KM-1200 switcher on the cheap. So I just need help figureing out what equip' needs Sync, Genlock or Black Burst. Spoke with my wife about just calling it quits, but she feels I have invested too much time and effert to give up now. Is anybody on this forum that can help me out??
a production van is not cheap. And no one works with composite video anymore - I don't know who your client base is.
You can get a Panasonic HD switcher (which also does SDI) for 10 grand - it uses a single plasma (or any TV) as your "monitor wall", and has frame sync inputs, so you dont' need to have any genlock. The BIGGEST MISTAKE you can make is buying "obsolete" equipment, like an old GVG100 (which was great in it's day - but it is DISCONTINUED. The moral of this story is NEVER LISTEN TO OLD BAG VIDEO ENGINEERS that say "I've been using this for the last 25 years". This is EXACTLY what you dont' want to do. The world is HD (and SDI) today, not analog composite, and modern switchers have frame sync inputs with no timing issues.
A production van for multi camera work needs a lot more capability. You need the capability to record to multiple ISO VTRs - you dont need the VTR's, but you need the DA's in case you have to rent the VTRs for a job. You need a good mixer, with lots of aux sends, and DA's to feed the inputs of all the VTR's. And mics, and an intercom system (like an RTS or Clear Com). There is plenty of modern reliable equipment on the market -buying someones old crap that "used to cost $200,000, and now you can get it for $10,000" - is a MISTAKE.
This applies to things like Abekas DVE's, Abekas switchers, old Beta BVW75 VTR's, old GVG switchers (like GVG 200, GVG3000, GVG4000), Ampex ADO's, GVG K-Scopes, etc. And even expensive CRT monitors from Ikegami and Sony. STAY AWAY FROM THIS STUFF. It's old, and no one wants it.
Bob Zelin (I'm old, but people still rent me !).
[Bob Zelin] "a production van is not cheap. And no one works with composite video anymore - I don't know who your client base is."
I'm going to step in here for a moment and say that I disagree with your statement here, Bob. I think that the usefulness of Don's future production van depends entirely in just what it is that he intends to use it for. While composite video is being used less and less these days, it still has it's uses. A production truck retrofitted with all the new digital bells and whistles might be a technical marvel to look at but may be entirely out of the range of a limited budget. A basic setup as described above could easily be used for producing smaller, simple events. Does a basic sales meeting or video conference need HD SDI? Probably not. Would a small cable TV production need to be produced in HD? Nope, probably not. Most cable providers probably couldn't even handle an HD signal from a remote location.
I think that the usefulness and technological level required in Don's truck depends on just what he intends to use it for. If it is to be used in a small market for fairly modest shows, using "vintage" but proven technology might be just fine. You can set up a pretty nice little analog truck these days just by shopping wisely on eBay. Lots of stuff there with lots of life still in it. Not every situation requires a state of the art setup.
We have largely phased out composite here, but it still has it's use every now and then. Sometimes a composite signal is all that is available. Note the LOW budget producer that doesn't know his aspect ratio from his elbow that will still bring in a VHS tape for an edit and then not understand why you are giving him the Stink-Eye in the edit room. Unfortunately, for some people out there, composite video is "just fine".
Yea, I have three Grass 200's in storage yet. How many channels of ADO would you like to haul away? Beta SP camcorders? I have four of 'em sitting on a shelf in my shop. And as for my old Grass 110 switcher? Actually I loaned the CPU circuit board to the local Time Warner Public access channel when their OWN GVG-110 died. They are still using it to this day. They are perfectly fine with using it for their remote productions.
So yes, Virginia, composite video is still alive and well (kinda) and going strong in many smaller markets for many situations.
While a nice shiny digital truck would be nice to have it might just be out of the $$$ range of many people.
If the market will support it, build the darn thing and be proud of it! Just make sure that you have the work to support it.
BTW. Dump the JVC switcher and stick with a used Grass Valley. It will serve you better in the long run. Try to find a Model 110 is possible and make sure that it has the optional sync generator card installed. That way you can use a simple black burst signal to synchronize it. Define your market, take a good look at whether you truck can fill a niche and, if so, go for it!
I completely disagree with Tom. This poor gentlemen has already spent years trying to get this off the ground, buying old equipment that has not worked. His wife is ready to kill him, and he just wants to get it working. He is not an engineer, he probably can't hire an engineer - he just wants to get this truck up, and make some money. Modern equipment (like the Panasonic switcher I just mentioned) is inexpensive. This is not a 1934 Ford "hot rod" that is a hobby for him - he needs to make a living, and have a reliable truck that people know they can depend on, without having it break down, and have problems in the middle of a shoot - where he will look bad to his clients.
And anyone that is doing a 3-4 camera shoot out of a truck today (and not single iso camera jobs) has a BUDGET to work with. Again, I don't know who your client base is, but corporate video for a sales meeting that requires 4 switched cameras with 4 iso VTR's is not a low budget job. Corporations have HD plasma displays in their conference rooms - they know exactly what HD is, and you are better off with 3-4 mini HD cameras with HD out and crappy leneses, than 3-4 old Ikegami or Beta cameras switching composite video (all which will require serious shading, because the color balance of older cameras had to be tweeked all the time).
Let this guy not give up, and make a living.
Trying to make an impression with old gear is tough. Some of the new gear is so flexible, so powerful, that trying to implement old gear makes no sense.
Old gear is bigger, heavier, takes more rack space, more electrical power, and every watt it generates must be taken out by the AC system.
Old gear may have comb filter inputs, or all sorts of other limitations that show up, just like an old BVP-5 had aliasing to beat the band.
New gear, with digital inputs, transcoding, and all sorts of other features make installation simple, keep weight down, and give the AC unit (and generator?) a break.
Oh - did I mention some switchers have a bazillion effects built in, and in 2 RU can run circles around the GVG-110? My old 110 required me to check it over every time I powered it up, as caps or coils or something would have failed. I run a sat truck, and only occasionally used the beast, but having to PM it every time I turned it on got OLD.
I do think that having an engineer layout the system, suggest patch panels and DA's, and set levels throughout the system is a wise investment.
Now, is anyone looking at this thread anymore? I was actually hunting down ancient ADO specs from 1981, i.e. cost, capacity, processing speed, etc, but sofar haven't found that.
HD 24p Cinestyle Engineer
Metro Detroit Area
why do you want old ADO specs ? The original ADO (ADO 1000) was
$250,000 as I recall. At the end, the "cheapo" ADO 100 was either
$10,000, or $25,000 - I know this seems rediculous as per the price spread, but in those days, both numbers were CHEAP for a 3D box - especially from Ampex.
After Ampex decided to financially punish me for a mistake I made, I helped destroy them in NY, by telling everyone that the Abekas A52 and A53 were the only boxes to get. I used to do firmware updates - I did countless numbers of these on ADO 100's, and I once blew one up (static - probably my fault) - and Ampex (and all my contacts) said that I was responsible, and I would have to pay TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS for a replacement board. Now that I relate this old story, the ADO 100 was $25,000, not 10 grand (the board was 10 grand). It's stories like these that helped bury Ampex - even when linear editing was still alive and well.
I asked only to compare where we are at today versus "way back when".
I was having a conversation with a college age kid, born 4 years after the ADO first appeared, and was telling him how AMAZING that a computer was capable of keeping up with TV signals - who'd have thought that 3.58 Mhz would become relatively pokey, back when A/D and D/A converters were tricky above a few hundred Khz, and PC computers were running 8088's or 80286 processors.
Of course, software back then was written in assembler. And if you had a modem, chances were that you participated in a BBS somehow.
Aaah - how things have changed. And today, it's getting tougher to find specs on some of the "beginning" technology. No PDF's from the day, I guess.
HD 24p Cinestyle Engineer
Metro Detroit Area