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Bringing Betas In-house

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Dan Walden
Bringing Betas In-house
on Apr 3, 2009 at 11:44:15 pm

The studio I am currently working for wants me to do some research on bringing in a beta deck to make our own digibeta/betaSP/DVCPro tapes for broadcast. I know absolutely nothing about this side of production.

Could someone send me some tips on what I would need or point me in the direction of some books/manuals/videos I should get?

From the little looking I have done, the Sony DVW A500 looks like the most common. Would it work for what I want? Would I need any other equipment? Do I need something else entirely? Am I nuts for even trying to comprehend this?

Thanks for the help. I know your time is valuable.

-Dan


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Mark Suszko
Re: Bringing Betas In-house
on Apr 4, 2009 at 7:42:03 pm

No beta deck I know of makes a DVCPro dub, that will require a separate DVCPRO machine. DVCPro machines from Panasonic generally can play back DVCPro, DVCAM, and even consumer mini-DV (using an adapter, and if it was not recorded in LP speed) They do not record DVCAM or DV though, only play back. If the DVCPRo is a PRo 50 or Pro HD, check to see if it can still record to DVCPro25 and Mini-DV. Generally, as each generation of new machine advances, it gives up one "step" of backwards-compatibility. Read the fine print in the tech specs.

BetaSP is a pretty old format now, Sony officially stopped production of decks like a year or two ago. The large base of used machines out there means you can pick up a used one and *some* replacement parts like heads and rollers relatively cheap, however, unless you really NEED betaSP dubs, or a way to ingest legacy recordings that come to you in that format, I'd not bother.

Digi-beta decks are wicked expensive, even used. They are more complex and their installed user base overall was smaller, so demand and thus price will always be higher. There are guys out there who make good money just renting those out for a day to editors when they need to ingest footage or play out a final master to tape. They show up like the Pizza delivery guy, then come pick it back up and drive it over to the next shop that needs it. For the editors, it makes sense to just rent instead of having the deck sit idle most of the time.

Owning one 365 days a year may not be the best value proposition depending on your circumstances. Overriding that, however, is the possibility that, in your specific situation, you need to be able to access one day or night on no notice. If that's your case, set rates accordingly high.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Bringing Betas In-house
on Apr 4, 2009 at 8:49:09 pm

Dan -
I don't get your questions. You are working for a "studio". Don't they have a relationship with an engineer, or a video dealer that they have bought their equipment from in the past ? Everything you have mentioned is a different format, and requires a different VTR. And it costs a lot of money. How has your "studio" been doing business up until now ? You are not qualified to make these decisions. You will buy a "Beta Deck", and it will not produce the assorted formats of tapes that you mention here in your post. You need help from a dealer, a engineer, or a freelance editor that has more background in this. You are not nuts - you are just over your head. I don't understand how your boss is willing to trust a potential $45,000 purchase to you if you are not familiar with this equipment.

Bob Zelin




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Dan Walden
Re: Bringing Betas In-house
on Apr 6, 2009 at 4:39:05 pm

Mark,
Thanks for the info. I appreciate your time.

Bob,
Yes we are a very small studio and, like I said before, none of us really have any experience in this aspect of post. I didn't realize all the formats I mentioned required a different VTR. That was part of my question.
Up until now, we've been sending our video to a post house. We already have all the equipment to do downconverts/upconverts and captioning. It was sort of "inherited" so I don't really know how to use it, but we also wanted to bring the Digibeta tapes in-house.
We also have a dealer we could talk to but I thought I'd get the opinions of people who have worked with the different machines first.

So if we want to go with a Digibeta deck, what should we look at? Sony? Panasonic?

Thanks again everyone.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Bringing Betas In-house
on Apr 6, 2009 at 8:08:04 pm

Dan -
you write -
So if we want to go with a Digibeta deck, what should we look at? Sony? Panasonic?


No offense, but you really don't have a clue. This is like me asking my wife - "do I put my dirty clothes in the washer or dryer". These questions are considered "common knowlege" questions by people on these forums, and it is assumed these days that when you don't know a question, usually a quick Google search will give you some basic information, to help you ask an informed question.

With that said, DigiBeta is a brand name of Sony. Panasonic makes DVCPro VTR's (like DVCProHD). No one is going to give you a "video 101" course on a forum like this. I cannot begin to stress to you that you need to CALL YOUR LOCAL PROFESSIONAL DEALER and get help from someone that does this for a living. If you rely on "hearsay" from these user forums, and then use eBay to make a cheap purchase, you will get screwed, and then you will get fired. Stop this nonsense, and call your local PROFESSIONAL video dealer, and get some basic information.

If you buy a Sony J-30SDI Digi Beta VTR off of ebay, and have to make a recording on digi beta to deliver a tape, this is what will happen. You will authorize a purchase of $8000 for a J-30SDI(for example), and then your boss will FIRE YOU.

Bob Zelin






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Chuck Pullen
Re: Bringing Betas In-house
on Apr 6, 2009 at 11:59:41 pm

Bob wrote:

This is like me asking my wife - "do I put my dirty clothes in the washer or dryer".

It's more like "Should I put these dirty clothes in the washer or the oven!" LOL

The J-30 VTP's are great for dubbing to, although I think they should take the plunge and invest in MII decks :)


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Dan Walden
Re: Bringing Betas In-house
on Apr 10, 2009 at 5:52:08 pm

Bob,

You wrote:
If you buy a Sony J-30SDI Digi Beta VTR off of ebay, and have to make a recording on digi beta to deliver a tape, this is what will happen. You will authorize a purchase of $8000 for a J-30SDI(for example), and then your boss will FIRE YOU.

I am not authorizing this purchase. My boss wants to buy one. We are currently sending out over 100 tapes a week. Are you saying a J-30SDI is what we want? Is there a dealer you would recommend us to? I understand I don't know any of this stuff. I may not be the one using it once we get one, but I was asked to look in to it. We basically inherited most of our equipment and we don't have a Local Video Dealer as we are not in L.A.


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Chuck Pullen
Re: Bringing Betas In-house
on Apr 15, 2009 at 1:38:30 am

Dan, as much as I enjoy a good joke, I would hate to see you get fired over this, there are enough good people out of work these days. The J30 is a player, what Bob is saying, is that you cannot buy a J30 to record to, you will get fired, because… well… It doesn't record… Got the picture?


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Dan Walden
Re: Bringing Betas In-house
on Apr 16, 2009 at 11:02:11 pm

Thanks.


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