XL1s w/ micro35 VS. Digi Beta at DVinfo.net

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Old December 4th, 2005, 08:01 PM   #1
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XL1s w/ micro35 VS. Digi Beta

We are about to shoot a short and are thinking about getting a micro35 for our XL1s (with the nikon adapter for now). But we just had an offer from a local news station guy that said he would shoot it for us (for free) with his Digi Beta from the TV Station. I know nothing about this really... but I would imagine for the most part it's comparing apples to oranges but which is the better route (given that money for the micro35 isn't really the issue). Would the XL1s+micro35 be more cinematic than the digi beta?
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Old December 6th, 2005, 03:23 PM   #2
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My guess (and that's a wild guess) would be that the DigiBeta picture would look better (more detail, better low light performance) but the XL1s+mini35 would look more cinema-like.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 02:51 AM   #3
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That was my guess also... though mine was probably wilder than yours ;)
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Old December 7th, 2005, 07:56 PM   #4
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Digi Beta cameras are more of an ENG style camera. I've not really dealt to much with digi beta but its like the digital equivalent of BetaSP which I have dealt with.

If memory is correct DigiBeta is about 80Mbps where as minidv is 25 and Digibeta is 4:2:2. However you don't have access to this 80Mbps stream, only an uncompressed signal over SDI. Being a digibeta camera likely means it only shoots 50i or 60i, so no 30p or 24p or 25p modes would be avaible if it is an older digi beta but some do support these modes.

Almost anyone can edit miniDV but are you ready to edit digiBeta. DigiBeta normally uses SDI to capture with in worse case or a high quality analog interface. How do you plan to edit then if you went this route? Are you equiped to edit this way. Uncompressed SDI is what the system would deal with, not a digital link like firewire. So if you digitize to a compressed format this is loss already in quality or if you deal with uncompressed you need some storage. Thats about 8 times the storage of miniDV for similar time in 4:2:2 or 25 Megabytes/second. Is your edit system setup to deal with this?

Digibeta is great for a higher end production where you have a digibeta deck and a SDI capable FCP or Avid setup available with some nice scsi or sata raid storage setup. But if you don't have these editing capabilities at your finger tips then you would likely end up converting your footage to miniDV tapes so you could capture to your editing system so the big benefits would be lost.

So what I'm saying is your workflow could be a problem and should be a big consideration to shooting.
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Old December 8th, 2005, 12:48 AM   #5
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My thinking was we could get it captured via the tv station (we do have the hook up in house too) then do like the HD guys are doing. Dumb down the video for editing purposes then replace the files with the real deal when readyto render and just wait it out at that point.

But I agree it is more hassle and I'm not thinking the hassles are worth anything we might gain... especially vs the micro 35's selling points that you don't get with the digibeta.
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Old December 9th, 2005, 01:22 AM   #6
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Digibeta are the highest quality before going HD. It's the daddy of DVCAM wich is the daddy of minidv and the next generation Beta SP. It's like a giant DVCAM so there is more info presented to the digital tape.
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Old December 9th, 2005, 03:30 PM   #7
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If you have your workflow worked out using proxies then its more more about your final look you want for you piece.

If you want a really clean look and doing some compositing and don't have a very large interest in having a shallow DOF then digibeta looks like the choice. But if your going to be doing some stuff with a shallow DOF and some focus pulling then a mini35 is a good option.

I'd try and do some test shots with both cameras if possible to see which suits it better depending on your budget.
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Old December 30th, 2005, 08:52 AM   #8
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You could still use a mini35/letus35/*35 adapter with digibeta too. in theory, it should work with any camera that doesnt get much DOF.
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Old December 30th, 2005, 10:52 AM   #9
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IMO the digibeta will produce a overall BETTER image then the XL1 even if you convert digibeta to DVCAM (mini dv) .. however it is interlace and you do have frame mode on the XL1 .. but i would still say that even after converting digibeta to DVcam ( or minidv) then converting dv to 30p or 24p the digibeta camera would still look MUCH better then XL1 ... as other have said the mini35 will give you more of the 35mm depth of field BUT it does degrade the image slightly .. so if you are viewing on a smaller then 25" TV you might prefer XL1 with mini 35 .. if viewing on 32" or larger the the digibeta ( converted to dv25) will hold ... if you can work with the 4:2:2 clips thru the final edit = it would look the best ...

you could shoot digibeta ... make dv25 copies .. edit the dv25 .. then when you lock your edit - go back to digibeta files ... there are many places that can capture digibeta to hard drive , and later take your hard drive and go back out to digibeta ...
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Old December 30th, 2005, 12:13 PM   #10
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Remember that DigiBeta is a 2/3" format and you will see significantly shallower DoF than on the 1/3" XL1s, about halfway between that and 35mm.

Digibeta will hold up better detail in wide shots for sure.

I shot a movie on Digibeta a few years back which was filmed-out and I was pleased with it--we did the Filmlook 24p conversion to the video master as well. You can see it here; in the "digital cinematography" section about 5 minutes in. It's the first film in this section, the period piece at the Chinese restaurant.

Possibly the more important factor would be whether or not you want to work with the guy who is coming with the camera--has he shown you a reel of his narrative work? Consider that if things don't go to your (or his) liking during the shoot, you may lose your camera along with the cameraman...
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Old January 3rd, 2006, 03:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert
...Possibly the more important factor would be whether or not you want to work with the guy who is coming with the camera--has he shown you a reel of his narrative work? Consider that if things don't go to your (or his) liking during the shoot, you may lose your camera along with the cameraman...

Yes, this is the big factor in the end.... and for this we are thinking of sticking with our own XL1s... would suck to have a falling out and lose the camera half way through the shoot.

Great info in here and maybe we will use the digibeta but not sure... I like all the pro's for sure!
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