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Old December 27th, 2013, 01:18 PM   #16
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Re: PBS POV 2013 Documentary Filmmaking Equipment Survey

It may vary from region to region, but our BBC shot their news on Betacam until they moved over to Betacam SX. The Betacam road tapes were wiped and typically reused about 5 times. At the end, they still had a couple of BVW 200s on news, by that stage they must've been about 10 years old. The Betacam tapes were cheaper than the Betacam SP tapes.
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Old December 27th, 2013, 08:23 PM   #17
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Re: PBS POV 2013 Documentary Filmmaking Equipment Survey

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Koha View Post
I'd say about 90% of news shot in the field around me is shot on either ex1's or ex3's and don't those use a 4:2:0 codec? So yeah, about that broadcast quality standard......unless I am missing something which is totally possible.
Let's look at exactly what the EBU defines as "best practice" - https://tech.ebu.ch/docs/r/r132.pdf
Quote:
Although a camera can meet the requirements of a Tier it may be let down (or even downgraded by an on-board codec. Section 2.3 recommends minimum acquisition codec to be:

50 Mbit/s 4:2:2 minimum for inter-frame codecs, or

100 Mbit/s 4:2:2 minimum for intra-frame codecs.

For Journalism/News these standards can be relaxed to allow

35 Mbit/s MPEG-2 inter-frame codecs at 4:2:0, or

50 Mbit/s AVC intra-frame codecs at 4:2:0.

However, low cost HD and HD consumer formats are solely acquisition formats. They should never be used for the acquisition of HDTV content on a regularly basis.
If employed in special circumstances such as covert video journalism, reporting in crisis areas, etc. it is strongly recommended that further processing in the original acquisition format is avoided.
So for news - "35 Mbit/s MPEG-2 inter-frame codecs at 4:2:0" *are* considered broadcast standard, if you like.

And I don't think of that as arbitrary. Absolute standards are less critical in such as news than other more mainstream programmes, and the latter are more likely to have a more complex post requirement regarding codecs. Since the standards are intended as guidelines, not hard rules, it makes complete sense that minimum requirements can be relaxed somewhat for news etc.

And look at the last sentence - these guidelines don't, and never have FORBIDDEN the use of lesser formats per se - though they advise against their use if possible.

Brian - I think you are confusing Betacam and Betacam SP. AFAIK, the BBC only ever had two Betacam (oxide tape) camcorders, and that was in the late 1980s. I believe it's as Alister says, they went straight from High Band U-matic to BetaSP for news work, initially with BVW200s, then BVW300s later. (BVW200s were BetaSP - not Beta oxide.)

That was the case through most of the 1990s, then round about 2000 BetaSP got largely replaced by DVCAM for news, Digibeta for more mainstream programming. Whilst dual formats wasn't seen as a problem in England, economies of scale meant it less satisfactory in such as Belfast who wanted a single format. Digibeta for everything was seen as just too expensive, DVCAM wasn't seen as good enough for the higher end work - hence the compromise of BetaSX.

Worth noting that the differences between different format cameras were more down to Sony matching a higher quality front end to a higher quality recording system, and vice versa. (With corresponding differences in price.)
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Old December 28th, 2013, 02:45 AM   #18
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Re: PBS POV 2013 Documentary Filmmaking Equipment Survey

BBC N.I. were using Betacam because I used it when freelancing on local news with them, the SP tapes were used on the programmes. I've still got an old blank Betacam tape from that period lying in the back room, they were the only people I used this tape for at the time, since everything else was either SP or Digibeta. I can't recall if the locally based national news crew used SP. although their final piece would often include local news material because it tended to be hard news, rather than feature type material.
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Old December 28th, 2013, 05:21 AM   #19
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Re: PBS POV 2013 Documentary Filmmaking Equipment Survey

That surprises me and that's penny pinching taken to the extreme given that a Betacam player could be modified to play back SP. I can't imagine that the savings in tape stock would have been significant seeing as the tapes would have been used over and over. Certainly here in mainland UK, BetaSp was the norm across the country to avoid any possible compatibility issues and also as once the 200 was launched every camera could shoot SP so production companies, trucks and facilities houses only needed to hold one type of tape stock. Generally speaking the 200 wasn't widely accepted for broadcast, the 300 or a BVP7/BVV5 was the minimum normally requested.
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Old December 28th, 2013, 07:07 AM   #20
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Re: PBS POV 2013 Documentary Filmmaking Equipment Survey

It was only used for the news, which was shot using in house cameras or the occasional hired in camera. Their BVW 200s were used for many years, together with BVW 300s, their BVW400s were used for in house programmes before Digibeta. The news and programme kit was held in different locations at the time.

I was impressed how well the BVW 200s held up to such a hard life, although, perhaps it was getting to the my grandfather's axe stage by the end of their working lives. However, I was surprised that they were still using them, since everywhere else was using 300s or 400s.

They supplied the Betacam tape stock, any stock I personally brought for supplying productions was all Betacam SP.
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