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Old March 30th, 2004, 02:44 PM   #1
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dvd authoring set up, newbie questions

I work for a small dvd production/distribution company. We currently out source all of our dvd authoring and we'd like to start doing some of our smaller projects in house. We are of course trying to do this on a relatively low budge if possible. The plan was to purchase a top notch PC (P4) and use Adobe softare.

Where it is starting to get complicated is with the source video. We generally receive Betacam SP tapes and some DV. We currently don't have a deck for either. The plan was to get lower end Beta SP player (the 1200 i believe) and use a DeckLink capture card (capture via component). Does anybody have any advice regarding this set up? Would there be any issues in capturing video/audio this way and editing/authoring with Premier Pro and Encore DVD? I talked to the company who currently does our work for us but they basically don't think we can do it (and have it turn out well) without shelling out 20+ grand for a true "professional" set up.

Would anyone recommend just going the DV route instead of dealing with Betacam? There seems to be more for Mac, is PC not the right way to go (i'm a PC guy)?

Any thoughts/experiences would be appriciated.

thanks
Ryan
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Old March 30th, 2004, 03:14 PM   #2
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Ryan,

If at all possible make sure that what ever goes in is at its orginal quality, that way when you encode to DVD it will be the best possible quality from the orginal footage.

Component is still better than Firewire (DV) and since most betacam decks don't have firewire, then you'll have to use component. Unless you have the cash, go SDI.

Most small corporate production companies go down the same route as you are doing. It might take a bit of time to get used to the process and finding out what best suits you, but it'll be worth it.

Remember its the person sitting at the computer that 'makes' the DVD and not the computer - if you get what I mean.

I would look at getting an editing application and possibly an animation package to create stunning motion menus. The Adobe video collection is a good place to start, and for animations I would look at 3Ds MAX.

As for the authoring package you might want to look at the sonic professional range (www.sonic.com) Especially look at Reel DVD, Producer or Scenenarist (if you can afford it).

As long as you are not looking at mass DVD duplication of DVD-9s or 5s in house, then you could probably do all this for about £6,000 or less depending on what you really want


Hope this helps,

Ed
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Old April 1st, 2004, 09:59 AM   #3
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Thanks Ed. What I'm mostly concerned about is getting the right deck and capture card. DV seems "easy" compared to Betacam (get a DV deck and plug in via firewire). Our budget for a Beta deck is not high (below $5k) but I want to make sure that we won't be kicking ourselves in the ass because we didn't spend a little more.

Our current dvd authoring company is saying we need a mixer and 4 channel deck to "do it right". Any thoughts on that?

You don't feel Adobe's Encore DVD will be good enough? We do not plan on doing any duplication in house.

thanks
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Old April 1st, 2004, 12:48 PM   #4
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Hi Ryan,

I can't really comment on the Betacam deck because I don't really know much about them. In the end betacam is betacam and it won't make any difference in video quality if you buy a low budget one (unless it only has a composite in and out) compared to a hi-budget one. 4 audios might be a bonus because some cameras and editing decks will use all 4 channels, but then again Premiere will not split it out again so you could not edit them. Having an audio mixer would help in balancing the audio, but that would only cost about £300 but not essential.

I have not used Encore. The reason I did not mention it was because it is still in its first release and there are a few bugs to be ironed out. But If you buy the video collection it comes with it, so by all means you could use it to begin with. Reel DVD is about the same as Encore, it costs about £350 and is at release 3.1. Sonics DVD Producer (about £1000) has far more professional DVD tools and is at version 4.5. If you could afford it I would definitely go for Scenearist, its what most of the film production houses use to create their DVDs. It allows multiple camera angles and the like.

The decklink cards look extremely good and extremely good value for money. I would have suggested something like the Matrox LX card but they don't currently support Premiere Pro.

In the end you can only make the decision. I suggest that you get a spec for each item that you like and then compare it against 2 other items that are similar. Then check to see whether they are within budget and then make an informed decision from that.

If you already have a list why donít you share it with us?
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Old April 5th, 2004, 01:33 PM   #5
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Here's what I plan on buying. Any comments/concerns please let me know.

Asus P4C800-E DELUXE motherboard
Intel P4 3.2C
2gb Crucial DDR400 memory
Seagate 80gb IDE
Seagate 160gb SATA (2 set up in RAID 0)
Matrox P650 video card
DeckLink Extreme video card (to be used with Betacam SP)
SAMSUNG 191T 19" LCD
Quantum DLT drive
Adaptec SCSI Card 2906

Software: WinXP, Adobe Video Collection

Still not sure which Betacam deck to go with. We will also be needing a DV deck in the not so distant future. Also not sure which sound card to go with.


thanks
Ryan
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Old April 14th, 2004, 02:04 PM   #6
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Ryan,

I am looking at putting together a new editing computer, and am considering a similar setup. A couple thoughts I had - Asus makes a model "V9520 Video Suite" video card that can be had for about $100. It has video and S video in and out, plus two monitor outputs that can be configured VGA or DVI. Also - I've heard great things about Samsung drives lately, I thought I would try some.

Want a cheap deck for capturing DV - buy the cheapest DV camcorder you can.

If you look, you can find very inexpensive software for the PC. I am still using Ulead Media Studio Pro, which can be had for less by buying an ADS Pyro firewire card with the software and a firewire cable thrown in. An excellent MPG encoder (TMPGEnc) is available for a song (well almost) from tmpgenc.com. After much disappointment with Authoring programs, I just downloaded a trial of TMPGEnc Author. So far it looks far superior to anything I've tried so far - and the price is right.
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Old April 14th, 2004, 02:09 PM   #7
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I should have added that all this software is capable of excellent performance and quality. Many people put Ulead software at the top of their list for ease of use, and you'd be hard pressed to find something MSP can't do.
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Old May 8th, 2004, 12:58 PM   #8
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I'm using the video collection from Adobe now for dvd's, - some bugs in Encore but the 1.01 patch fixed some and I'm told the 1.5 version fixes more. The most frequent complaint about Encore seems to be about subtitles. If you need a lot of them Encore is pretty slow. The whole collection is now upgraded though.

You might want to check out the forums at Adobe, - keeping in mind that people post mainly when something is wrong. Folks hardly ever have time to post when things are running smoothly.

What they don't stress with Encore is that you're gonna get frustrated without the latest Photoshop. Creating and editing buttons requires layer sets and only the latest version lets you separate the sets for editing.

I just got Photoshop CS, - have been using Elements. Elements is lots cheaper but very frustrating. I was toying with getting the whole Creative Suite but just didn't need most of it. (I still have to pinch myself occasionally to keep from buying cool toys I don't need.)

Also - I use the low-end Primera duplicator (Bravo) and am pretty happy with the results. Prints and burns. (Bravo II is available now - higher resolution printer) I like being able to print and burn with robotics.

I only use DV so things are a lot simpler (and less expensive) for me than for you and the Beta, but just figured I'd throw in my 2 cents anyway.

Brad
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