Is DV OK for Beta SX footage? (DV vs. Uncompressed?) at DVinfo.net

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Old May 5th, 2008, 06:21 PM   #1
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Is DV OK for Beta SX footage? (DV vs. Uncompressed?)

Say a client hands you a stack (we're talking more than two dozen) of Beta SX tapes, each with 24 minutes of footage on them. Would you capture as 8-bit uncompressed video or would you capture using DV/DVCPRO - NTSC?

The material is for broadcast purposes, so I need to make sure I retain the material's integrity. However, I have read that Beta SX has a picture quality "arguably lower than DV."

Beta SX is 8-bit video with 4:2:2 sampling at 19 Megabits/second (6:1 compression), compared to DV's 8-bit 4:1:1 at 25 Megabits/second (5:1 compression). Considering the bitrates, I wouldn't think I am tossing out any quality using DV -- however the colour sampling is what concerns me.

Once the work is done, it goes back to Beta SX for delivery.

What do you think, am I fine working in DV? If I go for uncompressed, that means spending $$$ on a RAID -- and I'm trying to keep from upgrades until I upgrade from this G4 to a Mac Pro (hopefully with the dough from this gig).
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Old May 5th, 2008, 06:33 PM   #2
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Recompression always loses some data even if it's to a higher bitrate codec because the portion of the video data discarded by each algorithm is different. Trust your eyes to tell you whether the loss is negligible.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 07:24 PM   #3
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Mike try doing a test capture a segment uncompressed and capture the same segment in DV. I think you'll notice the difference.

Besides, the RAID you purchase can be used with the Mac Pro you get later.

Seun is right recompression when going back to the original format is not good. Your clients will notice the difference to their original footage if you compress to DV.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 07:24 PM   #4
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You are probably OK but I state that from my experience with BetaSX over the years. The quality of the footage I've had to work with, while new and shot with apparently good equipment, never surpassed BetaSP in overall picture quality. DV should work fine although the transfer back to SX worries me. Why does the client need it in this format? They should be able to use DV or DVCam unless they'll have a fit if they don't see a big yellow tape.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 09:13 PM   #5
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Any ingest/edit/downconversion would be best handled by an uncompressed workflow to output to whatever final format required simply because you'd eliminate another point of compression before it goes out. It's the best way but as you point out, requires a higher-level system to handle it.

If you can afford the horsepower to deal with uncompressed, I'd go for it. The investment of required equipment will pay-off in high-yield dividends for years to come for future projects.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 09:24 PM   #6
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The TV station I used to work for does exactly what you're talking about. They shoot on SX, take the SDI output from a DNW-A75 through a <sucky> Miranda converter box and edit on a DV based computer.

Now, I think you'll do better if you use that J-xx deck with a firewire output (let Sony do the conversion). I don't think you're going to gain anything by going uncompressed.

But, as others have said, try it for yourself.

And going 'uncompressed' is impossible in your situation. If you take composite video out, there will definately be a loss. If you can use SDI, that would be best. But I think using that J deck will be the best solution.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 10:31 PM   #7
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All good points and advice, however I am not in the place that I can experiment. I'll just take everyone's word that uncompressed is the way to go.

This may be moot, since I don't have the contract yet. I'm writing up a quote and am trying to accurately assess the costs involved. I don't want to price myself out of the bid, as they would be a very nice name to have on anyone's client list (at least here in Canada) -- to say nothing of an interesting little project that is sure to have much exposure, oh and some decent pay, too!

Why are they demanding Beta SX? I don't know. That's their business; I don't feel that it is my place to question that.

OK, so I need to grab some PCI RAID gear. Not what I want or can necessarily afford at the moment, but where there's a will...

There's nothing like trying to find gear that plays nice with a computer that's over 5 years old. :-}p
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Old May 6th, 2008, 12:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Hohauser View Post
DV should work fine although the transfer back to SX worries me. Why does the client need it in this format? They should be able to use DV or DVCam unless they'll have a fit if they don't see a big yellow tape.
I am going to suggest using DVCAM as an option for layback (would save about $300 in deck rental for the layback as well!).

Tell me if this statement is accurate:

"Since DVCAM edit decks are more readily available than Betacam SX edit decks, the rental costs are significantly less. DVCAM also uses a higher bitrate with less compression (25 Mb/s with 5:1 compression compared to 19 Mb/s with 6:1 compression of Beta SX), thus there is no loss of quality when working with the original footage online as uncompressed 8-bit video."

This is my thinking: initial capture as DV for offline, capture as uncompressed 8-bit for online, then output DVCAM for delivery. Does that sound like a good route?
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Old May 6th, 2008, 12:33 PM   #9
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Beta SuX as its more often known.... uncompressed 8 bit 4:2:2 is only 21mb/sec. 10bit is 27mb/sec. just about any PATA or SATA drive will do that, even for dual stream. figure short dissolves are safe at 1-2 secs.

if you need a raid, get a OWC dual drive FW800 case for $100, put 2 500G drives in for another $110 ea or so and you'll be set. that will pump out 80mb/sec all day long. thats more then good enough. you might need a FW800 card depending on your CPU model.

given that they want SuX back, I'd stick with uncompressed, or you could also try ProRes HQ as its near lossless - certainly for the 1 generation you'll put it thru. DV50 is another option at 3.3:1 and very good quality. I would not use DV25 though as I think it will compound compression artifacts, especially going back out to tape again.
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Old May 6th, 2008, 12:47 PM   #10
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if you need a raid, get a OWC dual drive FW800 case for $100, put 2 500G drives in for another $110 ea or so and you'll be set. that will pump out 80mb/sec all day long. thats more then good enough. you might need a FW800 card depending on your CPU model.
I was eyeing the 1TB CalDigit FireWireVR @ B&H for $430. Looking over CalDigit's specs, it appears worth the extra $110 for their technology. I do need the FW800 PCI card, but that's only $60.

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Originally Posted by Steve Oakley View Post
I would not use DV25 though as I think it will compound compression artifacts, especially going back out to tape again.
I was thinking of DV25 only for the offline stage. Once the selects and edits were approved I would do online in uncompressed. ProRes isn't an option for me at the moment... after my upgrade, that will certainly change.
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Old May 6th, 2008, 12:51 PM   #11
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Can you tell us more about the project? I'm not sure you've really given us enough information to give you the right answer.

Why do they want it on SX? Because that's their format of choice. For whatever reason, they bought into that format so that's what they use. Ain't no big mystery there. SX was the obvious upgrade path when you've already got a lot of SP going on in your facility.

Certain places have a big belief that DV/DVCAM is inferior because it uses smaller tapes. I'm guessing the margin on SX is greater than DVCAM so a salesperson might push that on a customer. Ya think?

I met a GM of a TV station that bragged his station used 3/4" (regular not SP) that was superior to thier competitor who used SVHS. Sorry, I'd go with SVHS for single pass quality. (Multiple pass=something else altogether)

How are you going to suck the material into your computer? Without knowing that, you really can't answer the question. Analog->DV->uncompressed is a waste of time. SDI->uncompressed is great. But I'll reiterate, I think your best bet is to go firewire out from the Sony J deck.
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Old May 6th, 2008, 01:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Tejral View Post
Can you tell us more about the project?



How are you going to suck the material into your computer?
Client would be sending -- and the exact number has not been finalized, but this is the now expected number, may grow -- 44 Beta SX tapes, each with ~22 mins of content. I will be pulling selects for editing bumpers, promos, etc.

This is my current plan:

1. Ingest as DV25 using the Sony J3 Digital Betacam deck via SDI (I'm not sure if it has FW or not) for the offline editing.

2. After selects and offline edits are approved for finishing, I will ingest as uncompressed 8-bit SD (would there be any benefit to 10-bit?) using a Sony DNW-A75 Betacam SX via SDI for the online editing/finishing.

3. Output the uncompressed 8-bit via SDI to either Beta SX (as they want) or perhaps DVCAM (as I am recommending as an option instead of Beta SX).
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Old May 6th, 2008, 08:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Barber View Post
Client would be sending -- and the exact number has not been finalized, but this is the now expected number, may grow -- 44 Beta SX tapes, each with ~22 mins of content. I will be pulling selects for editing bumpers, promos, etc.

This is my current plan:

1. Ingest as DV25 using the Sony J3 Digital Betacam deck via SDI (I'm not sure if it has FW or not) for the offline editing.

2. After selects and offline edits are approved for finishing, I will ingest as uncompressed 8-bit SD (would there be any benefit to 10-bit?) using a Sony DNW-A75 Betacam SX via SDI for the online editing/finishing.

3. Output the uncompressed 8-bit via SDI to either Beta SX (as they want) or perhaps DVCAM (as I am recommending as an option instead of Beta SX).
This all sounds good. Find out how they intend to integrate the finished work in their facility. Perhaps they can use DigiBeta or even QuickTime files. The rental of a DigiBeta recorder is about the same as a BetaSX (as far as I have experienced) and the quality would be much, much better then BetaSX or DVCam. QuickTime files would be great since that's just a hard drive, cheap and easy.
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Old May 11th, 2008, 10:01 AM   #14
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As a long term user of BetaSX and at one stage also a user of DVcam I can tell you that there is a difference. I shoot coasts/countryside etc and I can assure you that SX visually is superior to DVCAM. I can spot DV material instantly in our programmes. I would say the best route is the offline one. If the client does spot the difference then it's a lot of work to remake - I always make things to equal the highest quality material and have peace of mind.
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Old May 11th, 2008, 02:11 PM   #15
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Like it has been mentioned, Beta SX does indeed look better than DV.

With regards to your question about 8 and 10-bit. As far as I know if one shot in 10-bit (like Panasonic's AVC-Intra format) then it is wise to ingest and output 10-bit. Beta SX is acquired in 8-bit so ingesting in 10-bit will only cost you disk space.
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