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Old April 20th, 2009, 08:19 PM   #1
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Betacam SP capture card Mac Pro

Ok, so I know this is a "Digital" video forum, but I have a project on the horizon and need some advice.

I will need to convert A LOT of Betacam SP footage in the near future. I don't want to use a transfer service and cut into my margin... That being said, I'm wondering if doing it in house will be cost effective?

So... you have a stack of BetaSP tapes next to you... You have a mac pro, you edit in Final Cut Pro...

What equipment would you add to be able to pull the footage? I'm thinking an beta sp deck and some sort of capture card... but I don't even want to think about researching hardware right now.

Can someone in the know just point me down a path to get me going?

Thanks

Scott
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Old April 20th, 2009, 09:23 PM   #2
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All you really need is a used AJA IO/LA.

They are pretty cheap.
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Old April 20th, 2009, 09:24 PM   #3
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Both Blackmagic and AJA offer cards at various price points. You'd also need to make sure you have fast enough HDDs as well.


-A
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Old April 20th, 2009, 10:03 PM   #4
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I was going to set up raid with a few terabytes.

Any suggestions on Betacam SP playback decks? All the used ones I'm finding are still not super cheap... any advice on a specific model?
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Old April 20th, 2009, 10:27 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Scott Aubuchon View Post
Any suggestions on Betacam SP playback decks? All the used ones I'm finding are still not super cheap... any advice on a specific model?
There's actually quite a few deck models. I guess it depends on what you have and how you want to capture it. Things to think about:

1) Do you need to be able to capture both large and small cassettes? If only small, you could look at used field recorders like the bvw35.

2) Do you need serial control and the ability to capture timecode? Some of the really old models don't have serial control but can be found cheap.

3) Do you need 4 channel audio? PVW models are awesome but lack this.

4) Do you need specific outputs? (component, svhs, etc)? Some of the UVW models are much cheaper but don't have all the same outs as the bigger edit decks.

I picked up a used PVW-2600 a few years ago for $500 on eBay. To this day, I consider it a major bargain. It's got pretty much everything except 4-channel sound (which I didn't need). It's a great deck.
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Old April 20th, 2009, 10:51 PM   #6
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Further to Adam's good advice around decks, if you can find a BVW-75 in good shape at a reasonable price, grab it. Bullet proof, DMC (dynamic motion control), RS422 (frame accurate captures/edit to tape) instead of RS232, 4 channels of audio (longitudinal AND AFM tracks) and all the I/O available on an analog BetaSP deck.

Oh, and edit to tape capability (Assemble AND Insert editing for both video and individual audio channels).
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Old April 21st, 2009, 07:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Aubuchon View Post
What equipment would you add to be able to pull the footage? I'm thinking an beta sp deck and some sort of capture card... but I don't even want to think about researching hardware right now.

Can someone in the know just point me down a path to get me going?

Thanks

Scott
Kind of a lazy approach to something as serious as your business, to let an internet forum pick your gear because you don't want to do the research yourself.

With that said... I have used both Blackmagic and AJA products for broadcast work and I prefer AJA. They offer quality products, and their support staff is second to none.
An original AJA IO will give you every input/output you could ever need for Standard Def work. I use an IO along with an AJA Kona card for High Def work.
As far as Beta SP decks go that's where things get tricky.
As Shaun said, a BVW-75 was the cats meow back in the day. But they are quite old now and can be extremely expensive to repair should something go wrong. One of the main issues you will find with most any of the used beta sp decks for sale is #1, age. And #2, head wear. Sure you can find used Beta SP decks for incredibly low prices, but that's because their heads are worn. For example... an upper drum for a UVW-1800 will run you $2500. An upper drum for a BVW-75 will cost $3000. And that's without labor.
So if you don't want to throw away you cash on a bomb,,, you need to do some research!
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Old April 21st, 2009, 08:44 AM   #8
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Kind of a lazy approach to something as serious as your business, to let an internet forum pick your gear because you don't want to do the research yourself.
I know, I know... and you are correct. I just have limited experience in this arena (digitizing older video) and I was merely looking for a jump start rather than shooting blind.

I do want to do the research, so that was a bad choice of words... what I don't want to do is research the wrong stuff.

What would be considered a low amount of head wear?

This video will eventually be for web delivery for an online network...
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Old April 21st, 2009, 09:04 AM   #9
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Your best bet, ASSUMING this is a one time ingest of BetaSP material, is to go ahead and buy the I/O card solution and RENT the deck and just sit there for HOWEVER LONG it takes, feeding tape into the monster until you are done. That way you aren't paying someone else's labour (cutting into your profits) and if the deck fails, it's the rental house's issue.

40 BetaSP tapes may be considered "a lot", perhaps you have 200. Depending on your market, you may be able to rent a VTR reasonably cheaply. Just make sure to allocate YOUR time to sit there and capture.
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Old April 21st, 2009, 09:19 AM   #10
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That was what I was thinking (rental)... The IO card could come in handy later, but I doubt I would use the beta deck again (shouldn't say that).

Have you (or anyone) used a good rental house for such a thing?
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Old April 21st, 2009, 02:51 PM   #11
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Rent a Sony J10 BetaSP Playback deck. It has a FireWire port for capture directly to the computer. While the AJA and Blackmagic boards provide higher quality results, they might be overkill for your project. The deck rents for around $250 per day in New York City.

If getting all the tapes into the computer at once isn't practical, dub them to your DVCam deck or DV camera and capture the digital tapes after you return the rental.
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