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Old April 3rd, 2006, 12:29 AM   #1
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Best way to digitize BetaSP into Final Cut Pro

Hi Everyone,

I appreciate the excellent information in this forum.

I have a documentary project in which I will be needing to combine minidv (shot on the Canon Xl-1) and BetaSP.

I need to find the best way to digitize the BetaSp into a G5 running FCP.

Aja Kona and DEcklink cards have been recommended to me.

I would appreciate help with these questions:

1) Since I am going to combine minidv footage and BetaSp into the same documentary (with most footage being minidv), can I just hook up a BetaSp Deck to the BNC or S-VHS input of a minidv deck (like the Sony DSR-25) and digitize that footage into FCP in a DV compressed format, and have the digitized BetaSp footage the same quality as the minidv?

2) If the above will not work, would the Kona LS SD Capture CArd work well? (it costs about $1,000).

3) Would the Kona LS SD card also be a good way to outpu a video signal to a NTSC monitor to check video quality?

Thanks for your ideas,

Khashyar
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 12:53 AM   #2
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Decklink SP capture card

I researched and found that the Decklink SP capture card (at about $600) will capture BetaSp, as well as provide output to an NTSC monitor.

Has anyone had an experience with the Decklink SP and digitizing BetaSP into Final Cut Pro?

Khashyar
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 01:50 AM   #3
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I have used the DSR-25 to import BetaSP and it works fine. The footage looks great. The cons: S/V and compressed. I have also seen Beta footage imported using an AJA I/O device. It, of course, looked better due to the component input and being uncompressed.

The Decklink relies on software but the Kona relies on hardware. In theory the Kona would be the better choice.

If you have a DSR-25 use it. If not, I personally think for your application anyone of the AJA I/O devices would work fine.
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 02:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Delong
I have used the DSR-25 to import BetaSP and it works fine. The footage looks great. The cons: S/V and compressed. I have also seen Beta footage imported using an AJA I/O device. It, of course, looked better due to the component input and being uncompressed.

The Decklink relies on software but the Kona relies on hardware. In theory the Kona would be the better choice.

If you have a DSR-25 use it. If not, I personally think for your application anyone of the AJA I/O devices would work fine.
Thanks for your thoughts, Matthew.

Since I am going to be combining BetaSP and minidv (which is a compressed format) within the same timeline, I am assuming that the BetaSp (which would also be compressed when imported through a minidv deck via a BNC or SVHS input) and minidv would look about the same when combined in the same timeline. Is that correct?

My goal is to make the minidv and BetaSP be at about the same quality, since they will be combined withint the same film.

We are planning on transferring the finished documentary onto 16mm or 35mm film afterwards, so I don't know if this would influence how I would digitize the BetaSp.

But, I assume that if the BetaSp is digitized at the same compression and resolution as the BetaSp, then it will reasonazbly match the minidv footage.

Khashyar
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 02:20 PM   #5
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Matthew,

Are you saying that the timecode of the BetaSp cannot be imported if the BetaSp footage is digitized through a BNC or S-VHS input on the minidv deck?

So, if I wanted to preserve the BetaSp timecode, would I need to digitize it through a capture card like an Aja Kona or a Decklink SP card?

Khashyar
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Old April 4th, 2006, 12:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khashyar Darvich
Thanks for your thoughts, Matthew.

Since I am going to be combining BetaSP and minidv (which is a compressed format) within the same timeline, I am assuming that the BetaSp (which would also be compressed when imported through a minidv deck via a BNC or SVHS input) and minidv would look about the same when combined in the same timeline. Is that correct?

My goal is to make the minidv and BetaSP be at about the same quality, since they will be combined withint the same film.

We are planning on transferring the finished documentary onto 16mm or 35mm film afterwards, so I don't know if this would influence how I would digitize the BetaSp.

But, I assume that if the BetaSp is digitized at the same compression and resolution as the BetaSp, then it will reasonazbly match the minidv footage.

Khashyar
Yes, if you shot using DV SP and import using DV 25 and imported the BetaSP using the same deck it would look reasonably the same.

Transferring to film is another story. You will have to use cinema tools to get the pulldown correct and to get rid of the extra frames to match the 24 fps of film.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 12:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khashyar Darvich
Matthew,

Are you saying that the timecode of the BetaSp cannot be imported if the BetaSp footage is digitized through a BNC or S-VHS input on the minidv deck?

So, if I wanted to preserve the BetaSp timecode, would I need to digitize it through a capture card like an Aja Kona or a Decklink SP card?

Khashyar
To keep timecode you will have to use a capture card. Any capture card or higher end device has either timecode in and out or a remote port (RS-422 or 232) to control the deck.

If you have the money and want the best you can get for your project, get the Kona LH. If you don't want to be tied down to one machine get the I/O device. There is about $400.00 difference. Just go to B&H and type in AJA, you'll see.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 12:34 AM   #8
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Thanks, Matthew.

Yes, I see the different Kona capture cards available at B&H.

My understanding is that the "AJA Kona LS SD" is similar to the Kona LH, except that it won't capture HD...

However, for future exapandability to HD editing, perhaps the LH would be a better investment (for about $600 more).

Regarding the film transfer... If I am not mistaken, I believe that many video-film transfer facilities will convert 30fps to 24fps as part of the transfer. But, it is good that FCP has the tools to convert 30 fps to 24.

Khashyar

P.S., By the way, I grew up in Oxford, Ohio (where Miami of Ohio is), although now I live in Los Angeles.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 01:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khashyar Darvich
Thanks, Matthew.

My understanding is that the "AJA Kona LS SD" is similar to the Kona LH, except that it won't capture HD...

However, for future exapandability to HD editing, perhaps the LH would be a better investment (for about $600 more).

Regarding the film transfer... If I am not mistaken, I believe that many video-film transfer facilities will convert 30fps to 24fps as part of the transfer. But, it is good that FCP has the tools to convert 30 fps to 24.
Like I said if you have the money by the best. You'll get back what you put in.

Yes, film transfer places will convert the frame rate for you.


It is a small world. I live at the southern tip in Lawrence county.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 01:31 AM   #10
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One problem that you might encounter is that 'uncompressed' and DV have different frame sizes.
see http://www.lafcpug.org/feature_capture_card.html

You could throw money at the problem and get a DSR-1700 (DV deck with SDI out). Or you can just set the DV/firewire captured footage right... I think the article covers that.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 07:05 PM   #11
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Thank you very much, Glenn and Matthew.

Khashyar
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Old April 5th, 2006, 01:18 AM   #12
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No problem just let us know what you finally pick and how things go.
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Old April 5th, 2006, 02:03 PM   #13
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I will, Matthew. I am going to be spending quite a bit on a new editing suite (I wrote about this in another thread), abnd I'm trying to make the best choices based on my needs and possible future needs.

Regarding the SD/HD cards like the Kona...

I assume that if you can import BetaSp footage with these cards into Final Cut Pro, then you can output in these formats with the same cards through FCP.

So, for example, if you create a program in FCP, then with these capture cards, you can also master to BetaSp or any other format that can connect to the capture card.

Also... Can you work with two different kinds of footage (like compressed DV and uncompressed minidv) in the same timeline in FCP? I believe that you need to choose the video and other settings when you create a project. When importing BetaSp footage into a project that has a NTSC DV setting, does FCP convert the uncompressed BetaSp into a compressed DV format?

Khashyar
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Old April 5th, 2006, 08:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khashyar Darvich
I assume that if you can import BetaSp footage with these cards into Final Cut Pro, then you can output in these formats with the same cards through FCP.

So, for example, if you create a program in FCP, then with these capture cards, you can also master to BetaSp or any other format that can connect to the capture card.

Also... Can you work with two different kinds of footage (like compressed DV and uncompressed minidv) in the same timeline in FCP? I believe that you need to choose the video and other settings when you create a project. When importing BetaSp footage into a project that has a NTSC DV setting, does FCP convert the uncompressed BetaSp into a compressed DV format?

Khashyar
Yes, you can input and out the Beta footage.

Now about uncompressed miniDV. Technical there is no such thing. DV compresses. Technically if you import minidv through an uncompressed capture card it would converted to uncompressed but it would be like recording a VHS to Beta. It would still look like the original.

What I'm saying is, if you print to tape using FCP and go out using a Kona card the footage would be uncompressed. But if you capture back to miniDV it would then be compressed.

I hate when I explain something simple with a complex answer. Yes, if you drop the uncompressed footage into the DV25 timeline it "should" convert fine. I have done it before without to much trouble. You will still have to overcome the size problem Glenn talked about. I have put HDV footage in a DV timeline and had some audio issues, but nothing a little syncing couldn't fix.

If I need to explain myself a little better just let me know.
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Old April 5th, 2006, 09:54 PM   #15
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Thank you, Glenn. Your answer wasn't overly complex :)

Yes, I understand that the size of HD and DV are different. However, the frame size of regular BetaSp and DV should be the same, right?

Khashyar
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