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The Long Black Line
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Old October 3rd, 2005, 09:45 AM   #451
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Firestore is good as is the nNovia version. nNovia has analog inputs.

Another option might be a notebook with big clean hard drive and a copy of Serious Magic DVRack. It will give you Waveform monitoring from your firewire (a true representation of your digital signal levels) and it is a capture program with monitoring.

I have, use and really like the DSR-11 but would love to get a DSR-20 or DSR-25.

A last option for you is to look for a gently used Sony DSR-20. The DSR-20 was killed off in favor of the DSR-25 but the older 20 has a character output that will allow you to make TC window dubs for producers to take home and have the Time Code on their VHS tape.

This is a great way to pre-edit. Give the producer/director a copy of the raw tapes with a TC window. They can choose their cuts at home and simply bring you a shot list. Saves you from shuttleing through 10 tapes with them breathing down your neck.

Just ideas,

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Old October 3rd, 2005, 04:35 PM   #452
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zach Mull
To monitor audio through the computer while logging in 4.5, open your capture preset, click the "Advanced" button under QuickTime Audio Settings and turn the speaker on. I learned this in 3, so I'm sure it works there as well.
ahh, thanks! I never played around with the preset "edit" function. Now I don't have to bother with the headphones.
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Old November 27th, 2005, 10:16 PM   #453
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It is at this point in the deliberations that I usually mention the alternative of a JVC DV/S-VHS combination VCR.
My HR-DVS3U is still working without fault, has a fine relationship with my computer and cost only $700. Their "pro" version of this model will play back DVCAM and is priced a few hundred dollars more. If you only need to play DV recordings into a computer, its limitations in editing features shouldn't be of much concern. I got this deck just as a standby for my more advanced Sony DV VCR, but it's so much easier to use for simple playback and recording, that the Sony just sits there, neglected.
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Old November 28th, 2005, 03:24 PM   #454
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using low-end miniDV cam as a deck

I just called up B&H to buy a JVC GR-270 ($260) to use as a cheap deck. I told the salesman about what I intended to use the deck for. He said that I'd have problems using this JVC cheapo cam with video shot on another brand's camera, a Canon XL1s for example. Something about tracking errors.

Does anyone have an experience with this? Is this a real concern or a way to sell expensive decks?

Thanks.
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Old November 28th, 2005, 03:42 PM   #455
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This is a case of a sales technique called "broad generalization" and "sweeping sterotypes" that are ancdotal at best and certainly not based upon any facts.

He should be embarrassed for making such incorrect statements. Especially when representing one of the industry's best known and respected badges for top notch sales and service.

The chap you were speaking to has just simply never worked with dv. A camera when equipped with firewire will playback a dv25 file into a pc. Period. That's it's job.

6 years and counting for my el cheapo cam being used as a deck...
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Old November 28th, 2005, 03:51 PM   #456
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I agree - nothing more to say really :)
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Old November 28th, 2005, 10:45 PM   #457
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Thanks, guys.
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Old November 29th, 2005, 12:43 AM   #458
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I use the JVC at work too, as well as a Sony Video Walkman. Both are great choices.
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Old November 29th, 2005, 03:10 PM   #459
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Ummm - well maybe.

I don't know the JVC product line at all but I do know digital tape drives from 9 years in the industry. Think of it as the industrial cousin of DV - tens of Terabytes of data being read and written every night Vs: tens of Gigabytes a couple of times a week in the DV world.

It is very possible to have tracking errors that would make a tape unreadable between one device writing a tape and another device reading the tape (notice I didn't say likely, I said possible).

Tracking errors occur when the device reading the tape can't track the digital data written to the tape. This could be due to a problem with the device that wrote it (say it wrote it at the extreme edge of the legal data area and/or it was writing a weak signal to the tape), it could be a problem with the tape, or it could be a problem with the reading device, or it could be a stack-up combination problem. Say a marginal device writing and a margina device reading - normally neither has a problem but if you use them both in the same project your world is going to end.

In any event tracking errors can and do happen. I have seen cases where people wrote tapes that could *only* be read by the device that wrote them due to the particular head alignment issues with that device. Try to read the tape anywhere else and it was a total failure, mount the tape back in the device that wrote it and everything worked great.

Within the tape industry this characteristic is called "interchangability" - meaning the ability to write the tape in one device and read it in another. Interchangability is affected by both the tape standard (how everybody agrees the data will actually be physically written to tape - pitch, density, etc) and the hardware that each manufacturer builds. Within the video industry things generally seem to have pretty good interchangability.

Where might you see problems? Well if you buy the cheapest equipment is a likely place to start. This follows if you realize that the cheapest equipment also probably has the loosest tolerences (cheaper to manufacture), least sophisticated electronics (to follow the wandering data tracks across the tape), etc.

Does this mean you are *likely* to have problems - NO! Many people use low end cameras as capture decks for years with no problems. Was the sales guy from B&H telling you the truth - yes. Was he telling you the whole truth? Well, he *IS* a salesman...

:-)
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Old November 29th, 2005, 03:35 PM   #460
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Well, the B&H salesman is kind of right, though I don't know how widespread the problem is. There can definitely be tracking problems when playing tapes shot with older Canon camcorders in decks or camcorders from other brands.

Our Kino group has monthly short film screenings in Montreal, and once in a while we get glitches when playing a DV tape in the Sony deck. The technician then asks "Was it shot on a Canon?" and the answer is invariably yes. Switching the tape to a Canon camcorder resolves the issue. Other Kino cells are also aware of the issue, so I doubt this is anecdotic.

Not all tapes shot on Canon camcorders are problematic, and I believe this issue exists only with some older Canon models. My tapes shot on a GL2 play without a glitch, and I believe others using a GL2 or an XL2 never had any problems either.

I you have an older Canon model, then I suggest you try to play one of your tapes in that camcorder before buying.
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Old November 29th, 2005, 07:02 PM   #461
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Well there's the engineering perspective for you to chew on.

Buy the cheap deck. If a manufacturer can't deliver the basic goods, then they simply won't put it on the shelf.

We all have had drop outs from time to time on the most expensive gear. That's life.

If a brand new camcorder can't play a tape from day 1 then it is not a camcorder. It is a lemon.

Was the sales guy telling the truth? No! He's guilty of spouting unsubstantiated bunk. Avoid!
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Old November 30th, 2005, 09:33 AM   #462
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy McKenzie
Was the sales guy telling the truth? No! He's guilty of spouting unsubstantiated bunk. Avoid!
Umm - no. Strictly speaking he *was* telling the truth. If you use cheap equipment from different manufacturers to write and read tapes you are *far* more likely to have tracking problems.

Would it influence me personally to change my purchase decision on a cheap camcorder vs. buying a deck? Not a bit, it's not a big issue - I would confidently buy the cheap camcorder; if it didn't read my tapes I'd return it.

It's kinda like buying the cheapest no-name DVD writer from Costco and then finding out that it writes DVDs that can't be read in all players - no big surprise there - you get what you pay for. It will work almost all of the time, in almost all configurations. If that's good enough (and it is for most of us), then have at it.

But it isn't unsubstantiated bunk (although he is using it to his advantage to help up-sell, but he's a sales guy, that's his job)

Cheers!
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Old November 30th, 2005, 12:52 PM   #463
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Give it a try (rent)

Rent or borrow a working unit and give it a try. That's always been my logic.

I have a Canon XL1s, and shot previously with XL1's, GL1's, and some rented ZR's. No big deal, they all playback tapes from one another, and I've yet to encounter issues with tapes not being able to playback from a local shop whom uses both JVC and Sony decks.

B&H should have a return policy. You can take advantage of that.

Pete
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Old November 30th, 2005, 03:26 PM   #464
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i use a canon zr100 as my cheap deck. i tried a panasonic cheapo and a jvc cheapo and had serious capture problems with both before i settled on the zr100 which does an excellent job.

i have no science to back this up, only anecdotal experience. but the other two really really cheap cams were sub-par. don't remember the model numbers.
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Old November 30th, 2005, 09:22 PM   #465
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As a previous sales guy with a reputable company, at least the sales guys I worked with were, he may actually know something about that particular camera that isn't general knowledge. I know a lot about a few products and I told people which products to stay away from. One quick example was the first run of the JVC miniDV decks they put out. It had a few major issues with dropouts. Did JVC ever admit to this issue? Nope. They did however come out with an "a" revision that cured the issue. Now the deck is OK. As a conscientious sales guy I did try to protect my people from buying things I knew they would blame me for selling to them later.

JVC isn't the only one. I know of issues with Sony and Panasonic pro gear too.

On the other hand, some sales guys are there for the up-sell. I didn't do that. I had the best interests of my friends and customers at heart. I suppose that's why I am back in Engineering again.

Anyway, you should still be careful using a cheap anything for real work. If it's a hobby, go for it. If you are making money from this venture, buy a Sony DSR-11 or DSR-25. Great decks, can do full sized DV, miniDV and DVCam. Or go for the Panasonic or JVC DV decks. (No DVCam record) and make money for years without worry.

Sean McHenry
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