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Old February 28th, 2005, 11:56 PM   #1
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"Responsiveness" of DV decks vs. cameras

Hi all,

(Hopefully I've picked the right forum for this topic... let me know if I should be posting it somewhere else.)

I have never used a DV deck before. At work, we capture our footage over Firewire from our cameras (Canon XL1 & XL2).

Understandably, given that these are cameras and not decks, scanning through the tapes using the forward and rewind functions is not super-smooth... i.e, it takes a few seconds for the camera to catch up if I have pressed a button for it to stop, pause, change direction, etc. This is also true when controlling the cameras over Firewire (on Mac G5's with FCPHD). Moving frame-by-frame using the arrow keys (or, I presume, a keyboard with integrated jog dial) is too slow to bother with. For these reasons, plus the fact that I do not want to torture the camera heads, I generally do not log and capture, but instead capture long segments or whole tapes at a time.

I have used older high-end Betacam SP (BVW-75P, BVW-65P) decks on a couple of occasions. The precision and responsiveness of the controls, particularly when using the jog/shuttle dial, is quite amazing compared to the DV cameras I have used.

With this in mind, I have a couple of questions...

(1) How are DV decks in terms of control precision/responsiveness? Are they more like the cameras I have described above, or more like the Beta SP decks? Or does this vary depending on the price of the deck?

(2) Does the precision/responsiveness vary depending on whether Firewire, RS-422 or the deck's physical controls are used?

Thanks,

-Bon
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Old March 1st, 2005, 07:48 PM   #2
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Bon,

I got to try my hand at the controls of a friend's Sony deck and I can tell you it was the first thing I noticed. Direction change of the tape is almost as fast as you can press the button or turn the jog dial. I guess that's part of why they cost so much.

-gb-
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Old March 2nd, 2005, 04:55 AM   #3
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Cheers Greg,

Can you remember whether this was a low-end or high-end model?

Some of the low-end Sony, Panasonic and JVC models seem quite affordable. Combine this with other perks, such as the ability to use full-size tapes, the reduced wear on camera heads, the possibly more reliable timecode (I am a bit suspicious of the XL1 in this regard, although that's a topic for another thread), and the convenience of not having to set the camera up on the desk all the time, and I think that a deck (or two) could be well worth having.

I'd be curious to hear how Sony's new HDV deck is in terms of responsiveness, given the MPEG-2 format. I might try Googling for some JVC HDV deck reviews...

-Bon
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Old March 2nd, 2005, 06:35 AM   #4
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This was a Sony DSR-25 and yes, it can work with full size DVCAM tapes. It also has a small LCD for viewing the footage without being connected to a computer. I think he told me it cost around $2500USD but I can't remember if that was used or new.

-gb-
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Old April 6th, 2005, 03:47 AM   #5
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I usually replay my DV tapes with a VCR, to avoid extra wear on my camcorder drives. Also, it's extra bother to hook-up a camcorder for power and A/V connections on my editing desk. My VCRs are semi-permanently connected to other VCRs or into a computer.

However, the lack of control and precision you experience with playback in a camcorder, when you use its own operating buttons, can be avoided. Most camcorders will give better playback, especially regarding frame-by-frame action, by using a good external editing control system. This could be from a stand-alone edit-controler with a wired control protocol or a FireWire
connection. Even IR remote controlers with full functions, will make a camcorder give improved playback. Of course, when using FireWire with a computer, a video capture program should be able to precisely run a digital camcorder's playback. The control messages are sent on the 2-way FireWire connection. All the camcorders I've used had full playback capabilities built into them, but it took the right external control system to work them properly.
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Old April 6th, 2005, 08:25 AM   #6
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The response of the decks does vary with the price and controll connections. I use a DSR11 with firewire and it's good. Not as good as a Beta deck controlled with Rs-422, but not as sloppy as a camera. The DSR25 is a little better.

I'm told response can vary on deck by NLE brand as well. I cut on Avid, and people complain about the JVC decks. Others say the decks run great on Adobe... so go figure.
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