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Old December 2nd, 2010, 10:38 AM   #1
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Best form of tape for professional (HD preferably) playback

I've got a series of HD videos that have been produced that my organization wants to show at some fundraising dinners. The group that is helping us put together our program is adamant that we not use either DVD or digital files playing on a computer because you "always have cue problems" and they never start right when they're supposed to. They're determined that we play from a tape source.

Now, they're saying that they always use 8mm tape, and say it's the best thing since sliced bread. Doing some google searches, I've discovered that 8mm tape is about as old as triceratops, and unless I go the ebay route, I've not found any equipment that will allow me to record my video out to 8mm tape. I've heard of stuff like betacam and other tape formats that are used for broadcast purposes, but I'm wondering what would be the best (while still being relatively inexpensive) tape format to use for playing an HD feed at a live event? Our equipment budget is NOT big, and I'm guessing that we probably couldn't afford to spend more than around $2k (and that might even be pushing it) on a tape deck AND hardware to get the footage out of my editing bay and onto the tape (Blackmagic/Matrox/etc.).

Any recommendations?
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 11:21 AM   #2
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There is no such thing as an inexpensive HD deck. The cheapest would be an HDV deck. Maybe you can find one on eBay in your price range. Betacam and all that stuff you are looking at is not HD.

For HD tape you are talking:

HDCam
HDCamSR
DVCProHD

The cheapest of these decks new is 5 to 10 times your budget... just for the deck.

The idea of not being able to play back on cue is ridiculous. The most modern theaters in the world are playing digital files, including movies like Avatar and Inception. Tape is dying a quick death due to expense, and quality. I'm sorry, but the group helping you is both misinformed and grossly behind the times.
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 12:07 PM   #3
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Perrone is right: If you have to stick to tape, the only way that could be considered as inexpensive is HDV. Here in Europe - and I guess itīs the same in the US - even the cheapest HDV camcorder has a DV-In and can be used as a makeshift deck. So for your purpose you might get away with a Sony HC or Canon HV or a "HDV Walkman" like the Sony GV-HD700. All you need for transfering your video to tape is a firewire cable. No Blackmagic necessary.
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 12:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
For HD tape you are talking:

HDCam
HDCamSR
DVCProHD
Don't forget HDV. This statement should actually read:

For HD tape you are talking:

HDV
HDCam
HDCamSR
DVCProHD

I agree that HDV would be the most affordable way to go if it has to be on tape.

Two options for a portable VTR in this format:

Sony GV-HD700 --
BH (Links)

Sony HVR-M15 --
BH (Links)


Or for less money you could go with the HDV camcorder-as-VTR option, described in the previous post.
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 12:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
Don't forget HDV. This statement should actually read:
HDV was actually the first thing I mentioned...
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 01:19 PM   #6
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Thanks for your input, Gentlemen... this is basically the same response I got over on the Adobe forums where I'm a much more active participant. I'd already jumped on B&H and discovered just how expensive this stuff is, and also found the Sony HD700.

I sent an e-mail to my VP explaining the issue, and giving him the price to go with pro tape vs the HD700 and also listing the going rates for old 8mm decks on ebay. I hope and pray he'll either go with the HD700 or else listen to the guy he's hired for this stuff (me) and just go digital...
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 02:03 PM   #7
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Good luck David.. I know it's not easy sometimes...
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 05:54 PM   #8
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I gotta be missing something......

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Beisner View Post
I've got a series of HD videos that have been produced

By whom? From what source? Did you get a choice of supplied formatt/ media? Can you talk to these people?


Quote:
Now, they're saying that they always use 8mm tape

Er, if they always use it (whatever it is) why can't THEY transfer your HD video to it for you?


Quote:
and say it's the best thing since sliced bread

Er (again) they are aware this is HD, right? This sounds like something out of the SD ark


Quote:
I've not found any equipment that will allow me to record my video out to 8mm tape

Er (once more) why should you have to?

If the people who produced it, can't and the people who "use it all the time", can't, why hasn't some bright spark in this sorry saga suggested a local production house, who I am sure will have a spirited, frank and open exchange of views with the people "who use it all the time" about acceptable O/P formats and media.

Quote:
the best ......... tape format to use for playing an HD feed
Quote:
.Any recommendations?

If you absolutely had to, go buy a second hand Canon HV20 and a Firewire cable. It's a deck, a camera and mobile playback system cum OB van, all rolled into one. Cheap as chips to boot.

However, as I said back at the beginning, I cannot see how this has got to that bottom line.

Something or someone somewhere in this chain is not "with the program".

At least, that's the view from down here and I'm sure I must have missed something.


CS
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Old December 3rd, 2010, 04:01 AM   #9
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It seems like you have your answer, David, although I came to the same conclusion that Chris did. Good luck with your project.
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Old December 3rd, 2010, 09:47 PM   #10
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David,

Deep down I'm wondering if another option should be to simply say "no". Every time I read your post I end up thinking that you're dealing with (scary) amateurs and that you will get the blame if anything goes wrong -- never them.

If it was a new client of mine I'd be gracefully backing away. I do realise that you may not have this luxury.

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Old December 4th, 2010, 06:59 AM   #11
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I do seminars routinely. If 8mm tape is the way to go then I've been missing the boat for a long time and so have all the other people I know in the business.
I have never had a problem, using either DVDs or digital files, with cueing on time. If the person running video world knows what they're doing it's quite simple. Hell, I taught my 12 year old grandson how to cue up DVDs and Digital files.
If you can't convince them to step up to the 21st century then maybe it's time to walk away.
8mm tape :-( <shakes head in wonderment>
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Old December 5th, 2010, 11:58 AM   #12
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another option

When you say DVD, I guess you're talking about Blu-Ray? or else, there just went the HD format.

Another option would be to transfer the HD master to Digibeta 16 x 9 format. Then rent a deck with a shuttle knob for 300.00 per day. You will get excellent picture quality and pro level audio.

I agree, cueing and relying on the DVD disc can be a pain unless you have a pro switch (Folsom ScreenPro) like we do. I don't like relying on a burned disk for live playback. Produces gray hairs.
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Old December 5th, 2010, 03:12 PM   #13
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David if you're asking me if I'm talking about Blu-ray the answer is no and I've never had a problem with standard DVDs but I certainkly agree about the Folsom however even in low cost seminars using a less than Folsom switcher I've not really had a problem. The dvd gets cued up to it's play point, then paused, when it's time to play hit the button to switch to the DVD and hit play at the same time.
I just did a seminar using that exact same method and it worked fine. Is it my 1st choice, probably not but it does work. Of course after setup you need to fax it out amd make sure as well as make sure the person running the switcher knows what they're doing. Luckily most I get to work with do.
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