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Old August 17th, 2009, 08:43 AM   #1
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Digi Beta as opposed to HDV

Dear all,

After some very disappointing results with HDV I have been considering buying a used Sony digi beta camera outfit. My questions are; do people think this is a silly idea (we only have limited funds) and impractical as I believe it is not possible to capture video directly from the camera to a computer via firewire and needs an expensive VTR? There are some low hour cameras around which are reasonably priced. I've read that some Digi Beta footage has a nicer look than HDV which is one of the reasons I am considering it. Any thoughts appreciated!

All the best
Simon
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Old August 17th, 2009, 08:50 AM   #2
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Well, if you only ever deliver in standard def and can justify the cost of buying into a DigiBeta camera and deck (DB cameras can't be used for playback into edit bays unless something has changed) and you have an analog (or SDI) capture solution for your edit bay... go for it. DigiBeta is absolutely gorgeous to work with. However, it sounds like you may have to spend a CHUNK of change to get into it.
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Old August 18th, 2009, 02:58 AM   #3
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As said Digi Beta is a great format and tried and tested but with huge costs incurred, it is also tape based.
I too was not happy with HDV and have now gone onto P2 with the panasonic HPX301, I am very happy with it and the pictures are superb. It is a good workflow format too and I have new equipment with 5 years warranty for less than 10k
The 301 also shoots at 1920x1080i 50i or 25np and has a lot of different codecs for ntsc and standard def shooting.
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Old August 18th, 2009, 08:37 AM   #4
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Thanks fellas for your helpful replies.

Simon
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Old August 18th, 2009, 08:39 AM   #5
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At the risk of incurring a few rocks tossed my way, Digi Beta is the best.

Best for all round use... newsgathering, television and domestic loungeroom telly work.

The hard part is to locate a 'cheap' second hand VTR for ingesting tapes into your system. While it is SD, the images are stunning and its a regular camera of the BBC. Not only that, but when/if you upgrade to HD, you will have the main bits and pieces you need, like V lock batteries, lenses and such.

Go for it!

Ben

*reaches for the kevlar to await the barage of rocks from the HDV purists*
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Old August 18th, 2009, 08:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Longden View Post
*reaches for the kevlar to await the barage of rocks from the HDV purists*
Most of whom have never shot DigiBeta... ;>

Keep in mind that before HD of ANY flavour became affordable, DigiBeta was oftimes used when you had to shoot video but were looking for a theatrical release. I've never done it but I hear it uprezzes nicely.

Pros: it's gorgeous
Cons: cost, it's SD and continued parts and service are going to get increasingly hard to find... but not NEARLY as bad as those poor souls who are maintaining U-Matic archives...
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Old August 18th, 2009, 04:00 PM   #7
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This is a pretty silly idea if you have limited funds. If you are going to go SD you might as well look at the Panasonic SDX-900 which can record in DV or DVCPRO 50. If you want HD as well then check out the HPX-500 or the Sony EX-1, EX 3. While I love Digibeta the only reason I would buy one now is if I had the job which paid for it completely in advance.
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Old August 18th, 2009, 04:32 PM   #8
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To put it in perspective:
I had an opportunity to pick up a Sony 1/2" Betacam (UVW100?) several years ago. This is when EVERYONE else was buying VX1000s and PD150s. I KNEW the quality of images I was going to get from the Betacam, EVEN though it was "only" 1/2". The camera, lens, NP1 batteries AND charger were going to cost me less than my PD150 ultimately did. The ONLY reason I went with 1/3" DVCam instead was so that I could capture without having to purchase:
- a VTR
- an analog capture solution for my NLE
- faster drives

Had I been doing more FREELANCE shooting instead of shooting/editing at that time, I would have sprung for the Betacam. But, as I was posting my own stuff and most of my clients were shall we say... budget conscious... I went with the DVCam.

Were the images better? Heck no. Was it a cheaper solution? Not for the camera... Was it a workflow decision that made sense? Yep.
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Old August 18th, 2009, 05:29 PM   #9
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Well have you seen the prices on a used dvw 700. they are in the toilet.

Actually I can get an HDW 700a for seven grand. mmm

If you had the choice between and ex3 and a hdw 700a with a decent SD lens . what would you choose?
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Old August 19th, 2009, 10:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew McMillan View Post
what would you choose?
Again, see my above posts. If you:
- have access to a deck
- only produce in SD
- or freelance for an organization that can accept and post Digibeta, go for it.

If you need to "play well with others" that AREN'T in broadcast, the XDCam EX is a safer bet.
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Old August 19th, 2009, 11:05 PM   #11
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Hi Simon,
I total agree with you that if all your work is going SD use a SD camera and DigiBeta is great but..... Check out the Sony EX1/EX3 or even the Sony 350 cameras. Theses camera produced good looking SD from HD. I think the key to good looking SD is keeping it progressive.
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