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Old August 18th, 2015, 06:55 AM   #1
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29min record limit on Cameras in the EU

Thought I would start a new thread on this subject as it has come up in the wedding and events section.

It has been a continual source of annoyance and frustration amongst those that use DSLRs and bridge cameras for events where scenes longer than 29mins 59secs are required, weddings, theatre productions etc. It has though become common place to use DSLRs etc for video work because of the larger sensors, interchangeable lenses and better low light performance than is usually available with similarly priced camcorders.

It means though that at some point during a continuous performance, the recording will stop and a small gap will result while the camera is put back into record mode. That means that even for what may well be a single camera recording with a video camera, it will require two cameras with different start times to cover the gap. It also means that both cameras need to be monitored to avoid missing the restart. There may be some 3rd party work arounds, but still a less than ideal situation.

The reason for the limitation appears initially to be because of an EU ruling in 2007 that any digital camera able to record video for more than 30 mins continuously would be classed as a video camera and be liable for a duty of 4.9%. This seems to coincide approximately with the rapid increase in the use of still cameras for video recording.

What puzzles me though, is why manufacturers should suddenly decide to inhibit the recording time, when every single video camera and camcorder on the market isn't inhibited and has the duty added to the price. Even the majority of video cameras can take still pics, so where is the difference?

Could it perhaps be that manufacturers suddenly realised that film makers were buying DSLRs instead of very much more expensive big sensor video cameras and feared that more profitable sales would be lost, because I can't see a 4.9% duty deterring people from buying the camera they want, particularly if they are having to pay it on an uninhibited video camera anyway. . The fear of lost video camera sales on the face of it seems like a possible explanation, but if that is the case, why isn't the 29 minute limit applied to the same cameras in other parts of the world.

Maybe it is time to lobby the manufacturers to remove the ridiculous limitation and simply add the duty to the price.

Roger
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Old August 18th, 2015, 07:34 AM   #2
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Re: 29min record limit on Cameras in the EU

Years ago, the duty may well have been a driver, but I suspect now it's become an excuse. Clearly, looking at the DSLR video specs of many of them, the manufacturers clearly do not want these devices to be considered primarily a video device. That's no doubt because they have real video cameras in production. They keep the specs for video very brief, requiring serious users to add loads of aftermarket parts to get a proper camera setup. So frames, viewfinders, lens add-ons, remotes, audio in/out converters, video outputs etc etc. If it was profit, then they would be selling a complete package with their own branding - but they don't. All the complaints on this and other forums about the awkwardness and silly omissions could be rectified instantly. Sure, a few overheat, but most don't - they just do not want them used as video cameras, so keep the facilities very basic.
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Old August 18th, 2015, 07:54 AM   #3
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Re: 29min record limit on Cameras in the EU

I'm slightly bemused by this having shot Betacam, which had an approx 30 min record time and film with approx 10 min running time per roll. At least you don't have to change tapes or film magazines.
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Old August 18th, 2015, 10:49 AM   #4
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Re: 29min record limit on Cameras in the EU

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
I'm slightly bemused by this having shot Betacam, which had an approx 30 min record time and film with approx 10 min running time per roll. At least you don't have to change tapes or film magazines.
You shot weddings on Betacam????

Roger
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Old August 18th, 2015, 11:02 AM   #5
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Re: 29min record limit on Cameras in the EU

I've shot lots of things on Betacam There are always quiet moments that you know.won't get used.
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Old August 18th, 2015, 11:24 AM   #6
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Re: 29min record limit on Cameras in the EU

Pre Y2K, anything that was shot professionally was shot on beta. If you had a wedding before 2000 that wasn't shot on Uncle Elwin's VHS - it was shot on beta.
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Old August 18th, 2015, 05:13 PM   #7
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Re: 29min record limit on Cameras in the EU

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Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
Pre Y2K, anything that was shot professionally was shot on beta. If you had a wedding before 2000 that wasn't shot on Uncle Elwin's VHS - it was shot on beta.
Did I dream about Umatic, Hiband Umatic, Betamax, Super VHS, Hi8 ? I shot a lot of stuff on just about every format including Betacam and Betacam SP and have been shooting video for over 30 years. For weddings though I always used a format that could at least cover an hour of ceremony if necessary.

But all of that is completely irrelevant to the thread, as I am perfectly capable of shooting weddings in shorter takes, but the question is why are videographers in EU countries having to put up with deliberately inhibited cameras that are available elsewhere without the limitation?

Would you put up with a car that could only drive for 29 minutes due to a restriction to the size of the tank, sure you could keep stopping at a petrol station, but why should you?

Roger
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Old August 19th, 2015, 12:22 AM   #8
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Re: 29min record limit on Cameras in the EU

Is the GH4 also given a time limit in the UK Roger? In Australia the GH4 has no time limit but the bridge cameras still have the limit! I assume this is so bridge cameras don't overshadow their bigger brothers and cause issues with marketing the more expensive units.
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Old August 19th, 2015, 12:43 AM   #9
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Re: 29min record limit on Cameras in the EU

Wouldn't an external recorder eliminate the problem?

But of course I know you know that and you're really asking a different question, ie WHY these cameras have to have a silly restriction and what it would take to get the makers to solve this problem. And I guess the only think that makes sense is that it's their preferred bushiness model.
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Old August 19th, 2015, 01:29 AM   #10
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Re: 29min record limit on Cameras in the EU

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
Did I dream about Umatic, Hiband Umatic, Betamax, Super VHS, Hi8 ? I shot a lot of stuff on just about every format including Betacam and Betacam SP and have been shooting video for over 30 years.
You also dreamt about M II ... or maybe that was a nightmare.
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Old August 19th, 2015, 01:48 AM   #11
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Re: 29min record limit on Cameras in the EU

Christ got the word ........ Marketing. One lighting control manufacturer I know has one product in the range that is very much cheaper than the others in the range, and has two small differences in it doesn't have a monitor socket or a USB socket. Clearly, the headers for these are on the board inside, but the box has no holes cut. Two thousand pounds for these two omissions. A few people buy them, but it's driven up sales for the dear one! Marketing is very clever science!
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Old August 19th, 2015, 03:47 AM   #12
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Re: 29min record limit on Cameras in the EU

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Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
You also dreamt about M II ... or maybe that was a nightmare.
If you filmed a wedding on MII you would be in the video hall of fame :-) I also seem to recall 1" and something called 'C' or similar, and let's not forget Video 2000 and the beginnings of Minidv, DV1&2, Digi Beta, the list goes on.

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Old August 19th, 2015, 03:56 AM   #13
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Re: 29min record limit on Cameras in the EU

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Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
Wouldn't an external recorder eliminate the problem?

But of course I know you know that and you're really asking a different question, ie WHY these cameras have to have a silly restriction and what it would take to get the makers to solve this problem. And I guess the only think that makes sense is that it's their preferred bushiness model.
It would Jim, but wouldn't that be just like sticking a big tank on the roof of my fuel inhibited car? The point of course is that the internal memory cards are perfectly capable recording hours of video, they've just prevented the cameras in some areas from using it. If it their preferred business model, why only in the EU? It can't be the 4.9% duty as that is on all video cameras anyway.

Chris, I am not sure about the G4, but I think Steve has one and will be able to tell you if he reads this.

Roger
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Old August 19th, 2015, 04:07 AM   #14
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Re: 29min record limit on Cameras in the EU

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Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
I'm slightly bemused by this having shot Betacam, which had an approx 30 min record time and film with approx 10 min running time per roll. At least you don't have to change tapes or film magazines.
Just reminded me reading your post again, Betacam was one of the ways that Sony recovered some of the big investment in Betamax. Betacam was basically a beefed up Betamax which also used the same tapes, the difference being that Sony speeded up the system to run at 6 times the speed to greatly improve the quality. Of course that meant that recording time was severely restricted, so 60 minute tapes would only run for 10 minutes on Betacam, or 120 down to 20minutes. Of course Betacam and Betacam SP went on to become probably the most successful and enduring professional format and certainly recovered the investment for Sony.

Roger
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Old August 19th, 2015, 08:21 AM   #15
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Re: 29min record limit on Cameras in the EU

Also, Betacam used component video rather than composite. It's a tape size and cassette that continued to HDCAM.
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