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Taking Care of Business
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Old June 5th, 2008, 01:32 PM   #1
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Betacam

I'll be working on a corporate event in a hotel in Las Vegas later this month. My plan was to shoot with Canon XH-A1 and deliver DVD and BluRay. All of a sudden, they want the event to be shot using Betacam. It was because someone told the boss Betacam is good. They don't know exactly what it is. How should I convince them to use my XH-A1 or even renting the canon XL-H1 for the job?

And if they really insist using Betacam, does anybody know where I can rent one and how does it affect the worflow? Do I also need to rent the recording deck as well? I am also not sure if the capturing process is similar to HDV or Mini-DV using firewire.

Thanks
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Old June 5th, 2008, 01:45 PM   #2
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Any of the major pro rental houses will be able to get you the equipment you need. I can't imagine how this will be cost effective for the shoot though. It certainly isn't going to visibly improve the finished product.

To get the footage into your NLE you'll need a deck and a component capture card. Depending on where you are you should be able to find someone to digitize the footage for you at a more reasonable cost than buying the stuff you need for this one time use.

If you have good light and if the motion in the frame doesn't break the HDV codec the HDV cameras will give a more than sufficient picture. Beta just isn't necessary if the conditions are good. I only mention breaking the codec in reference to doing something like capturing the water show out front. Moving water is a real challenge for the HDV codec and one of the ways I stress test a camera.

Try to negotiate with them and maybe they wil drop the beta requirement.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 04:21 PM   #3
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It's a bit underhanded but you COULD use the argument that you were planning on shooting in 16:9 high definition digital (who wouldn't want that?) but if they would PREFER that you shoot 4:3 standard definition analog (assuming they meant BetaSP instead of DigiBeta or BetaSX (ICK!)) for Blu-Ray, you certainly could UPCONVERT the footage. It SHOULD look alright...

That sort of thing. If someone is going to suggest using one technology that they know nothing about, spin around and baffle them with technology BS.

At the end of the day, for delivery in SD, either will look fine. For BluRay, I think you'd better stick with HD sourcing. Plus you get to use your own gear and get the rental out of the deal as well.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 06:27 PM   #4
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betacamSP is great...if you're doing broadcast work. My biggest argument would be the end products will be DVD/Bluray...so why would you want to shoot analog (especially if it's cheaper just to go HDV)?

also BTW Shaun...you can shoot 16:9 w/ betacamSP.

Last edited by Mike Meyerson; June 5th, 2008 at 09:47 PM.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 09:12 PM   #5
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Mike: Yeah, I was thinking about that after I posted. A D35WS or similar head docked to a PVV1 or 3... my bad. It's been a WHILE since I shot analog Beta.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 09:16 PM   #6
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BetaSX looks pretty good when upconverted to HD. I see it every night on two of my local affiliates. One of the stations though has a guru of camera tweaking and the results show it.

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Old June 6th, 2008, 11:41 AM   #7
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Another thing to keep in mind with the BetaCam family: Unlike HDV, DVCProHD and most of the other industrial HD formats we use today, you can't use your camera for playback to your NLE, at least not with deck control. There aren't FireWire equipped cameras that can be controlled like your Canon.

You'll also need a capture interface to go along with the rental deck: either analog component or SDI. While these interfaces are not exorbitantly priced anymore, purchasing one JUST for one job certainly cuts into the profit margin. Depending on your NLE of choice, BlackMagic and AJA make excellent capture solutions.

My opinion, FWIW, is that to move to a Beta production, the budget needs to increase. (Of course, I don't know what your budget WAS). Maybe it's worthwhile for you. I base all my proposals on being able to use my own gear. If that changes, I charge more.

I'm really enjoying this thread. Thanks to all the contributors!

Greg: Thanks for the input. I've shot a BUNCH (thousands of hours) of SX but it was almost all news footage; very little production stuff and I've never seen MY SX footage upres'd. It would be interesting...
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