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Old December 31st, 2007, 06:16 PM   #1
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Anyone know the difference between Betacam SP and Betacam DT!

Hi All,

I have some questions for those more, “experienced,” than I am with the Sony Beta format. I had never used it at all. Sorry for the long post, but I though it might make interesting reading and we all might learn something from our more knowledgeable members.

I had someone contact me about digitizing some old Beta tapes and converting them to DVD. I said sure, and proceeded to pick up a nice beautiful old Sony Super Betamax unit.

Well, when she showed up with the big BOXES of tapes, I found out that what she had was Betacam SP, not regular Beta! She had many other formats too!

I found a Betacam unit on eBay, very cheap, and decided to see if I could get it working. I did not realize until after I bought it, (found it and bought it within about an hour) that it was a Betacam DT unit, not Betacam SP unit. I did a hurried search all around the internet and could find no information about the unit I bought, a Sony BVW-15NFL Betacam DT. I sort of hung my head and figured I had just bought a boat anchor, which is bad because I sold my boat!

Well, the unit arrived today, damaged of course. It seems that people can’t understand that you can’t package an 80 lb unit in a regular cardboard box and just put a little newspaper around it! :) I took a hit on the Shuttle knob and the switch was damaged.

I hooked it up and stuck a tape in it. I expected no picture or sound because it was DT not SP like the tapes. To my surprise the tape began playing, FF, FR, eject and everything worked except for that damaged shuttle switch unit! Being the handy guy I am and having worked on everything made by man at some point in my life, I removed the Shuttle switch. I disassembled it and repaired the broken and damaged areas. I would not recommend this for the faint at heart!!! Success, it all worked fine! What a neat Shuttle system, it will make it easy to edit off of!

Actually, it was probably a great blessing that the switch was damaged. Why you ask? Since I could find no manuals information or anything for the unit, I would never have removed the lower portion of the front panel and found that all the controls are behind it!!!! The panel tilts up to access the controls and I would have never known it. Like, who would grab the front unit and just pull on it!

So my question for you is this: Does anyone know what the differences between the SP and DT units? The SP tapes play beautifully and I am very happy, but I would like to know what the specific differences are. I could find no other DT units anywhere! Not ebay or anywhere else. The Betacam SP units are fairly expensive still, even older ones. Believe it or not, I bought this unit off of eBay for $9.99 as the only bidder. I just thought it was worth taking a chance on and now I’m glad I did. Actually, my client/friend was sitting in my office when I got up to place my bid! :) She does not however know what I paid for it!

I also bought another tape player that I’m awaiting for a part for. I bought a Sony Umatic unit too! It is in beautiful condition and I expect it to work fine to, but again it was package poorly and took a hit on its shuttle switch. Didn’t damage the switch itself, but the switch was on the same mount as the front printed switch/circuit board. The board did not survive. Thankfully the board is still available, but the seller has several other units and is going to send me a replacement board.

Just in case you think I’m nuts for buying these old units, (well I might be) I’ll tell you why. My client is an actress who has been around for years, nothing major, just many movies and TV stuff and she is still working in commercials locally. She has been paying $300.00/month for storing her old tapes. I’m going to try to save as many as I can and put them on DVD for archiving. I can actually see some mold on some VHS tapes! This could turn out to be a long project, as there are approximately 400 pounds of tapes!!! Thankfully, there are many duplicates.

Among her tapes are VHS, Hi-8, small Betacam SP, LARGE Betacam SP, Umatic and who knows what else when I get deeper into the boxes. I have acquired units to play all but the very large Betacam SP tapes and I’m not getting one of them!! The tapes are huge, about 12” x 7” x 1 ¼’ with about 1/2” or 5/8” tape in them. Anyone know where these where used? The Sony Umatic uses ¾” tape and is I learned, sometimes called 3/4 tape format/tapes.

Just a little nostalgia for those interested!

Thanks in advance for your help with this. Need any tapes digitized? :) I can now do MiniDV, Betamax, Betacam, Umatic, Hi-8 and VHS!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Thanks Mike
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Old December 31st, 2007, 06:49 PM   #2
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The DT stands for "Dynamic Tracking" if I recall correctly... allowing broadcast level fast forward and slow mo shuttling.

You stole that deck. I'm going to tell mom.
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Old December 31st, 2007, 07:09 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez View Post
The DT stands for "Dynamic Tracking" if I recall correctly... allowing broadcast level fast forward and slow mo shuttling.

You stole that deck. I'm going to tell mom.
Please don't tell! I know it works beautifully. You can shuttle forward and reverse and then switch the two position shuttle switch and advance one frame forward or back. Really neat. The only thing that seems weird is that there is no rewind except to hit fast reverse. It rewinds fast, but the tape is always engaged. I guess that is why I noticed beta rewinders on eBay.

Thanks Richard
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