View Full Version : Betacam - Done
2008 June 5th, 14:35
I'll be working on a corporate event in the Bellagio 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.
2008 June 5th, 14:39
unless you have a Beta VTR and an interface to digitize it i would tell them it would be nearly impossible to use betacam. Beta is an analog tape ,I'm guessing you want to edit it in a NLE. I guess you could edit the beta tapes in linear format, but you would need more than one VTR with a patch board.
Not to mention beta is SD, granted its superior SD, you arent going to get HD out of it unless you upconvert the footage, which doesnt look as good.
Hope this helps!
2008 June 5th, 14:50
Wow, thats insane. Beta is a fine professional format, but its only used by like T.V. studios and such, who have all of the decks and playback equipment. It depends on what type of Betacam they want you to use. Im assuming analog Beta is out, because thats just super insane. Digibeta, SX, or IMX are the only ones i could see you utilizing. HDCAM is an option too, but is very pricey. With any of these, for capturing, i guess you would need some type of capture card to get it into your NLE. I believe most of the formats from digibeta and later utilize Digital SDI outputs, so that would be your best bet, i think. Dont take anything im saying to heart, because ive never worked with any form of the Betacam format, just researched it for school.
I think you should try your hardest to convince them of HDV. Take some old crappy Beta footage and play it side by side with footage from your A1, and let the guy decide. Also explain to him the cost involved in working with Betacam.
2008 June 5th, 15:17
If you will be the only cameraman there, just put on the XH-A1 Betacam sticker and play cool..
2008 June 6th, 09:53
Betacam is standard not only in "T.V. studios and such, who have all of the decks and playback equipment," but also in corporate work. Older ones are analog, however, Digi Beta has been very common for corporate work for many years.
The work flow is different from DV, Beta decks use component output or SDI, not firewire. The DVCAM tape format is very close to Beta in quality, however, Betacam cameras tend to be much higher end, with lenses that cost much more than a typical DV camera. They are not hard to rent, if you do a search for Betacam rental in Las Vegas or LA, but you still will have the problem of editing it, since you are not equipped for that. You can hire an Avid or Final Cut Pro editor with equipment but of course that drives your cost way up since you will have to charge for an editor with equipment plus your own time as producer/director.
The way to convince them may be to compare costs. Betacam production is not cheap. Give them an estimate for Betacam and estimate for HDV and DVCam. Show samples of the HDV and DV formats. They will likely not be care about the HDV/Blu Ray since the format is not widely used and they will not have playback equipment for it.
2008 June 6th, 12:13
Thank you all for the information. I am still trying to figure out exactly what to tell them about not using betacam.
Willowsman, what would you say, as an estimate, how much difference (money-wise) for a 4 hours event production using Betacam or HDV? Appreciate it.
Standard Beta camera hire here in London averages about £250 to £300 per day Taky.
Digi Beta £350
and an F900 HD camera is £750 a day.
These prices are just for the camera, lens and batteries/charger.
Cameraman/soundman /Audio/Lighting/VAT/Tapes/transport all extra.
No Half day rates
and dont forget the cost of having it transferred for editing.(Allow £60.00 per hour + VAT to convert to AVI files..)
2008 June 7th, 05:26
Do they literally mean "Betacam" as in Betacam SP? Because that is a pretty much obsolete analog format these days. Maybe they mean Digibeta? But even they is obsolete these days at it's only SD. HDV is going to be better than any of these SD formats.
Now if they want HDCAM SR it's another story. You'd have to rent something like an F900
My advice would be to to talk them out of "Betacam" if they don't even know what it is themselves!
it's not really obsolete...unfortunately. i know the CBC (canadian national broadcaster) up here still shoots all their field material and in studio with betacam...actually, most television channels up here do...making it hard for people with training in new formats to get jobs with them...
ive been thinking about taking a two year broadcasting course (editing) for this purpose but it almost feels like id be taking a giant step backwards.
best of luck taky/lunchbox...id try my best to make them reconsider...but otherwise, you're looking at an expensive project, and not necessarily a satisfying end product.
2008 June 8th, 01:54
Beleive it or not BetaCamSP is still the defacto standard for video distrubution, even though it's SD, it is almost a universal format... the fact that there is no equivilent in the HD world is hampering it's adoption in many areas...
Our company supplies commercial production for clients in numerous markets, Reno, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Boise and all these stations still want BetaSP... some can take FTP file transfers, but even then there is no standard... ie: AVI or Quicktime or M2T, or Flip Factory or Telestream... it's a pain in the a$$, until there's a replacement for the immediacy and simplicity of Beta, distributing HD content will not be easy...
Tell your client you're going to shoot in a high end digital format, edit it digitally and deliver the finished master on BetaCamSP, DVD and on DV... There by giving them their Beta copy..
2008 June 9th, 08:34
Haven't hired any crews for a couple of years but I think the going rate for a two man crew with Betacam is still around $ 1000-1500 per day in DC area depending on the shooter. That is for shooting, not for producing a final edit.
2008 June 9th, 11:54
Thanks for all the info. They finally changed their mind. But they are a lost group of people. They have no idea what they want. Now they are asking for the video has to have at least "720 lines". It was because someone mentioned to them about "720 lines". They aren't talking abotu 720p. Because they want Standard Definition with 720 lines.
2008 June 10th, 07:41
BetaSP.... I'm a Broadcast & Corporate producer and deal with TV stations and Post houses all over the nation - BetaSP is absolutely still the standard for 90% of the spot delivery & distribution that hasn't gone to digital distribution like "Fast Channel" or "DG" It's really due to the initial investment in the equipment....would you want to quit using your $25,000 VTR just because the new tape decks are a little smaller?
BetaSP to alot of people is very equal in picture quality to most any standard DV format (not HD) and physically much more robust and dependable. Mini DV and the tape casings are just too small and fragile to be as strong as a 1/2" Beta tape. I think it will be around for at least another 4 to 5 years in many markets.
2008 June 10th, 10:16
"But they are a lost group of people. They have no idea what they want. Now they are asking for the video has to have at least "720 lines". It was because someone mentioned to them about "720 lines". They aren't talking abotu 720p. Because they want Standard Definition with 720 lines."
Standard definition DV resolution is 720x480 lines. They are not lost.
JMS is correct, BetaSP is the standard. We have and are still using Beta SP as well as DVCAM but have really began using DVCAM most of the time for the last 2 yrs. I can't really tell the difference between the footage between them. We will still use Beta Sp for compositing work. We have HDV as well but nothing to playback on yet in the field (could be a couple more years) so it is not useful as a distribution format.
As far as "nothing in HD to replace BetaSP," Sony would tend to disagree-they are pushing their XDCam HD. Don't know how widely adopted it is yet.
2008 June 10th, 10:37
Why not shoot in the camera you want, and output to betacam afterwards? You'll have the best of both worlds...
2008 June 10th, 10:58
It'll be years, if ever if XDCAM HD Sony's mpeg-2 based disc format reaches the industry penetration that Beta SP has acheived, and what if you are a DVCPro HD shop, what do you do then buy a $28,000 XDCAM just for distribution... in today's economy I doubt it... A universal, easy, affordable alternative is needed... we are starting to use 16Gb. USB Flash drives, but they are not big enough for 1/2 hour programming. Dual Layer data DVD's are another alternative, but a gain the size limits the amount of content.
It's frustrating at times... only one of the seven broadcast outlets in our market have XDCAM, and it's not even the HD variety.
2008 June 11th, 14:33
Honestly if they don't know what they want, whats stopping you from telling them what they want. Sell yourself, show examples of what you offer compared to what standard def offers. Let yourself be that someone who "told them they should do..."
Ultimately their format decisions should be based on what they what the final product to be, thats where you come in. You need to decide with them what they want and what you can give.
P.S. find a friend in a local tv station master control, they can transfer pretty much any format you can throw at them.
2008 June 11th, 14:44
What's stopping me? There is the boss who has no knowledgae but someone told him Betacam is good. Then there's his manager that's a yes woman. My partner is dealing with her. So there're two levels before I can reach the boss. Very likely I will never have a chance to talk to the boss at all.
Ultimately they don't know what they want. They want DVD for sure. but they also want "HD video with at least 720 lines".
PS: I can find a friend in a local TV station only if I know any friend works at the TV station. I wish everything in the world is that simple.
2008 June 11th, 16:29
These boards are searchable, aren't they? Google picks up my name now and then from them.
Taky, this is a potentially great customer! I envy you. They're looking around for an expert to help them understand the technology, which is a great change for you to become that expert. You may not want to combine consulting services ("what's best") with the excellent technical services ("here's your DVD") you provide, but I suspect this client very much needs the higher attention level of a consultative process.
I suspect if you help them to see value and benefit to the differing technologies, you'll make a solid relationship. They want to sound smart and look good to their boss -- and Vegas is all about speed and incredibly high quality.
You're in a great position!
2008 June 11th, 16:35
The sad thing is, they don't need any consultation. They aren't even looking around for an expert and the aren't all the open to other ideas.
2008 June 13th, 12:38
My advise, bring them in and show them an example video you have created with HDV on a HDTV. Tell them the video they are about to watch is HDTV quality (much better than DVD) but don't tell them exactly what quality it is, just let them watch it. Ask them what they thought of the quality and if they would be happy with that for their video. If the answer is yes, then go ahead. If no, well then your going to need to hirer some serious broadcast quality equipment for that shoot.
2008 June 13th, 13:41
1/3" HDV cameras are no good in low light.. make sure they understand the kind of lighting equipment you'd be using in low light events..
The beta cams with their 2/3 3CCD heads are much much better in this regard...
Why not show them a collection of your Avatars?
2008 June 13th, 16:47
One of the possible action is NOT TO TAKE this job. I don't have access or contact to the person who make decision. If they insist using Betacam, I will say F 'em. :)
2008 June 13th, 17:51
It'll be years, if ever if XDCAM HD Sony's mpeg-2 based disc format reaches the industry penetration that Beta SP has acheived
Haven't Sony ditched the XDCAM HD Professional disk or am I missing something? http://www.sony.net/Products/MO-Drive/ProDATA/ "Effective March 31, 2007, "Professional Disc for DATA" products have reached end of life." Sony seems to be focusing now on XDCAM EX using SxS cards.
easy, affordable alternative is needed... we are starting to use 16Gb. USB Flash drives, but they are not big enough for 1/2 hour programming.
SDHC cards, 16GB are readily available, 32GB are expected this summer. Or SxS cards.
2008 June 27th, 13:59
The event was finally over. It was last night held in Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. We finally convinced them not to use Betacam. But what do they know? They only want DVDs.
There were 2 TV station crews there in the Press Conf. One was using Sony DVCAM and one was using a sony 3CCD Mini-DV (not HD) cam. I think my XH-A1 will be good enough. I was thinking not to set up my HV30 as second CAM because of it's consumer look. I am glad I did because the camera man from other 2 TV stations were very interested in my HV30 setup with the twin light, NTG-2 shotgun mic and the Remote control as LANC. They gathered around and asked about detail of it. They both said they heard of many good things about this camera and it's very smart to set it up this way. That was a relief.
Later on, I was using another HV30 on Merlin. The DVCAM guy has his mounted on his shoulder. He envy on the light weight and how cool it looks. He asked if he can play with it. Well, I of course asked him if I can carry his DVCAM.. :)
"I'll show you mine if you show me yours"
Did you pull?
2008 June 30th, 18:28
Personally I would use the 30,000 dollar camera over a 3,400 dollar one. HD or SD.
2008 June 30th, 18:37
"I'll show you mine if you show me yours"
Did you pull?
Veg, it's more like this
2008 July 9th, 19:20
Personally I would use the 30,000 dollar camera over a 3,400 dollar one. HD or SD.
2008 July 10th, 14:31
Because he's one of those people. The kind that think something's better just because it costs more.
2008 July 10th, 16:01
I would personally like to get my hands on a professional analog betacam before even messing around with HD. A 30,000 analog camera is going to produce a color rich, smooth, dropout free image. A 3,400 hdv camera will produce a visually stimulating image. But which business would want their footage to look like an average HD production. It seems like if a business is willing to hire you to film their event, pay you to do so, and then offer to rent any technology necessary to provide an original compelling look for their interests, why not go for it?
2008 July 10th, 16:12
That would be totally irresponsible just because they are willing to pay for the rental. The real problem behind is they know nothing about camcorders. They only heard from someone saying Betacam is good. That's the main problem. If I just accepted they job without offering my professional opinion, they will not be happy with the result.
Technology equipment is always expensive when it first came out. But then it doesn't mean they are better. A 30,000 camera invented in the 80's doesn't mean it will out-perform a $3,400 camera two decades later. You can think of how expensive an IBM PC/XT computer costs back in the 80's to a QuadCore PC cost today.
2008 July 10th, 18:30
Just tell em you'll deliver it on Betacam if they really want it - but that you're quality control department wont allow you to shoot in any thing less than digital because it is superior. But that if they insist on the program being on Betacam - you'll 'dub down' to it for them. If they actually have anyone who is in charge of this project - show them your work vs. SD of any kind. Doesnt sound like they have a front man over seeing this deal.
2008 July 11th, 02:28
there is a big difference in quality between al consumer HDV cam, and pro-cams.
and it's not only the price.
i'm working as a sound engineer in belgian tv and i'm working most of the time with betacam SX, digital betacam (digibeta) and XDcam. there is a growing market for smal consumer/pro-sumer cameras, but when you look at it on tv, you can see the difference.
the main difference can be seen in situations with bad light. a pro camera can handel these situations a lot better.
they are far better in hand-on control. all the right buttons are there. colortemp, focus, gain, aperture,...
and not least, their build quality. i've been in situation, a consumer cam wouldn't have last very long, the old betacams kept on working.
it's not that i have something against smaller cams, i have a HV20, and i even have used it on some tv-shoots. it's the perfect camera to carry along for those situations where you could really use a second cam to take a safety longshot.
if you have control over the light situation (enough light), the results are pretty decent, but in my opinion, it will always be the little brother of the big budget cams, and not only because of their price.
every cam has his right of use, but use it for what it's meant for.
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