Gear for Beta tape transfer

Posted on

Typo Szar
Member Since: Jul 04, 2002

So this isnt about audio per say, but its audio and video so here i go

Im working at a television station now and they use nothing but Beta tape, no digital watsoever and its a real drag coz it takes so long to do anything and u cant undo. Im sure alot of purists r rolling their eyes now, but i have ppl on my production team going home at midnight everyday just coz they cut video in a non-linear fashion.

Anyhow, so what is a cheap system i can transfer Beta tape into a PC or laptop, what gear would i need and the specs for the laptop? Im looking cheap, coz the company is not looking to invest so we have to make it seem like a small thing so theyll pony up for it. So yeah, something that can convert the beta into digital files, both sound and picture so that we can cut it in something like Final Cut. I dont know alot about video but someone at the station said something about digital quality not being good for broadcast throught satellite, as our show goes to something like 190 countries worldwide. So ill probably have to convert back to Beta as well.

All suggestions are welcome to help me out on this problem

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Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Apr 08, 2008 08:47 pm

Digital not being good for broadcast? So then why are all the cable companies converting to nothing but digital.

I know there are some video input devices out there but can't think of any names at the moment. dB had something along those lines set up long ago. If I do that kind of stuff it is already in digital format for me so I don't ever use tape.

I'll post back if I think of the name of one.

Mans reach exceeds his grasp
Since: Oct 23, 2007

Apr 08, 2008 09:36 pm

I don't know about Beta, but I assume it's like a VHS format, right?

If so, you can pick up a DVD-R/VHS combo with a USB port on the back and upload VHS to a computer or burn a DVD straight off of if it. This is what I did with my family VHS tapes and it worked great :)

If we're not talking about VHS type stuff, then I appoligize for wasting your time, lol.

I'm pretty sure Rob Stemple knows how to do it; he knows all sorts of useful nitty gritty stuff.

Eat Spam before it eats YOU!!!
Since: May 11, 2002

Apr 08, 2008 11:38 pm

I use a Analog to Firewire converter box... being broadcast you will need one that works in the 4:2:2 colorspace...

But... You already have BetaSP decks... if they are newer they may already have SDI inputs and outputs... but with a station still using BetaSP only they might not have bought anything in the past 20 years...

If you already have SDI I/O then you just need an SDI card for the computer... sometimes these can be Firewire... but SDI is the 'professional digital video transfer method'

Otherwise... you need an SDI card and a Bi-directional analog/digital converter... I use a Datavideo DAC100 for 4:1:1 transfers... which I plug into my SVHS deck... or directly into the camera (Panasonic WV-F250)

You HAVE to be 4:2:2 to go though satellite... this is because broadcast video is compressed to hell and 4:1:1 is already compressed twice... 4:4:4 to 4:1:1 then tape compression which depends on format... can't do lossless editing with 4:1:1 either...

One word of warning... broadcast is not currently rewarding to those who are efficient... if you reduce your workload sufficiently then you will probably lose your job.

Eat Spam before it eats YOU!!!
Since: May 11, 2002

Apr 09, 2008 12:04 am


There are a couple sticking points with video analog to digital 'evolution' ...

1. High Frequency Noise... best described as 'leaves in trees'...aka little things that move really fast... even most HD systems cant cope with this as well as BetaSP...

2. Infrastructure... 4:1:1 is 25MB per second... 4:2:2 is 50MBps... try cramming 50MBps though a 15 year old satalite... analog, however can consume whats available.

3. Cost... this junk is expensive... think we got it bad in audio? Professional cameras 'start' at $20K.

4. Digital broadcast is cool because it allows broadcasters to resell unused portions of their bandwidth... I know one local station cut there HD broadcast because they wanted to broadcast 3 other sub channels and the HD signal took up too much 'space.'

5. Future proofness... 4:1:1 doesn't rerender without loss. even the heavily compressed HD cameras are explicitly forbidden by broadcasters... like HDV cameras... a lot of programs are actually still shot on super16 because it's scanned easily and can be edited on 50yo equipment without electricity.

Eat Spam before it eats YOU!!!
Since: May 11, 2002

Apr 09, 2008 12:08 am

and here is probably a more appropriate forum to answer your questions.... in their Standard Definition section...

Typo Szar
Since: Jul 04, 2002

Apr 09, 2008 10:32 am

Thanx for all the info guys, doing more research, i really dont know a single thing! like this 4:2:2 aspect and stuff like that, all french to me at the moment. but anyhow its a starting point for me to learn how this stuff works, but maybe if someone could hit me with a direct piece of equipment?

ill be checking out the more video orientated sites coz i know this place is for audio, still this site is my most trusted so hope yall dont mind veering off the audio path for a minute.

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