DV vs Beta (DigiBeta???)

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We are a small company shooting some promo and pilot material on Beta. We have an opportunity to buy a DV camera due to the price range. Eg we can afford about $25,000 we can't afford $100,000!!

Given the choice, is it better to go for a second hand Beta camera or a brand new DV camera. Is there a major difference in the quality?

Thanks for any advice! Please also copy replies to my email address. Rgds, Eoin.

-- Eoin Meehan (levantis@clubi.ie), August 09, 1999


There are differencies in quality. Digitally compressed video generally has difficulties with pictures containing lots of moving details, such as leaves on trees. However, the DV format is very good, very close to digibeta and totaly comparable to Beta SP.

What You need to think of is how you are going to treat the material when it leaves the camera. Remember that the DV is working with bit reduction as a part of its compression function.

Maby you are familiar with the expression 4:2:2 when talking about non reduced digital video. That expression means that for each TV scanline the luminance is sampled four times and the two chrominance channels are sampled two times each. The DV works in 4:2:0 wich means that luminance is sampled 4 times, one chrominance channel is sampled 2 times and the second chrominance channel is mathematically reproduced by using the information in the lumachannel and chromachannel one. This is means that some chroma information is left out and the picture is thereby smaller in terms of memory. The effect of this reduction is impossible to se with the eye.

When taking this material to an editsuite that works with compressed digital video it is very important that the edit facility does not use another bit reduction then 4:2:0. Another common standard is 4:1:1 and when using both 4:2:0 and 4:1:1 equipment on the same material you get in fact a result that is 4:1:0 wich means a big loss in chrominance information, big enough to see with your own eyes and this without even make a generation on the material!!

I suggest that you chose the DV (if it is a 3 CCD chip model that can use standard lenses) and be careful not to digitally destroy your material more then necessary.

Welcome to the digital djungle (if you're not already in it...)

Sören Hego Systems, Sweden

-- (soren@hego.se), March 28, 2001.

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