How to transfer from local TV studio master to my h/d? Firewire?

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Doc, Jun 8, 2005.

  1. Doc

    Doc Guest

    A friend of mine did a musical performance that was broadcast on local tv.
    She gave me a VHS copy the studio have her to transfer to DVD. The sound
    was dry, so I added some reverb with soundforge, using Acoustic Mirror. She
    liked the results so much, she wanted to know if I could do the same thing
    to the master the studio has.

    Assuming the studio is okay with this, the question of course is, okay how
    to transfer it to my h/d and then back to their gear? I have a Sony TRV-240
    Digital8 camcorder with a Firewire port. What format is it likely their
    master is in, and how likely is it that the gear at the studio has a
    Firewire interface, and could there be any compatibility issues with dumping
    the master onto my camcorder, then onto my h/d then after processing,
    reversing the whole process? This cam also has an S-Video port, but I'm
    assuming I'll get a higher quality transfer doing it through the Firewire
    port. Yes? No?

    Thanks for all input.
    Doc, Jun 8, 2005
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  2. Doc

    Mike Kujbida Guest

    You'd have to talk to someone at the studio (preferably one of their
    editors) to find out what kind of gear they have. It used to be that all
    stations had BetaCams but this has changed a lot over the past few years. A
    lot of stations have switched to either DVCAM or DVCPro for their news
    gathering and, in some cases, commercial production. If this is the case,
    you're in luck as both of these formats have firewire ports on them so it'd
    be a straight transfer from their deck to your camcorder. After all,
    firewire is firewire whether it comes from a $10,000 deck or a $500
    And yes, you will get a higher quality transfer through the firewire port.
    AFAIK, there shouldn't be any compatibility issues that will come up from
    doing a transfer to your camcorder to your hard drive, editing it and
    dumping it back to your camcorder to bring it back to the station to be
    transferred back to their tape machine. As long as you stick to the DV-AVI
    format, everything will be fine.

    Mike Kujbida, Jun 8, 2005
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  3. it's not a given that the DVCAM or DVCPro decks at the station have
    firewire ports, FW ports and SDI ports are optional extras, and many
    cost-conscious stations didn't buy the options, my place only got a
    couple 'fully loaded' decks in their bulk purchase because adding the
    boards for say SDI easily doubles the cost of the deck, firewire,
    almost as much. Some of the cameras have FW in and out, but I think
    most do not, not the ENG types I work with anyhow.

    Moreover, it's not clear whatever "sweetening" you do at your end
    will translate to a better sound at the station. You have no control
    over the compressors and limiters they use at the station before it
    hits the TX, and it's as likely your master gets re-digitized into a
    server or dubbed to a common in-house format, and then again your
    carefully contrived mix and levels are all up for grabs, beyond your

    I don't mean to sound so discouraging, just trying to be realistic. If
    it means a lot to you, by all means go for it, you may get lucky, but I
    suggest you talk directly to an editor or the engineering staff, they
    may know where in the plant this can be done right and for no cost in
    time or money.
    nobody special, Jun 8, 2005
  4. Doc

    Doc Guest

    All I'd be doing is adding reverb to the already finished video. She liked
    the way it sounds with reverb better than dry, the way it is on the master
    currently. I guess she anticipates it might get played again at some point.
    Doc, Jun 8, 2005
  5. Doc

    GeekBoy Guest

    I saw a HD VHS at best buy on clearance for $69. Firewire connections
    GeekBoy, Jun 8, 2005
  6. Doc

    GeekBoy Guest

    The master is more likely in SVHS format.
    To obtain the correct correct color and sound on their equipment you will
    have to include a industry standard leader which consists of at least
    colobars/w 1kHz tone and a countdown.

    This for the techs when replaying the tape on their system in order to help
    match the correct color and sound on your tape with their system.

    The countdown is for edit/switching timing at the begining when
    incorporating the tape into their programming.
    GeekBoy, Jun 8, 2005
  7. Doc

    blackburst Guest

    Is the station broadcast or cable?

    I presume you're adding the reverb in a NLE. Take your computer to the
    sation and get the "highest possible" grade of transfer directly from
    the deck to your computer. SDI is best, then firewire, then component
    (which requires a Canopus or some such coverter, as do s-video and
    composite.) Sweeten it and dump it right back into the deck.

    If you do too many transfers, the pictures will look like crap and the
    sound may be difficult to synchronize to the video.

    Firewire can be weird. If there is any disruption on the master tape,
    it may "unlock" the audio from the video.
    blackburst, Jun 8, 2005
  8. Doc

    Doc Guest

    The VHS tape she gave me which is essentially a copy of the master has all
    that on it, so when it gets transferred over from the master directly to my
    camcorder, would reusing the one that's there be good enough?
    Doc, Jun 8, 2005
  9. Doc

    GeekBoy Guest

    It is better to record an original. You will get degraded quality everytime
    a tape is copied
    GeekBoy, Jun 8, 2005
  10. Doc

    marks542004 Guest

    Pardon my ignorance but if most of what you have done is added a
    consistant reverb to the audio would it not be a simple matter for the
    station to add that in themselves when playing the master ?
    marks542004, Jun 8, 2005
  11. Doc

    GeekBoy Guest

    They are there to play the tape, not enhance it
    GeekBoy, Jun 8, 2005
  12. Doc

    Doc Guest

    I wondered about that. I don't know what kind of facilities they have, and
    I'm not at all versed in tv studio conventions. I know that the guys who
    did the sound at the performance were complete knuckleheads, I don't know if
    they worked for the station or not but there are all kinds of issues with
    the sound. They got there late and never even did a sound check. At times
    they've got her too hot and distorting, other times too buried. They ended
    up not charging her because of the snafus. However, good bad or otherwise,
    all I'd be doing is adding modeled reverb.
    Doc, Jun 8, 2005
  13. That may actually be beyond the capabilities of many smaller TV stations.
    And if they did have some way of adding reverb in one of the editing
    suites, it may be a pretty cheezy sounding effect.
    Richard Crowley, Jun 9, 2005
  14. Sound is frequently shortchanged out of its proper share of the budget.
    It is frequently an after-thought (where it is thought of at al.)
    Richard Crowley, Jun 9, 2005
  15. Doc

    RS Guest

    Yeah, I suppose I would agree, but for a few hundred bucks they can
    remedy that.
    RS, Jun 9, 2005
  16. I'm going to reverb myself;-) and say this will probably all be for
    naught. First, a plain VHS dub is not at all a good source for your
    input to, the computer. If it's at least got Hi-Fi audio, then maybe.
    If that's truly their "master" of the program, stop everything now, the
    project is not econo,ically viable to salvage. I'm betting the dub you
    get you're grtting is a mono mix or a very simple stereo mix. The
    actual master tape is most likely one of these three: BetacamSP,
    DVCPro, DVCAM, or, if they are really down on their luck, Umatic or
    S-VHS. If their engineer is an iconoclast, it might be Digital VHS or
    M-II. (oy). No self-respecting Tv station is going to master on VHS if
    they can help it. You would have better luck if they copied it to
    consumer Dv than those last two choices.

    Anyhow, say you transfer the station's dub to your computer and add
    reverb. I would say adding compression is counter-productive, because
    while iut may sound fine at your place, the signal at the station is
    going to go thru any number of additional stages of audio compression,
    downward expansion, noise reduction, and even reverb. How this will
    react with your added reverb is anything but certain. Typically, it
    will be worse. How well they add-back the altered track from your
    source back to their 'real' master is anyone's guess. The smaller the
    station, the worse the problem will be.

    I think what you really want/need to do if you're serious is to
    re-master the program for them and replace what they keep as a master.
    If you can get the "'Real" master from them, that's your best bet. A
    VHS is not it. Good luck with this, i can tell you're doing it out of
    personal commitment more than anything else.
    nobody special, Jun 10, 2005
  17. Doc

    kashe Guest

    It might also be reasonable to skip the port issues entirely.
    I'm assuming the station would not be hot to let you walk out with
    their master to suck up directly onto your home machine. However, if
    you can come up with a laptop with your preferred software on it, they
    might be willing to let you do so on site with mutually agreeable
    supervision. Then you could do your work there or a home and bring
    them back your new master to see if it can be used adequately as they
    would want.

    If it's a small operation, as some communitty acces stations
    are, they might welcome the opportunity to take part in the
    kashe, Jun 11, 2005
  18. Doc

    kashe Guest

    Especially in some hand-to-mouth public access stations.
    kashe, Jun 12, 2005
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