I've been working with Betacams since the early 80's, when I was an editor at SBP, based in Rome, one of the best TV post-production facilities. The first Betacam machines appeared on some wheeled mobile racks, useful to move them from an edit suite to another. They were usually used just to play ENG tapes that were to be edited on 1" tapes. This was the role that also the Betacam SPs were going to cover for several years. When I moved to Orbit Satellite Radio and TV Network, the Rome-based Saudi Digital Satellite Network, I experienced the excellent performance of Digital Betacam. I used pre-read editing with D2s, but the complicated edit optimize procedure of Ampex VPR300s and the defective performance of Sony DVR10s and DVR 18s on Ampex ACE edit controllers were luckily something to forget on the wonderful DVW500Ps. I enjoyed these hard workhorses for some ten years, editing all kind of tv programmes, promos, commercial ads, news and sports reportages and so on.
At the moment, I'm working as a freelance editor/producer in several production houses or TV networks. Here in Italy the Public TV Company, RAI, uses mostly IMXs for production and post-production purposes, along with a bunch of Beta SPs. Commercial TVs prefer SXs, while Satellite networks normally uses Digibetas. Frankly I'm not able to state whether the best system is among the three of them. I miss a deck that makes possible a recording on IMX, SX or DigiBeta, because it might happen, i.e. when working on Avid, that you have an IMX machine (which can play virtually any tape, from BetaSP to DigiBeta) but you need an SX master tape, this resulting in a waste of time, connecting an SX machine to the workstation, or dubbing the IMX cassette onto an SX one. Anyway, this is the only defective thing in an almost perfect system.
Submitted Monday, March 26, 2007 10:35 AM