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Mini DV VCR Review:Panasonic BDS AG-DV1000P

Mini DV VCR Review:Panasonic BDS AG-DV1000P

Panasonic BDS AG-DV1000P Mini DV VCR

Panasonic's new Mini DV VCR has many of the features that pros want, packed into a small, attractive package. Judging by its price, they have presumably targeted the pro market for this deck, even though it is more "prosumer" in design.

The Little Device on Top


When you're setting up all your gear, you frequently end up with a tower of machines, all pretty much the same size. If you include the AG-DV1000P in your stack, you had better put it on top, due to its smaller-than-average footprint.

Hooking up the AG-DV1000P is straightforward. Simply connect your FireWire cable to the jack on front, analog inputs and outputs to connectors on the back panel and the optional AG-A11 remote controller to the 3.5mm jack on front. A FireWire port on back for a neater permanent installation would have been nice.

But if you use more than one type of input (DV, S-video, and/or composite), you can easily switch between them from the front panel, reducing the need for back-panel wire swapping. An additional convenience would have been analog inputs on the front to join the FireWire port, but that is probably a convenience that is approaching obsolescence.

Using the AG-DV1000P as a Source Deck


If you plan on hooking up the AG-DV1000P to your editing computer for use as a source deck, there are some important steps you'll need to take. First, you will need to use the on-screen menu to set the deck back to its factory defaults (Menu-Option Initial-Set). Then, slide the Input Select switch to "DV," and the Local/Remote switch to "Remote.

Not only are these instructions omitted from the AG-DV1000P manual, but the Local/Remote switch instructions indicate that the switch is used only if the optional AG-A11 wired remote controller is attached. Once you have completed these steps, you should be able to use machine control from your editing computer to capture digital video directly from the AG-DV1000P.

Capturing from the AG-DV1000P


After establishing machine control, we found that the AG-DV1000P was adequate for supplying video for capture, and in some ways, quite superior to using a Mini DV camcorder as a source deck. The forward and reverse scan provided an excellent image. In place of the blocky or torn images we've come to expect, the AG-DV1000P tended to provide more "intact" visual frames while scanning.

We tested capturing onto a Pentium-II 350MHz system with 128MB RAM and a 78GB hard drive. We used the Expert 98 AGP video card and the Canopus DVRex M1 capture card. To test the deck's analog output, we connected the AG-DV1000P to the Canopus Rex Rack via FireWire, as well as an S-video cable.

We captured several clips directly into Adobe Premiere 6.0 without a hitch. Using clips captured from both FireWire and the analog S-video output, we pieced together a rough program and output it back to the AG-DV1000P.

Pro or Not Pro?


Panasonic identifies the AG-DV1000P as part of its "ProLine." Many of its features (BNC connectors, dual analog outputs, a menu lacking "frilly" choices, and the fact that the remote is optional and wired rather than wireless and included) are expected on a professional deck. At the same time, though, other features we look for in a pro model were absent. For example, there is no jog/shuttle dial. The deck also lacks the ability to accept both Mini DV cassettes and their full-size brethren and doesn't offer rack-mountability (or even stackability).

The AG-DV1000P is a stripped-down version of its big brother, the AG-DV2000P. In addition to the features listed above, the larger model includes audio and video insert capabilities and a 40-scene assemble edit potential. The AG-DV2000P costs about $700 more than the AG-DV1000P and in many respects the extra features seem to be well worth the money.

This leads straight into a discussion of the deck's value. For most people, using a Mini DV camcorder as a source deck for their editor might be a better expenditure of $1,500; after all, you can get a lot of camera for that price. It seems to us, however, that someone who does need a fixed source with significant editing features and who does not want to add wear and tear to a camcorder will find value in the AG-DV1000P.

In Conclusion

The first thing everyone notices about the AG-DV1000P is how cute and attractive it is. However, while its beauty is not only skin deep, it does not go as deeply as its price would have it appear.
The AG-DV1000P is a solid and respectable little Mini DV deck, with an admirable set of features for a certain type of user. Unfortunately, the excessive price for the hobbyist consumer and/or reduced utility for the full-time pro diminishes its value.

TECH SPECS


Video inputs: video in = NTSC composite (line-level, 1Vp-p), BNC jack; S-video in = NTSC Y/C (Y--1Vp-p, C--0.286Vp-p), mini-DIN jack; DV video in (as part of IEEE-1394)
Video outputs: video out = NTSC composite (line-level, 1Vp-p), BNC jack (two sets);
S-video in = NTSC Y/C (Y--1Vp-p, C--0.286Vp-p), mini-DIN jack (two sets);
DV video out (as part of IEEE-1394)
Audio inputs: line in = stereo RCA jacks;
DV audio in (as part of IEEE-1394)
Audio outputs: line out = stereo RCA jacks (two sets); DV audio out (as part of IEEE-1394)
Other connectors: DV terminal, 4-pin (compliant with IEEE-1394); wired remote=3.5mm mini-phone jack (for AG-A11)
Power requirements: 120VAC, 50-60 Hz
input frequency
Power consumption: 19 watts (4.5 watts when in standby)
Weight: 5.5 lbs. (2.5 kg)
Size: 11.25"(w) x 3.25"(h) x 8.5625"(l) [280mm(w) x 81mm(h) x 216mm(l)]

STRENGTHS

  • Good array of features
  • Attractive

WEAKNESSES

  • Expensive
  • Operational limitations

SUMMARY

A good source machine for the prosumer.

$1,495
Panasonic Broadcast & Digital
Systems Company
3330 Cahuenga Blvd W.
Los Angeles, CA 90068
(323) 436-3500
www.panasonic.com

Tags:  June 2001
John
Davis
Fri, 06/01/2001 - 12:00am

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