DV Video Editing System Review:Panasonic AG-DV2000 DV and Mini DV editing VCR

An AG Deck for DV


As the Mini DV format becomes more popular, many users of all formats are looking for a way to edit their footage to DV. Panasonic’s new editing DV deck, the AG-DV2000, offers prosumers and advanced hobbyists a solution. With insert editing and a built-in edit controller, this deck offers a great way to edit Mini DV or full-size DV tapes.

A Changing World


The AG-DV2000 offers videographers all of the convenience and functionality of a traditional editing deck. With features including video and/or audio insert editing, auto assemble editing from a 40-event list and a detachable edit controller, this deck is the natural next step to a DV world.

The AG-DV2000 is a full-size editing deck. It has a fold-out edit control panel on the front that also detaches and can be used remotely. With the coiled cable attached, the edit controller provides full control of the deck; when you detach the cable, however, limited infrared control becomes available. The edit control panel also has a jog/shuttle wheel for tape cueing. The jog control is very precise, allowing video editors to easily advance the tape one field at a time.

Command and Control


All of the controls were easy to find and operate. There are front-mounted inputs that include composite video, S-video, stereo audio, IEEE 1394 and a Panasonic 5-pin edit control port. On the back of the deck is another set of composite video, S-video and stereo audio inputs and two sets of S-video, composite video, and stereo audio outputs.

Thanks to its unique cassette drawer, the AG-DV2000 will except full-size DV tapes as well as the popular Mini DV tapes.

Although the deck has a five-pin Panasonic edit control protocol, all that is needed for machine control with a DV camcorder is the IEEE 1394 port. All you have to do is attach an IEEE 1394 cable and the camcorder is ready for editing, with audio, video and machine control. We tried controlling camcorders via both IEEE 1394 and Panasonic 5-pin and both worked fine.

Editing with Ease


We found the AG-DV2000’s edit control features very easy to use. When in the edit mode, the edit controller will control both the source deck and the recorder. Our short, cuts-only edit decision list came out very clean and precise with no glitches. We then inserted some cutaway shots (video only) and dubbed in two stereo tracks of music. Having two sets of stereo audio (four tracks total) was very helpful. We maintained our original stereo audio and added stereo music. As per the specifications of the DV format, this feature is only available in the 12-bit audio mode. When recording in the 16bit mode, there is only one set of stereo tracks available. The AG-DV2000 has an option to play sound while shuttling and jogging the tape (only on the record edit deck, not on the source tape). This is a nice feature for cueing up edits but it does sound pretty weird while shuttling and jogging, like something out of a science-fiction movie. The distortion makes it hard to understand voices, which may limit its usefulness.

The IEEE 1394 input cannot be used as a source when performing audio dubs or A/V insert editing, although the IEEE 1394 can be used for a video-only or audio-only insert. If you want to perform an insert edit with audio, you have to use the S-video input and control the deck with the Panasonic 5-pin protocol.

When we built a list of edits in the Program Edit Mode for assemble editing, it was not necessary to keep track of the in and out points on the record deck side of the list. Once the initial in point was set, the AG-DV2000’s Program Edit function performed this task automatically. While we searched for scenes, the video output of the AG-DV2000 automatically switched to whichever deck or camcorder was being cued.

If you change edit modes (between assemble or any insert mode) while in Program Editing, you must clear all the entries to avoid problems with previous time code numbers left in the list. You can not mix modes in the list. This was a problem when we wanted to go back and add an audio insert into a show we just assembled. We had to clear the entire list to make the insert.


Evolutionary Steps


This deck is an important evolutionary step in the replacement of consumer analog videotape formats with DV. While a DV transfer cannot improve image quality, video producers currently shooting on S-VHS or Hi8 can master programs onto the DV format with the AG-DV2000, preserving the quality and virtually eliminating generation loss of future duplications. The next logical step will be audio/video mixers and titlers with IEEE 1394 inputs and outputs. The AG-DV2000 appears to be aimed at the advanced consumers and prosumers who want the ability to edit DV tapes without the need of a nonlinear editing system. We think it hits the mark.

–Jim Martin

TECH SPECS



Panasonic AG-DV2000 DV and Mini DV editing VCR

Format: DV and Mini DV

Video inputs: 2 S-video, 2 composite video, 1 IEEE 1394

Video outputs: 2 S-video, 2 composite video, 1 IEEE 1394

Audio inputs: 2 sets of stereo audio

Audio outputs: 2 sets of stereo audio

Edit control protocol: Panasonic 5-pin (Control-M) and IEEE 1394 machine control

Other features: Detachable edit controller (cable or IR link), insert editing, DV time code.

Dimensions: 17.56 (width) by 4.88 (height) by 14.75 (depth)

Weight: 14.6 pounds

STRENGTHS


  • Will except both full-size and Mini DV tapes
  • Built-in edit controller
  • IEEE 1394 and Panasonic 5-pin machine control.

WEAKNESSES


  • Must clear edit list when changing modes
  • Insert edit preview does not preview in-point
  • Sound distortion when cueing
  • No IEEE 1394 source for A/V insert edits

SUMMARY



The AG-DV2000 is a great way to edit footage to DV and the next step in the move to a DV world.


Panasonic AG-DV2000 DV and Mini DV Editing VCR

($2,995)

Panasonic Broadcast & Digital Systems

3330 Cahuenga Blvd. West

Los Angeles, California 90068

(800) 528-8601

www.panasonic.com/PBDS

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