REVIEW: JVC'S SR-HD1500
PRODUCT: JVC SR-HD1500 Blu-ray disc & HDD recorder combo deck
- one-touch dubbing
- also produces DVD dubs
- easy navigation
Creative Group is a post house with three locations in the US and one in China. Our main facility in Times Square houses 28 HD edit rooms and four surround sound audio mixing suites, as well as broadcast design services and transmission and distribution facilities. Our largest client is ESPN, but we service a variety of broadcast, cable and industrial accounts.
Whether it’s for screening purposes or personal archives, clients have always and will always need dubs. VHS and DVD have served us well for a long time, but recently, more and more clients have been requesting Blu-ray dubs for their HD projects.
To accommodate this growing need, we purchased two JVC SR-HD1500 decks, and they have performed so well and generated so much revenue that we are considering investing in more. The JVC deck makes it easier and faster to produce a Blu-ray dub (or looping Blu-ray disc), which means it’s a less expensive service for our clients. As a result, we are attracting new business. Everybody wins.
DUBS WITH ONE TOUCH
Blu-ray authoring is an expensive and time-consuming process — and it’s a lot of effort when all you really need is a copy of a project. The SR-HD1500 provides us with excellent Blu-ray dubs and a straightforward, intuitive user interface. Our needs are pretty simple, so we’ve barely scratched the surface of its capabilities, but this combo deck could be a big help for law enforcement agencies, corporate and wedding video shops, and even digital still photography studios (it handles still images as well as video).
The front of the unit features a bank of self-explanatory playback controls, as well as a display that provides operational status reports. You’ll also find an SDHC memory card slot, as well as FireWire (i.Link) and USB terminals for connecting camcorders directly to the unit. On the back of the unit are HDMI, S-Video and component outputs for a variety of monitoring options, plus an RS-232C terminal for external control.
One button on the front of the unit, which is sure to be a major selling point for some facilities, allows one-touch dubbing. Press it and the SR-HD1500 automatically imports video files from an SDHC card or connected device to the built-in 500GB hard disk drive. It’s an uncomplicated way to transfer footage, but all imported video files that are retrieved will be combined into one title on the HDD. You can also do a “full import” of data from a Blu-ray or DVD to the HDD as well, but again, all dubbed data will be combined into one file.
Once your material is on the HDD, you can make multiple dubs for a client (one at a time). In addition, the combo deck can produce up to 10 copies of an entire disc by copying all the data to the internal HDD temporarily. The deck creates professional BDMV (with menu) or BDAV discs (with a list of files), and can author discs with auto-start or repeat playback functionality.
With all our focus on Blu-ray, it’s easy to forget the SR-HD1500 also produces DVD dubs. The deck supports BD-RE and BD-R, as well as DVD-RW and DVD-R discs. You wouldn’t buy this unit simply to be a playback deck, but it can also play (but not dub) commercial DVDs, music CDs, DVD-RAM (4.7 GB), and BD-ROM discs.
The on-screen menus are pretty simple to navigate, and the remote control’s D-pad helps you move efficiently through your options. In particular, the dubbing menu indicates your four source choices (USB, SD, disc, or HDV/DV) to HDD.
You can do some limited editing through the deck, but you’ll need to import everything to the HDD first. For example, you can group multiple titles from the HDD — press the “Navigation” button on the remote and mark the titles (or existing groups) to be grouped. You can also modify a title or group, create and edit playlists, and edit chapters (combine, divide or delete).
To this point, we have only used the combo deck to produce BDAV copies (without menus) for our clients. Following a pretty simple workflow, we produce a Blu-ray copy of The Daily Show With John Stewart for every original episode with the SR-HD1500. We are also creating dubs for the new season of The Newlywed Game.
We use HD-SDI with embedded audio throughout our facility, so we use the Edirol VC-50HD HD-SDI video field converter, which transcodes the video signal into the deck. It is a realtime process to copy the episode from the HDCAM 1080i master tape to the SR-HD1500’s HDD via the VC-50HD. Then, we burn the episode to a Sony BD-R Blu-ray disc, which takes approximately 15 minutes per copy. Even with both steps, it takes significantly less time to create a Blu-ray dub than it takes to author a Blu-ray disc.
Don’t confuse the JVC SR-HD1500 with a full-blown Blu-ray authoring solution. Instead, I prefer to think of it as a standalone dubbing station that reliably delivers high-quality Blu-rays and DVDs as easily as your old VTRs delivered VHS copies. We import finished projects into the HDD, like The Daily Show, then make dubs as needed. The SR-HD1500 should be a welcome addition to your post facility because it allows you to give your clients full HD copies of their HD projects without the time consuming extra step of authoring a Blu-ray disc.
Bill Lenz is a Senior Engineer with Creative Group in New York. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.