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DVCPRO Format Explained: Video Resolution, Tape Speed and Compression Ratio

DVCPRO format featured

Last updated on May 2nd, 2024 at 01:25 pm

The DVCPRO format is also known as D7 among video industry professionals. It was developed by Panasonic and Broadcast Television Systems (BTS)/Philips.

The format was targeted towards the professional video and TV broadcast markets. It saw popular use in the electronic newsgathering (ENG)field.

It was released in 1995, a year before Sony released the DVCAM format for the promarket.

DVCPRO is often called DVCPRO25. This differentiates it from its other variants – DVCPRO50 and DVCPRO-HD or DVCPRO-100.

The number at the end of each DVCPRO format specifies the data transfer rate in Mbits/second.

The differences between them are explained below.

DVCPRO Specs

Compression and Sampling Rate

The compression ratio is 5:1 and the color sampling rate is 4:1:1 for both PAL and NTSC.

Resolution

DVCPRO resolution is set at 720×576 for PAL and 720×480 for NTSC.

Audio

Audio is set at 16 bit/48 kHz with the addition of an analog cue track.

Tape Speed

Tape speed is set at 33.82 mm/sec.

Track Pitch/Width

Track pitch and width are set at 18 microns.

DVCPRO50

This is an enhanced version of the DVCPRO format. The standout feature of this variant supports a sampling rate of 4:2:2.

Other conventional DV formats have their sampling rates set at 4:1:1.

DVCPRO50 records twice the amount of data at 50Mbits/second compared to DVCPRO which records at 25Mbits/second.

This makes the format ideal to be used with Standard-Definition (SD) and High-Definition (HD) videos.

The compression ratio is 3:3:1.

Tape width is set at 18 microns.

You can play a DVCPRO tape on a DVCPRO50 VTR but not vice versa.

DVCPRO50 specs are almost similar to JVC’s Digital-S format.

DVCPRO-HD

This is another improved version of the DVCPRO format. It’s meant for SD and HD recording.

Panasonic AJ-HD1400 Compact DVCPRO HD VTR

DVCPRO-HD supports twice the data rate of DVCPRO-50 at 100 Mbits/second.

The compression ratio is 6:7:1.

Although it’s called HD, this DVCPRO version doesn’t offer true HD resolution.

DVCPRO100 supports the following resolutions:

960x720x60p/50p instead of 1280 x 720 (720p)

1280x1080x60i instead of 1920 x 1080 (1080p)

1440x1080x50i instead of 1920 x 1080 (1080p)

DVCPRO P2

This DVCPRO variant was introduced in 2004. Instead of tape recording, it uses flash memory cards. These cards are compatible with PCMCIA. They record DV, DVCPRO25, and DVCPRO50 video.

The memory card is called P2. Files are stored in the MXF format. It is capable of storing up to 60GB of data. Compatible cameras have various slots for these memory card types. Video is recorded according to the sequence of the card slots.

For example, the AJ-SPC700 DVCPRO camera comes with five P2 card slots. This allows up to 160 minutes of recording in the DVCPRO25 mode.

That would be 80 minutes in DVCPRO50 mode.

DVCPRO P2 camera with memory card slots
The AJ-SPC700 DVCPRO P2 has five memory card slots.

When a card is full, you may remove it and insert a new one. You can do this while the camera is recording on another card.

The P2 card can withstand harsh conditions. It works without a problem in temperatures ranging from -4 to 140 °F. It can also withstand impact of up to 1500 G.

The data transfer rate for this DVCPRO format is 1.2Gbps.

DVCPRO Tape

DVCPRO uses the Metal Particle tape instead of the Metal Evaporated version used by DVCAM.

The color of the tape lid indicates the DVCPRO format. DVCPRO tapes have a yellow lid.

DVCPRO50 tape gas a blue lid and DVCPRO-HD has a red lid.

References

Video Field Production and Editing By Ronald Compesi

Newnes Guide to Television and Video Technology By K. F. Ibrahim

Principles of Multimedia By Ranjan Parekh, Ranjan

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