Quantcast Kramer FC-400 compatible with all PAL devices? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
12-19-2020, 04:50 PM
Subarit Subarit is offline
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Hello, guys!
I went through Kramer FC-400 related topics on this forum and am posting this in a separate thread as found no answer to my question. I plan buying a Kramer FC-400 (easier to find in my country) to use it as TBC together with my JVC GR-AX68 VHS-C camcorder as the AV signal source. Also plan using Panasonic DMR-ES10 as a passthrough (thx to Lordsmurf’s and other forum members’ advice). The entire workflow will include VHS-C camcorder > ES10 > FC-400 > Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle > notebook. Kramer's manual states that apart from NTSC it accepts only PAL ‘B’ signal. The thing is that I am not sure which PAL signal my camcorder (bought in Europe) produces. Was not able to find this info elsewhere. What I learned from Inet is that most PALs are interchangeable and mostly use same frequencies. My question is what PAL standard VHS-C camcorders usually use, whether any of you have encountered problems when and if connecting FC-400 to PAL devices. Many thanks in advance for your help which will be much appreciated.
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Will ask ref the workflow acceptability in the appropriate thread
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  #2  
12-19-2020, 05:03 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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I am fairly certain the FC-400 is NTSC only. I need to keep better notes on TBC format compatibility, but I recall it not working with my JVC PAL decks (either well, or at all). For example, certain early-production BV units are fine for NTSC, but the PAL suffers heavy Hannover bar noise, thus worthless for PAL use. I probably have unsorted samples of it, hoping to upload those to the site (and compressed Youtube version) in the near future.

The FC-400 is a decent TBC, though slightly weaker than DataVideo/Cypress, and thus may choke on nth-gen/bad VHS tapes. The FC-400 doesn't seem entirely designed for consumer input, which isn't surprising from Kramer.

I've not had an FC-400 is quite awhile.

PAL B/D/I/G are interchangeable for tapes -- aka, most of Europe.

Those JVC camcorders are dangerous for playback, more liable to eat the tape that play it. Decent recorders, terrible players. I'd much rather use a good JVC/Panasonic S-VHS deck, with CP7U-type adapter, for best results.

non-TBC VCR > ES10 > FC-400 > good capture card (not Blackmagic) would be a great workflow, generally speaking.

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  #3  
12-19-2020, 05:04 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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In the manual here it says accepts both PAL and NTSC with DIP switch setting. You don't need the DVD recorder if your camcorder is equipped with line TBC, Too many signal conversions never a good idea.
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12-19-2020, 06:38 PM
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I know the manual claims PAL, but I remember there being an issue with the PAL processing. I'm just not sure what the exact issue is anymore, didn't keep detailed notes (but should have), and I've not had any FC-400s in a while now. It was considered "NTSC only" when I sold a unit, as best as I can remember.

DataVideo has both PAL and NTSC attuned subversions of TBCs, even though all do both PAL and NTSC. The problem is that the PAL or NTSC processing can be bad quality. The PAL-first units are known for bad NTSC, as well as the inverse of NTSC-first and PAL. Note that the PAL/NTSC sticks are NOT accurate! That's something I test for, when I sell TBCs. So there is a possibility that a FC-400 from North America works poorly with PAL, while a FC-400 from Russia may work poorly with NTSC (or even be fine with both formats, or not fine with either). Wekcome to the world of TBCs!

If the camera/VCR has no line TBC, the ES10/15 will be needed/wanted, then fed to actual frame TBC (which this FC-400 is).

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  #5  
12-19-2020, 06:47 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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The difference between (most of) the PAL variants was what frequency bands and audio formats they were broadcasted over the air in, so it's only relevant when dealing with antenna cable rf inputs/outputs (which you don't want to be using for capturing anyway). The exceptions are two variants used some south american countries so you are unlikely to encounter them: PAL-N , PAL-N, and also the PAL60 format that is one format you can get when playing NTSC tapes in PAL VCRs.
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  #6  
12-19-2020, 06:59 PM
Subarit Subarit is offline
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Many thanks for the promptest replies!
1. Unfortunately DataVideo /Cypress are impossible to find on the local market (spent several days surfing the Inet and calling dealers \ resellers). I am lucky to locate a couple of affordable FC-400's if not yet sold while I am posting this. I do not feel comfortable to order from e-bay and the delivery usually costs as much as the device itself or even more. (( And again e.g. a DataVideo-1000 I saw is too expensive for me (more than 1K) and for my purposes (home video).
2. The same as above is true ref capture devices (I do not consider cards as this implies a desk top PC): I would be glad to buy a Canopus but they are all sold years ago, a device may pop up once in a six months, so, alas, there is little choice if any. I saw criticism with regard to Blackmagic but this is the only used device available for up to $150 and I found no replacement.
3. Do they usually somehow indicate in camcorders' manuals whether the devices have build-in line TBCs? I understand sometimes such circuitries may be explained in a consumer friendly wording ('improved signal quality', 'stabilizer' etc) and I still cannot find the manual for the camcorder to search for any mentioning of TBC. If TBC's are intended for use rather at the playing phase then I think a camera recorder does not need it?
4. In a different thread today I mentioned I saw a used JVC-HDR7600EU Super-VHS on sale for ca. $200. Is HDR7600 good for the purpose? Would a Panasonic AG-7500 (8 Head, but no TBC) be better or it is a little bit excessive for my purposes (it is Hi-Fi stereo)? Could I finally avoid extra spending and keep to my own camcorder / VCR in the suggested workflow with ES10 and FC-400? Thanks again.
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12-19-2020, 08:39 PM
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I would say to try to FC-400, just make sure there's some sort of return policy, since it's an unknown.

Canopus isn't a good capture card either, though not as bad as NTSC (4:1:1 NTSC vs. 4:2:0 PAL). These days, there are several quality USB cards from ATI (ie, ATI 600 USB), and clones using the same chips. The ATI was first, others came next, some using generic drivers. Max price on those is $150. The choice shouldn't be Blackmagic or Canopus. There are better choices. Certain Pinnacle cards can be good, too.

User manuals should state it line TBC (time base corrector) in the camera. No mention = no TBC.

You can try your camera first. But do NOT leave it unattended, in case it starts to eat tapes.

JVC-HDR7600EU should be a great deck. You can always buy it, use it, then resell it. Consider it a rental, get the best quality from your tapes that way.

Panasonic AG-7500 = no.

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  #8  
12-20-2020, 12:47 AM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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The head count on VCR's is not a gauge of quality, For playback all what you need is 2 heads for SP, 2 heads for low speeds and 2 heads for HiFi stereo. This was the standard for all high end machines, Flying erase head and insert editing BS is no longer relevant unless you are into editing on a VCR.

If you can get a hold of a working S-VHS VCR with line TBC and use VHS-C adapter that would be ideal otherwise use what you got now and save the tapes for a later date when you feel doing it the right way.

Whatever you do, always have a return policy when it comes to buying vintage electronics unless you can fix it yourself.
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  #9  
12-20-2020, 04:07 AM
Subarit Subarit is offline
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Guys, thanks for the explicit answers, very helpful indeed. My mind is clearer now )
Unfortunately there is no specific return policy when buying from private individuals at an online marketplace here in this country. To buy (semi)professional equipment you meet the seller in his workshop / studios, test the stuff, pay in cash or transfer online and that's it. What is for sure is that you buy a device which works at the moment of buying.
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01-06-2021, 07:28 AM
Subarit Subarit is offline
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This is just to report the testing of FC-400 as a follow-on to my initial question and to share some pertinent experiences.
1. Kramer FC-400 accepts PAL signal from my camcorder, confirmed. Whether it works absolutely fine as TBC remains to be seen as I only tested it with a small ≈ 8 inch LED monitor when buying. I noticed it visibly minimised distortion in a short video clip I viewed thru’ it so hope this is a sign of its good working condition.
2. I had to reject the idea of using Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle USB 3.0 just because it wouldn’t work with my notebook (IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad Win 8.1, Intel P, x64, 2.4 GHz, 6 Gb RAM instead of 8 Gb required). It did not work with MAC latest OS either however it worked alright with Win 10 machine (an hour was spent though to get any sound).
3. Panasonic ES10 as a line TBC does remove (replaces?) dropped frames effectively (black flashes visible e.g. in a video on youtube - a guy using BM Intensity w/o a TBC in the chain: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcI9q7I7ofI at 09:10). Moreover, I found that the picture quality of direct recording to ES10 from my analog camcorder is even better (to my naked eye) as compared to the capture made with an EZCap (Forward Video Technology Co., Ltd., not a usual faked brand name device).
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