Digital Video Cassette Recorder


I’m happy that I have finally come across this haven for newbie video art geek as myself.

Today I come to you with a question to which I still do not know answer and I hope you will be able to at least give me some insight on this curious device that I was given few months ago by my friend. I’m speaking of Panasonic AG-DV2700E, so called Digital Video Casette Recorder.

I was wondering if any of you had any experiences with this device and could give me some information about it and what is it capable of. Sadly, I was able to find only Service Manual in PDF that gets more into technical aspects of this item rather than its features.

I’m thinking of getting into analog video art and purchasing some entry-level video processor as T-420 by LoFi Future or Glitch Video Mixer by Mezkalin. So I was wondering if this device could be of any use in my journey with video art (I suppose so but then I don’t know how).

Would I be able to route through it output signal from aforementioned processors and record it to the tape?

Currently that’s the thing I care most about but I’m happy to learn every bit about this mysterious device. :nerd_face:

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hi @kalikst and welcome onboard!
I don’t have direct experience with this but

  • just to be clear this is digital tape, not magnetic VHS tape. Same generation/technology than our Canon camcorder
  • yes, it can have a place in a video art setup: see that yellow “VIDEO IN” input? that’s a “composite video” connector, possibly the most common connector for analog video. the black “S-VIDEO IN” input is also common
  • here’s a brochure for the AG-DV2700 (which looks almost identical to the AG-DV2700E): it’s not a manual but gives basic info
  • it doesn’t look very creative or versatile as a tool (generally speaking, digital equipment is more finicky than analog gear when dealing with glitchy input signals; it’s also harder to get glitchy or bizarre signals out of it)
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Thanks for the reply!

I was more or less aware of the things you listed and saw that brochure before but was hoping that somebody could give me more details. I’ll guess I’ll just order operation manual from eBay at some point (I wrote to Panasonic Tech Support but they said they don’t have anymore instruction manual for this device :hushed:).

The thing I care most about right now is:

  • will I be able to capture glitched picture onto miniDV tape? (I heard it has built-in TBC) with or without a video mixer?

One thing to know is that DV is pretty much tied with DAT for least reliable medium. The tape is REALLY thin and unforgiving. Hi-8 is up there, too - I’ve personally had the bit of tape that was outside of the cassette shell on a hi-8 tape literally disintegrate on the shelf in one case (and it was a one of a kind recording of Gene Ray, the Time Cube guy, giving his lecture at MIT, unfortunately - I really need to get a splicing block and try to save it but they’re pretty expensive for just making one splice), although I’ve been lucky and none of the other Digital8 recordings I made of basement shows when I was just out of high school failed before I could transfer them to a hard drive. DV is if anything slightly worse.

Not to discourage you at all because this stuff can look really cool and I still keep that Digital8 camera around for its look, but definitely be aware of the fact that the media will wear out and won’t so easy to replace in the future, and the transports are small and hard to service when the belts inevitably wear out so you might want to approach it from the “get as much raw material from this as I can as quickly as I can” angle.

Something I’ve been curious about (and only partially as a way to justify getting that splicing block) is what physical tape collage would look like on DV/Digital 8. I have a feeling it would jam the transport too easily to be practical but it’s still pretty compelling - record a bunch of footage, cut it up into small pieces, and then splice them back together blind. Depending on how it handled the splices it could be a really unique look.

I recently spliced some Hi8 tape. Like you said it always happens to the one of a kind recordings, in my case home movies. The tape got sticky probably due to humidity in storage and stuck to itself and snapped the tape.

The splice worked and only lost a second or so but what happened to the footage was notas clean as I would like when digitizing it. My deck refused to read near the splice and just spit out a blue frame at the splice location with some heavy horizontal artifacting leading up and out of the splice. This is probably due to the digital nature of the tape. This makes me think that the tape collage with Hi8 might not work as expected.

I think with a machine that let you disable bluescreen on lost signal it could be interesting, I’m sure it would glitch a lot but it might be a good glitch.

If that deck in the OP can output DV over firewire with the transport stopped, and has a built in timebase corrector, even without touching tape it would be a potentially good capture device for glitchy analog stuff, especially now that standalone timebase correctors are getting a little expensive again.

For who is wondering, that is exactly the use of this device in my current setup. I was routing output of WJ-AVE7 to AV input of this VCR and outputting signal via FireWire to my MacBook 2012 without using a DV tape and recording in real-time. :nerd_face:

It captures glitches really nice!