BetaCam SP Deck Issue

Posted by Jay Brown 
BetaCam SP Deck Issue
February 16, 2006 08:54AM
What does No REF! mean? Everything is recording properly, but this is on the readout screen. It stays up during recording so I can't see the timecode. Any suggestions?

Re: BetaCam SP Deck Issue
February 16, 2006 02:04PM
i think this is where you need a blackburst generator.

what deck are you using and how is it hooked up?
Re: BetaCam SP Deck Issue
February 16, 2006 02:07PM
What Wayne said. Hook a black burst generator to the REF IN and you won't see that.
Re: BetaCam SP Deck Issue
February 16, 2006 02:14PM
What is a black burst generator? I have it hooked up via S-Video.
Re: BetaCam SP Deck Issue
February 16, 2006 02:20PM
If you don't have a black burst generator, You can take a BNC cable and loop it from the the REF loop (right below the REF input) into the OPTION input.

This works for Composite input, and I think should do the same for S-video.

But, a blackburst generator is a good thing to have.
Anonymous User
Re: BetaCam SP Deck Issue
February 16, 2006 02:20PM
Professional video decks need a reference signal. Also called house clock, also called black burst. It syncs the internal clock of the deck to all the other machines it may be talking to. If it doesn't have to talk to any other true video machine, it still needs a clock to reference for sync.

Google it, read up on it. If you're going to be using a professional level deck, there are some very basic video engineering things you should understand.

You can buy a generator from Horita is one manufacturer that comes to mind.

Re: BetaCam SP Deck Issue
February 16, 2006 02:21PM

"A composite color video signal that consists of vertical and horizontal sync signals, and chroma burst. Black burst is used to synchronize (genlock) other video sources to the same sync and color information. A master black burst generator normally distributes master synchronization signals to an entire video production facility so that all equipment at that location is synchronized."

Look for one on B&H Photo ( or e-bay...or google it for other options.
Re: BetaCam SP Deck Issue
February 16, 2006 02:42PM
So if I need this, why am I still able to master to Beta? I play back the tape in the deck and s-video it out my NTSC monitor and everything is fine. Will the Blackburst make things run smoother?
Re: BetaCam SP Deck Issue
February 16, 2006 03:01PM
Are you able to master to beta? I thought you were getting the NO REF error. If you play a tape in the deck, it will play fine to a monitor, and if you capture you will be fine. But outputting to the need the black burst.
Re: BetaCam SP Deck Issue
February 16, 2006 03:08PM
all the blackburst gen will do is make the no ref problems go away and make you able to see everything normally on an external monitor. it has nothing to do with the ability to record to the tape.
Re: BetaCam SP Deck Issue
February 16, 2006 03:15PM
Thanks for clearing that up Wayne. I was freaking because I have two Masters at the Men's Channel right now that will be airing in the next few weeks. They both were fine on the playback.
Re: BetaCam SP Deck Issue
February 16, 2006 03:30PM
some broadcasters ask for specific time code situations and thats where a blackburst gen becomes an imperative. but other than that, you CAN as youve seen, get by without one if you have to...
Re: BetaCam SP Deck Issue
February 16, 2006 05:23PM
if you have a Sony 1800 deck - there's a menu option, I think, to turn the no ref alarm off - it's likely your monitor will have a roll in it when you record with no reference signal (picture output not in sync - roll or sync bar stuck somewhere in the middle of the screen) Ignore that - just record - it will play back fine.

Re: BetaCam SP Deck Issue
February 16, 2006 06:53PM
I do have an 1800, and I turned the alarm off like you said and things are beautiful, besides these bloody ice storms up here in Northern Michigan. Trees are snapping off all over. I'm here in my studio now unplugging all of my gear. Nasty electrical storms. Wow!

You boys in Cali sure have it rough.

Thanks for all your help!

Re: BetaCam SP Deck Issue
February 16, 2006 07:03PM
dont forget those of us in houston where its a chilly 80 degrees today!
Greg Kozikowski
Re: BetaCam SP Deck Issue
February 16, 2006 09:02PM
Most machines default to paying attention to the incoming signal when they record. That way, they can make a good recording whether or not the incoming video is "locked" to the house.

This gives you the ability to record a satellite feed where the camera could be half-way around the world.

Playback, however, is a different story. You can play back using the deck's internal generator (usually the deafult), play back the picture locked to the house or other black burst generator, or play back locked to incoming video.

Playback locked to incoming video is dangerous. If somebody turns the camera or video signal off while you're playing back, you will get one or more bad playback frames. Nobody uses this lock.

Playback locked to internal is OK, but as you noticed, the "STOP" button usually flashes and there will sometimes be messages displayed. The deck internal generator is cheap and not terribly stable, but usually OK.

Lock to External House, Color Black, or Black Burst (usually all the same thing) is the way to go.

Black Burst is or Color Black is a video signal with a black picture. That's pretty much it. You can get an emergency Black Burst by powering the camera and leave the lens cap on (Some cameras won't stay that way for a long time).

Locking to it means the picture from the deck is made to align itself (top, bottom, left, right) to the black picture.

Many people make small black burst generators that are perfectly up to the job, but if you're a small enough shop, Internal is probably all you need.

It's usually really handy to lock all your machines while you're Computer/Tape Editing. That's one place where having all the machines locked to the same video reference is a grand idea.

This gets more and more important as the cost of the machine goes up. The big Flames and Infernos won't run without House Black.


Re: BetaCam SP Deck Issue
June 25, 2017 01:36PM
I have a Sony UVW-1800, the video is ran with a s-video cable, the audio with BNC everything works and plays really well crisp sound and high quality picture, but.... No color it's in black and white? I tried running the video threw video 1 via BNC still no luck any suggestions?
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