View Full Version : Is 720p still up to snuff?


Stefan Immler
September 12th, 2008, 07:11 PM
Hi all --

I am about to purchase my first HD camcorder for a documentary movie. I think the GY-HD100/200 camcorders might be great for me, but my partner raised the question if investing in a 720 camcorder makes sense in an age where virtually all other camcorders can record in 1080.

Would be interested to hear what you think about this.
Is 720 an outdated format/resolution?

Greg Boston
September 12th, 2008, 07:22 PM
Is 720 an outdated format/resolution?

Nope, not at all. ABC and FOX both deliver network programming in 720P. Sony has added 720 to the new high end XDCAM HD camera because those networks require it.

It would be nice to have a camera that does both formats but 720 is not going anywhere, anytime soon.

-gb-

Tim Dashwood
September 12th, 2008, 08:53 PM
Nope, not at all. ABC and FOX both deliver network programming in 720P.

And don't forget ESPN! Fox owned networks (Fox News, FX, Sports, etc) are all 720p and Disney owned networks (ABC, ESPN, DisneyCh, etc) are all 720p.

It would be nice to have a camera that does both formats but 720 is not going anywhere, anytime soon.
The HD200B in conjunction with the new KA-MR100 SxS recorder (http://pro.jvc.com/prof/attributes/pics.jsp?model_id=MDL101824&feature_id=04) can record both 1080i and 720p into XDCAM format.

Alex Humphrey
September 15th, 2008, 12:28 PM
Oh and 720p 24fps is MUCH faster downconversion to DVD than 1080i or 108024f HDV. (DVC-PRO-HD 720p 24fps might be faster in down conversion rendering time though than HDV)

Ben Lynn
September 15th, 2008, 07:14 PM
Several years from now you may see a push for 1080p, but 720p and 1080i will last for at least the next ten years. Everyone just made the jump to HD and no one is in a hurry to change again. So definitely, 720p is a good investment.

I would however recommend the newer models so you have the option of 720p/60 and 1080i to a Firestore. I think that the added cost would be a good investment.

Stefan Immler
September 15th, 2008, 07:29 PM
Thank you all for your reply and thoughts.

I would however recommend the newer models so you have the option of 720p/60 and 1080i to a Firestore. I think that the added cost would be a good investment.

I decided to get a JVC HD110 for documentary.

Ben Lynn
September 15th, 2008, 07:45 PM
Nice.

I made my recommendation because I shoot on a 100. I love the camera and 30p for anything I do that's a doc style. I couldn't ask for anything better (actually I could but I won't go there because overall it's a great camera). The hard part is when I'm doing a mixed camera event. For example, I may have a tennis training video later this year. It needs to be shot in 1080i so I can't use my own camera on the shoot : ( I sure wish I could because I love the control I have with the JVC. Even if it could shoot 60p I would use it.
So it's not that I'm unhappy with the camera, I just wish I had more format options so that I could use it more!

What lens and battery combo are you going to use with it?

Stefan Immler
September 15th, 2008, 07:57 PM
What lens and battery combo are you going to use with it?
Not sure yet. First I have to purchase the JVC and see how much money is left. I'll probably get AB batteries and a hd recording unit first. Then a Letus 35mm adapter with Nikon or Leica lenses. Then I need a matte box and a better shotgun mic. In that order ;-)

Steve Oakley
September 15th, 2008, 08:42 PM
720P up converts very nicely

for anyone at IBC this week, check out the Matrox booth where my 720P footage is playing on a 1080p screen. I did the MXO2 show loop :)

Giroud Francois
September 16th, 2008, 02:34 AM
unfortunately , all 720p camera are getting pretty old now, so the choice is more limited than with 1080. that would be probably the only reason why i would not recommend a 720p camera if your choice is going to these JVC models. (i would wait for the new models with SxS card)

Shaun Roemich
September 16th, 2008, 10:12 AM
720P up converts very nicely

for anyone at IBC this week, check out the Matrox booth where my 720P footage is playing on a 1080p screen. I did the MXO2 show loop :)

Nice! Congrats. That's GREAT exposure. Now if only I could attend to actually SEE it...

Marc Colemont
September 16th, 2008, 01:03 PM
720P up converts very nicely

for anyone at IBC this week, check out the Matrox booth where my 720P footage is playing on a 1080p screen. I did the MXO2 show loop :)

Hi Steve,

It looked great indeed. I stood 2 feet away from the Big monitor looking at the images (not knowing it was shot with the JVC)
In the video, did you use lights manually to light-up the unit gradually or a moving light?

Steve Oakley
September 16th, 2008, 09:54 PM
I actually either moved the key light or moved a flag in or out. I think it was a pretty cool look that was simple to do. the key was a 2X24 fluorescent . glad you liked it , thanks !

Steve Mullen
September 17th, 2008, 04:43 AM
Oh and 720p 24fps is MUCH faster downconversion to DVD than 1080i or 108024f HDV.

I would expect the criteria would be NOW be burning BD discs. And, although the BD spec supports 720p -- none of the low cost software yet supports anything but 1080i. The reason, of course, the sheer greater number of 1080i camcorders.

The other issue is that almost, if not every, new HDTV is 1920x1080. So at some point, there is going to need to be a significant upscale required from 720p. (Of course, certain 1080i camcorders get their resolution at the beginning by upscaling the CCD output.

In fact, 1440x1080 recording is no longer state-of-the-art in a 1920x1080 world.

The EX1's native 1920x1080 CMOS chips plus the ability to switch between I and P is really where one needs to be for the future. But, there will always be a future -- 1080p60 -- so I would say if it meets your needs for 12 months -- go for it.

PS 1: yes, broadcast uses 720p, but it is 720p60 which is a whole different beast than being limited to p30. So the key was his budget for the 200 or 110? On the other hand, if he want's a film look, 720p30 is fine.

PS 2: Europe is very much in a hurry for 1080p50. And, those shooting concerts to be released on BD want it too. And, broadcasters would love to have stuff shot in p60 even if they can't yet transmit it. CMOS makes p50/p60 the norm -- so it can't be long till we see the ability to record it to HHD or SD.

Stuart Nimmo
September 22nd, 2008, 06:01 PM
Tim, thanks for that useful info about the KA-MR100. Do you know, is it irrevocably wedded to a V-Lock plate? I've replaced mine with an Anton Bauer and PAG adapter so that my GY-HD201E is compatible with the rest of my kit.

The one rule in life it that you can't win I guess!

Mark Silva
September 26th, 2008, 11:37 AM
And, although the BD spec supports 720p -- none of the low cost software yet supports anything but 1080i. The reason, of course, the sheer greater number of 1080i camcorders.


This is not true.

DVDITPRO-HD supports 720P fully. I just authored a feature film on blu-ray with this software and it was 720P with no transcoding at build time.

Stuart Nimmo
September 26th, 2008, 03:00 PM
No takers on the mount on the KA-MR100? Oh well....

There's not much on this thread yet about the GY-HD 200 series having 720p at 50 and 60p and 1080i out by Firewire. What I like for documentary shoots are these possibilities coupled with such great lens choices and possibilities.

The pursuit of higher and higher definition will always happen, but there's a certain dichotomy between that and the endless quest for a "kinder" film look. If you add 16 mm Arri Zeiss, Schneider or Cooke lenses, or say a broadcast 2/3 Fujinon or 300 Nikkor for telephoto and super telephoto shots you begin to come up with really different film like video footage that doesn't fry your retina.

Look at just how many HDTV screens are wildly over-chromad (how do you spell that?) and/ or set-up as badly as they are. It makes watching poor programmes an even greater horror. It seems clear to me that channels would do better to spend on content and programme construction rather than on re-equipping yet again for even higher definition. After all, a really badly made doco on an averagely set-up 1920x1080 HDTV must be what's turning the masses to YouTube. I don't hear people clamouring for HD on YouTube so you?

Stefan Immler
September 27th, 2008, 09:53 AM
If you add 16 mm Arri Zeiss, Schneider or Cooke lenses, or say a broadcast 2/3 Fujinon or 300 Nikkor for telephoto and super telephoto shots you begin to come up with really different film like video footage that doesn't fry your retina

Can you explain how an Arri, Angineux or Cooke lens would change the image quality? (I am thinking about getting the Nikor adaptor and an 80mm or 135mm Nikon lens)

Not so sure about the 300mm Nikor recommendation. This would equal a 1500mm lens which is hardly practical except for extreme nature/wildlife shots, I guess.

Stuart Nimmo
September 27th, 2008, 11:48 AM
Well Stefan, (and this mainly relates to the JVC GY-HD 200 (201 & 250 etc because of its image "flop" switch) I am not the master here of course, I strongly recommend that you follow lighting Cameraman Tim Dashwood who has done wonderful work on this and been good enough to share it with us.

By using the very expensive VC HZ-CA13U ARRIFLEX - GY-HD 201E LENS MOUNT, you retain all the qualities of the original (16mm) prime lenses or zoom lenses (this includes the much sort after shallow depth of field, which really changes everything on a 1/3 chip camera), the mount optically converts the image for the JVC 1/3 chip and the 200 series camera then inverts the image at capture.

Yes, the longer Nikkor or 2 1/4 Hasselblad lenses or the 2/3 Broadcast lenses become wonderful wildlife kit, you would of course need serious tripod and support equipment.

There are other situations which can use that sort of lens length to wonderful advantage, the compression gives you some great pull-focus possibilities.... just don't drink the night before!

You can achieve much of this on the 100 series, but for a start you can't flop the image before capture.

Werner Wesp
October 1st, 2008, 02:38 AM
First of all, since 720p holds about 20% more pixels per second then 1080i, the format is very alive. 1080p would be the next step, and camcorders that support that are either CMOS with rolling shutter or low frame rate anyway - and that's not for anyone. Since there are no 1080p50/60 camcorders our there (only lower end 1080i50/60) I would say 720p50/60 is still the best format out there.

You can DOWNconvert 720p quite easily to 1080i if you want to distribute it, or want to fit in the workflow of consumer HD (which is all 1080i). Professional production seems to have standarised 720p - and with good reason. I think 1080p is still some way off - we need cams for that first, then we need NLE's that can easily handle 1080p footage, etc etc.

For now 1080i is fine for consumers and low end pro's, 720p is fine for the rather higher demanding professional productions (Varicam, ...). In a few years all will be 1080p50/60 I suppose, but for now stick with 720p.

Werner Wesp
October 1st, 2008, 02:45 AM
Can you explain how an Arri, Angineux or Cooke lens would change the image quality? (I am thinking about getting the Nikor adaptor and an 80mm or 135mm Nikon lens)

Not certain about this adaptor, but I do have the JVC HZ-CA13U 16mm adapter. I can tell you, if you slap on a Zeiss Superspeed (e.g.) prime lens you have a truly stunning image. The lens of course doesn't make the image filmlike, but the optical quality of a good cinema prime lens is truly stunning. If you see that once, and putting your standard 16x5.5 on again will make your 16x5.5 look like it's covered with dust and mud by comparison...

Stuart Nimmo
October 1st, 2008, 05:55 AM
Thank you Werner, an “important shout” a good correction and nicely put.

Economically speaking, (and this is relevant to the thread if you stick with me for a moment) in these "interesting times" - where banks no longer lend and advertisers are drastically cutting back, the UK’s Broadcast Regulator OFCOM has agreed that the ITV channels can't afford to go on as they are, has given them the right to basically scrap regional news programmes and cut back on others.

The immediate result was that those programmes have been scrapped with a loss of 600+ staff and of course very many uncounted freelancers. So we can welcome 600+ additional freelancers on the UK market with fewer programmes to service. So what's my point?

Are terrestrial broadcasters going to please Sony marketing by re-equipping yet again? Or have they learned the lesson and are too cash strapped anyway?

Does anyone need to cope with the demands of 1080p at the moment? A very few maybe but otherwise I can’t really see it.

I personally think JVC have got a firm grasp on all of this and "pulled a blinder" with the 200 series at 720p50/60 and by coming up with the JVC HZ-CA13U and image inverter switch and all the ergonomics of “a real camera”. As you say Werner, it's not film, but if you need film that’s already there of course. This JVC move does give a 1/3 chip camera maybe even more than people had expected or hoped for - great lenses and that seemingly impossible shallow depth of field.

Werner Wesp
October 1st, 2008, 10:25 AM
At the moment 1080p is only interesting for indie film makers for instance - because for now, it's only available in an acceptable workflow in low framerates (24,25,30). At this point in time there's no reason to reequip for e.g. broadcasters, as there's no better alternative (i.e. 1080p50 or 1080p60).

In 2 years that'll be different, but what won't be different in 2 years? DV25 started only about 10 years ago and it is already so ancient it is long forgotten...

Stuart Nimmo
October 1st, 2008, 12:36 PM
That seems right apart from one thing Werner. I am still being asked for 16x9 Digital Betacam and was booked to shoot on DV25 tomorrow. Thankfully DV25 is part of the GY-HD 201E(b)'s wide arsenal of formats (or, as I just typed, "dormats" ). Isn't that the problem though? One really major broadcaster still wants Beta SP, so when can you afford to get rid of a format? Not until you can't give it away apparently.

I'm very pleased with my 201E.

Werner Wesp
October 3rd, 2008, 01:34 PM
It can happen, indeed. But you have to admit it's the furthest from 'cutting edge' that you can imagine, right?

Saying that, Broadcasters are the least progressive in their ways, as they tend to stay the longest with tried and true workflows and formats. In europe the vast majority of broadcasters is indeed still working in SD - or at least broadcasting in SD and quite possibly gathering news in SD. Productions in HD is very much standard these days, though - even if it is for eventual downconvert to SD for broadcast.

Werner Wesp
October 3rd, 2008, 01:37 PM
By the way Stuart, I have the HZ-CA13U lying around here (and quite a bunch of Zeiss superspeeds). I can tell you are quite interested - feel free to contact me if you ever want to experience 16mm on the JVC GY-HD series first hand - Paris isn't that far from Antwerp.