HV20's 24p in SD, and also vs. gs500 vs. DVX100B, at DVinfo.net

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Old October 25th, 2007, 07:30 PM   #1
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HV20's 24p in SD, and also vs. gs500 vs. DVX100B,

i am in quite a quandry. i bought the Panasonic AG-DVX100B this week, upgrading from a pv-gs500. but i am thinking of returning it: it's larger, heavier, & more complicated than i anticipated. i was largely drawn to the 24p feature. then i learned of the HV20, which is obviously not nearly as professional but it's small, much cheaper, & does have great picture quality, along with something that at least effectively mimics 24p. i don''t care much about HD one way or the other (i have fcp 4.5 which doesn't really allow for most types of HD anyway). i was all ready to return the dvx100b and buy the hv20, when i started reading about all these problems people have using the 24p in fcp, and solutions involving "the advanced pulldown option" & "reverse telecine with Cinema Tools", all of which are over my head & seem like a lot of extra work (how much extra work is it?).
it's been suggested that, in order to use the HV20 on my fcp 4.5, that i "downconvert" the HDV to DV (or SD), which apparently can be done in the HV20 itself - is this true? And then I could import the SD footage into my FCP 4.5. Is this so?

Basically I would love to use the 24p mode on the HV20, without using/utilizing HD, and without large hassles of all this pulldown stuff.

obviously i'm confused about it all, & kinda uninformed. i'd like to return the dvx100, & get the HV20, but only if it won't be a huge headache to use with fcp. Also, would everybody agree that the HV20 video quality is much superior to the PV-GS500? If not, heck, I'll just keep my GS500..
Thanks much...
Marc
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Last edited by Marc Israel; October 26th, 2007 at 10:58 AM. Reason: spell
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Old October 27th, 2007, 10:19 AM   #2
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Hi Marc,

There is really little reason for a filmmaker to get an HV20 if he is not going to utilize its HD capabilities and "effectively" extract 24p frames out of it. If you are looking at the easiest implementation of 24p, than that means you are going to stay on the 60i timeline, be it your DVX100 or HV20. That workflow is certainly easy but will only work if your final deliverable is a DVD, or other interlaced media. If you want to get the 60i footage online, especially the 24p stuff, you will need to extract progressive frame out of it ,or otherwise it will look very bad. In DVX100B that extraction process is easier because it flags the needed frames. In HV20 its a little harder, especially if you don't have Final Cut Studio 2. But even then its possible. In reality, I think the HV20 is for amateur "cinematographers" who are usually a little tech savvy and do not mind a longer workflow to get the best image out of the camera. DVX100 is a little more "director" friendly, as it has an automatic mode that delivers good picture and allows for manual control if needed. You just need to decide who you are.

As for HV20 quality being superior to GS500, I would say yes, provided you are shooting in HDV mode and converting that to SD in post. GS500 might have a marginally better color reproduction because of the 3 CCDs.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 12:30 PM   #3
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thanks 4 the reply Dmitriy.
i think either I'm stupid or my brain just can't handle the tech side of all this info (i'm not a SCIENCE/MATH man) - i've been combing discussion boards for 3 days trying to understand the whole hv20-24p bizness, but i still feel in the dark. & every new bit of info i read just raises as many questions as it answers.
for instance, you wrote "There is really little reason for a filmmaker to get an HV20 if he is not going to utilize its HD capabilities and "effectively" extract 24p frames out of it. ". so i concluded that using/utilzing the hv20's HD - wanting to work & export in HD - is the only way to go. but later you wrote "As for HV20 quality being superior to GS500, I would say yes, provided you are shooting in HDV mode and converting that to SD in post." so if it's converted to SD, doesn't that mean that it's no longer HD & thus longer really utilizing the power of the hv20's HD? or wha? i just don't understand. maybe i don't understand what HD even IS. or at least how it works, relates to regular SD.
i make films, usually for consumption at film festivals, on dvd, or mini-dv. but i also hope to make things more web-available in the near-future.
the dvx100b is a beautiful piece of work, but it's just too cotton-pickin' BIG for me & how i travel & shoot. the hv-20 is kinda tiny, perfect in that way, & has the best picture quality (and 24p!) of anything remotely in its class, price, or size. i love that camera, & want it! but if it's gonna become so complicated to use 24p on it on my fcp 4.5, i may have to just forget about that love. maybe it just wasn't mean to to be.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmitriy Uchakin View Post
Hi Marc,

There is really little reason for a filmmaker to get an HV20 if he is not going to utilize its HD capabilities and "effectively" extract 24p frames out of it. If you are looking at the easiest implementation of 24p, than that means you are going to stay on the 60i timeline, be it your DVX100 or HV20. That workflow is certainly easy but will only work if your final deliverable is a DVD, or other interlaced media. If you want to get the 60i footage online, especially the 24p stuff, you will need to extract progressive frame out of it ,or otherwise it will look very bad. In DVX100B that extraction process is easier because it flags the needed frames. In HV20 its a little harder, especially if you don't have Final Cut Studio 2. But even then its possible. In reality, I think the HV20 is for amateur "cinematographers" who are usually a little tech savvy and do not mind a longer workflow to get the best image out of the camera. DVX100 is a little more "director" friendly, as it has an automatic mode that delivers good picture and allows for manual control if needed. You just need to decide who you are.

As for HV20 quality being superior to GS500, I would say yes, provided you are shooting in HDV mode and converting that to SD in post. GS500 might have a marginally better color reproduction because of the 3 CCDs.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 01:25 AM   #4
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Hey Marc,

To clarify what I am talking about...
If one is to compare GS500 to HV20, you have to have a common denominator, which in our case is Standard Definition because in the very beginning you mentioned that your workflow is limited to editing SD footage. In SD, HV20 would probably come out on top because of it's resolution(downscaled from HD) and increased color space(again, provided that you are downresing from HD to SD). GS500 MIGHT have more naturally saturated colors because of its 3 CCDs. All of the above is again under the assumption that we are staying in Standard Definition for a deliverable.

To sum up...
-HV20 has more detail in SD footage than GS500.
-HV20 can shoot 24P while GS500 cannot.
-HV20 would allow for more leeway in color correction stage in SD provided that you are downconverting to a codec that does not compress colorspace (ex. MJPEG)

I know this a lot of information to ingest but to be able to wrangle a consumer oriented product such as hv20 one has to think outside the box, come up with sometimes tedious workflows, and sit with a cup of coffee watching things render even before you begin editing.

If all the stars can align, this is the preferable workflow for HV20...

-Get an HV20
-Find a copy of Final Cut Studio 2 ;)
-Shoot in 24P HD
-Use Compressor 3 to extract progressive frames from the 60i footage.
-Edit in true 24P
-This way you will end up with 24P(true progressive) HD footage that you will be able to downconvert to any format you want(ex. 24P DVD, 24P H.264 for web, etc...)

By the way, what Mac are you using for all this. That might actually dictate whether you will be able to use FCS2.

Hang in there,

Dmitriy
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Old October 28th, 2007, 03:17 AM   #5
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Marc:

I just tested this on PC side, but I assume it is available on Mac side. With Cineform NeoHDV, you can shoot video in HDV 24p, then capture using HDLink and select resizing during the capture process, as well as pulldown. In my case, I ended up with 24p files .avi files in SD wide screen size.

I understand Cineform now has Mac capabilities.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 11:17 AM   #6
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Chris has a good point for converting the footage to SD upon ingestion. But the requirement for running the Cineform on Mac is that you have Intel processor. I guess pretty much all the ways of working with 24P HDV from HV20 require that you have a fairly new Mac/PC. With PCs, the processor requirement is a little more laxed but still to effectively work with any HD footage(without pulling your hair) you need a good computer.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 07:27 PM   #7
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Dmitriy,
Your post was much much appreciated. It cleared up at least 50% of my confusion. If not more. And it revealed even further my vast ignorance - to which I thought I knew the limits thereof, but apparently not. I will now display my ignorance even further, in the form of some clarification requests.

I have FCP 4.5 running on a 4 year-old G4 flat-panel Mac. Never saw a reason to upgrade - they've done fine by me. I'm not a techno-geek (& have no judgment towards those they might fit that description t'all). Perhaps I'm a bit of a Luddite. And my disastifaction with the DVX100b is partly that part...i don't wanna look sophisticated or even BE sophisticated. I don't need lotsa bells & whistles. I just need the best image possible in a small unsuspecting unintimidating camera. Hence I really want the HV20.

Yes, I learned 2 days ago that my FCP 4.5 will not deal properly with HD footage. And then further learned that I need FCS 2 to make the 24p pulldown operation less complicated (using compressor 3). and I FURTHER learned that to run FCS 2 you need at least a 2 gb processor..and my G4 is only 800 mhz (what can I say - it's 4 years old).
So in order to use HV20 with 24p I'd spend:
$2000 on a new computer - buy a powerbook.
$1000 on the HV20 (including warranty)
$1000 for FCS 2 (ebay price)

...believe it or not, I'm thinking of doing this - and I'm by no means a wealthy man - just persuin' a dream.
Let's not forget that the dvx100b, with warranty & new boom mic + carrying case cost about $3000 in itself. and i could still sell my present G4 for about $300.

so...my questions to you, ignorant tho' they are, are the crucial ones to help me make a decision:
what good is HD unless one watches it on a HDTV or in an HD movie theatre or projected from mini-DV HD-compatible player?? does the quality still SHOW better on a normal TV??? and under other "NORMAL" circumstances? will it look better ONLINE? my films play at film festivals, usualy projected from a DVD player or mini-DV...how would HD benefit that? most likelythe dvds I'll be burning will be SD anyway.

& then, if my means & mediums of viewing my films are all SD, perhaps the quality of the HV20 is still SIGNIFIGANTLY BETTER than the gs500? people in posts have said the footage is 4 times better than the gs500. some have compared its image with the dvx100b. that it could ALMOST pass for "professional broadcast quality". many said it beat the image from a GL2 (but is that with the HD format?). whaddya think?
i'm sure it's obvious i don't understand HD vs. SD, so any further explain' would be much appreciated.

my other concern: it seems that the workflow for pulldown with FCS 2 is much shorter than other options. can it all be done in batches? or does each clip need seperate attention? n'other words, might it be as simple as going thru the protocol in compressor, clicking here & there, & then going to bed for the night (as opposed to having that coffee you mentioned), waking up, & viola, everything's been pulldowned? i'm partly so concerned with the time/work involvement because i have bad tendinitis & MORE finger use on the computer is not desireable at all for my condition. i'm always tryin' to use shortcuts. so to end up having a large extra workload everytime i wanna capture stuff into a project is a real detriment.

wow, see, my hands hurt from typing all this. i'll post this & maybe write more later. or not.
but thanks, yeah.
marc
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Last edited by Marc Israel; October 28th, 2007 at 07:30 PM. Reason: spell
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Old October 28th, 2007, 07:41 PM   #8
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Marc,
My advice for you is to keep your DVX. Reading your post about how most of your work is shown on a projector made me come to this conclusion. The DVX is an incredible camera capable of producing some of the finest footage I have ever seen. What you need to do is search online, look through the manual etc. and learn how to use it. It may not shoot in HD, but it produces excellent colors. And you don't have to worry about pulldown etc. Yes, lugging around the DVX will draw you some attention, but in my book, its worth it. Learning how to properly use the DVX will be easier then adapting to a new computer, an incredibly advanced new editing system (FCE still hides secrets from me) and shooting in Hd.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 08:24 PM   #9
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Yes, you can batch the reverse-telecine conversion in Compressor 3. It's super easy:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=306389

Even if you're end use is SD, you're better off starting in HD for several reasons. I won't go in to depth, `cause it sounds like you're already getting overwhelmed, but in a word, "supersampling" will always yield better apparent detail.

Personally, I'd suggest that you are better off selling the DVX and upgrading to a modern Mac, FCP2 and an HV20. Otherwise, you're dumping money and effort into a dead-end.

P.S. Remember, though, many times you want the "look" of 24P cadence, but don't need to actually deliver 24P files. (Like a DVD, or to watch on your TV, or whatever.) In those cases, it's perfectly fine to just edit the HDV24P files as 480/60i ... it will still have the 24P feel.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 10:12 PM   #10
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You are right, HD footage is really of little use unless you watch it in HD. But, starting with HDV and dowconverting to SD(MJPEG/AIC) will yeild a much better color space(4:4:4 to be exact). That translates to more headroom during color correction stage.

Now to different cameras...
Saying that one camera is X times better than another is really a very subjective approach. To some the ability to shoot 24P is a must, for others(ex. ENG) its of no use. If you are talking strictly quality, than HV20 would resolve more detail if downconverted to SD compared to GS500.

DVX100 and GL2 would probably spank both of the above mentioned cameras in being able to create a "noise free" and "color saturated" footage in low light. HV20 however would win in terms of resolution in well lit situations.

I do see that you sort of fell in love with HV20's compactness and picture quality but looking at it now and adding things up, the most economical way for you to keep making films but improving the picture would be to keep the DVX100B and get accustomed to it's size. It's really a great camera once you spend some time with it and learn the best way of handling it. At this point, jumping HD would require you to make a quite a bit of initial investment. Also as Brennan pointed out, all your deliverable are in SD, so the advantages of HV20 become less and less money worthy in my opinion.

It is really a hard decision, especially when two guys that posted before me had completely different conclusions. To make it even harder, I would say that both of them are right.

Switching to DVX100B:
-Camera Cost: $2500

vs.

Switching to HV20:
-Camera Cost: $900
-New Computer: $2000
-Final Cut Studio 2: $1000


If you go the HV20 route you will get a new computer which will have a longer horizon in the future and which will last you through a couple of the video cameras. Same goes for FCS2. You spend ~$4000 (whew)

If you go DVX100B, you will be working at the edges of your computer's processing power but you will be working. The computer itself might last for another year or so. DVX100 maybe two or three more years. Extra money could go for a better sound setup, which always add so much production value that it cannot be underestimated.

When more than half of the film festivals to which you submit your work will actually have HD capabilities, than it would good idea to jump the gun. By then there will be the HV40 waiting for you to fall in love with once again. I am with Brennan, keep the DVX. I have never met a person who was disappointed in the footage produced by it.
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Old October 30th, 2007, 11:57 AM   #11
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my apologies, dmitriy & others, for my delayed response. all your input has been so helpful, & i musta read over this whole post 3 or 4 times in the last couple days, absorbing & reabsorbing all the data offered. i have made a decision, which is practically no decision. yesterday i mailed the dvx100b back to Abe's of Maine. i also stopped by my local Apple store, & not only did I test drive their amazing new 24" Intel Core Duo 2 2.4Ghz iMac (which is less than $2000...it's $1750!...but they also happened to carry the HV20 & i got to hold that baby in my hands..t'is even smaller than i thought!
but i didn't purchase anything, & am not sure what i'm gonna do. for now, i'll just keep on with my pv-gs500 & my fcp 4.5. & my iMac G4. i'm sitting, waiting, thinking, not thinking. maybe i'll make the plunge & buy the new set-up in time. or maybe they'll be a new love for me, one that's soon to hit the market, another fish in the sea of possibilities.
but the dvx100b was just too big for my purposes, even tho' in every other respect it's just what i wanted/need. & should i decide that i want the dvx after all, i can always reorder it from anywhere.
again, all yr input has been really helpful. this forum's great, so thank you very much!
marc
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Old December 13th, 2007, 11:00 AM   #12
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The GS500 is yesterday's HV20. It's adequate for web and dvd work, but it lacks some pro features that may make your life easier. If you are used to it, then there's no need to upgrade to yet another DV caamera in 2007. If you must spend so much money, spend it on something with HD. Personally, I'd rather spend any extra money on writers, actors, lights, etc.
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Old December 14th, 2007, 01:27 PM   #13
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Seun,
T'update: I did sell my old iMac and buy a brand new 24" with all the bells & whistles. But I've yet to change cameras, partly becauee I don't have anew project at this very moment. So I'm just waiting. Maybe the HV30 or 40 will be out soon 'nuff.
Thanks for your input,
Marc
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Old December 18th, 2007, 02:18 AM   #14
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IMO DV is dead(dying) i sold my XL1s shortly after receiving my hv20, the image quality just wasn't as good on the xl1, mostly because of the dv codec itself. I would highly discourage you from investing in old technology, because most cams will be high def in the relatively near future anyway.

here is an example of the difference between DV and HD downrezzed to another less lossy codec:

http://file.meyersproduction.com/hv2...comparison.png

the other upside of the HD workflow is you'll always have HD footage to revisit in the future if things change or say you sell the film and it gets recut.

here is an example of 24p dvd i created using HD footage, notice the clarity even on a SD tv. DV just can't touch it. (download the .img and open in Disk utility, select and burn to a dvd, and play in a dvd player)

http://file.meyersproduction.com/hv2...ddo%203min.img

also the hv20 has dropped to $750 at B&H
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Old December 20th, 2007, 10:43 AM   #15
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Thanks, austin, for your input & your links, which are indisputably admirable for their clarity & color & such. It's good t'see & helps me understand my options. Right now I'm biding my time as I've got no present filming to do.
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