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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 06:24 PM   #1
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HD A backwards step.

I believe HD is a backwards step for many of us and hasn't delivered much of an advancement apart from a sharper picture, which in many cases looks somewhat artificial. We have to invest in higher priced equipment from camera through to high power processors for editing.

Here's an example article on the Xl2 Watchdog of what I mean.

XL2 Fields of View Comparison by Chris Hurd

Look at the amazing variety of shots obtainable on a SD camera with relatively cheap lens and attachments which are easily available. To duplicate a rig similar to this in HD would cost an arm and a leg, plus some. In fact I wonder if it's possible.

Maybe I'm missing something. But what has HD really done for us? Not much in my opinon.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 07:17 PM   #2
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I believe HD is a backwards step for many of us and hasn't delivered much of an advancement apart from a sharper picture, which in many cases looks somewhat artificial.

Maybe I'm missing something. But what has HD really done for us? Not much in my opinon.
If you don't like it, then stay SD. No problem there.

HD offers the same advantages as sound over silent, color over black and white, digital over analog. And people wasted a lot of time poo pooing those as well. If the HD you see looks artificial, then it was badly done.

By the way, the article you linked to is 2 years old. Are you really that far behind?
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Old February 24th, 2010, 02:41 AM   #3
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Hi Perrone,

Quote:
If you don't like it, then stay SD. No problem there.
I shoot in HD when doing contract work for a nation wide tv station.

Quote:
HD offers the same advantages as sound over silent, color over black and white, digital over analog. And people wasted a lot of time poo pooing those as well.
Sound over silent. Great advancement. Colour over black and white. Even better.
Digital over analog. Fantastic improvement when it came to production editing and effects.
Easier than cutting film or rolling tapes. HD over SD. Small improvement relative for what it involves.

Quote:
If the HD you see looks artificial, then it was badly done.
Maybe you're right. Of the shows I've made and those I've worked on some people have liked. Others have said 'stink'. But thems the breaks in tv land.

Quote:
By the way, the article you linked to is 2 years old. Are you really that far behind?
Is the article only two years old? I thought it was older. Some of the components featured in that article are far older than that. I used some of them on a XL1 some eight or ten years ago. I think I still have a XL EF converter here somewhere. The point as I see it is we went from film to tape then onto digital with great improvements and speed in production methods. Then mini DV opened up a whole new world with a large range of cameras and lenses at a lower cost than before. It made video production affordable for many new players.

Now we are re equiping at what seems a huge cost for a gain which is not much more than 'diddly squat'. That's not much.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 03:32 AM   #4
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I guess my problem is that I don't see the great chasm you do in terms of costs. To me HD brings several wonderful things to the table.

1. Worldwide standard of frame sizes. No more trying to reshape PAL/NTSC frames to fit one broadcast standard or the other.

2. A solid way to finally incorporate 24p into both the camera and broadcast

3. Let's be honest. This is the FIRST full overhaul of TV broadcast in over 50 years. FIFTY. If you bought a piece of music that was available to be played 50 years ago, most people couldn't play it today. We've been through 78s, 45s, 33s, 8-track, cassette tapes, minidisk, and mp3. And TV hasn't change in all that time. It was time to move on.

4. Major production studios are opening up vaults. For the classic film viewer or collector this is marvelous. TV is NOW considered good enoiugh to faithfully reproduce early film. So movies that have desperately needed to be remastered or restored, are now getting that work because there is a real audience for it.

5. HD and UHD are allowing for MUCH better projection and sound at the cinema, and at home for that matter.

6. In terms of cost, my miniDV camera was about $4800 I believe. My deck was $1800. My HD camera was $7k or so, and no deck was required. I fail to see the large gap in cost between buying comparable gear.

So perhaps you could spell out what "huge costs" you feel are disproportionate.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 03:52 AM   #5
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However we shoot it, most of us are still distributing SD on DVD, and although HD downsized can look almost as good as original SD depending on how you encode it, we mostly accept that it doesn't. So while HD isn't a backward step, we really are still waiting for it to go forward. And as for cost, stick to SD and you can still edit natively on your steam powered PC. But dang, tape is such a nuisance once you start using cards.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 04:26 AM   #6
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However we shoot it, most of us are still distributing SD on DVD, and although HD downsized can look almost as good as original SD depending on how you encode it, we mostly accept that it doesn't. So while HD isn't a backward step, we really are still waiting for it to go forward. And as for cost, stick to SD and you can still edit natively on your steam powered PC. But dang, tape is such a nuisance once you start using cards.
I don't understand this at all. HD on DVD should look VASTLY superior to SD. And mine certainly does. If you are accepting that yours doesn't, then that's the problem. Figure out why it doesn't look BETTER and solve the issue.

We can generally agree that Hollywood releases look fabulous on DVD. Movies like The Matrix and the Dark Knight. These movies start on film or in a computer at 4k or 6k resolutions. FAR higher than HD. And yet, when they get to DVD they look spectacular. The problem in your SD DVDs is not inherent in the resolution you are starting with, they are in the methods you use to get your SD DVDs done.

As to the cost of the PC, I don't have any steam powered ones. But the normal cycle of 3-5 years means that if you bought a new PC for editing miniDV, it's well time to move on up anyway. And frankly, even my 3 year old dual core edits my XDCamEX footage just fine.

It seems to me that people are blaming HD for what is really a problem with workflow, methodology, or other unrelated issues. I am sure that adding sound to film was a MAJOR headache for the people of the day. Certainly offered more challenges than us making the change from SD to HD.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 05:21 AM   #7
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On the principle, more information in, better picture out. And generally in graphics, if you reduce an image, it looks much better. But unfortunately any algorithm you use to shrink a certain number of pixels to a smaller number of pixels is going to lead to compromise somewhere. OK, you probably don't regularly use the Mainconcept encoder used by Vegas and Premiere where you get an obvious loss of image quality, but even high end encoders cannot improve on the image. Perrone, I respect your opinions and admire your experience, but in this case only, no way.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 05:30 AM   #8
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On the principle, more information in, better picture out. And generally in graphics, if you reduce an image, it looks much better. But unfortunately any algorithm you use to shrink a certain number of pixels to a smaller number of pixels is going to lead to compromise somewhere. OK, you probably don't regularly use the Mainconcept encoder used by Vegas and Premiere where you get an obvious loss of image quality, but even high end encoders cannot improve on the image. Perrone, I respect your opinions and admire your experience, but in this case only, no way.
So you are saying that of someone with a DVX100 and another person with a RED One shooting at 4K do a slow pan of a high detail image, when we go to DVD the DVX will produce the superior image?

I just want to make sure I understand that this is your assertion.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 06:18 AM   #9
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No, the color in the Red easily give you a better look than DVX (or in my case XL2). But for resolution, if you encode in Vegas, yes, the SD footage blown up probably would have better detail. Encoded in QuEnc, I doubt you'd see the difference. But I don't have a Red. I do have an XL2 and a HFS10, and there are probably a whole range of factors why the XL2 footage looks better on DVD (even though the HFS10 footage looks vastly better on HDMI). I have to admit the difference on DVD is minor. Most people don't see any difference, but if you know what you are looking out for it can be annoying. In theory algorithmically squeezing a large number of pixels into a smaller number of pixels is going to lead to some pixels going to the wrong place, and I think this applies in practice. Yes, (dang) properly produced Hollywood DVDs do look better than mine, maybe throwing a few hundred thousand more at the conversion and replication process does make a difference (I'd like to think it doesn't). All this also justifies why I can keep shooting jobs with an XL2 (this largely is an XL2 fan forum after all).
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Old February 24th, 2010, 06:33 AM   #10
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Then it should also stand to reason, that movies that are currently being shot in HD, say like Avatar, should look positively STUNNING when released on BluRay because there is a 1:1 relationship and no rescaling. Right?

So maybe that's another benefit of HD broadcast. Those who invest the time, effort, and money in HD production will be able to produce vastly superior footage.

As for your HFS10. It looks better through HDMI because it's an uncompressed HD signal. However, take that signal, put 10x better sensors on it, and 100x better glass, and now you're staring at a digital cinema HD camera. And when THAT signal is properly compressed, it will look better than anything you and I are doing.

But I'll tell you what. I'd bet real money that a properly shot, and compressed HD image from a pro camera (and not a consumer HD handycam) will look vastly superior to ANY prosumer SD camera at DVD levels. I do exactly this every time I shoot multicam. And I get to see what that footage looks like at every step of the process.

The problem is the scaling. Most rescalers are AWFUL. And they scale from HD to SD in a terrible fashion. I've done example after example of this on this forum and elsewhere. Doing a bicubic spline or Lanczos or Mitchell, or other high quality downscale will produce stunning results on footage. I've done this with SI2k footage, RED 4k and 2K footage, and HD footage down to 720p or 480p. Done properly, it absolutely blows away SD.

But it's easy enough to show. Get 2 seconds of 4K footage of a res chart, and get 2 seconds of the same chart with whatever SD camera you choose. I'll recompress the 4K footage to match the frame size of the SD footage, and we can compare them here.

Open challenge to anyone who wants to do it.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 08:00 AM   #11
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To duplicate a rig similar to this in HD would cost an arm and a leg, plus some. In fact I wonder if it's possible.
You can exactly duplicate it in HD by replacing the XL2 with its HD version, the Canon XL H1A. When the XL2 was new back in 2004, it carried a suggested retail price of $4999. Today the suggested retail price of the XL H1A is $5999, a difference of only an additional 20%. I would not call that an arm and a leg, sorry.

All other components of that test could easily remain the same for HD, although I should point out, that particular Sigma 70-300mm is a very cheap lens and it suffers pretty heavily from chromatic aberration.

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Is the article only two years old? I thought it was older.
I wrote that article in November 2004, so it is more than five years old now.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 08:20 AM   #12
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I wrote that article in November 2004, so it is more than five years old now.
I was going by the date on the bottom of the page which said 2008. Thanks for clearing this up.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 11:08 AM   #13
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3. Let's be honest. This is the FIRST full overhaul of TV broadcast in over 50 years. FIFTY. If you bought a piece of music that was available to be played 50 years ago, most people couldn't play it today. We've been through 78s, 45s, 33s, 8-track, cassette tapes, minidisk, and mp3. And TV hasn't change in all that time. It was time to move on.
I'm not arguing against HD, Perrone, but I can't agree with the above.

Over here we started with 405 line B & W VHF TVs, then in the early '60s we went over to 625 line UHF, then colour came in the mid/late 60's. In th 1950's prerecorded inserts and news footage were filmed on 16mm and early repeats were filmed from a TV screen then telecined, then came video tape. Cameras changed from tubes to solid state, TVs changed to LCD, plasma etc and recordings went digital. All that is no change??

OK it changed in several overlapping stages but broadcast TV today has had massive advances in technical quality and is almost unrecognisable from 50 years ago. I participated in my first live tv broadcast more than fifty years ago so I can remember what it looked like then!
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Old February 24th, 2010, 12:30 PM   #14
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Colin,

When I say "didn't change" I mean only that if you had a television (in the US) that was purchased in say 1955 and it was still operational, you could plug it in in 2009, and you'd get live TV. Of course, many, many innovations occurred during that time, but fundamentally, you'd still have a working set.

I do get your point and agree with it.
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Old February 24th, 2010, 12:35 PM   #15
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A little test

Since we were talking about this subject, I decided to try a little test.

Just some garbage footage I had laying around uncorrected.


Downscale Test By Perrone Ford On ExposureRoom
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