Why HD over SD? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Cross-Platform Post Production Solutions > CineForm Software Showcase

CineForm Software Showcase
Cross platform digital intermediates for independent filmmakers.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old September 20th, 2007, 08:10 PM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: monroe, or
Posts: 572
Why HD over SD?

Okay, now I have your attention.

I couldn't think of a better forum to pose this open ended question than here.

I am a presenter to a potential client that produces a myriad of tutorial and safety presentations which are distributed primarily on DVD and CD-ROM.

All of their productions to date, have been in Standard Def. Their knowledge of HD is that of a viewer of consumer HD TV channels.

I would love to hear any and everyone's two bits on what, in your mind makes HDV superior to an SD production... AND, how do you argue on behalf of HDV as opposed to HD?

I know that many points are obvious...but try to put yourself in the mind of your clients. I hope this is a good exercise for all of us to reinforce the value of our product.
Marty Baggen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 20th, 2007, 08:49 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Hillsborough, NC, USA
Posts: 968
In my other life I work for a very large company in a heavily regulated industry. We have lots of safety and procedural videos. These are either in VHS/DVD format or on-line CBT (usually low quality video).

Frankly, the typical person viewing wouldn't notice the difference between HD and SD. Also, I haven't seen a single HD television/monitor/projector, so any HD material would be viewed in SD anyway. (I'm sure the boys upstairs have high def plasma displays in their offices, though....)

So, in a nutshell, SD is all that's required.

Just my 2

John.
John Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 20th, 2007, 10:20 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Crestline, California
Posts: 351
Don't know if this is relevant...

....but I read a an article yesteday stating that Discovery Channel found HD advertising to be about 55% more effective than equivalent ads in SD. The article advanced some reasons why this might be, such as a greater commitment by HD viewers to their medium of choice.

Perhaps to the extent that HD remains a novel and exciting visual experience to some people they are more transfixed by what they're seeing and not as likely to change the channel, "Wow honey, look how real the bubbles in that beer look!" -- this would then be a transitory effect.

Or perhaps the far more vivid HD medium IS capable of making products/services look significantly more appealing from food items to automobiles to vacation destinations.

Tip McPartland
Tip McPartland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 21st, 2007, 12:40 PM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Wyomissing, PA
Posts: 1,141
Images: 57
I do inhouse corporate video. Three reasons for my switching to HD:

1. Future proofing. Many of our training projects typcially can last 5 or more years. A few are still around from the 80's. Those that are not obsolete are currently being updated with HD projects. Theres a good likelyhood that I may be asked to republish in HD in the next few years. I don't wish to recut/shoot those projects for the sake of format. (Unless your freelance, then you could contract a complete new job).

2. Rental houses are dropping SD hardware/plasmas and going with HD LCDs. These are more prevalent in conventions and booth media/shows that I have to provide media for.

3. I've found that a $7000 HDV camera, when downrez to SD, will equal or exceed image quality from a $40,000 SD camera. HD/HDV requires a faily robust PC and hardware. If you're not ready to upgrade, then there is an added amount of time to transcode/convert the HD captures to SD and then edit as SD projects.

Do you absolutely need HD/HDV when you lack the budget? No. SD will be around for some time. High quality SD projects will scale up to an acceptable image on HD sets. In the world of fuzzy murky video (ala flash on youtube, etc.) there's proof that content is still king.

The real question is when will you upgrade? If it's just for the sake of having HD. Then maybe you should wait a few years. HD is still a relatively hard format to tackle, even on todays $10K systems, and is rife with software issues, compatibility and huge storage requirements. There are ground breaking codecs, systems, and cameras and many are still in thier first revisions. Combine that will the ongoing blu-ray vs. whatever disk format wars, Vista compatibility and lack of 64bit software... you must prepare yourself for a bumpy ride.

At the very least, getting a decent HD/HDV camera, downsample to SD (in software on the PC), and edit SD would be a good first step. Then you'll have HD/HDV original content for repurpose later.

It's all opinion, and depends entirely upon your needs. That's my take.
__________________
Pete Ferling http://ferling.net It's never a mistake if you learn something new from it.
-------------------------------------------
Peter Ferling is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2007, 12:52 AM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: San Diego
Posts: 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by John F Miller View Post
I haven't seen a single HD television/monitor/projector, so any HD material would be viewed in SD anyway. (I'm sure the boys upstairs have high def plasma displays in their offices, though....)
(Checking message date in amusement) Did you mean that you haven't seen a single HD television IN YOUR COMPANY? Otherwise I cannot simply believe your statement.
Michael Jouravlev is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2007, 01:16 AM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: San Diego
Posts: 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ferling View Post
Rental houses are dropping SD hardware/plasmas and going with HD LCDs. These are more prevalent in conventions and booth media/shows that I have to provide media for.
Modern plasmas/LCDs require widescreen content for image to look nice, they do not require HD. IMHO, widescreen (proper widescreen, not horrendously stretched 4:3 stuff) is more important than high resolution.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ferling View Post
Do you absolutely need HD/HDV when you lack the budget? No. SD will be around for some time. High quality SD projects will scale up to an acceptable image on HD sets. In the world of fuzzy murky video (ala flash on youtube, etc.) there's proof that content is still king.
SD DVDs are still mainstream. I remember when plasma panels just appeared they were marketed as a better presentation technology for DVDs compared to old-style CRTs with finger-wide scan lines. Many, including me, have bought plasmas just for SD DVDs and are pretty happy.

I think that SD is rather future-proof if it is widescreen.
Michael Jouravlev is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2007, 09:01 AM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Natal, RN, Brasil
Posts: 900
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ferling View Post
...1. Future proofing. Many of our training projects typcially can last 5 or more years. A few are still around from the 80's...
After bouncing back and forth for several months, we finally went to HD (HDV from V1, then CF'd to 1920x1080) for EXACTLY the reason Peter stated as #1: FUTURE PROOFING.

It has been somewhat painful for all the reasons already stated in this thread, but when we look at the final results and follow HD developments, we are very glad we went this direction. Technology DOES drive our market somewhat, and the pace of innovation will make many people sorry they did not switch to HD (or HDV), painful as it is.

One side benefit, is with HD production driving you to be a better videographer, as it is more unforgiving.

I would say that the real bottom line is: whether your material will still be around and in use 5 yrs from now. If so, don't hesitate for a second, go to HDV, at least. You will be very glad you did! In a couple of years, anything in SD (especially 4:3) will be immediately identified with outdated, archaic, 20th century material. Psycologically, you lose...
__________________
http://lightinaction.org
"All in the view of the LION"
Stephen Armour is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2007, 09:57 AM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Hillsborough, NC, USA
Posts: 968
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Jouravlev View Post
(Checking message date in amusement) Did you mean that you haven't seen a single HD television IN YOUR COMPANY? Otherwise I cannot simply believe your statement.
Seriously.

All of our meeting rooms (many dozens thereof in my part of the company) are fitted with ceiling-mounted projectors. They only accept SD video. The AV systems in each room are only SD, too.

The only higher resolution displays are computer displays for information boards. As I stated, I expect the higher levels of management do have them.

But, I work in the R&D directorate. No doubt in marketing and sales they have the latest and greatest (based on previous observations). Definitely a two-tier approach. Our budget is always the tightests and the company likes to set on a standard that can be implemented globally. This puts us about 5 years behind the curve.

The reason I originally said most people don't really care what their training/safety videos are w.r.t. SD vs HD is that the people I encounter are in R&D and, frankly, have to sit through so much training/safety stuff that they just don't care about the technical quality of the medium.

EDIT - In this thread, I am something of a lone voice (not uncommon) and I think there are three reasons:

1. I am coming from the perspective of a multinational company with >100,000 employees in nearly 40 countries. Every purchase has to be approved by a pretty bureaucratic process. My department, for example, can't just decide to purchase HD equipment. That's the role of our AV department and they buy large amounts of AV equipment. They have to buy the equipment that serves the purpose. They also make the videos and have to use the equipment they have. There's no way that they would be able to justify new HD cameras, monitors, DVD recorders/players etc. Fire extinguisher training in widescreen HD is completely unnecessary. I cannot think of a single instance where the presentation material would have benefited from HD. Indeed, many of our safety training videos are VHS. These are often shown in a large auditorium. VHS quality works fine.

2. Marty's opening post discusses a corporate client requiring training/safety presentations. In that context, I just cannot see any reason to use HD and charge the extra premium. If I needed someone to create such a video and they claimed that HD is the way to go, I would feel that they are deliberately trying to sell me something I don't need. As Marty states, you need to put yourself in the client's shoes. Corporate training/safety videos do not need to be artistically produced. They just need to get a message across.

3. Many of the replies here make valid points but from the traditional event videographer's perspective. I agree with them in that context. But not in the realm of corporate training.

Just my 2¢ from someone who has had to endure 15 years of the things!

John.

Last edited by John Miller; September 30th, 2007 at 10:28 AM.
John Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2007, 02:07 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: monroe, or
Posts: 572
Quote:
Originally Posted by John F Miller View Post
2. Marty's opening post discusses a corporate client requiring training/safety presentations. In that context, I just cannot see any reason to use HD and charge the extra premium. If I needed someone to create such a video and they claimed that HD is the way to go, I would feel that they are deliberately trying to sell me something I don't need. As Marty states, you need to put yourself in the client's shoes. Corporate training/safety videos do not need to be artistically produced. They just need to get a message across.
Great to see some input on this thread, and I suppose I should report back after my presentation.

My thinking going into my presentation was that HD has a distribution disadvantage, but I must say, I don't agree with some of the points raised here.

First, I don't understand what additional costs there would be associated with a HDV produced piece, as opposed to an SD production.

Second, the HDV advantage as I see it so far as corp and training is that it yields a superior product, especially pertinent if your client uses CD ROM, Powerpoint, and/or Flash application for their viewing.

An 800 x 450 Flash clip displays beautifully. And don't forget graphics. There's much more real estate and legibility, even for online sized clips. With many computer screens at 1440 or even 1920 pixels.... 720 x 480 doesn't measure up as well.

Granted, most corp viewing is going to be VHS, DVD, etc... for years, but even at that, the comparisons I was able to show in my presentation spoke for themselves. I didn't have to say a word. The HDV product won the day for me. Even in an SD world, HDV offers many advantages and is a solid value.
Marty Baggen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2007, 02:55 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Hillsborough, NC, USA
Posts: 968
You highlight an important distinction when you mention the cost issue. As an independent with your own equipment, it doesn't make much difference to use HD instead of SD, especially if you are bidding for a contract. Within a large corporation that has its own department to manage all aspects of AV including generating the material, there is a significant cost factor since the existing inventory of equipment is SD. Switching to HD cannot be justified until the next cycle of equipment replacement comes around.

Most of our training via computer is graphical (e.g., Powerpoint presentations encoded into Flash). We have a specific need where an audited proof of training is needed. Our CBT material is delivered by a specific web-based server application that also manages recording scores etc into a central training database. Traditional video training is performed in a group setting led by a trained instructor who records the attendance.

One more issue affecting a large regulated industry such as mine is that most employees' PCs are locked down. i.e., the PC has a specific build of OS, applications etc and additional applications can only be installed by a validated web-based application installer tool. The current build cannot play HD videos - only SD. Developing a build to roll out to the entire company takes a long time, as does the roll-out itself. For example, we were still using NT4 in 2003.

For small companies, especially with the start-up or entrepreneurial feel, I can certainly see the reasons to migrate to HD.

As with most things, one size doesn't always fit all.

John.
John Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2007, 03:19 PM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: monroe, or
Posts: 572
In your previous post, you mentioned that if someone told you that HD was the way to go, you would feel that they were "trying to sell you something". I didn't interpret that as an in-house issue, but rather a justification for staying with SD given the choice between it, and HDV.

I certainly understand your perspective. If you think you are behind the technology curve, try working with the Pentagon or other Defense Dept entities. Even in their case, I am able to provide superior clips for their Powerpoint presentations.... they are thrilled.

I didn't intend this thread to be a debate as to whether in or not production houses or in-house departments needed to switch to HDV.... I was simply looking for insights as to how HDV adds value to the product we provide.

In my opinion, when equipment purchase is not a factor, an HDV workflow offers a significant value to the client...whether they are standard def or not.
Marty Baggen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2007, 03:25 PM   #12
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 3,840
As John says, one size does not fit all.

I'm always amused by the arguement that NOW is the time to move to HD, and anyone who doesn't is making a HUGE mistake. Clearly, SOME form of HD is the future. As the posts have outlined, it may or may not be cost effective on updating equipment, depending on scale. Also, depending on client needs HD may or may not be necessary for the moment. IS the product going to be 'evergreen'? That is, usefull well into the future... like perhaps a travel or nature doc? Or is is intended for short term 'internal' consumption, on small SD screens?

And the notion that shooting in HD is 'future proofing' the project always makes me chuckle. If I wanted to future proof a project, I'd shoot on film and leave the neg in the vault. I know that film lasts one hundred years when properly stored, and we don't KNOW that for sure about any of the modern digital media formats. And just look how quickly formats and SCREEN RATIOS have changed. 16x9 is relative new... compared to the 'other' widescreen formats. It wouldn's surprise me in the least, if ten years from now... the manufacturers decided to embrace 'TRUE WIDESCREEN' as a marketing ploy, and push everyone into updating monitors through planned obsolescence.

HD is not necessarily the immediate or best answer for every situation. Yes, yes, HD in SOME form is coming... slowly... to everyone. If you can afford to upgrade, why not? If your client needs it, why not? If you can afford to WAIT... and see what the new tapeless formats allow, WHY NOT?

There's just no set answer.
Richard Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2007, 03:37 PM   #13
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: switzerland
Posts: 2,131
if you need argument to convince you customer they need HD, it is the proof they do not need it. necessary/mandatory things do not need to be demonstrated.
Giroud Francois is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2007, 04:04 PM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 232
All my projects that I've shot in HD have had a big impact when my clients watch it. Sure, at this point they will show everything in SD, but being able to see it on a computer in HD has sold more jobs for me. HD just looks that good. Also, by my clients knowing they have HD for future release is a big bonus for them. I am a tiny film company slowly building a client base, I went with HD from the get go as JVC made it possible to get a nice dramatic HD image for about 5k.

And since this is the CineFrom forum, all I can say is this codex and the great company behind it has made my HD workflow as easy as SD.

One last note, the down res'ed HD looks better than native SD from my camera, on dvd.

Cheers,
Jon
Jon Jaschob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2007, 05:11 PM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Natal, RN, Brasil
Posts: 900
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez View Post
...And the notion that shooting in HD is 'future proofing' the project always makes me chuckle. If I wanted to future proof a project, I'd shoot on film and leave the neg in the vault. I know that film lasts one hundred years when properly stored, and we don't KNOW that for sure about any of the modern digital media formats. And just look how quickly formats and SCREEN RATIOS have changed. 16x9 is relative new... compared to the 'other' widescreen formats. It wouldn's surprise me in the least, if ten years from now... the manufacturers decided to embrace 'TRUE WIDESCREEN' as a marketing ploy, and push everyone into updating monitors through planned obsolescence.
....
I had to chuckle at your answer Richard, as you were right on...if we think in terms of 100 yrs. However, for the sake of discussion, as was observed earlier, this IS the Cineform forum and "future" means something quite different.

"Future" for most people that frequent these forums is not very far away and with technological change accelerating more every day, "future" is here much faster than most of us old timers would like to see.

In the context of a large, unwieldy, slow-moving corporation where $$ and international choices have to be made, SD probably is a business-safe decision for the next few years, as someone observed. That point was very well made and is noted.

In the context of the great majority of users of this forum, it could affect their future income and compatibility with what will soon be the "standard", even in countries like Brazil, where we live and work. Since 16:9 is the current and near future (if you prefer) HD standard and with it's square pixel format easily scales up or down, HD will certainly give them something useful and soon-to-be-mainstream.

That all said, it pays to weight all the costs carefully, even those not so obvious (or really permanent) like "future proofing". In comparison to film, the cost of doing HD today is extremely cheap and MUCH easier. The times are changing and small producers could become the "norm", not the exception...but certainly not using SD.
__________________
http://lightinaction.org
"All in the view of the LION"
Stephen Armour is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Cross-Platform Post Production Solutions > CineForm Software Showcase

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:32 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network