Steve Jobs takes a jab at HD camera makers at DVinfo.net

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Old August 23rd, 2007, 04:43 PM   #1
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Steve Jobs takes a jab at HD camera makers

This is sort-of old new to anyone who watched the new iMac launch a couple weeks ago, but I found it interesting that Jobs doesn't consider any of the current consumer HD cameras to actually be HD.

http://www.macobserver.com/article/2007/08/14.3.shtml
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 05:58 PM   #2
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Is this just to fend off criticism that Apple has failed to implement any blue laser HD (i.e. blu-ray or HD-DVD) options?
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 06:51 PM   #3
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Well, consumer "HD" camcorders use MPEG2 compression anyway. So you shouldn't expect true HD quality. They exist, if you want to spend a few more $1000....
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 08:35 PM   #4
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Wasn't Jobs going crazy with Sony on the 2005 Macworld Expo in January that year? About HDV? Sigh...We've come so far telling people HDV is in fact HD, only to have a step back.

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Old August 23rd, 2007, 09:03 PM   #5
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"True HD." Hmmm. Around here, anything with higher resolution than DV is high definition. Prefixing "True" to "HD" only shows that a person is pushing an opinion.

"True HD" is just a buzz phrase that can be construed to include or exclude whatever suits you. If a corporate type is making a formal public statement like that, it is because the interests of the corporation are being served by the comments. On DVinfo, almost invariably when that term is used, it is in a "mine is better than yours" context.

Maybe Dave's speculation as to the specific motivation is on the mark; maybe there is some other reason for Jobs' comments. Don't know. Mr. Jobs is free to cast his stones; plenty of people cast stones at him and his company. Whatever. That's life in Big Corp. Now if he wants to post on DVinfo about the pro's and con's of different HD formats, then maybe his words are worth my time!
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 09:26 PM   #6
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While I think that virtually any consumer would be able to discern the difference between a consumer SD and consumer HD camera given that they were being exhibited on identical HD-capable displays, I'm not too sure that they would have such an easy time picking out the differences between competing HD formats and cameras based on the picture quality. Perhaps an inexpensive 720p camera would look noticeably softer against a 1080i or p image, but it's possible that might even be preferable, depending on the subject matter. But the difference between 1920x1080 and 1440x1080...? I'd have to see that one in an A/B environment to judge for myself, and then sit in on a focus group to see if the majority of "civilians" could easily tell the difference, or care.

Considering how 98% of the population use camcorders, I find it hard to believe that the difference in resolution that Jobs speaks of is a primary concern. How many Joe Blows out there bother to edit their home movies, no matter how easy the software is becoming (although I took a spin through the new iMovie without reading any documentation and found it not particular intuitive), and what of the ferociously bad handheld work that the current generation of tinycams invites (as archaic as they now seem, the shoulder-mounted camcorders of the past had their advantages). I still marvel at tourists who trudge through a colorful district with camcorders held in front of them churning away for blocks at a time...is ANY of that footage watchable? and how many of those folks even bother to watch it when they get home?

For the other 2% (I don't know the numbers, I'm just guessing) who use these cameras for filmmaking, certainly it's nothing but a win-win if the manufacturers continue to come out with high resolution inexpensive cameras. I still marvel at the image my little HV20 produces for the money. But I don't think that's who Jobs had in mind with this.
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 09:29 PM   #7
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As a consumer, little camcorders never did anything for me, but I regret not having a decent still camera for several years. I have very few photos from the past that would've been cool to have.

Anyway, on topic, I think that HD is basically here to stay with more great things on the way (2K, 4K, etc.).

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Old August 23rd, 2007, 09:34 PM   #8
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Comparing the output of 1920x1080 produced by a dSLR to that of any HD camcorder, the results from a camcorder is positively downright depressing. The venerable Z1 produces HD that looks like upscaled PD170 footage. I think we have a long ways to go before we get true HD footage at consumer prices.
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 09:40 PM   #9
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Not knowing what his R and D department is showing him in the development labs but I know in ours HD is not "your " definition of HD....

Spec wise, yes HD is HD... development wise we get to play with more than
the specs... so his definition of HD will be different than you see in the store.

I was thinking about this a bit this morning... why would you need a camera that is 4K?

And then I remember a sales guy asking me why I'd need a still camera capable of 22m pixel, he said, you can only print so big... and I replied,
its not the size of the paper, its the ability to crop the pic down to where
you want the pic... its like, take the pic, if you have enough resolution in
the orignal, you can pan/zoom and crop as you please and the quality stays the same....

so, why would you want a video camera at say 4k... or even 8K....

Because you can take some 4k or 8K footage and put it down on the edit line and pan/zoom and crop where ever you want and the quality when placed on a 1920x1080 project is perfect... so you could actually use a single camera and place say four of the same instance of footage on the time line, zoom/pan each individually and there would be no way of telling if you had one camera shooting or four cameras shooting...

The definition of HD is going to change.......... Steve may be seing it in a different way than some of us......
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 10:08 PM   #10
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Ray:

These are good points regarding 4k, 8K etc. although again, for the large percentage of the population that will never put their camcorder on a tripod, I wonder how valuable it will be for them to be able to crop into their images (and will they bother to do it), i.e. chasing a moving target! I imagine we will shortly get to a place on a software level where the user can place a marker over the point of interest in the frame and have the computer do the tracking for you, perhaps even erasing unwanted zooms (by counter-zooming) etc. OK, just in the course of writing this I can see the advantages. Good lord, things are changing fast...!

I could have desperately used a 4K camera this past week when I needed to shoot simultaneous cameras with wide and tight focal lengths with the talent looking down the barrel of both, which required a massive shooting rig (see this thread). It would have been preposterously wonderful to simply shoot the wide and extract the tight later in post. And it's just months away...
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 10:41 PM   #11
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High Definition is whatever you want it to be, and usually it's what someone is selling rather than what they have. HDV is HD for practical purposes, however, it's not HD if your definition of HD is the SMPTE production standard of 1920 x 1080 resolution, on the other hand, HDV is close enough for most people. Let's not forget about color depth and dynamic range. Oh, let's do, and avoid a can of worms. Maybe Jobs would like to see camcorders that produce Apple Cinema Display worthy images. HDV is not quite there. Maybe he's planting a seed for Red. Or Baby Red. Maybe he's got something else in mind. Who knows?
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 11:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Dashwood View Post
Jobs doesn't consider any of the current consumer HD cameras to actually be HD.
My personal definition of "actual HD" is 5760x3240 RGB RAW with no moire/AA filter resized to 1920x1080, 60p, 16-bit, lossless compression; but I happily settle for 850+ lines of actual resolution in a 1440x1080 format with moire, 10-bit color, and artifacts, like the HV20.

Some of the "HD" cameras have only 550 or so actual lines of resolution, yet they soak up an entire 1920x1080 data stream on the solid state device. It's a waste.
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 11:43 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Daniel Browning View Post
Some of the "HD" cameras have only 550 or so actual lines of resolution, yet they soak up an entire 1920x1080 data stream on the solid state device. It's a waste.
I think that was the point of the Apple note. A lot of these cams rasterize a 1080i stream, but the CCDs are only resolving, say 600 or 700 lines at best.

I've seen an amazing amount of detail in some motion graphics rendered out at 1080p...became clear to me that even an F900 doesn't really fill up the bitmap.
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Old August 24th, 2007, 08:08 AM   #14
 
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It's all a huge, heinous plot by hard drive makers to sell more hard drives.
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Old August 24th, 2007, 10:26 AM   #15
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iFocus

So Apple should make their own 2k camera! iFocus
(as long as they use lenses made by someone else)
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