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Old December 12th, 2005, 01:32 AM   #1
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Cheap HD cams as early as Q2?

http://news.com.com/Upstart+aims+to+...l?tag=nefd.top

I hope this isn't a repost of a known news item. I haven't heard this yet myself, will be interesting to see if something comes of it.
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Old December 12th, 2005, 07:43 AM   #2
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Hmm, that's cool, but glass is still the biggest obstacle to making an inexpensive HD camera.
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Old December 12th, 2005, 08:10 AM   #3
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Dang, that was a lot of marketing rubbish to have to read right before breakfast...hold on while I wipe the manure off my feet. If you read this carefully they're saying that for ~$799 you could get what amounts to a digital still camera with a "TV quality" video mode, and for some additional amount can record H.264 video at an unspecified resolution. This may be interesting to photographers who want to start shooting an occasional video clip, but I doubt it will change much for videographers.
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Old December 12th, 2005, 12:24 PM   #4
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"The A1 platform is based on the H.264/AVC video compression standard, which is the next generation of video compression technology. Ambarella’s patent-pending platform delivers a 2.5x compression gain over current MPEG-2/4 solutions, providing the efficiency required to store HD video content in convenient flash-based memory." - http://www.ambarella.com/news/press_...r_12052005.htm

i hope that it signals the end of that hdv mpeg2 garbage.
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Old December 12th, 2005, 12:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
i hope that it signals the end of that hdv mpeg2 garbage.
H.264 is even more heavily compressed than HDV, so if you don't like HDV you're not going to like what you get from these cameras.

By the way, HDV looks great when properly used and is (for now) the format Sony is going to use for HD movie distribution, so you might as well learn to live with it. Beats that SD MPEG2 garbage we've all been using to distribute our videos lately...
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Old December 12th, 2005, 01:04 PM   #6
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Ya, I saw that story, too. Didn't get me as excited as it got the cnet reporter. But maybe I'm missing something...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
H.264 is even more heavily compressed than HDV, so if you don't like HDV you're not going to like what you get from these cameras.
I've seen some really good-looking H.264...however, it's still pretty tricky to set up the compression parameters and H.264 takes a long long time to compress on really fast machines. So if this chip is going to do realtime compression of H.264 in an inexpensive camera...well I'll want to see the result before I buy...

And then I'd want to see how easily I can edit the stuff. So basically, I agree with Kevin...at least as far as in-camera compression is concerned...for now...

But check back with me in a couple of years,

Jim
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Old December 12th, 2005, 01:26 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jim Feeley
So if this chip is going to do realtime compression of H.264 in an inexpensive camera...well I'll want to see the result before I buy...
What would really be news here would be if these chips enable creation of affordable real-time H.264 encoders that work with existing HD(V) editing solutions. Never mind the cameras: we already have plenty of those. But it sure would be nice to have a way to crunch HD video down to H.264 without having to wait overnight to get the results!
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Old December 12th, 2005, 03:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
H.264 is even more heavily compressed than HDV, so if you don't like HDV you're not going to like what you get from these cameras.
both of you guys are completely ignoring the efficiency of the codec itself... h.264 performs encoding functions that mpeg2 is not capable of doing, which is why it's far superior to mpeg2.

until you have some experience encoding with things like h.264, it's difficult to appreciate how good these new codecs are.

now compare for us the gop sizes between dvd mpeg2 and hdv mpeg2, and tell us which one is worse... dvd is typically what, 15-frame gop max? what is the hdv gop? and don't even get me started on the tiny hdv audio bitrate, it totally sucks compared to dvd audio standards.

i would dare say that hdv is step down from what we are delivering on dvd today.
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Old December 12th, 2005, 04:09 PM   #9
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Tape is on its way out. Nearly 85 percent of cameras on the market today rely on flash memory, hard drives or built-in DVD recorders to store video.
The writer must be confusing the still and video markets. I can't believe the above statement is true for video cameras. It could only be true if you're looking at all video and still cameras. What a mess.
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Old December 12th, 2005, 04:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
i would dare say that hdv is step down from what we are delivering on dvd today.
Your comments suggest that you've never actually seen any HDV footage, or taken the time to read even the most basic information about the technology behind the format. One look at a few seconds of good HDV material and it's obvious that it's dramatically better than SD MPEG2, which uses the same underlying technology (including same GOP structure) at 1/3 the bit rate of HDV. And the audio bit rate for HDV is 384 Kbps, which is twice that of audio CDs and many DVD movies, which typically crunch audio down to AC3 sound at 192 Kbps. You say that H.264 is impressive because it can compress video down to low bit rates and still look good, but then dismiss the possibility that audio can be similarly compressed and still sound good. And if you really need the best possible sound quality you can use a separate audio recorder regardless of what video camera you use, so that's not really an issue.

As for H.264, it may be an efficient video delivery codec but that doesn't make it a good solution for HD video cameras. The biggest criticism of HDV is that it's too compressed to be fully effective as an HD recording solution, and H.264 simply carries that trend even further. People who want the best possible recording quality are looking for ways to capture more bits, not compress more heavily in-camera to save storage space.
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Old December 12th, 2005, 04:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
both of you guys are completely ignoring the efficiency of the codec itself...
I guess it depends what guys you're talking about, but I don't think we're ignoring that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
until you have some experience encoding with things like h.264, it's difficult to appreciate how good these new codecs are.
I do, and boy is h.264 slow to compress...but that time can be well spent. The issue is how good a job will that camera chip do in (more-or-less) real time. Seems like quite a challenge, but that's what fancy custom chips are for...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
now compare for us the gop sizes between dvd mpeg2 and hdv mpeg2, and tell us which one is worse... dvd is typically what, 15-frame gop max? what is the hdv gop?
As I recall, PAL DVD allows up to a 15-frame GOP, NTSC DVD allows up to 18 frames. HDV has either a 15-frame or (more recently) a 6-frame GOP (as with the ProHD JVC camera). I think those are the only two GOPs currently allowed in HDV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
and don't even get me started on the tiny hdv audio bitrate,
Ya, I'm not a big fan of HDV audio. But if you feed a camera a good, clean, loud signal and are recording dialog (as opposed to fx or complex music), and you think of HDV audio as an acquisition format and not a post or delivery format, it can work OK...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
i would dare say that hdv is step down from what we are delivering on dvd today.
That could be, but considering that you're buying a real-time HD compressor AND a camera for a few thousand dollars, it's still fairly impressive.

I'm not an HDV cheerleader, but I'm using it a little and will be using it more in 2006...but it's not my only HD format...

Best,

Jim
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Old December 12th, 2005, 08:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
One look at a few seconds of good HDV material and it's obvious that it's dramatically better than SD MPEG2, which uses the same underlying technology (including same GOP structure) at 1/3 the bit rate of HDV.
you failed to mention the differences in frame size(aka resolution) between hdv and sd, which makes the 1/3 bitrate comparison meaningless.

hdv records audio in a lossy format, while dvd can deliver audio in lossless pcm format, if necessary... and dvd dolby audio is a more efficient recording format than the hdv mp2 audio format.

you claim that "H.264... may be an efficient video delivery codec but that doesn't make it a good solution for HD video cameras"... directly contradicts the fact that mpeg2 was designed in 1994 as strictly a delivery codec, but yet it's good enuf for your hdv camera?

thanks to both of you for pointing out that hdv and dvd gop's are similar, tho... i dismissed hdv the minute that i first saw the specs; that kind of garbage data isn't worth retaining in my memory banks :-)

the key to this discussion is codec efficiency... i would refer you both to the wikipeda h.264 faq: "These techniques, along with several others, help H.264 to perform significantly better than any prior standard can, under a wide variety of circumstances in a wide variety of application environments. H.264 can often perform radically better than MPEG-2 video—typically obtaining the same quality at half of the bit rate or less." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.264/MPEG-4_AVC

jim, i'm not sure that i've seen h.264 being particularly slow to compress... perhaps you are trying to do it on a mac, or with quicktime? i feel sorry for you if that is the case, have you worked with the nero h.264 encoder yet?
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Old December 12th, 2005, 10:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
you failed to mention the differences in frame size(aka resolution) between hdv and sd, which makes the 1/3 bitrate comparison meaningless.
Hardly meaningless, but it's reasonable to assume that the number of data points involved has some bearing on the final image quality. So if HDV has three times the bandwidth of the best SD DVDs using the same compression techniques, but applied to 4.5 times the number of pixels, where does that leave us? Like I said before, all you have to do is look at the results to see that they're significantly better than SD MPEG2, at least in terms of image clarity. If you want to debate artifacting and such you can, but it's still three times the total amount of video information.

Quote:
hdv records audio in a lossy format, while dvd can deliver audio in lossless pcm format, if necessary... and dvd dolby audio is a more efficient recording format than the hdv mp2 audio format.
Fair enough, but if audio compression works there's no reason to assume that HDV audio quality won't be adequate for most purposes. If Dolby audio is sufficient for Hollywood movies at 192 Kbps, there's no inherent reason to conclude HDV audio won't be sufficient at twice the data rate.

Quote:
you claim that "H.264... may be an efficient video delivery codec but that doesn't make it a good solution for HD video cameras"... directly contradicts the fact that mpeg2 was designed in 1994 as strictly a delivery codec, but yet it's good enuf for your hdv camera?
Very good, but the point is that H.264 isn't likely to be *better* as a video recording format than HDV, because it's an even more highly compressed solution. So if you don't like HDV for recording at 25 Mbps, chances are you won't like H.264 at some modest bit rate like 6-8 Mbps.

Quote:
"H.264 can often perform radically better than MPEG-2 video—typically obtaining the same quality at half of the bit rate or less."
Conversely, MPEG2 can therefore perform as well as H.264 at roughly twice the bit rate. So if you love H.264 at 6-8 Mbps, you ought to be quite happy with HDV at 25 Mbps. (Assuming you start from the same quality source footage.) You'll come around when you see Hollywood movies distributed in HDV format on blue-laser DVDs...
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Old December 13th, 2005, 06:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
So if HDV has three times the bandwidth of the best SD DVDs using the same compression techniques, but applied to 4.5 times the number of pixels, where does that leave us?
sounds like hdv has less bandwidth per pixel than sd... and that doesn't address the size of the pixel.

so now that we have established that hdv has worse video and audio quality than dvd, the real question is, why would someone want to shoot with such a lousy format?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
Very good, but the point is that H.264 isn't likely to be *better* as a video recording format than HDV, because it's an even more highly compressed solution. So if you don't like HDV for recording at 25 Mbps, chances are you won't like H.264 at some modest bit rate like 6-8 Mbps.
once again, that is idle speculation, and therefore, not a valid arguement... have you ever encoded anything with h.264?
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Old December 14th, 2005, 03:05 AM   #15
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Myself I'm really a bit unsure in the HDV format, because to me it looks like a middle-format which isn't the real HD, but although very similar and in many ways better than SD. However, I'm afraid that the HDV format is going to be changing a lot from the current one, because new codec techniques are being developed all the time and maybe in the next 2 years we will have a similar Sony HDV camera which delivers much better quality video on the same tape.

I'm not sure if this example is now completely correct, but I heard it from a TV operator. In the professional broadcast many are currently buying the Sony XDCAMs which are basically recording to a DVD-like disc and also compressing to MPEG, but the "cassette" is actually some kind of magazine where the disc is located in. That is a format which is currently widely used for professional production and in its class of professionality is comparable to the real HD format. At the same time there are consumer camcorders which are recording to DVD, but because of the smaller size of the media, the video is a lot more compressed and of worse quality. As we can see, those cameras did not win the market (although probably a lot easier to operate) and the good old MiniDV is still the king. This example might be a bit too far away from the topic (and feel free to add your words if you think I'm wrong) if comparing HD and HDV, but for some reason I'm thinking that the old SD is not so dead yet.

Not trying to make down the FX-1 and Z1 cameras which are really neat, but those who are currently using them as SDs and not moved over to HD in post-production yet, should maybe continue doing it at the moment, because when they will really need the HDV footage some time in the future, there could be something rather different "invented". :)

Just my 2 cents.
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