Bring me up to date (Jan 2008) with DVD production workflow!! HDV or SD? Opinion? at

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Old January 4th, 2008, 01:36 AM   #1
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Bring me up to date (Jan 2008) with DVD production workflow!! HDV or SD? Opinion?

Hi there!

Long time member, but haven't been following along lately. With HD and HDV becoming the craze, I wanted to ask what would be the optimal workflow to make DVD's today. I am making DVDs with an eye for the retail market, keeping in mind that at some point in the future, SD will be replaced by HD.

But will the later HD DVD players upconvert SD DVD's or will they become useless and how many years are we talking? Will consumers care? Or will content be king? I'm just trying to think ahead into the shelf life of any commercial videos I shoot.

Right now I can easily make DVDs in SD. No problem, from concept to final product in shrink wrap. I would shoot in SD, edit in Premiere, shoot out a single layer (4.7 GB) DVD and voila!

But to future proof, it would make sense to shoot in HDV or even HD and then edit in HD and then output in SD or HD. So why would I bother asking? Because of cost, my friends.

Is HDV a reliable format today? When it first came out, I heard things like artifacting in the blacks, it reconstitutes the clips' time code on the render, and etc... I assume that these have all been solved? I went to a broadcaster symposium last year that really blasted HDV in favor of HD because it was just a poor format period. But is this good enough for commercial quality DVDs for consumers? And if so, what are the cameras of choice then? What (I guess cheap) Sony or Cannon, or whatever is best to be used?

Next is editing. I'm on the latest version of Premiere, 6.5. That doesn't do HDV as far as I know. That means I'd have to get another editing system (or get someone to edit for me). But I'd hate to have to learn a new system. What would be idea. CAN I just down convert the HD into SD and use that as my master to make an SD product? And keep the Edit Decision List (EDL) in case I need to spit out a HD version in the future? What is the workflow that makes sense today (which I expect would be the cheapest).

Next....who the heck is outputting in HD DVD's now anyway, other than large commercial operations like Studios? All the services I see around are still predominantly SD. These guys aren't worried about future proofing?

My GUT instinct tells me that if I make DVD's this year, that I'll probably realistically enjoy 4-5 years of not having to worry about making them in SD. 4-5 years later, I can upconvert the SD to HD, or just re-shoot with whatever is out there if needed (I'd probably not even care about a project 4-5 years old at that point).

Opening the thread up to your opinions or what you know to be true for the future.

Also, as an aside, last time I checked, all the broadcasters MUST broadcast in HD in 2013 (up from 2006 to 2011), although some are already broadcasting in HD. I guess that means that they will not accept SD material for the HD broadcasts as well.
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Old January 4th, 2008, 06:54 AM   #2
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Premiere is far evolved from version 6.5 now - the version you have is vintage around 2002 as I recall. The current release of Premiere is Premiere Pro CS3 which would correspond to about version 10 or 11 on the old numbering system.

My personal opinion is that HD will become the norm for broadcasting a bit faster than it will become the norm for DVD distribution. As stations have to tool up for digital which is fast approaching it makes no snese for them not to go ahead with the investment for HD broadcasting at the same time. The reason DVDs will be slower to become standard is the stupid, self-defeating format war of Blue-Ray versus HD-DVD reminiscent of the old VHS/Beta wars of many years ago, coupled with the high cost of players for each format. But when one player will play all available disks and the price point of the players drops to below around $250 I think you'll see HD replace SD faster than CD replaced vinyl (or DVD replaced VHS). I expect, or at least hope, that the format and 'first adopter price premium' issues will be resolved within the next two years or so.

HDV is still considered considered marginal for broadcast by a number of networks (PBS, Discovery, etc). While they will accept 'HD' programming that includes HDV content, it can only be a limited percentage of the total content of the show - the majority has to be 'true HD.'

If you want to future-proof your shooting and you think your material will have enough longevity to be of interest 3 years down the road, I would shoot on HD or HDV and downconvert to SD in post for DVD release, using tools such as Cineform. That way you have footage in the archives that should you do a new production run of a certain title 2 years from now you can release an HD version replacing the older SD version. If you think your material might go to broadcast and your budget would allow, I'd move up from HDV a notch and look at something such as Sony's XDCAM-HD line. But shoot High and downconvert to Standard rather than the reverse notion of shooting Standard with the idea of Upconverting later should demand exist.
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Old January 4th, 2008, 06:57 AM   #3
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There's about a dozen questions here...try searching on those topics and posting a specific question if you don't find something.
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Old January 4th, 2008, 08:44 AM   #4
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I was in the same position as you with Premiere 6.5. It has served me well over the years with few hicups. You can upgrade to CS3 from the Adobe site for $299. What a deal. In my case I also had to upgrade my computer.
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Old January 4th, 2008, 01:34 PM   #5
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Yes, I've been reading many discussions on here to catch up.

I guess the REAL question I'm asking is how long before comsumers decide not to buy SD DVD's? I'm not talking about HD DVD's with all the bells and whistles and cool menus, etc... I'm talking about SD DVD's that consumers would buy to the content. Sorta like that CD vs Vinyl discussion (although some people still like the sound of vinyl), where most people are on CD's now.

I'd give it a long spread of 5 years because of the fact that SD DVD's and tech is so widespread. Even if people upgrade their hardware, people will still mostly have SD DVD's for the next while. DVD purchases have slowed when people realized that they suddenly had TOO MANY DVD's in their collection, so this is perhaps another thing that will deter people from jumping completely on HD DVD's.

I looked at the Premiere website. It looks like the interface is the same as it's always been. Great. But it raises more questions about why Adobe went with it's choices i.e. it only outputs in blue ray HD not HD DVD? I assume that the finished video will still be HD and there will probably be a plugin made to output in HD DVD format, later...

Can this be run on any new laptop bought today? I've grown to prefer doing my work on a portable device. I also just bought a laptop for someone and I ssee that some great ones hover at under the $1000 mark. I would assume that any of these can edit HD/HDV (talking PC here).
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Old January 5th, 2008, 02:53 PM   #6
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If I were to decide on a format, I would look into the online distribution method before anything else...

Depending on what you are doing, and how "professional" you are or will become, the fastest growing and easiest way of distribution is the internet. For this medium I would settle on HDV 720p format. It has the best ratio of quality vs filesize, and you can always downconvert to lower formats for faster downloads.
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Old January 5th, 2008, 03:55 PM   #7
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Maybe everyone is making this more complicated. You said HDV to SD, so I assume you are talking HDV.

On PC side, best results I have had by far is shoot HDV, capture to HDV intermediate codec (NeoHDV from Cineform) Edit and output in Vegas 8 in Cineform codec (selecting best quality).

When I go to DVD, I use Architect 4.5, pull the Cineform file into it, and let Architect convert to the finished dvd files.
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Old January 5th, 2008, 07:10 PM   #8
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I see Chris, so you are doing it pretty much all in HDV.

Yes, online distribution... with the resolution on most of the websites, SD is fine, unless we were to put something up on a torrent site. The future may change when bandwith increases....

I know I should research this before I ask first, but I'll ask anyway, is there an HDV camera that will shoot in HDV, but downconvert to SD -in camera- and output as SD through firewire? Yes, I know this sounds like a hairbrained step, but I'm curious The Canon XH-A1 perhaps?
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Old January 5th, 2008, 07:32 PM   #9
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No not to my knowledge, but why would you need that?

Downconverting is the easiest task ever... When you are done editing, simply save the file to the desired format and resolution. Or even better, save it in HDV and then use a converting software that quickly can convert the file to any format needed. If you were to capture the footage in SD from the camera, made the editing, and later found out that you need it in HD you would have to do it all over again...

Last edited by Nik Skjoth; January 6th, 2008 at 05:30 PM.
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