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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old November 27th, 2007, 11:00 AM   #1
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Hdv?

My application is documentary filming. I need to do indoor and outdoor interviews. I gather that both SD (dvxb) and HD (HVX) cams are suitable.

I have read many times here that the HX-A1 is a really great cam for the price. I am just about to purchase a HVX but had someone offer me a Cannon HX-A1 for a REALLY good price. I don't understand the application of HDV though... as dumb as that sounds. I get that there is a difference in resolution from HD and that the audio compression is quite different (as well as the general components as the cams tend to be a little less expensive).

It is just that from what I have read even the "low end" of full HD like the HVX just barely makes the cut when it comes to broadcast HD. Yet, I have read loads of posts by HDV users who are making docs for TV. Are they downrezzing to SD?

After reading reams of technical specs I cannot get my head around the application of this resolution level.

I know I am really showing ignorance here, but believe it or not I have spent a lot of time (for a newbie) reading posts, shooting and editing out shorts with FCP (I have only ever shot in full HD with my "practice" consumer cam).

Most of what I am reading is talking numbers while I am trying to understand the real world differences in use.

I am taking my big leap buying my project camera and at the last moment can't figure out if I am buying more than I need or less than I need in terms of resolution. Aside from all the human skill factors, for a project that will be shopped for broadcast, is there any sense in spending extra money on an HX-A1 over a SD cam like the DVX if the HD picture/resolution is not up to what is needed for HD broadcast? Is it SD vs Full HD?

Thanks for your patience,

Russ

Last edited by Russ Hazard; November 27th, 2007 at 12:29 PM.
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Old November 27th, 2007, 12:14 PM   #2
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The costliest mistake you can make is to not educate yourself. For starters, you're mistaken in that HDV is certainly 100% HD and is actually one of several different kinds of HD that have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Fortunately, if you want information you are in the right place. You might start here:

http://www.hdvinfo.net/

or just browse the boards and use the "search" function to look things up.

There are so many great cameras available these days that are up to the task, it's really just a matter of determining your filmmaking priorities (workflow, budget, etc.) and letting them make the decision for you.
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Old November 27th, 2007, 12:31 PM   #3
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Thanks...I will get reading :)

R
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Old November 27th, 2007, 12:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russ Hazard View Post
after reading a great deal on this forum there seems to be a general consensus that the Cannon AH-X1 is a fantasitic cam for the price. I don't really understand the HDV thing though. It is not SD but not full HD. Does HDV footage from a cam like this get on air within the admittedly looser standards of edgy (rather than super high budget) documentary film making?
There is no "Full HD" as a technical term/definition, it is just an expression from the world of marketing. Original Sony HDCAM format has the same frame size of 1440x1080 as the HDV format has. Obviously, with 6 times higher bitrate the HDCAM produces better picture, has far less compression artifacts than HDV and its effective resolution is higher. But realistically do you have a choice? Can you afford HDCAM?

After watching some pretty bad HD material from satellite providers as well as from large networks I would not worry much about HDV imperfections.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 07:11 AM   #5
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Primers/white papers

A good place to start: http://www.adobe.com/designcenter/pr...p_hdprimer.pdf

Google *hd primer* or *hd white paper* for more.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 07:48 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Michael Jouravlev View Post
After watching some pretty bad HD material from satellite providers as well as from large networks I would not worry much about HDV imperfections.
The satellite providers are squeezing their HD offerings bandwidth wise, to offer more channels. Down to 12 mbs in some cases. I think they're doing more to hurt HD acceptance than help. I watch all HD programming off the air from my local tv stations. They run at about 19mbs and it looks pretty good.

-gb-
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Old December 6th, 2007, 09:01 PM   #7
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Cable HD vs. broadcast HD

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.... I watch all HD programming off the air from my local tv stations. They run at about 19mbs and it looks pretty good.

-gb-
So does digital cable HD provide any better bandwidth than off-the-air HD?
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Old December 7th, 2007, 12:24 AM   #8
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Hi Russ.................

Er, ok, what, exactly, are you asking here?

Your application is "documentary filming"

You need to do "indoor and outdoor interviews"

You mention a job being "shopped for broadcast", yet neglect to say what format the "broadcaster" wants the finished product in.

When you have figured out what, exactly, you want to know, then maybe we can give you the answers you need.


In the meantime, I detect you are not already a videographer - correct?

You have no idea about sound - correct?

You have no idea about lighting - correct?

If this sounds a bit like raining on your parade, I appologise profusely beforehand, it's just that your limited "intro" didn't leave a lot of "wriggle room" to work with.

Give us the guts and we'll dissect it, but give it to us straight. Guesses don't go far with the cost of this sort of gear.


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Old December 7th, 2007, 12:50 PM   #9
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Having done quite a bit of HDV documentary style work, at this point I would say the the weak link in most HDV work (my own included) is not the format, but the ability of the camera operator to pull focus so that it looks good on a 60 inch screen.

As far as the HDV format goes, I just love it. I think it is so much better than people give it credit for.
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Old December 7th, 2007, 06:13 PM   #10
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So does digital cable HD provide any better bandwidth than off-the-air HD?
For the OTA channels that they are obliged to rebroadcast? No. According to knowledgeable folks at avsforum, most (all?) local channels that satcos and cablecos rebroadcast are pulled directly off the air.

In regards of their own content, they can -- in theory -- provide better quality, because they are not limited by 6MHz bandwidth, which is the ATSC limitation for OTA. Because they provide their own cable boxes, they can use different encoding (like MPEG4) or different data rate. But I don't believe in a friendly cable operator who would cut their number of channels only to provide more bandwidth for some senseless soap opera shot in HD. In any case, they would have to obtain shows in higher than HDV quality to justify wider bandwidth. I don't see this happening considering that in many places only one cable company is available, because they own the "last mile". They divided and now they conquer.
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Old December 7th, 2007, 10:40 PM   #11
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Video on demand might also fight for cable bandwidth??
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Old December 30th, 2007, 11:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russ Hazard View Post
My application is documentary filming. I need to do indoor and outdoor interviews. I gather that both SD (dvxb) and HD (HVX) cams are suitable.
First of all note that HDV is a form of HD in the same sense that apples are a type of fruit, so anyone who tells you otherwise isn't giving you accurate information. What's suitable in terms of cameras is up to your intended customers, with some networks putting restrictions on all inexpensive HD cameras including both HDV models and the HVX200 (which uses a different recording format). But the same cameras are used for lots of network TV shows, so you just have to figure out what's going to work for the project you're doing.
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Old December 30th, 2007, 12:42 PM   #13
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Russ.

I don`t know what it is like in Canada when it comes to what the broadcasters accept.

Here in Norway I have seen some really bad footage in some documentaries make it to the TV- screen. The most important thing is what the story is about.

If it is of great interest and the story well told chanches are you will sell it to the broadcasters. If the story is bad is doesn`t matter what it was shot on.

I have been the owner of a DVX100AE and the camera is excellent. You will not find better images in this pricerange in my opinion. However it doesn`t shoot 16:9 and is not accepted by the broadcasters. You can however buy an anamorphic adapter for it and the broadcaster will never know.

Today I am the owner of an HVX200 and all tough I am not shooting HD yet, because of the expensive P2 technology, I will be soon.

I have been down the same road as you, going back and forth between SD and HD(V) but decided to spend a little more money so I am ready for the future. It is better to have the option and not use it ( until you want to ) than to buy an old technology and not have that option. You can always downconvert from HD(V) anyway.

I recently sold a documentary to the biggest broadcaster in Norway ( and they are really strict about picturequality ) and the pictures were shot on a DVX100, Sony V1E ( some of it HDV ) and an HVX200. I matched the cameras before shooting and delievered my master on miniDV. The broadcaster then dubbed it to DIGIBeta and were happy.

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