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Old February 18th, 2005, 12:25 PM   #1
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Feature w/DigiBeta and HD...Is HD Worth It?

Hi all

I'm doing pre-production on an feature we'll be shooting this fall in Virginia. The format of the film calls for 40 minutes of traditional, shot by shot cinema mixed with an hour or so of live footage.

Imagine a rock concert movie which opens with 25 minutes of traditional footage, then has the live concert, and closes with 15 more minutes of traditional footage.

Anyway, we'll be using DigiBeta cameras for the live stuff since I need to run 4 cameras at once for 3 performances. I was thinking of using HD for the non-live filming. My goal is to make the non-live footage look like a "real" movie and the live stuff to look..well, live. LOL

Will the difference between the HD and Digibeta be enough to justify the extra cost HD brings with it? On the one hand the HD will have much higher resolution etc etc etc..on the other I'm going to have 4 digibeta cameras w/crew sitting around anyway...

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Old February 18th, 2005, 12:32 PM   #2
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HD is absolutely worth the extra cost! IF you plan on monetizing this in the future. In other words, if this is a one-off deal that will never see the light of day after one broadcast, then stay DB. But for future needs, you'll want to step up if cost isn't a huge object.
It shouldn't be a huge jump anyway, other than storage and monitoring.
An FW900 or 700 is of course, better than HDV. But I've done a lot of comparing of HDV to DB, and having a Bowl game shot with both, I'd be really hard pressed to say DB is "better." With just a touch of saturation, the HDV is just as powerful.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 01:11 PM   #3
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I agree with you that the difference between prosumer HD and digibeta is minimal, but shooting the concert either way is about the same in cost and I have the capture equipment/know the digibeta guys..So that's why I'm going with that for the live stuff.

For the non-live section I have either the option of a 700A or FW900. The 700A is local while I have to get some guys down from Richmond to run the FW900.

I haven't priced the two options..but any thoughts on how they compare would be appreciated.
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Old March 8th, 2005, 12:51 PM   #4
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I disagree that the difference between HDV and DigitalBetaCAM is small. But I have shot a lot of DigiBeta, HDCAM, and DVCPROHD. So, I know that my eyes are more discerning than others.

I've shot alot of HDCAM with both the 700A and the F900. And if you really want to sell the difference between the "live" footage and the "narrative" footage, then my advice would be to go with the F900. The quickest cue to selling the narrative look next to the live footage will be to shoot it in 24P. The difference in motion signature between the 24 frame footage and the 60 interlaced fields footage will be night and day. The 700A is an interlaced camera. So the motion signature will look exactly the same as the DigiBeta's. Most who shoot with 700A comment that it looks like super clean and clear DigiBeta. But when you see 24P HDCAM, you know you're looking at something different.

The cost difference between the 700A and the F900, comparably equipped, will be minimal.

IF the cost of the F900 is a strain on the budget, then you may want to investigate the option of shooting the narrative footage with a Panasonic SDX900. The SDX900 shoots DVCPRO50 and will give you SD image quality on par with the DigiBeta's, but with 24P. This way the whole production stays SD, but you still get the quick visual cue of the different motion signatures. The rental of the SDX900 should be significantly less than the rental of the F900.
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Old March 13th, 2005, 11:40 AM   #5
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Jon is absolutely correct and the only thing I'd like to add and remind everyone of is of course, if you want it to look like film you will have to light it like film (er light it well) just because you have 24p doesnt' mean you get to forgo everything else. That's all I just don't want any HD bashing because it doesn't "look" a whole lot better then digibeta, only because it wasn't treated well during production.
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