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Old September 27th, 2009, 10:11 AM   #1
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Technically accurate or technical snobbery?

I wasn't working but I ran into a cameraman who was shooting some documentary footage. In a conversation he was having with the helicopter pilot I overheard the following: "What p****s me off is people calling HDV high definition. HDV is certainly not high definition. A $100,000 camera is high definition, not an $8,000 camera." And he went on to say "And the manufacturers are just as guilty because they advertaise HDV cameras as Hi-Def."

There can be no arguement that HDV cameras lack the technical capabilities of a $100,000 HD camera. But can HDV footage considered to be truely HiDef?

I have been thrilled with HDV footage that I have seen shot on a V1 and a Z7, edited and then output to Bluray disc and then shown on a 70" big screen. It sure looks like HiDef to my eyes.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 10:54 AM   #2
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Greg, I'll take your more objective assessment over that cameraman's rant any day. Despite the marketing, there is no "One True HD." Anything greater than 720x480 is HD (in the NTSC parts of the world), and there are many resolutions, formats, codecs in existence, with more to come. More money still buys you more capability. If his needs are for the $100K camera, so be it. HDV isn't "HD enough" for some situations; that's ok cuz a lot of great HD work gets done (and even broadcast on HD channels) with sub-$1k cameras. Those cameras of course DON'T have as much capability as a camera costing 100 times more...unless, for example, you need a tiny and/or expendable camera.

So before I get accused of ranting as well, I'll simply say there are tools that suit a purpose, and tools that don't. Those of us who can't play -- or don't have a need to play -- in the $100K sandbox can be very happy with the accessibility of lower cost HD acquisition (eg HDV, AVCHD). Who reading this wouldn't have given a body part just five years ago to have a 1440x1080 or even 1920x1080 camera at today's pricepoints and form factors?

While your cameraman buddy rants about "true HD" get on out there and shoot great stuff with your HDV camera!
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Old September 27th, 2009, 11:08 AM   #3
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I agree that an $800 single chip consumer handicam shoots "Hi Def"

I also get frustrated when people WITH said $800 handicam try to convince my clients that they are producing the exact same quality images that I'm getting out of my JVC GY-HD200's and the occasional XDCamEX or XDCamHD rental.

There are MANY flavours and quality levels of high def and the quality/cost slope is a slippery one. It IS frustrating however when one is working at the higher ends of a standard and has low cost "competitors" spreading half truths to paying clients.

The Sony XDCamEX family is an interesting one - the quality is CERTAINLY right up there on par with the highest levels of CODEC - HOWEVER glass and feature sets vary dramatically from the EX1 to a 2/3" HDCamSR with beautiful prime lenses and those that have made that investment financially as well as in their own abilities have EVERY right to be P*SS*D at those that put a $7000 camera on full auto and say they are producing images that are JUST as good.
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Old September 28th, 2009, 09:25 AM   #4
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Good points.

I think the original cameraman's rant was 1/4 right.

The Manufacturers do take marketing liberties around the HD space.

But the same could have been said about the DV space as well.

The trend going foward is definately not to spend big as I think we are reaching an image quality threshold with the top end.

The mid to low level cameras are catching up and the only determining factor in image quality difference is often the final viewer who very often does not care or can not tell the difference.
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Old September 28th, 2009, 04:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
The trend going foward is definately not to spend big as I think we are reaching an image quality threshold with the top end.
I'm not so sure that it's that. I THINK it's more of an issue with the "top end" cameras that shoot "video" (as opposed to those targeted at digital cinema) are "limited" by broadcast format, their PRIMARY usage. Until 1080P120 (or some other future minded spec) becomes a broadcast standard, I think we're "stuck" with high end cameras shooting 1080i and 1080P24 with 2/3" chips.
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Old September 28th, 2009, 11:27 PM   #6
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Shaun, I do not understand your post.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 04:13 AM   #7
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I think it's generally agreed that HDV is a HD format. Although, it isn't accepted for use as the main production format by the major HD channels - that is unless they agree an exception because of the nature of the subject matter.

There has been a debate about a dividing line between the prosumer cameras and the generally accepted pro cameras like the F900s etc. Many people seemed to place the EX3 as more in the pro arena than the prosumer, so is on in the dividing line.

The differences between the lower and higher priced cameras can come down to how much larger the colour space is, how well the highlights are handled, how natural are the flesh tones. The resolution of the glassware and how well it maintains it's over all quality when shooting wide open.

The 2/3" sensors have a lot going for them in general broadcast work, so it's unlikely that will change for much of that market. Documentaries have budgetary pressures, so many will work along that margin, although with the 2/3" Scarlet due out they should could have less reasons to use the HDV 1/3" cameras, which tend to suffer in low light.

The answer could be it depends on the cameraman's terms of reference. If he was referring to some HD broadcasters guidelines, HDV is listed as an SD format. However, for use outside those specifications in other markets it's HD.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 08:30 AM   #8
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Tim, the point I was making was that high end VIDEO cameras (your Sony HDCam's and F700/F800's for example) are designed to meet a broadcast spec as broadcast is their primary purpose. 1080i or 720P. That's it. Typically at 50 or 60 Hz. The 24 frame modes are more of a "look" on these cameras, although they are ofttimes used for digital cinema or non-broadcast related purposes.

Now, if we start talking about cameras designed for digital cinema (your RED One, the Silicon Imaging, Sony's HDCamSR etc.), the sky is the limit, much as you allude to.

As long as the broadcast standard remains 1080i/p or 720P, we are unlikely to see MASSIVE movement in the top end of the video camera spectrum while the midlevel multiuse cameras (as well as the digital cinema cameras) are going to continue to race forward.

Remember, most broadcast guys (and gals) want their new camera to behave pretty much exactly like their old camera, only better. Most leave the "tweaking" to the broadcast engineer at the station or rental house.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 08:49 AM   #9
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HDV is high definition. I don't know why so many people argue the point:

"HDV is a format for recording and playback of high-definition video on a DV cassette tape."

HDV - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"his article discusses the general concepts of high-definition video, as opposed to its specific applications in television broadcast (HDTV), video recording formats (HDCAM, HDCAM-SR, DVCPRO HD, D5 HD, XDCAM HD, HDV and AVCHD),..."

High-definition video - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Now, broadcasters can choose to refuse HDV because they don't see the CODEC delivering acceptable quality, or a cameraman can complain about the look, but that doesn't somehow reduce the resolution of the image. It's still HD.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 08:57 AM   #10
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Good points. Thanks for clarifying.

My aim was that the HDV of today gets pretty close or better in some regards as broadcast of yesterday.

Even thought the camera specs will go up, it will make less and less finacial sense from both sides of the equation to make big investements.

I think we are coming close to the limits of percieved visual improvement with regards to camera development.

Watch a lot of the broadcast network produced shows and these images are incredible. Shot with today's technology, some film, some digital, all broadcast at 720p.

How much better can the image get, or does it need to get?

So I see the original rant as a bit of sour grapes over the huge investment without a clear distinction of superiority.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:12 AM   #11
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AMEN.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
So I see the original rant as a bit of sour grapes over the huge investment without a clear distinction of superiority.
Now to play Devil's Advocate:
How would anyone here like to be the guy that was FORCED by the broadcaster to buy into a $150k camera and lens package in order to meet STRICT submission criteria ONLY to have those criteria relaxed a year later to allow the $7000 camera owner to DIRECTLY compete? OUCH!

This happened to us during the early days of DVCam when it "wasn't good enough" for broadcast. BetaSP or nothing, said the broadcasters. So what did we do? Bought Sony PD150's, shot VERY carefully, spent a TON of time in post making sure everything was legal and then delivering on BetaSP tape. The engineers probably knew but the people that pushed the buttons and said "yay" or "nay" never said a word...

In some cases, the broadcaster has a valid concern - they have made investments in infrastructure that total HIGH millions of dollars, if not billions EMBRACING one format, whether it be XDCamHD, P2, HDCam... How many times have we seen folks on these forums asking for advice on how to transfer their XL1s footage to HDCam? Do you really think that the very first time the new content providers submit an HD upres, it's going to be done right? TECHNICALLY right? Video and audio levels LEGAL and everything?

We've ALL started somewhere but if you were a broadcaster with such an investment in infrastructure, would you "waste" the time to accept whatever a content producer delivers and deal with it on your side (at your cost) or would you put in place a set of specs based on your infrastructure? And make exceptions for the best clients and the most incredible content that didn't QUITE meet specs?

It's a complicated world when you get into broadcast territory. I submit HDV sourced material from my JVC GY-HD200u cameras all the time for broadcast BUT I submit in SD AND I take the time to make sure it meets all technical requirements.

Thus endeth the rant.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 10:13 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
How would anyone here like to be the guy that was FORCED by the broadcaster to buy into a $150k camera and lens package in order to meet STRICT submission criteria ONLY to have those criteria relaxed a year later to allow the $7000 camera owner to DIRECTLY compete? OUCH!
Tell me about it. A friend of mine was trying to sell his Betacam last year. He mortaged his house to buy it years ago, and couldn't even get a bite asking $5000 when he wanted to sell. Fortunately, he had made his money out of it already, but still!

He borrowed my Z1 to check it out, and couldn't believe the image. And the Z1 is a first generation HDV cam. They're better now. Never mind an EX1 or whatever. Incredible quality these days for next to nothing in comparison to very recently.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 10:17 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vito DeFilippo View Post
A friend of mine was trying to sell his Betacam last year... and couldn't even get a bite asking $5000 when he wanted to sell. Fortunately, he had made his money out of it already, but still!
I don't understand... since the camera has long since paid for itself, then any amount it sells for, whether it's $5000 or $500, is clear profit above and beyond that which it has already made. Where is the problem?
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Old September 29th, 2009, 10:31 AM   #14
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I don't understand... since the camera has long since paid for itself, then any amount it sells for, whether it's $5000 or $500, is clear profit above and beyond that which it has already made. Where is the problem?
I guess I wasn't clear. Yes, he made his money out of it, and thus it was a solid investment. My point was only that it's amazing how quickly things have changed. Not long ago, cameramen were making huge investments to get into the game. Now, equivalent quality can be had for a relative pittance.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 10:39 AM   #15
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In this business, it's best to think of gear as a toothpaste tube - at SOME point along the life expectancy curve it still has SOME value to SOMEBODY but not nearly a linear depreciation. And when it's done, you throw it out. And hope that between the tax implications of depreciation combined with revenue generated, you made out ok.
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