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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
Topics about HD production.


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Old January 2nd, 2010, 11:59 AM   #121
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Wow, these are the types of debate/discussion that get me glued to these forums when I should be working (well, I'm just watching this render progress, so technically, I am still working) ;-)


"We all know how to do something, and what we are best at is usually what we should stick to".

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Old January 3rd, 2010, 11:50 PM   #122
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Here is a review exerpt of a prototype 350 from Adam Wilt of ProVideoCoalition.com:
(Being a prototype means everything is subject to change.)

Pros

* Full-resolution sensors and full-resolution recording.
* 10.5 stops of dynamic range.
* Variable frame rates 1-30fps (1080p) and 1-60fps (720p).
* Progressive and interlaced recording, 60Hz and 50Hz formats.
* High-quality XDCAM EX 35Mbit/sec recording on SxS cards.
* Fully-professional shoulder-mount configuration with excellent, shoot-all-day-handheld ergonomics.
* Superb, huge, color EVF with real, variable peaking control.
* Interval, single-frame, and cache (pre-rec) recording.
* Autofocus-capable yet very affordable 16x lens.
* Works with wide-ranging ecosystem of 2/3” lenses, wireless receivers, tripod plates, remote controls, etc.
* BNC, full-size i.Link, full-size HDMI, and XLR connectors—no weird, proprietary plugs.
* Genlockable; remotely controllable; remotely paintable.
* No vertical smear.
* HyperGammas.
* Very tweakable image looks and operating characteristics.
* Lots of assignable buttons and switches.
* Some of the best EVF data displays around, including histogram, focal distance, and depth of field.

Cons

* A lot more expensive than the 1/2” EX1 and EX3.
* On-board recording is only 8-bit, 4:2:0 sampling; can show compression artifacts when stressed.
* SxS slots on right side of camera are away from the operator, and are more subject to unauthorized access by passers-by than card slots on the operator’s side of the camera.
* Stock lens has noticeable distortion up through 30mm.
* Rolling-shutter “jellocam” artifacts possible.
* DVCAM mode lacks any 24p option.
* No analog component or Y/C outputs.

Cautions

* Everything in this preview is subject to change.
* Prototype’s HyperGammas don’t appear to be working properly.
* Prototype’s knee suffers from EX-series saturation-induced blowout.
* DVCAM mode may not be standard.
* Prototype’s chromatic aberration correction not working, so it’s not possible to say how good the lens will look.

Adam is a great resource of knowledge on the net and I believe he is totally neutral in his review findings, no matter the manufacturer. He's also a nice guy.

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Old January 4th, 2010, 12:20 AM   #123
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From another forum regarding projected 720P Varicam footage from DP Bruce Greene:

"Recently I had the experience of showing a small movie we shot with the 27H tape based varicam on a very large screen in a multiplex projected through Barco DLP 2k projector. The movie was still a work in progress, and so we played it on my MacBook Pro in quicktime and plugged into the projector as a mirrored computer monitor.

The film was shot in 720p, mostly using an AJA I/O HD box and recording to a HD in Apple ProRes HQ, though a bit was recorded to tape and a few scenes (mostly in cars) were shot with an HPX170. The camera was set to FilmRec mode and we used the lowest setting that could capture the needed dynamic range of the scene. This was usually Dynamic Level 200%, but higher when necessary. This meant that the uncorrected movie looks a little bit low in contrast and saturation so the Quicktime player was set to slightly increase contrast and saturation.

I was a little bit nervous that the 720p image on such a large screen might look a little soft, but it looked amazing! Going next door to glimpse a big Hollywood 35mm print revealed that the 720p digital projection looked as detailed as the 35mm print, and much cleaner and steadier of course. The Varicam projected had much more "life" than the dull 2k DI film print in the next theater (I'm talking about basic image quality, not the cinematography smile.gif )

The DVCproHD shots from the Varicam did not stand out from the full raster, 10 bit, ProRes recordings and I could not tell which were which at the screening, though I have noticed banding in graduated areas of the image from this format at other times.

I guess I'm making these points to say that, detail wise, 720p is darned close to 1080p. And when shooting a movie almost every frame has some amount of motion blur, making the difference insignificant to the eye, even on a very large theatrical screen. The low light advantage of the 720p chips, and the slow motion capability make these cameras a true rival to any of the 1080p cameras that I saw demonstrated in the ASC camera assessment series last month. And while I wasn't able to compare the 720p Varicam directly to the 4k camera named after a color, I would say that after seeing the ASC tests, the 720p Varicam is about equal to or more detailed than that camera on a 2k projection."

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Old January 4th, 2010, 03:09 AM   #124
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You have to take Bruce Greene's resolution comments with a degree of caution.

Fact: There is over twice as much picture information in 1080P over 720P (assuming the cameras are resolving everything they should be)
Fact: DVCProHD is only 960x720.
Fact: There is 3 times as much picture information in 1080P over DVCProHD.

I really have to question the viewing method if little difference is being seen between a 1920 x 1080 image and a 960 x 720 image. If this is truly the case then why do people in the UK see such a big difference between SD (720 x 576) and 720P which very often is only 960 x 720?

It also appears that he is comparing the 27H DVCproHD footage against "1080P" from the 27H and HPX170. If that's the case then I wouldn't expect to see much difference as the camera front ends are only 720P in the first place, so there would be very little difference anyway. Just because you are recording a 1080P signal it doesn't mean it's a 1080P image. Playing out a quicktime movie from a laptop is hardly going to produce the best possible image.

I watched a natural history show last night with a mix of 1080P aerials and 720P ground based shots. The difference was quite noticeable, especially on subtle textures.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 06:44 AM   #125
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I always have to sigh when I see projection mentioned as a defense that unless the image is magnified on a 105 - 144 inch screen size you can't possibly observe the same detail they are observing therefore don't even try, never mind the resolution lost to the optical lens itself. It's more than easy to spot the difference between 720p and 1080p on a good, native flat panel display such as Pioneer Elite, or Kuro, or Sony Bravia XBR, or any of the good panels that have good scaling, deinterlacing or native 24/25p, just by sitting a little closer.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 10:09 AM   #126
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Last week I spent an afternoon at a projector manufacturer for a demo of their newest flagship DLP projector. I spent a long time talking to their main R&D engineer in the U.S. I asked him how apparent the difference in 720 vs. 1080 sources were to him at normal viewing distances. The screen in the demo room is 160" diagonal. He admitted he couldn't see the difference. I asked him about LCD flat panel displays, same thing--non-issue at normal viewing distances. Then he got into how being too close to a large screen would mean that peripheral vision would be needed and that our peripheral vision isn't as good at discerning resolution.

I setup an LCD flat panel display for my father-in-law yesterday. There was a 480P 16:9 image on the screen and three people were saying how great it looked. I'm pretty sure that they would have a very hard time telling me the difference between 720 and 1080, even when close to the screen. Most people don't watch TV from 4' away, just DP's, DIT's, colorists and editors!

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Old January 4th, 2010, 11:55 AM   #127
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So Jeff are you saying then that there is no advantage to shooting anything with a higher resolution than 720P as no one can tell the difference between 720P and anything with a higher resolution, even when projected onto a 160" screen, a screen size that could be found in some smaller cinema theaters? Because if you can't see the resolution gain from 720P to 1080P then surely you won't see the difference of higher resolutions.

Are you implying that Panavision, Red, Arri, Sony, Panasonic, Ikegami etc, etc are all wasting their time producing cameras with higher resolution than 720P and that NHK's research into UltraHD etc is a waste of time? Are you seriously convinced that home TV screen sizes are not going to continue to get bigger. Do you honestly think movie producers are wasting their money shooting at 4K. Come on Jeff, there is a difference and it's perfectly visible at normal viewing distances. In the UK and Europe the typical viewing distance is 2.7m (8ft) and with the human eye able to resolve 1/60th of a degree of an arc it only needs around a 42" screen for the difference between 720P and 1080P to be quite apparent. A 42" screen is not considered large any more and screen sizes are going up and up, while room sizes if anything are getting smaller.

What about web delivery. What's the resolution of the computer screen your looking at now? Would you be happy with a 1280x720 screen or can you see the difference between that and higher resolutions? I know that when I play back 720P and 1080P clips, full screen on my laptop or PC I can see quite a difference and web delivery of video is going to become a bigger and bigger part of our industry. 1650x1050 and 1920x1080 are common sizes for computer displays and most people sit only 2 or 3 ft from their computers. Even YouTube have gone 1080P!
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Old January 4th, 2010, 01:23 PM   #128
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Alister,

All else being equal, then, yes, the more pixels the merrier. However, like 4:4:4 and 10-bit-14-bit codecs, the differences aren't always apparent to the human eye, just to the computers in post that are doing the compositing, scaling, encoding, decoding, transcoding.

I think too many are caught up in pixel counting. We all know that RED One doesn't actually provide 4K resolution in the best of circumstances, and when doing high speed frame rates, loses resolution due to the sensor size getting smaller.

Regarding the ability to see the difference between 720 and 1080 on a 42" full raster display at 8', not in my experience.

YouTube proves that it takes more than 1080P resolution to provide a high quality image. Too many places for image degradation in the multiple steps of compression. 1080P is no magic bullet and top end 720P cameras like the Varicam have proven this for years.

Due to full sample codecs like XDCAM EX, XDCAM 422, AVC-Intra 100, ProRes 422, 720P looks better than ever.

Based on Adam Wilt's review, the 350 pre-release unit he saw had issues. He does not believe its CMOS artifacts are any better than with the EX1 and EX3, saw the codec as a weakness, questioned its value vs. an EX1 for 3X less $$. You and I agree that a 2/3" front end is worth the price premium, I'm not sure I want to risk CMOS sensors for all of the varied projects my clients would be shooting and I don't see 8-bit, 4:2:0 codecs as having a place in modern high end acquisition. You don't believe 720P native sensors belong in modern high end acquisition. We can agree to disagree.

I've never, ever had a client complain that my HDX900 didn't provide enough resolution. Indeed, they are normally thrilled with the images. I don't expect expect to hear complaints about my HPX2700 that provides full sample 720P or upconverted 1080P recording.

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Old January 4th, 2010, 02:29 PM   #129
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It isn't pixel counting, its the irrefutable fact that a like for like 1080P image contains substantially more detail than a 720P image. If 720P really was perfection why on earth would so many broadcasters be wasting bandwidth by transmitting 1080?

I guess we will have to disagree. I strongly believe that 720P is a format that will over the next 5 to 8 years, largely disappear. TV's and monitors will continue to get larger with 50" becoming common place. At this size with normal viewing distances the difference between 720P and 1080P is almost as large as the difference between SD and 720P.

And don't forget that Adam uses and likes his EX1, he's "in love with the images it captures", He also thinks the 350 produces a better image than the EX1. He also thinks the 350 is "very competitively priced". It's very easy to take extracts from a review out of context to make it sound like pretty much anything you want. And as we know the codec is easily bypassed.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 03:29 PM   #130
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Sony 350 lens

Hi Alister this is my first time on DV.INFO, but ive got a burning question i hope you can advise me on. I have owned my own video production company now for nearly 25 years and for just about all that time i have used true shoulder mount cameras. Last year i sold my DSR135 DOCKABLE DVCAM Camera also my PD170 and baught an EX1 and an EX3.The picture quality from both the EX1 and EX3 are fantastic,but i couldnt quite get used to the shape of the EX3.To try to get it to be more of a shoulder mount camera i added a V LOCK battery plate with two IDX batteries clipped together for the rear of the camera and for the front i put on a FUJINON XS17x5.5BRMHD LENS,that made the EX3 90% a good shoulder mount camera (picture quality absolutely fantastic).I now want to purchase a PMW350 I think this camera will be perfect for me.My question is how will the stock lens lens on the PMW350 compare (picture quality wise) with the picture quality i now get from my EX3 with my new lens,will it be better or not as good.My long term plans are to purchase a decent lens for the 350 but i will have to wait for that for a few months.Thanks Wilf.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 03:33 PM   #131
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Alister,
Your argument while logical doesn't prove that humans can or cannot see the difference between 720P or 1080P when shown side by side using optimal technology for each. As a matter of influence we know that people think bigger or more is better so they may persuade themselves that they can see a difference that double blind tests won't show.
We know there is more information in 1080 but it doesn't mean humans on average can resolve the difference in the viewing situations they are in. There is a reason NTSC lasted for such a long time as a standard because the specs were based on human reactions to the signals not just what the equipment could produce. Humans have not evolved substantially since then but the electronic capabilities have. If you are correct why stop at 1080HD for distribution. At what point do you think you would not see an advantage with more pixels? Double? Triple? Quadruple?
As to whether you are correct about the disappearance of 720P I think you are on more solid ground from a market perspective. People hear the higher number and think they need it and the market responds. Apparently the higher number of frames in a 720 60P signal doesn't impress them as much as 1080P at 30. Channels pick their specs based on a combination of inputs and many don't want to be perceived as lower quality so lean towards 1080 as the higher quality spec. Some channels like Discovery would say they wouldn't accept programs which used a lower quality compression/recording because they were worried about quality problems which would show up in the future while not apparent now. Regardless we will probably settle on 1080 over 720 on the off chance that the lower number is not good enough.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 04:08 PM   #132
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
It isn't pixel counting, its the irrefutable fact that a like for like 1080P image contains substantially more detail than a 720P image. If 720P really was perfection why on earth would so many broadcasters be wasting bandwidth by transmitting 1080?

I guess we will have to disagree. I strongly believe that 720P is a format that will over the next 5 to 8 years, largely disappear. TV's and monitors will continue to get larger with 50" becoming common place. At this size with normal viewing distances the difference between 720P and 1080P is almost as large as the difference between SD and 720P.
edit
It's very easy to take extracts from a review out of context to make it sound like pretty much anything you want. And as we know the codec is easily bypassed.
Alister,

Just because there are more pixels doesn't mean the difference is obvious to the eye, as Daniel stated. I previously posted an excerpt from a professional display reviewer who absolutely does not back up your assertions about there being an obvious difference in resolution at normal viewing distances. By the way, 720/60P requires more bandwidth (45khz) than 1080/60i(33.75khz). One offers better spatial resolution, the other better temporal resolution. At any given time, 1080/60i is 540 lines vertical vs. 720.

If 720P were to disappear, and this would be news to ABC, Fox, and ESPN, it would be more to do with marketing than image quality. A full raster 1080 display in a 24" or 32" LCD display is silly, ditto a 240Hz refresh rate, but the marketeers position these as being necessary for their video displays.

Regarding Adam's 350 review, I just listed his pros and cons, I didn't take anything out of context. I think readers should go to ProVideo Coalition.com: Pro Cameras, Video Editing, Motion Graphics and read the review themselves. Your obvious pro-Sony bias would make me skeptical of any review you have written, however.

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Old January 4th, 2010, 04:33 PM   #133
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No Jeff you only listed con's from Adams review making it sound as though he didn't like the camera which is not the case at all.

Who was talking about 60P???? where did that suddenly come from? Not me. Your description of 1080i only having a resolution of 540 lines is incorrect anyway because the two fields are offset by one line, the resolution is actually around 800 lines due to line averaging to prevent twitter. You still have twice the horizontal resolution. At least get the facts correct.

I am pro Sony, I stated as much in my first reply to this thread and I don't ever pretend that I am not. I'm no more pro Sony than you are pro 2700. I expect my reviews are biased, because I genuinely believe Sony are currently producing some of the best cameras available.

I don't think we will stop at 1080P, heck 2K and 4K is already available... oh hang on us humans can't see a difference in anything greater than 720P apparently so why bother with those either?

I'm not going to bother with this thread any longer. It's pointless talking to the "720P is the best well ever need" brigade. Go ahead, limit your audience, your potential customers, you post flexibility. At least if you start with 1080 you can always go down to 720P. Start with 720P, stuck with 720P. Nuff Said.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 04:34 PM   #134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Regan View Post
Regarding Adam's 350 review, I just listed his pros and cons, I didn't take anything out of context. I think readers should go to ProVideo Coalition.com: Pro Cameras, Video Editing, Motion Graphics and read the review themselves.
For the life of me, I can't find this review, just the NXCAM. Perhaps you have to be a subscriber?
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Old January 4th, 2010, 04:35 PM   #135
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Wilf: There is an excellent, unbiased review of the camera and lens on the Abel website or take a look in the EX section of the XDCAM forum.
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