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Old October 10th, 2005, 10:20 AM   #1
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HDV format matrix?

First post, so bear with me. I'm trying to reach a decision on which camera to go with to replace our 4 dvx100s over the next four years. Naturally there are more specific requirements I have but it strikes me that what would be really useful amidst the explosion of different HDV variants is some matrix indicating what resolutions can be handled by what cameras, decks and (ideally) NLEs. If there's one in existence I'd love to know about it, if not, I'm happy to dig around and try and pull one together for the good of myself and I imagine many others who are perplexed by plethora of variants out there. Let me know.
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Old October 10th, 2005, 10:53 AM   #2
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Such a thing would make a great addition to our HDV Articles section.
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Old October 10th, 2005, 11:08 AM   #3
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Tim: as far as recording formats go, I think the following should sum this up for currently known affordable HD cameras.

- JVC HD1, HD10, HD100: HDV 720p30

- Sony HC1, FX1, Z1U: HDV 1080i60

- Sony XDCAM HD: modified HDV 1080i60 with PCM audio

- Canon XL-H1: HDV 1080i60 or HD-SDI output to deck of your choice

- Panasonic HVX200: DVCProHD at both 720p and 1080i/p resolutions at a variety of frame rates.


As a practical observation, if you need to replace four cameras and plan to work at 1080 resolutions, then getting 2-3 Sony FX1s and 1-2 more advanced cameras might be a useful solution.

If you're considering the HVX200, be sure you understand what your recording options would be and how much you'd need to budget for that on top of the price of the cameras.
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Old October 10th, 2005, 11:35 AM   #4
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Thanks. Specific concerns for me are wanting to standardise on one camera (they are used in a teaching context and it really makes a difference if the cameras are all the same) and being in the UK and using Avid Xpress Pro HD. These last two currently exclude the JVC - Avid's HDV release - 5.2 - doesn't support 720p/25 or 720p/50 but I understood that 720p was the flavour of choice in Europe and thus the dual format Panny looks the best bet IF the firestore option will talk to Avid. The Panasonic rep at IBC was telling me March before the Panasonic was readily available - I presume that's for the PAL version and the NTSC model will be released before year-end. Pre-rlease price for the Panasonic in the UK seems to be 5K inc VAT which I'm hoping is the bundle with two 8GB P2 cards (and cheaper without) otherwise that rules out that option on cost alone - the Canon I've seen for 4400 inc VAT which strikes me as one of those instances where we might not get turned over on the exchange rate.
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Old October 10th, 2005, 11:53 AM   #5
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If cost is an issue I'd say the Sony FX1 is easily the best value to date, with impressive image quality and a decent selection of manual controls for a "street price" of just over $3000 US. As far as Avid is concerned, I was under the impression they're planning to implement full HDV support, so I don't know why they wouldn't support the JVC cameras. Maybe they'll fix that before you get around to buying your cameras.
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Old October 11th, 2005, 08:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
Tim: as far as recording formats go, I think the following should sum this up for currently known affordable HD cameras.

- JVC HD1, HD10, HD100: HDV 720p30

- Sony HC1, FX1, Z1U: HDV 1080i60

- Sony XDCAM HD: modified HDV 1080i60 with PCM audio

- Canon XL-H1: HDV 1080i60 or HD-SDI output to deck of your choice

- Panasonic HVX200: DVCProHD at both 720p and 1080i/p resolutions at a variety of frame rates.


As a practical observation, if you need to replace four cameras and plan to work at 1080 resolutions, then getting 2-3 Sony FX1s and 1-2 more advanced cameras might be a useful solution.

If you're considering the HVX200, be sure you understand what your recording options would be and how much you'd need to budget for that on top of the price of the cameras.
Well; it was looking good up until the fact that some other parts of the world got left out - you know; the PAL based bits...

And lumping the NTSC/PAL 1080i 60/1080i 50 Z1 under the NTSC only banner could lead to even more confusion!!

And how to classify the JVC PD1? This PAL camcorder is sort of - well - an indeterminate little beastie that's basically the HD1, without true 720 but not necessarily SD...

I'm sure that no matter how brilliantly composed or organised - let alone legible - any list of info on these camcorders can be made, there'll always be confusion about what's available.

So someone sees that the Sony Z1 shoots 1080i 60, and they think "that seems good", but then they read some post that says "the HD100 has better image quality at 720p 30 than the 1080i 60 Sony"... and they now think "I'm confused. I thought 720 wasn't as big as 1080... what do I believe?"

Tim, it seems to me that you already had a pretty good idea of what's involved - if you've spoken to a Pana representative, you had some idea of what's going down... Why the need for re-assurance? Seems that what you really wanted to know could have been found in quite a few posts dealing with these specific issues.

Mind you - if Avid Xpress Pro HD has no 720 25 or 720 50 support as you report, they're in the deep smelly stuff compared to almost every other NLE. It's more than surprising - it's mind-boggling!! What a laughing stock they'll be...
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Old October 11th, 2005, 08:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Crisdale
So someone sees that the Sony Z1 shoots 1080i 60, and they think "that seems good", but then they read some post that says "the HD100 has better image quality at 720p 30 than the 1080i 60 Sony"... and they now think "I'm confused. I thought 720 wasn't as big as 1080... what do I believe?"
There's a comparison making the rounds now in which the conclusion is that the HD100U running at 720p offers basically the same image quality as the Sony Z1U running at 1080i. If this confuses anyone they just need to do some reading to understand why this might be the case, and then decide which camera suits them better based on other considerations.
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Old October 11th, 2005, 02:50 PM   #8
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Steve,
you are right to surmise that I'm not entirely without gorm on these matters, and my initial post was more a case of testing the desirability of some repository where not just me but everyone considering a move up to HDV might find in one place a simple answer to the 'will x work with y and will they both talk to z' questions that such a move necessarily entails. As expected, prudent deployment of the search function on a number of fora and manufacturers' pdfs will yield the information required but given the sheer number of variants and the fact that the exercise will be repeated countless times by people with their own checklist of desirables I'd be happy to contribute to a greater or lesser degree to getting the info down in one place. I hope I'm not seeing complexity where it doesn't exist, but Kevin's summation of what's out there (and your subsequent qualification) is indicative of the need for some Rosetta Stone of emergent HDV.
As an addenda I have to confess that in the course of this thread I've realised that sticking to the mantra of going with one camera because it facilitates teaching is actually compromised by the fact that I'll be replacing four DVX100s over four years so inevitably I'll have at least two different cameras on the go at any one time!
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Old October 11th, 2005, 03:19 PM   #9
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The matrix isn't all that complex, for HDV:

JVC supports 720p only, and JVC stuff only works with other JVC stuff. If you want 720, JVC's the only option. If you want progressive-scan, JVC's implementation is the only one that offers progressive scan.

Canon and Sony support 1080i only. Neither works with JVC equipment. If you want 1080i, you can go with Canon or Sony. Theoretically Canon gear should play back Sony footage, although Sony gear won't play back all Canon footage. Canon has their own proprietary "24F" mode that doesn't work with Sony.
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Old October 11th, 2005, 03:43 PM   #10
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Barry,
you sort of answer my question and also illustrate why I raised it. First off the Panasonic (vapourware in effect, I know) cites 720 and 1080 as attributes and (at the risk of intimating that what I'm after is a summation of everything known about all camcorders, ever) I'm interested in the legacy features of these cameras ie what they do in the SD domain. Second, the NTSC/PAL switchable functionality holds some sway for my particular needs and even the extent to which existing DV tape is supported and deployed across SD and HDV. And thirdly (OK I'll fess up and acknowledge that we don't get to buy kit often and so when the opportunity comes along we at least like to feel that we have one camcorder to rule them all) what provides a route outside/beyond the HDV format clash? In that respect the Canon and the Panasonic both seem to offer something in excess of the JVC and Sony. Please take this in the spirit in which it is made rather than a late night argument (I have other fora for such things!)
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Old October 11th, 2005, 04:45 PM   #11
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Okay then, more info, especially if you want to throw the HVX into the mix:

All of the proposed and released HDV and DVCPRO-HD cameras support DV recording. That's a given.

Among HDV cameras:
The JVC stands unique in that it offers 24p in DV in the NTSC version, and 25p in DV in the PAL version. The JVC is also unique in that it offers an extended-definition recording system, 480/60p and 576/50p in both versions. The JVC has no provision to record 60p or 50p in high-def, so it is incapable of recording "reality"-looking programming. The JVC is the only HDV model capable of progressive-scan.

The Sony cameras (apart from the Z1) are either NTSC or PAL. The NTSC units offer 1080/60i, the PAL units offer 1080/50i.

The Sony Z1 offers NTSC and PAL, 1080/60i and 1080/50i in the same unit. It is the only out-of-the-box, fully dual-standard unit on the market.

The Canon (out of the box) is not a dual-standard unit, it is either NTSC or PAL, either 1080/60i or 1080/50i, unless you spend $500 to upgrade it to be dual-standard. The option does exist.

The HVX is a whole different animal. It does not use the HDV format, nor does it record to tape (except for when in miniDV mode). It offers true progressive scan, as well as interlaced acquisition. The US version offers 1080/24p, 1080/30p, and 1080/60i, *and* 720/24p and 720/30p and 720/60p, plus single-frame/intervalometer capability, and some variable frame rates (such as 12, 18, 22, 36, and 48fps). All of that is recorded at 4:2:2, rather than the 4:2:0 of HDV. It also offers the DVCPRO50 recording format for 4:2:2 standard-def recording at very mild compression, in addition to regular 4:1:1 DV recording. It records nonlinearly on internal P2 cards or an external optional FireStore; it records to tape in DV mode. In standard-def resolutions (DVCPRO50 and DV) it records 480/24p, 480/30p, or 480/60i.

The HVX is not an international dual-standard model; there is an American version and a European version. The European version records 1080/25p and 1080/50i, as well as 720/50p and 720/25p and some variable frame rates. In standard-def it is 576/25p and 576/50i.
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Old October 11th, 2005, 05:25 PM   #12
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Thanks Barry. So if my NLE (AVID Xpress Pro HD) says it does 1080/50i within its HDV spec I can't assume that it'll also play along with what the HVX chucks out? And (departing from the original question, but the spec you set out for the Panasonic seems a good fit for what I'm after) for all the flexibility that the P2 or Firestore acquisition offers am I right in assuming that, even if Avid now or later supports the frankly bewildering array of options of the HVX my ability to play them back for presentation will mean either a DVCPRO HD deck or possibly dumping back to the firestore and then getting a signal out of that? I can see that both Sony and JVC have, with their camcorders and decks, end to end paths for HDV (with distinct takes on the format) but in addressing what I do with the various HVX options am I either going to end up spending an absolute fortune or have a clunky solution to playback?
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Old October 11th, 2005, 06:47 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Tim White
am I right in assuming that, even if Avid now or later supports the frankly bewildering array of options of the HVX my ability to play them back for presentation will mean either a DVCPRO HD deck or possibly dumping back to the firestore and then getting a signal out of that?
For what it's worth, you should be able to encode from any HD capture/editing format to standard HD delivery options. Or play from your editing timeline through a suitable video output on your editing system.
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Old October 11th, 2005, 07:19 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Tim White
So if my NLE (AVID Xpress Pro HD) says it does 1080/50i within its HDV spec I can't assume that it'll also play along with what the HVX chucks out?
You cannot assume that any editor that works with HDV would also work with DVCPRO-HD, no. However, in your case, Avid is 100% compliant with DVCPRO-HD and will work with everything that the HVX "chucks out."

Quote:
even if Avid now or later supports the frankly bewildering array of options of the HVX my ability to play them back for presentation will mean either a DVCPRO HD deck or possibly dumping back to the firestore and then getting a signal out of that?
HD delivery has always been a question mark. You can output it however you'd like. You could send it to DVCPRO-HD tape if you have a tape deck. You could burn it to a blu-ray or HD-DVD (assuming those come to market in a reasonable time). You could get an HD-SDI board and output to a D-5 or HDCAM or any other type of deck. You could even output it to HDV if you had an HDV deck or camera attached.

You could make a Windows Media HD DVD, which is perhaps the easiest, best, and lowest-cost option for delivering HD today, as it works with a regular 50-cent DVD-R and can play back on basically any WinXP desktop or laptop computer.

Or, you could output it to P2 and play it from the camera or a P2 deck. Or maybe you could output it to the FireStore and play it through there, although I'm not sure whether that would work or not.
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Old October 11th, 2005, 07:54 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Tim White
Thanks Barry. So if my NLE (AVID Xpress Pro HD) says it does 1080/50i within its HDV spec I can't assume that it'll also play along with what the HVX chucks out? And (departing from the original question, but the spec you set out for the Panasonic seems a good fit for what I'm after) for all the flexibility that the P2 or Firestore acquisition offers am I right in assuming that, even if Avid now or later supports the frankly bewildering array of options of the HVX my ability to play them back for presentation will mean either a DVCPRO HD deck or possibly dumping back to the firestore and then getting a signal out of that? I can see that both Sony and JVC have, with their camcorders and decks, end to end paths for HDV (with distinct takes on the format) but in addressing what I do with the various HVX options am I either going to end up spending an absolute fortune or have a clunky solution to playback?
Now you are starting to see what HD/HDV is all about!!

It's something you'll need to think seriously about, given your educational intentions with the HD/HDV camera choice you make.

Even the XL-H1 presents the same input path dilemma. While it does record HDV, it's real targeted purchasing audience are those clients needing HD heads running SDI for live broadcast integration. Some folks here actually thought so little of the HDV capacity to record to tape, that the camera was originally NOT included with the other HDV camcorder forum. Is this what your students would like to be doing with the knowledge you'd like to provide them? Camera operators for Sports Networks/Indipendent Production Studios or "Reality" Series programs?

HDV on the other hand is related more to the HD product that's broadcast to the masses on Free To Air broadcast networks. That means, MPEG2 ts of no more than 19.3Mbit. The specs of all the HDV camcorders stay pretty closely linked to that basic set of data perameters.

So, if you'd like your students to learn more about shooting, editing and transcoding for eventual broadcast via FTA HD broadcasting networks, then a camera like the Z1 is - in my opinion; as an ex-teacher - almost perfection for the task.

You know what it is that would serve the educational needs and outcomes of your students best.

Now you have to make the decision on their behalf
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