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Old November 10th, 2005, 10:38 AM   #16
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Personally, from a professional post house angle, we are having a great deal of difficulty finding a way to make HDV work for us at all. We have actual HD gear in the form of several Sony pieces and use Adrenaline, Nitris DS systems and now an Avid Xpress ProHD system. We bought into the AG- DVX100 and that was great because it is really interlaced on tape. Compatible with everyone and the pulldown can be added or removed at will in several of our systems. Cool.

On the other hand, we also bought the JVC BR-HD50 deck along with the HD100 camera and are finding no way to get the 24p, the most sought after frame rate naturally, into any of our professional editing systems. I partly blame Avid for dragging their feet on the format issues. Especially after announcing they would fully support the JVC camera. I have made notes in the Avid and JVC forums about the BR-HD50 deck not having deck control via firewaire and now the 422 control seems to be faulty. JVC techs and I are in discussion on that issue. Avid is not saying anything that I know of about when they might get around to supporting the 24p mode, and they are loosing customers over it to Vegas, FCP, Premiere Pro, Axio, etc.

The camera seems to make really nice video. Our DS editors are quite impressed with the 30p and 60p footage and watching the analog output in 24p. We just wish we could see the 24p footage actually in our systems as HDV footage.

I also have issues with labels. Is 60p really 60 frames? We hope so. Is 30p really 30 frames? In various places in various manuals they seems to use "p" as if it were "i". That is, refering to 30 frame footage as 29.97i, etc. There is a similar issue with the AG-DVX100 series. Yes I suppose it may be accurate to state that the DVX100 records in 24p but the tape is really recorded as 59.94 interlaced fields. What would be the proper way of stating this in a sales pitch? The great thing is that it really is 59.94i fields standard old NTSC video. That's why everyone can use it.

I find the whole mess confusing and yes, it doesn't seem like a real "format" to me. It's like someone said we need a new tape deck that records on 1/8" tape and left it at that. Everyone would have different ideas on how to do that. Different track spacing, digital or analog signals, tape speeds, tape thickness, connector type, etc.

If folks can just make it up on their own, it isn't a real format to me. I suppose those of us that want to be early adopters are just going to have to get burnt a few times trying to figure all this out.

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Old November 10th, 2005, 01:05 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Crisdale
So you're prepared to declare HDV 'broken' Barry?
No, not necessarily that word, but obviously there's a massive problem brewing. I think it was a mistake to label the incompatible versions under the same label. I mean, there is basically no compatibility whatsoever between JVC and anybody else, so why do they share the same "format" label? JVC really, really should have just gone with ProHD and ditched the whole "HDV" label entirely. Then it would make a lot more sense and avoid a world of confusion.

As a practical, real-world matter, JVC's HDV is no more compatible with Sony's HDV than Hi8 is with DV. I mean, yes you can get a Digital8 camera that can record DV data onto a Hi8 tape, but what does that mean? Does that mean you can put that DV-data Hi8 tape into another DV device and play it? No. Can you put that DV-data Hi8 tape into another Hi8 device and play it? No. So saying they're compatible just isn't true. Sony made the right choice by calling it Digital8, because it is a different format.

JVC's format isn't compatible with Sony's. That's just the way it is. The only concession at all, anywhere along the road, is that Sony's gear can play back a JVC 30p tape to analog. Other than that, they're mutually incompatible. And Canon's stuff won't even try to play JVC tapes back. So why are they all called HDV?

With BetaSP, I can take a tape from an Ampex deck and play it in a Sony deck; I can take a tape from an Ikegami camera and play it in a Ampex deck or a Sony camera, etc. BetaSP is a format, and if it says "BetaSP" on it, that means BetaSP, and anything that says "BetaSP" is guaranteed to play anything created by any other "BetaSP" equipment. HDV isn't that way. Take a Canon HDV 24F tape and put it in a Sony, and what do you get? An error message. Take a JVC tape and play it in a Canon and what do you get? Nothing. Take a Sony or Canon tape and play it in a JVC and what do you get? Nothing. No more than if you'd put an HDV tape in a DV camera. Completely incompatible.

Just because the tape physically fits, doesn't mean that it's compatible, because it isn't.

So would I call it broken? Well, actually, yeah maybe I would. It certainly isn't a standardized format by any definition we've come to recognize in the history of video formats. If you want to call HDV a "format", then yeah, it's "broken" in that it isn't a single unified compatible format (like DV, or VHS, or any other multi-manufacturer, completely-interchangeable format is). It's three nearly mutually incompatible formats, all sharing the same label. That's a mistake. If they're as incompatible as they are, they shouldn't be labeled the same. JVC should be marketing ProHD, Sony should be marketing HDV, and Canon -- well, maybe they'd call it XHD or something. Then instead of complaining about incompatibility, we'd be able to celebrate the limited compatibility they do offer (i.e., instead of people saying "why the heck won't my Canon HDV tapes play in my Sony HDV deck", you'd instead have Canon bragging "why buy Sony HDV when our XHD offers everything they do, and more! We can even play HDV tapes!")

So, actually, yeah -- using the concept of HDV as a "format" is ... well, don't know that I'd say the word "broken", but rather I'd say that it's completely inapplicable. HDV is not a format. It's at least two formats, and probably three. And who knows -- when Sharp finally starts producing HDV product, maybe it'll end up as four incompatible formats. (and yes, "incompatible" is a harsh word, so maybe "barely intercompatible" would be better, except in the case of JVC because JVC provides no provision for making their gear in any way accomodating of HDV2).
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Old November 10th, 2005, 01:41 PM   #18
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I don't really see the problem. Like I said befor there are the two versions of HDV. I consider the "F" modes of the Canon, and the 24p of the JVC performance options of those cams and not standard HDV. Sony 1080i and Canon 1080i are exactly the same. If any other company besides JVC puts out a HDV1 cam it SHOULD ;>) work perfect with that format.
HDV is not broken. Get a deck that matches the cam. If you shoot HDV2 get a HDV2 deck. If you want to shoot in a "f" mode, consider yourself stepping out of HDV and therefor get a Canon deck.
As from a software standpoint HDV is definately not broken. Again except for additional support for non standard performance modes HDV is HDV. Any software that supports HDV will support all of the standard modes, usually with the performance modes being added very quickly.
My point is that just because cam makers are throwing out additional features/shooting modes that shouldn't confuse that there are two standard HDV formats (p/i) and they are not broken.
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Old November 10th, 2005, 02:37 PM   #19
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I think Barry has a very valid point with betaSP as an analog comparison. The format is not standarized properly. DV was created and because of the realitively simple specs nobody had a problem. Here is your resolution, your framerate, your datarate, and your simple DCT codec. HDV is more like: Heres a few resolutions, a tape speed, and by the way, use mpeg-2 to compress.

So now you have JVC, Sony, Canon and who ever else saying stuff like "Thats a spec... Guess I have to work with it" then going on and building a camera. I don't blame any company for not building a camera that is compatible with another companies but the spec is way to open to interpertation. This is more a result of seeing a market, seeing hugh market threat from every company around and shipping something asap. In the next round of HDV equipment I expect the standard will be more finalized (if it isn't actually now).

But that doesn't make it any less painful knowing that their has been some obvious issues with the spec, if their hadn't been then everything should have been compatible just like DV. They could have at least specificed a set in stone GOP structure.
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Old November 10th, 2005, 02:41 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Hodson
Get a deck that matches the cam
thats a great line....on so many levels

i guess it all depends what your doing, if your shooting grandma, then yes if you can get a deck or use your cam, if your shooting a doc, and lets face it hdv is perfect for most doc work (cheap, easy to record long form) then you you will not be able to use a finishing house, because get a deck just doesn't register with any nyc production house...your going to have to finish it in your bedroom using vegas or like

if your shooting eng work..forget it, if your shooting corporate work like vnrs where you never touch the raw footage, then forget it nobody wants to bother with anything but a standard...

so to some yes hdv may seem broken to others its just right, i think the future is all about codecs anyway as we move away from a tape based solution so hdv may be tapes last stand...
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Old November 10th, 2005, 02:54 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Robert Mann Z.

so to some yes hdv may seem broken to others its just right
Exactly. For a "closed shop" that edits their own footage, then yes maybe "get a deck that matches the cam" would work. But if you think about it, that's exactly what I've been saying -- they're pretty much three separate formats, and you have to stick with one manufacturer. It is not one universal format, or even two. So why didn't they just name it differently, so you'd know "oh, that's ProHD, you need a ProHD deck". Wouldn't that have been a simpler, more accurate, and more customer-friendly way to address it, rather than throwing three nearly completely incompatible formats all under the same name?


Quote:
i think the future is all about codecs anyway as we move away from a tape based solution so hdv may be tapes last stand...
HDV is definitely tape's last stand. I doubt we will ever see a new tape format developed for acquisition; tapeless is the only way to go, and it's the way every manufacturer is going. XDCAM, XDCAM HD, P2, Grass Valley's Infinity Rev/CF system, the FireStore, JVC's Everio, DVD camcorders, etc. Tape's done.

Now, interestingly enough, almost all of HDV's incompatibility goes away if you just don't use tape! If you use a FireStore instead, you have almost complete compatibility; only 720/24p is likely to pose a problem and that'll eventually get solved. It remains to be seen whether Canon's 24F and 30F modes will require updates to the NLEs, but if it doesn't, then you have almost full compatibility across all three manufacturers if you just ditch tape and use hard disk recording instead.
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Old November 10th, 2005, 06:48 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Mann Z.
if your shooting eng work..forget it, .
Well you wouldn't be doing ENG on HDV unless you knew they would accept it. If they accept it, it would be 1080i HDV2 as that is the only HDV format that really suits ENG, and you could use any cam as long as you shoot 1080i. I would think a lot of outfits would get a HDV 1080i deck to accept ENG work as these cams are only getting more and more popular. The XL-H1 could be the greatest paparazzi cam ever! I think at some point HDV 1080i will become a ENG standard. Especially when the 2/3" cams hit.
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Old November 10th, 2005, 08:59 PM   #23
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A few notes.

First, tape is hearty. Unless we go solid state, like P2, and man do I loathe P2 - stay tuned - there are issues with sports using hard drives and other spinning objucts to record things like desert truck racing and so on. You have the same troubles with tape so I suppose that could be a moot point. Things that rotate have issues with sudden velocity and vector changes.

I don't like P2. Initially folks were killing these cards left and right from the reports I had read. Maybe that has changed a bit and folks are just leaving them in the cameras now but the original idea of interchangable solid state memory doesn't work too well for your average news crew that wants to jam the drive in place and hit record. Have you seen the pins on those things? Get a grain of sand in the socket and jam a card in there and that socket is done for. I know this is just the begining so it will improve. I don't know what they were thinking with the new mini camera however and P2. How much is that camera loaded with the max amount of P2 storage? Interchangable lenses? I see issues here, but again, that will change over time.

I suppose the thing is, everyone went to market with "HDV" cameras but they don't speak the same language as far as formats go. We all know this now but buy a camera and a matching deck only works if you buy one you can interchange with the guy down the road or the broadcast stations in your town, etc. It's tough to stand on your little format island by yourself and tell everyone they need to buy Sony because you have Sony when they are telling you to buy JVC because that's what they have.

Last comment on this one, I agree that it will come down to a Codec war in the future. Trouble there is, Avid has theirs, Apple has QT, windows has WMV and so on. For now, the best option in my book is, Focus Enhancements. God bless them for keeping up.

We still can't use 24p HDV in Avid land as unless we grab the HD output from the JVC at 720p24 and transcode it on the fly to hard drive, which I don't think is happening yet, it won't make it into our Avids. I know that's an Avid thing but it's like the tape issue. For me it can be summed up like this, HDV formats, they're like elbows. Everybodys got one.

Not meant to encite riots. It's just frustrating for those of us trying to find a good post production path.

See you guys when the war's over,

Sean
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Old November 10th, 2005, 09:37 PM   #24
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Actually the 720p format shot at 30 frames per secound could indeed be used for electronic news gathering. Of course it would have the movie look but remember movie tone news used to be shown at the movie theatres. Also most news was shot on 16mm movie film as late as the 1970s and was transferred to video for broadcasting. The 720p30 format would indeed be a huge impovement over 480i video that is presently being used for news broadcasting and it would not eat up as much bandwidth as 1080i. Also 720p30 footage is relatively free of compression artifacts. While nobody doubts the quality of 720p60 no newsroom can say that 720p30 does not meet their standards while still embracing 480i.
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Old November 11th, 2005, 11:51 AM   #25
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The only part I currently hate about the HDV spec is that all equipment should be able to handle HDV1 and HDV2. a mpeg2 encoder is an mpeg2 encoder. I am sure the next generation of gear will be able to do this. "They" had to hold something back to get us to buy the next generation of HDV decks.

The issue with the Canon 24p I think is a little silly. This is a special format that Canon tried very hard to make as high quality as they could to fit in HDV2 1080i.

SONY stuck to 1080i to make sure every mode would work no matter how you wanted to play it or edit it. The results are a sucky form of 30p and 24p that everybody has complained about. Mpeg2 is not as easy to remove pulldown as it was with DV. First an interlaced frame encodes in a different way to a progressive frame in Mpeg2. Look how long it takes to render a HDV project just to get it back to tape. Imagine capturing 60 minutes of 24p HDV video wrapped into 29.97i and then having to wait hours to convert it to true 24p not to mention take a generation loss by having to re-encode the mpeg2 stream or it wouldn't be a real HDV stream anymore. The GOP would be all messed up by removing the interlaced frames. Cineform get get away with this because the video is converted to Cineform first and isn't trying to remove the pulldown on HDV and convert to HDV. Systems that use native HDV editing would kind of be screwed with 24p material.

Canon wanted to give us the highest quality they could think of to fit in a 1080i stream and they came up with actually encoding 24 progressive frames. Even though there is some level of unknown interpolation taking place to get a progressive frames the encoding in the end is progressive. If a system can take in the 24p stream then you are all set to start editing.

I would hate it more if Canon did use a 24p with 3:2 pulldown. This would mean a huge pain/rendering time/lower quality/generation loss.

Even if Canon just used mpeg2 flags and then dumped the extra frames how would it deal with the GOP? a 15 frame GOP would jump down to a 9 frame GOP.

The way Canon is doing it is in my opinion the best way to handle 24p 1080 HDV. If SONY ever wants to have respectable 24p then they should use the same format as Canon and start to build decks and cameras that will work.



While DV was a universal format when DVCAM and DVCpro and DVCpro50 were added this wasn't exactly the case. All of these formats are based off the same DV codec. At first if we wanted to be able to edit all of the formst we need a DVCAM deck and a DVCpro deck. If you shot DVCAM it would not play in DV devices even if you did use a mini tape. DVCpro50 was even worse. How many of your clients have a DVCpro 50 deck sitting around just in case you shoot on DVCpro50. Eventually universal decks came out so at least they could for the most part play mini dv/dv/dvcam/dvcpro25. You were still screwed if you had DVCpro 50 or digibeta or digital S. I doubt anybody is really handing off HDCAM tapes or DVCPRO HD tapes to their clients.




Barry you make good points but isn't a lot of those concerns also true for the HVX200? You will not be handing off P2 cards or your Firestore to your clients. You would have to transfer to a hard drive and give that to your clients right away. Well the same could be done with the Canon as well. Shoot with a Firestore and quickly transfer to a cheap hard drive and hand it off to the client.


Finally how many of us hand off 24p tapes to our clients anyways? If it was a the quality of shoot that needed 24p wouldn't you want to keep the master tapes for yourselves and then run off a copy for your client. A lot of clients may not even know what to do with 24p even if they could play it back in a deck.
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Old November 11th, 2005, 11:54 AM   #26
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1. This HDV is all too bleeding edge, and needs time to work out issues and incompatibilities.
2. If you plan to shoot one of these bleeding edge formats, you'd better partner with a house/facility that will accomodate that. Otherwise, be prepared to do some post or intermediate conversion.

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Old November 11th, 2005, 01:01 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Thomas Smet
The issue with the Canon 24p I think is a little silly. This is a special format that Canon tried very hard to make as high quality as they could to fit in HDV2 1080i.
Frame Movie Mode that was in the XL series did not break the spec, so i don't think it's "silly", especially for buyers of the XL H1.

Quote:
While DV was a universal format when DVCAM and DVCpro and DVCpro50 were added this wasn't exactly the case. All of these formats are based off the same DV codec.
no, they were not the same format, thus the different tittle (DVCAM, DVCPro). Tape speed etc. were different specs and although the formats are related and multi-format gear was released, they are not the same format.

Quote:
Barry you make good points but isn't a lot of those concerns also true for the HVX200?
I'm not sure what Barry thinks, but my take there is a reduced but similar issues with the HVX200. Yes, P2 card don't fit in other cameras, but you can load a P2 card most laptops or in any computer with a cheap PC Card reader. And you edit with any NLE that supports DVCPro-HD. Panny added 1080p 24fps without breaking the codec or NLE support. So yes, workflow is an issue, but not nearly as big as one as various HDV formats present.

Quote:
Finally how many of us hand off 24p tapes to our clients anyways?
There are some that will. But far more people hand tapes to post houses, film festivals, etc. and that's the bigger issue. I'm sure if you shoot HDV, you would much prefer to screen your work in HD not SD. That's the problem. You can't just hand a HDV tape to someone and except them to play it. To claim yourself as "HDV ready" or "HDV Compliant" post house or film festival, you would need to own the current batch of cams.

Secondly, if you want to uprez to HDCam or DVCPro-HD, your post house will all the cams again to transfer off the tape. Or use some other convoluted route to get there.

Either Canon/JVC/Sony need to promptly release a universal, affordable HDV deck or just split the format to avoid confusion.

Or many will end up shooting Firestore which add much cost as well as weight to the HDV production plan though there are still glitches with NLE support as well.
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Old November 11th, 2005, 01:39 PM   #28
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I'm not sure what Barry thinks, but my take there is a reduced but similar issues with the HVX200. Yes, P2 card don't fit in other cameras, but you can load a P2 card most laptops or in any computer with a cheap PC Card reader. And you edit with any NLE that supports DVCPro-HD. Panny added 1080p 24fps without breaking the codec or NLE support. So yes, workflow is an issue, but not nearly as big as one as various HDV formats present.
yes it is easier to playback a P2 card in a laptop but still you wouldn't hand off a P2 card to a client since the cards cost so much. You will have to transfer the video and give it to the client at a later point unless they want to sit around and wait for the transfer to finish.

My whole point to the DV/DVCAM/DVCPRO part was not that they are the same formats but the fact that there are different SD formats out there that do not work with everything else. Eventually we got decks that could at least playback other formats but it took a little time until those came out. I'm sure in a few years we will start to see decks that can encode/decode any type of HDV. I do agree that having everything under the same name does make it confusing and perhaps they should just change the name for each type of HDV but by no means does it make my life any more complex. While I would love to have a deck to play 24f Canon HDV I will not whine about it any longer if I do choose to go with the Canon.
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Old November 11th, 2005, 02:42 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Smet
I doubt anybody is really handing off HDCAM tapes or DVCPRO HD tapes to their clients.
Actually I've had to do both.
Usually I get downconverts made for the client as well, so they get DVCProHD masters and DVCPro or DVCam downconverts.


Quote:
the same could be done with the Canon as well. Shoot with a Firestore and quickly transfer to a cheap hard drive and hand it off to the client.
Of course now you're losing what many see as the best thing about that camera, the ability to shoot on low cost tapes and shoot longform projects.

Besides, it's not a very cost effective solution.
Handing off a Hard Drive is one thing when you're comparing the cost of Hard Drives to DVCProHD tape. When comparing the cost of DV tapes to Hard Drives it isn't quite so affordable to just hand out drives.
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Old November 11th, 2005, 03:50 PM   #30
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Handing off a Hard Drive is one thing when you're comparing the cost of Hard Drives to DVCProHD tape. When comparing the cost of DV tapes to Hard Drives it isn't quite so affordable to just hand out drives.
Pricewatch lists 80GB hard drives starting at $44 including shipping, or a little over $7 per hour of HDV capacity. If people are prepared to transfer all their video data on hard drives or recordable discs for the HVX200, how is that any different than doing the same thing with any HDV camera? Problem solved: stop using tapes for transferring data!
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