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Old November 8th, 2005, 10:26 PM   #1
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HDV is completely broken

Perusing threads to see what's up and came across interesting but strange info.

JVC HDV 24p does not work in many apps that support HDV. Canon XL1 20F and 30F tapes don't play in anything. None of the cameras can record the others progressive formats, nor most play them back.

This is not "format" by any version of the term I'm familiar with. Take the 24p mode in the XL2 or DVX series or "frame mode" in Canon and Pannies. You can play it back and capture it in an device that supports miniDV format.

However, I can't understand why vendors are now ignoring this. Unless you buy new gear that does not exist, you can't claim to support "HDV". Rental houses, post houses, film festivals, broadcasters, etc. are going to be really unhappy and the format risks getting itself in trouble. Especially since no standard HD distribution format exists.

Seems like a market opportunity to create some kind of standard disc for exchanging HD material that would not require additional compression or loss. This would help P2 users as well, though at least they end up with a standard DVCPro-HD file without rendering...
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Old November 8th, 2005, 10:52 PM   #2
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Well - you're pretty much correct. There is one company that supports HDV in its entirety though: Cineform.

It CAN read the JVC 24P format
It CAN read all the Sony modes
and it WILL read the XL-H1 24F and 30F modes as soon as they are available.

They have patched their software to support every new addition, and have features such as 2:3 pull-down removal on the CF24 modes and image rotation on capture to support 35 mm adaptors to allow optimal editing of HDV footage in all conditions.

So yeah - hook me up with any HDV camcorder, and I have a working solution. I feel sorry for the people waiting for Premiere or FCP updates though. I've got to admit, I've heard few complaints about Vegas so far, but I haven't really being paying attention.

-Steve
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Old November 8th, 2005, 10:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen van Vuuren
Canon XL H1 24F and 30F tapes don't play in anything.
Well, they plack back in an XL H1 all right.

The new Canon 30F and 24F Frame modes are officially now part of the HDV specification, meaning nothing released before the XL H1 can play those tapes, but future HDV gear seemingly will be able to. At least forthcoming Canon gear, that is, or so we hope.

You certainly do make a good case for P2 though.
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Old November 8th, 2005, 11:01 PM   #4
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And another thing, Stephen, although you have some good points there, it sure doesn't seem to be slowing down HDV at all. The format is certainly being bought into. Just look at our HDV traffic around here. In other words, the complications that you're bringing up don't seem to be stopping anybody from getting into the HDV format. It's definitely well into the "adoption" phase. It's not broken by a long shot for many people who use it on a daily basis.
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Old November 9th, 2005, 11:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
And another thing, Stephen, although you have some good points there, it sure doesn't seem to be slowing down HDV at all. The format is certainly being bought into. Just look at our HDV traffic around here. In other words, the complications that you're bringing up don't seem to be stopping anybody from getting into the HDV format. It's definitely well into the "adoption" phase. It's not broken by a long shot for many people who use it on a daily basis.
That's a valid point Chris - but the HD100 has not been out long enough for the issue to really spread. The XL H1 is not here yet, so until there are several thousand of these cams in use and people start trying to move tapes around, it's nots going to be that much of an issue.

But again, the issue is potentially more problematic for post houses, transfer shops, archivists, film festivals, etc. When they say "we accept HDV" right now, it has to follow with a bunch of *'s of what HDV tape they can or cannot take...
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Old November 9th, 2005, 11:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven White
Well - you're pretty much correct. There is one company that supports HDV in its entirety though: Cineform.
Cineform is impressive in how quickly they support stuff. They are setting a good example that more vendors should follow.
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Old November 9th, 2005, 11:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Well, they plack back in an XL H1 all right.

The new Canon 30F and 24F Frame modes are officially now part of the HDV specification.
But really: is not more like there are several HDV specs?

HDV 1.0 (JVC first HDV)
HDV 1.5 (Sony CF)
HDV 2.0 (JVC 24p)
HDV 3.0 (Canon) 24F 30F)

Since the new specs are not playable in the old spec, i don't see how that can be "extensions" e.g. like 24p or Frame Movie Mode. The are "revisions" or "new specs" since they lack any backwards compatibility (I know the HD100 and XL H1 shoot other modes that do, but I'm talking about the new modes.
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Old November 10th, 2005, 01:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen van Vuuren
But really: is not more like there are several HDV specs?

HDV 1.0 (JVC first HDV)
HDV 1.5 (Sony CF)
HDV 2.0 (JVC 24p)
HDV 3.0 (Canon) 24F 30F)

Since the new specs are not playable in the old spec, i don't see how that can be "extensions" e.g. like 24p or Frame Movie Mode. The are "revisions" or "new specs" since they lack any backwards compatibility (I know the HD100 and XL H1 shoot other modes that do, but I'm talking about the new modes.
Perhaps the variations that are now seemingly appearing in the HDV specification should be seen as flexibility from a format, giving newer adopters greater backward compatability with older variants, while adding a flavour they find more useful.

Rather than 'ham-stringing' the format rigidly to a definition, that might have been counter productive to it's adoption; HDV is providing extra options, without requiring that the true fundamental basis of the format and the associated hardware change to a totally new format.

Just like any newer generation computer hardware must provide backwards compatability, the HDV hardware will be able to play tapes from older generation equipment. Imagine my surprise, when I found that my PAL FX-1e was able to play back tapes from my NTSC JVC HD10u! It was then I realised that while things are changing rapidly now, the whole HDV, low-cost HD arena is exploding faster than many give credit.

If HDV is 'broken'... then we certainly are gonna have a problem with it's replacement!!
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Old November 10th, 2005, 02:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Crisdale
Just like any newer generation computer hardware must provide backwards compatability, the HDV hardware will be able to play tapes from older generation equipment.
Yeah, but it doesn't. For example, the Canon has no capability to play back JVC tapes. JVC has had HD1s on the market for almost three years now, the Canon is brand new, so you'd expect it to be backwards compatible, right? But it won't even recognize a JVC tape at all.

Quote:
Imagine my surprise, when I found that my PAL FX-1e was able to play back tapes from my NTSC JVC HD10u!
Only to analog though. Now try to digitize it, and you'll find that they disabled the firewire output. You can't give a JVC tape to a production house that uses Sony or Canon equipment and expect them to be able to work with it; the Canon won't play it at all, and the Sony won't let you digitize it.

HDV seems most suitable for "closed shop" operations, where the footage is edited in-house. For hired shooters, there certainly seem to be some very concerning issues. Hopefully someday these manufacturers will get together and produce a universal-playback deck; otherwise you as a shooter will have to own one of each of the three cameras if you want to be able to answer the phone and say "yes, I can shoot HDV for you, and yes I can provide a tape that you can actually use."
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Old November 10th, 2005, 02:58 AM   #10
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Yes it appears that HDV was never intended to be a distro format, or at least it is not turning out that way. To be fair there is only two varients of HDV. HDV1(progressive) HDV2(interlaced), and it hasen't taken long for software to adapt. FCP and 720p24 being the one standout (Me thinks Apple has a handshake deal with Panasonic that is holding out that one). Output to Anamorphic DVD or HD-DVD when they become available, or HD DivX or HD WM9 now as a data disk, or output to whatever format is required if you are in broadcast. There never will be another popular consummer tape format, even with miniDV not many people had decks, just a lot of cams. VHS was the last.
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Old November 10th, 2005, 03:46 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Hodson
To be fair there is only two varients of HDV. HDV1(progressive) HDV2(interlaced),
Not really. There are two versions of HDV2 with only partial compatibility between them.

Basically it's easiest to think of it as three different formats. There's Canon, there's Sony, and there's JVC. The only compatibility between any of them is that Sony plays on Canon. Other than that, it's pretty much a no-go for swapping tapes among any of them. Canon 1080i should play on the Sony, but Canon 24F and Canon 30F won't play on anything but a Canon.

And, let's not forget that JVC's implementation is even partly incompatible with itself. HD100 24p won't play on any of the earlier JVC gear, the HD1/HD10 and CU1 deck all won't play it.
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Old November 10th, 2005, 04:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green
Not really. There are two versions of HDV2 with only partial compatibility between them.

Basically it's easiest to think of it as three different formats. There's Canon, there's Sony, and there's JVC. The only compatibility between any of them is that Sony plays on Canon. Other than that, it's pretty much a no-go for swapping tapes among any of them. Canon 1080i should play on the Sony, but Canon 24F and Canon 30F won't play on anything but a Canon.

And, let's not forget that JVC's implementation is even partly incompatible with itself. HD100 24p won't play on any of the earlier JVC gear, the HD1/HD10 and CU1 deck all won't play it.
So you're prepared to declare HDV 'broken' Barry?

For my part - I believe it's premarture to make such a declaration, and with solutions that provide work-arounds for many of the initial teething problems; which some of these 'incompatabilities' represent, being announced or released at increasing frequency... it may be that some of these issues become the "folklore" of early HDV users. :)
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Old November 10th, 2005, 08:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green
Hopefully someday these manufacturers will get together and produce a universal-playback deck; otherwise you as a shooter will have to own one of each of the three cameras if you want to be able to answer the phone and say "yes, I can shoot HDV for you, and yes I can provide a tape that you can actually use."
I don't see a big problem here when it's relatively easy these days to capture all your footage to an inexpensive hard drive and move the data around that way. People are all excited about the P2 format which assumes you'll offload your data from the recording media, so how much different would it be to assume that tape-based data will be copied to something else for processing? Maybe it's time to stop thinking of tapes as an integral part of the production process and just assume everything's going to be moved to a more universal storage device, with no intention of ever needing to play the tapes again.

As far as being able to shoot in any requested format is concerned, that sounds like an opportunity for rental houses.
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Old November 10th, 2005, 09:44 AM   #14
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Another reason why HDV is considered a "prosumer" format. To be complaint with the outside world, you'll have to consider a DVCPRO HD deck or the like, and the means to feed your final work into that.

Cineform does seem more like a sweet deal.
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Old November 10th, 2005, 10:22 AM   #15
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I think that it is premature to declare HDV broken. Is it really customary that when you go out on a shooting job that you have to hand over a tape at the end of the day because it is not your job to edit video or even process video in any way? If that is the case then you have a real problem unless the studio you work for has compatible HDV playback equipment. But I would think that the studio if they are reasonable and knowing that you are working in a high definition format would give you reasonable accomadation and allow you to firewire the footage into a laptop computer and burn a high definition Data DVD disc that is playable and editable on most Windows XP computers.
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