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Old May 21st, 2006, 12:37 AM   #1
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hurdles/solutions/situation for consumer HD?

Consumer HD cams on the market, new ones of various produvers very likely appearing soon, I wonder:
How much sense does HDV make for the consumer? Or in other words:

Which issues does one face when going HDV?:
Which hardware is needed besides the HDV Camera to make use of HD? PC, TV etc?
Which software can be used for HD editing?
How difficult/easy is HD editing?
Which software would be best for consumer use?

Certainly all of these issues are discussed in the various threads in this forum. However since I am not a professional but an interested hobby filmer I find it very difficult to find the correct threads to answer these basic questions.

Could anybody please point me to a site with a general assessment of the issues consumers face if wanting to go HD?
Or could anybody try to write one?

thank you
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Old May 21st, 2006, 02:36 PM   #2
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The changeover, if you are to make the most of it, will be expensive. To get the most benefit you will need a new camera (and you will need to decide which format - for they are not compatible with each other), whether to stick with tape or move over to dvd or SD solid state (using the forthcoming Sony/Panasonic H264 format), a more powerful pc for editing (the new dual cores should do the job), bigger, faster sata hard drives to store your data (it is 4x miniDV in size), an HD monitor so that you can actually see the results of your handiwork, and an edit system that can actually cope with all these new formats. Finally, be prepared for long waits while your finished edit is encoded for burning to dvd.

It is a complicated multiple choice question. So far I am sitting on my hands, waiting for the dust to settle and for as yet unkown issues with these various choices to be revealed.

If you must choose right now, the best choice is probably the Sony HC (I think that is what it is named). For editing I would use Edius - I use it now for miniDV - because it seems to cope with HD/HDV as well as any other nle and better than most. Canopus, the makers of Edius, have posted some information about HDV here:
http://www.canopus.com/canopus/technology/abouthdv.php
You may find this helpful.
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Old May 21st, 2006, 08:53 PM   #3
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Well lets not spread too many misconceptions.
For starters most any current PC can handle HDV editing just fine. For specifics check the requirements the software lists on their site. Popular PC software options are Adobe Premiere Pro and Sony Vegas 6.
HDV is the EXACT same or smaller in size then DV (19.7 or 25mb/s). That is how they use the same miniDV tape as DV. Panasonics DVCproHD uses an older less compressed codec and can range from 40-100 mb/s. At the moment these are the only two low cost HD formats. As with all video editing it is recommended that you have a system drive(OS) and another drive for video. Even a 120Gb drive is fine for a hobbiest.
Best approach for picking a cam is deciding on your price range. Once you know how much you are willing to spend, your choices will be limited. Read up on each and then ask more opinions here. If you let us know your $ range we can probably give you a short list.
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Old May 21st, 2006, 09:55 PM   #4
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well, to brake down my situation:
I love my Panasonic GS400, however it broke down and now I am waiting for Panasonic Service to tell me if they can fix it and how much that would cost me. If they fix it for, let's say less then 500 USD I will happily continue with my Pana, but as I am in Japan now and cams are so much cheaper here then back in Europe I did look into alternatives and found that:

Sony HC1 can be had for abt. 850 USD new, slightly used ones cheaper via internet auction.
Sony HC3 for abt. 960 USD new
another Panasonic GS400 I could get new for abt. 820 USD. ( not available in shops any more, but online if lucky )
adding sending costs etc. as these prizes are for ordering on the net.

...so if my GS400 will not be repairable I certainly I will be tempted to get a Sony HC1...

however to brake my resistance against the Sony HDV I'd need concise information which issues one encounters wanting to edit HDV, which hardware ir required ( though I have got he message there, I believe ), and specially which issues one will encounter when editing, which software to use, e.g. Vegas 6 do the trick or would I need something in addition?

but isn't SD, if one does not own an HDTV and wants to hand out DVDs to friends who also don't own HDTV to look at one's creations still the choice?
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 12:23 AM   #5
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Andreas:

First of all, the good news is you don't necessarily have to go whole hog into HDV if you purchase the HC1. You can simply shoot in HDV, and for now, down convert when you capture to DV right out of the camera by a simple camera selection. Your downcoverted video will be as good as you GS400, and you will have your tape footage in HDV format for future use, if you so desire.

And moving up to HDV, while certainly having cost, will not be as expensive in the years to come. An upgrade here, an new motherboard here, and some more memory and disk space, and you are on the hdv bandwagon.
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 07:56 AM   #6
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Chris and Ken:
you did take away most of my apprehension abt. HDV, thank's!
If I understand right possibly a dual core CPU ( or even a e.g. Pentium4 with 3,2 GHz? - which nowadays is cheap ) and 1 GB to 2 GB RAM and firewire would be good enough hardware. - and eventually a HD-DVD writer...
How about software? Would e.g. Sony Vegas 6 be enough or would I need some other software added?

David:
what abt. the H264 format? This is another High Definition format which you think will substitute the one currently used by Sony's HC1 and HC3?
Are there still battles of formats going on? Has the HD-DVD vs. blueray battle any relevance to that?
thank's for that informative canopus link.

Anyhow I just learned that the menu language of the HC1 and HC3 sold at local japanese stores for the rather cheap prizes I quoted is japanese only...'Export' models with english menus sold at some stores will have about the same prize as in the US, cheaper than in Europe though.

( Which just makes me hope that my GS400 gets repaired, and that definitely would make me wait to change to HD. Specially if there is really still a HD format battle it seems a bit early to change to HD, isn't it?
My GS400 has japanese menu only and it took me quite a while to be able to use it well. I suppose that the Sony's touchscreen options in japanese would be even more difficult to manage. I am curious if anybody ever successfully changed the language of a japanese only GS400 or HC1/HC3. Seems like nobody ever did, at least nobody on the net claims having done it. )
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 01:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas Griesmayr
Chris and Ken:
you did take away most of my apprehension abt. HDV, thank's!
If I understand right possibly a dual core CPU ( or even a e.g. Pentium4 with 3,2 GHz? - which nowadays is cheap ) and 1 GB to 2 GB RAM and firewire would be good enough hardware. - and eventually a HD-DVD writer...
How about software? Would e.g. Sony Vegas 6 be enough or would I need some other software added?
I'm running 2 GB Ram, using firewire. Try HDVSplit (version 0.75) for capture so you can scene detect. Its a freeware program. I use Premiere Pro 2.0 to edit natively, and have nice results on an AMD 3800+ dual core system. The mother board is low end, and I am doing fine with it. I think it helps that I am using a 256 PCI express card (Pretty generic, too). I have heard that Premiere Pro 2.0 utilizes the card in rendering, but I don't know for sure. I have also heard the AMD dual cores work better for editing purposes. I have have off and on rotated between AMD and Intel chips, but I am definitely happy with the 3800+ system I just built-- and cheaper too.

I have heard some negatives on the Vegas 6 native HDV editing capability, but I haven't confirmed. You need to look at that thread. I just am so used to the Premiere Product, I have a hard time using my Vegas.

If you get into heavy or professional editing, then you will be looking at intermediate file processes like Cineform. You can actually use the HD Connect software to access their proprietary codec. That's $199.00, I think. And if you want to use their real time HDV Editing suite in Premiere (Cineform Aspect HD), you will pay about $499.00. There are numerous reported advantages, including superior color correction, and the real time editing. What you happens with Cineform is your hdv .m2t stream is turned into a .avi file. In the HDV stream, each frame is dependent on information from previous frames to "fill in the picture". This requires an immense amount of processing, but less disk space. The Cineform .avi format provides independently rendered frames, but takes up about 5x the disk space. With Cineform, when you are in the capture process, after you have stopped capturing, you will see your system continuing to render the file for some time.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 01:22 PM   #8
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H264 is an HD version of mpeg4, and itself comes in several levels of complexity. It is intended to be the distribution format in Europe (the BBC is currently running an HD trial using it). The recently announced Sony/Panasonic codec uses the basic version of H264 (as I understand it). Panasonic have said that they will use it to capture to SD cards (as well as the DVD). I assume it will appear in the HD replacement for the GS400 (which I also own) within the course of the next year. Panasonic showed a sneak preview of a consumer HD cam at NAB and CES which looked as tho it could be the model. It resembled a compact GS400 but with an HD label stuck on the side.

I`ve decided that if and/or when I upgrade it will be to a SD card format provided
(a) a satisfactory editing solution is available and
(b) an affordable HD distribution format is available.
Otherwise, for me, there is no point.

No one knows which of the BluRay/HD DVD formats will win the battle - or if someone comes up with an alternative that can be burned to todays discs. That would appeal to me as I am happy to work with 20-30 minute max time limits with an HD file.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 03:13 PM   #9
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man- if you can buy an hc1 for $850- do it now, no questions , you'll never regret it , promise. Kurth
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 04:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Andrews
No one knows which of the BluRay/HD DVD formats will win the battle - or if someone comes up with an alternative that can be burned to todays discs. That would appeal to me as I am happy to work with 20-30 minute max time limits with an HD file.
It doesn't matter all that much which type of HD player wins the battle since they both support the same video file formats (MPEG2, AVC and VC1). Today you can burn over 20 minutes of HDV content onto a standard red-laser DVD which will reportedly play in the Toshiba HD DVD player, plus some other specialized players and some computers. By the time you can buy a decent camera recording H.264 to SD memory cards it should be reasonably affordable to make blue-laser DVDs holding many hours of such footage, so you should be fine in that regard.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 10:50 PM   #11
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Andreas, the down converted image on my HC1 is on par with my old XL1s. On the HDV side, it's has all the inherit issues of a 1/3" chip (soft image, etc), but at 3x resolution. The HC1 is $850? That's a good deal. How much is the A1 over there?
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 11:43 PM   #12
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prize of A1 in Japan

thank's very much for all the answers and suggestions.

Chris I get the picture for what I'd need hard and software wise. Though Vegas 6 + Cineform should be a good package I remember having read in some posts that Vegas does have some drawbacks when editing HD. Do you know what exaclty they are resp. how much they do create issues, and which other software is better fit for HD?

David, you confirm what my gut feeling and my reasoning tell me:
better to wait for things to develop before deciding to go HD:
Now there are these two Sonys out which sure produce stunning resolution footage but which otherewise aren't all that great cameras. Soon there will be other, maybe better HD cameras out which could also use more practical storage media as SD cards certainly would be, and they even could use other formats if I understand correctly. They could be on the market before we have the correct environment, HD-DVD writers, players, better editing software, and as in my case an HDTV.
SD cards would be great, will they really have such great capacities soo soon?
Actually I don't understand why the recently presented Hard Disc Cams record in MPEG and not in AVI which would be so much easier to edit with todays softwares.
Just if my GS400 really is broken, and I could get the HC1 so cheap...?

so Kurth you have a real point there!

Peter, the HVC-A1j as it is called starts to sell online at 210.000 Yen which roughly is 1900 USD. - which, I believe, is not really cheaper as in the US. Seems like above all consumer products sell cheap here, more so if it is the last year's model.

Last edited by Andreas Griesmayr; May 24th, 2006 at 10:23 AM.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 11:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas Griesmayr
thank's very much for all the answers and suggestions.

Chris I get the picture for what I'd need hard and software wise. Though Vegas 6 + Cineform should be a good package I remember having read in some posts that Vegas does have some drawbacks when editing HD. Do you know what exaclty they are resp. how much they do create issues, and which other software is better fit for HD?
Andreas:

I think the drawbacks spoken of are more in editing native hdv, not the Cineform intermediate file and Vegas. Aside from long render times, the Cineform editing will do great.
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Old May 25th, 2006, 09:24 AM   #14
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consumer HD format not yet decided?

I understand now that editing the HDV footage Sony's HC1 and HC3 create will be smoother if one uses an intermediate file like Cineform offers. Furthermore one would not necessarily require a top PC which one needs if editing native HD. Premiere seems to be prefered though.

However it seems that it is not decided yet which will be the 'final' HD format for the consumer market. That makes me believe that it could be smart to wait until this has been decided.
E.g. how about the recently presented H264 version of HD? If even Sony will be using H264 then the currently used HDV format will be outlived soon, wouldn't it?

What interests me most here is if the H264 be easier or more difficult to edit than the currently used HDV standard?

In the end what David said sounds very reasonable to me:
I will upgrade when:

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Andrews
(a) a satisfactory editing solution is available and
(b) an affordable HD distribution format is available.
Otherwise, for me, there is no point.

No one knows which of the BluRay/HD DVD formats will win the battle - or if someone comes up with an alternative that can be burned to todays discs. That would appeal to me as I am happy to work with 20-30 minute max time limits with an HD file.
Personally if a) and b) are given that would be enough for me to upgrade, regardless which medium is used for recording. Certainly I'd prefer a SD card to a DVD, but wouldn't a Harddisc be even better? Then there would be no limitation to 20 or 30 minutes, but unfortunately both Sony and Panasonic are not favouring this solution.
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Old May 25th, 2006, 11:18 AM   #15
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The new AVCHD format may well be more complex than the HDV codecs. According to the European Broadcasting Union the H264 codec, on which AVCHD is based, is from 2x to 4x more complex than mpeg2. For nles the choice will presumably be between rough cutting GOPs or using an intermediate codec to enable cutting frame by frame. As far as I am aware, no one has yet announced editing support for this format.

The announcement about the supported formats can be found here:
http://www2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs...02006070009078

By the time the new cam appears, bigger capacity SD cards will be available and price per GB will have fallen. Unlike the P2 card there is more competition in the SD card market. Cams like the HVX200 are better suited to hard discs.
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