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Old December 16th, 2006, 07:34 PM   #1
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Tell me about HDV...

I am very skeptical about HDV, but maybe I shouldn't be. From what I have heard with the mpeg2 compression, etc. it doesn't seem like true HD and it seems that the quality isn't what it coud be.

From what I've read I really like the DVCPRO HD format, but only one camera (the HVX200) has it for an affordable price... but this camera doesn't have interchangeable lens (see my other post about shooting telephoto) and also I really want to get an HD camera that does 1080p when I upgrade...

Is HDV here to stay? Is it THE format? What do you guys think of it in comparison to DVCPRO and future HD formats?
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Old December 16th, 2006, 07:41 PM   #2
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HDV is temporary. It will be around for quite some time because there are so many cameras out there. But it really is temporary. They are working on better options all the time. I like some of the newer expensive options, like RED, or Silicon Imaging which uses Cineform direct to disk.

But it will be a long time before those cameras are inexpensive enough for anyone but Indy filmmakers. Certainly a long time before Event Videographers can really afford to get two of them.

HDV looks great. Don't be fooled by naysayers. There are better, more expensive options. I just can't afford any of them, but I can afford HDV.
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Old December 16th, 2006, 08:42 PM   #3
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Wait till NAB if you can. Panasonic will need to do something with DVX100 or it will lose the mid-range camcorder market. And I assure you it wont be HDV. I suspect it is going to be high bandwidth AVCHD.

If you cant wait, for $3699 you can get possibly the best HDV cam out there today, the canon XH-A1.
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Old December 17th, 2006, 12:20 AM   #4
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HDV is a tool just like anything else in this business. You work with its benefits, and work around its problems. If you are used to SD, haven't seen your own HDV footage thown up on a HDTV, you will surprised how good it is. People who are looking at HDV output on computer monitors are missing just how good the finished product is- even from the low end cameras out there.
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Old December 17th, 2006, 12:31 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Cegla
I am very skeptical about HDV, but maybe I shouldn't be. From what I have heard with the mpeg2 compression, etc. it doesn't seem like true HD and it seems that the quality isn't what it coud be.
Daniel, how much HDV have you actually seen on an HDTV display? I'm wondering why you think "the quality isn't what it coud be." What is it that makes you say that it "doesn't seem like true HD?"

Quote:
also I really want to get an HD camera that does 1080p when I upgrade...
Most HDV camcorders, as well as the HVX200 in DVCPRO HD format, already record in 1080p30 and 1080p24.

Quote:
Is HDV here to stay? Is it THE format?
No format is ever here to stay. No format is THE format.

I find it very strange that anyone is "very skeptical" about HDV. By far the most popular and active forum on this community is the JVC ProHD camcorder board. That's a 720p HDV format camera. What is it that you know about HDV that they don't, or to put it another way, why are so many people using that camera and that format successfully, and what exactly would be stopping you from doing the same things with HDV that they're doing?
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Old December 17th, 2006, 02:50 AM   #6
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Chris, I don't know anything about HDV that those users don't; the difference is I don't want to accept its limitations and problems as those users are ok with working around it's problems. It seems makeshift and inferior to shooting in truer HD format such as Panasonic's DVCPRO HD. I don't like the idea of compressing it to MPEG-2 and working with that footage. It is the most popular because most cameras are using that right now as it is the best temporary solution.

Or that's how it seems to me.


When is NAB? I am heavily leaning towards the HVX200 but I really wish it offered the features of the HPX500.
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Old December 17th, 2006, 04:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Cegla
Chris, I don't know anything about HDV that those users don't; the difference is I don't want to accept its limitations and problems as those users are ok with working around it's problems. It seems makeshift and inferior to shooting in truer HD format such as Panasonic's DVCPRO HD. I don't like the idea of compressing it to MPEG-2 and working with that footage. It is the most popular because most cameras are using that right now as it is the best temporary solution.

Or that's how it seems to me.


When is NAB? I am heavily leaning towards the HVX200 but I really wish it offered the features of the HPX500.
I can understand why you say this, been in the same shoes. I think you need to see how and where you want to use your cam and what are your options for post.
I have finally decided on getting HDV cam, for low cost media and mobility.
I would use the cam for field work and often abroad. HVX200 is pretty heavy vs most HDV cams. Tripod, mic counts in weight in both solutions. Then for HVX you need to carry a laptop with PCMCIA slot and some more external firewire drives to upload your clips. Thats heavy. Not a bad idea having extra battery for the laptop - otherwise you may end up with no storage for P2 cards in the middle of nowhere. That also adds up to the total weight of your equipment.
You may say there is a couple of storage device options, such as Firestore or Panny's own hard drive thingy.
Storage capacity is limited (60 Gb), price is exuberant and reliability (at least for Firestore) is questionnable.
Then P2 cards... again exuberant pricing, low capacity and you have to upload them in every 8 minutes, depending on the format you use (lower def more minutes of course). For long takes it is not suitable, unless you have 5 or 10 them (USD 1200 each) and an assistant who continuously uploads them for you.
Then back home at least a RAID config to handle multiple streams of material while editing...

So, if you have the resources (I mean abundant in $$$), you can buy all the stuff, hire a sherpa to carry all these in his backpack for you and buy at least business class for all the trips you will have (for higher luggage weight limits), then HVX would be the choice.
If not, HDV is there - with the compression and all that, but at the fraction of weight and cost.

Now if you do studio work, HVX is great - however you can always find a workaround to avoid HDV having a capture card (AJA or Blackmagic) - but in case of HVR V1 you also have HDMI out to get 4:2:2 signal straight from the sensor and capture in your RAID using Convergent Design HDMI card (not yet out, but in a month available, I just have spoken with the C.D. folks in Colorado Springs).

So either way - HDV seems better for my work.
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Old December 17th, 2006, 10:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Cegla
I don't want to accept its limitations and problems as those users are ok with working around it's problems. It seems makeshift and inferior to shooting in truer HD format such as Panasonic's DVCPRO HD.
Hi Daniel,

Please explain in precise technical terms what the "limitations and problems" are with HDV, and exactly how it is "makeshift and inferior" to other HD formats. While you're at it, inform me as to why HDV should not be considered "true" HD.

I'm sure that everyone here who uses HDV on a productive basis (and there are a lot of them, as this site is the largest HDV community on the web) will be most interested in your detailed reply. Thanks in advance,
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Old December 17th, 2006, 11:43 AM   #9
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I find it interesting that so many seasoned pros on here are already using HDV but it is the newbies that think HDV isn't good enough.

The thing to think about with HDV it that it is pretty much the exact same format that is used in HDTV broadcast. In fact in many cases it is much better. Some of the HD channels really try to skimp on the bandwidth and they try to get by with using between 12 and 18 mbits while HDV is either 19 mbits for 720 or 25 mbits for 1080i. Yes the HD channels usually use better cameras or film but in the end the compression format is the same.

The same is true for HD-DVD and Blu-ray movies as well. Well HD-DVD already uses VC1 encoding which can look much better for a lower bitrate, but Blu-ray movies use the same exact form of mpeg-2 encoding used in HD broadcast and HDV.

Are the current HDV cameras themselves not perfect? Well of course they are not. These are $3000 - $9000 cameras we are talking about here. The exact rules are valid here just as they were with SD or DV. Yeah DV cameras looked good for the price but they were not as good as a 2/3" camera. So unless you want to spend well over $100,000.00 on a camera then the 1/3" HDV cameras are not so bad and are in fact pretty darn great looking.

XDCAM HD which is SONY's more of a pro format also uses the same exact form of mpeg-2 compression as HDV. It has 3 modes which are 35 mbits, 25 mbits and 18 mbits and are a tradeoff between recording length and quality. The 25 mbit mode is exactly the same as 1080i HDV but yet it is viewed as a pro format mainly because of the camera behind it and the easier to work with medium.

HDV isn't any more temporary then VHS, VHS-C, 8MM, Hi-8, S-VHS, BETA, Beta-cam SP, 3/4", micro-MV, DVD, DV, Digital 8, DVCAM, HDCAM or DVCPRO. With the low cost of tapes capable of recording 60 minutes worth of HD content is is going to be awhile before we get to the point where there will be something much better then HDV. Yes it could look a little bit better but at what cost ratio? While some of us may be willing to pay more per minute of footage not everybody feels that way.
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Old December 17th, 2006, 02:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Cegla
<snip>
the difference is I don't want to accept its limitations and problems as those users are ok with working around it's problems. It seems makeshift and inferior to shooting in truer HD format such as Panasonic's DVCPRO HD.
<snip>
I am heavily leaning towards the HVX200 but I really wish it offered the features of the HPX500.

What are your needs and budget? Different business and personal requirements are better suited to different cams.

FYI, DVCPROHD is actually a pretty old 8 bit codec that's pretty much been handed its hat. The new 50 and 100Mbs intraframe AVCHD format is replacing it.

And by the way, I've shot rippling water, fountains, high detail scenery and whip pans with my XH A1 without resorting to workarounds. Just nice video that blows people away when they watch it.

Not trying to rag the HVX by the way, its awesome. I just think most of these cams are awesome in their own ways. Regardless of format, they're all capable of producing superb imagery.
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Old December 17th, 2006, 04:13 PM   #11
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Daniel instead of asking about HDV i suggest finding someone on this board who's word you respect and who has had alot of experience with not only HDV but the cinealtas and the varicams..... Tim Dashwood , Steve Mullen, Nate weaver Stephen L Noe ,Paolo Ciccone to name only a few (there are many of them) and read what he/she has to say on the subject.

Learn from people who know better, it's why we all gather here.

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Old December 17th, 2006, 04:54 PM   #12
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I'd put the "HDV" from my XDCAM HD against a Varicam any day. In the last 9 months I've used both a fair amount.

Even 25mbit XDCAM HD.

Hint: it has a lot more to do with the quality of the camera head than the recording format. Ask a professional editor who works with DVCPRO HD vs. any of the other formats available. It's not the end-all be-all.
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Old December 17th, 2006, 08:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Cegla
I am very skeptical about HDV, but maybe I shouldn't be. From what I have heard with the mpeg2 compression, etc. it doesn't seem like true HD and it seems that the quality isn't what it coud be.
HDV is a clever technological compromise which works well enough for some folks and not well enough for others. As someone here noted it's the same basic format used for many HDTV transmissions, so if that's not "true HD" then maybe the networks should note this in their HD advertising.

Quote:
From what I've read I really like the DVCPRO HD format, but only one camera (the HVX200) has it for an affordable price... but this camera doesn't have interchangeable lens (see my other post about shooting telephoto) and also I really want to get an HD camera that does 1080p when I upgrade...
If you're looking for "affordable" HD recording then HDV is the way to go for now. The HVX200 isn't all that affordable once you factor in the cost of recording media options, and its sensor resolution is only 960x540 pixels - just 1/3 that of the Canon HDV cameras. Plus if you want removable lenses, as you noted, then either the Canon XL-H1 or JVC HDxxx series are your current choices under $10K. If you're shooting for someone who insists on higher bandwidth HD source, your next step up is the Sony XDCAM HD cameras for $20+K with HD lens.
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Old December 17th, 2006, 08:59 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Thomas Smet
The same is true for HD-DVD and Blu-ray movies as well. Well HD-DVD already uses VC1 encoding which can look much better for a lower bitrate, but Blu-ray movies use the same exact form of mpeg-2 encoding used in HD broadcast and HDV.
From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blueray):
"Initial versions of Sony's Blu-ray Disc-authoring software only included support for MPEG-2 video, so the initial Blu-ray Discs were forced to use MPEG-2 rather than the newer codecs, VC-1 and H.264. An upgrade was subsequently released supporting the newer compression methods so the second wave of Blu-ray Disc titles were able to make use of this."
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