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Old December 30th, 2006, 04:29 PM   #1
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Networks Spelling Doom for HDV & 720P?

I'm been hearing more and more that networks are requiring 1080i and only allowing HDV in no more than 15% of the programming and reluctantly accepting 720p.

Can anyone offer some light on this subject?
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Old December 30th, 2006, 04:46 PM   #2
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I think it all depends on *which* networks you're referring to. If it's an HD-specific channel, such as Discovery HD, then yes, there is that restriction, which also includes DVCPRO HD material coming from a Panasonic HVX200.

See http://www.discoverychannel.ca/_incl...DSpec.logo.doc

Even so, considering that your submitted master is required to be an HDCAM tape, how is anyone going to know whether or not you originated in HDV? Providing, of course, that we're talking about a one-off and not a series; and that the cameras don't actually appear in the shots.

Otherwise, outside of HD-specific channels, there answer is no, there is no such limitation. In the long run, if your production values are good enough, and the content compelling enough, then it's really not going to matter which format you used.

See also http://www.discoverychannel.ca/_incl..._Specs_TDC.doc
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Old December 30th, 2006, 05:40 PM   #3
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Also, as I understand it- 720p converts very well to 1080i. That said, I haven't done it but this is what my reading tells me.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 05:48 PM   #4
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Fox is an all 720P HD station according to Avid.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 11:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Benner
Fox is an all 720P HD station according to Avid.
As well as ABC & ESPN.

Some interesting reading:
Why the European Broadcasting Union prefers progressive broadcast (720p) over interlace (1080i). by Philip Laven, Director EBU Technical Department

ABC's reasoning for choosing 720P over 1080i by Randy Hoffner, Manager of Technology and Strategic Planning at ABC.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 11:21 PM   #6
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FOX, ABC, and ESPN all broadcast 720p60, probably because they actually listened to their engineers when they were deciding on a standard.

Discovery's limitations seem pretty justified to me. The considerations against including HDV-originated material in programming aren't limited to just the HDV format (as evidenced by their inclusion of the HVX200 in the "HDV" category). Factors such as low light-gathering ability with small chips, sub-par optics and the HVX's use of pixel shifting also contribute to the decision. They might also simply be trying to exclude producers who don't have the budget to buy/rent high-end gear, with the reasoning that a producer is more likely to be someone who can create higher-quality programming if they can afford the gear. It's unfair, since we could all name hundreds of exceptions both ways, but it's a rule that more or less generally holds true.
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Old December 31st, 2006, 02:05 AM   #7
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Anyways - its not to worry as Discovery accepts material that has been upconverted from 720p to 1080i anyway -so its all about your production values in the end.
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Old December 31st, 2006, 06:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Dashwood
As well as ABC & ESPN.

Some interesting reading:
Why the European Broadcasting Union prefers progressive broadcast (720p) over interlace (1080i). by Philip Laven, Director EBU Technical Department

ABC's reasoning for choosing 720P over 1080i by Randy Hoffner, Manager of Technology and Strategic Planning at ABC.
I read the ABC article and it was fascinating. I didn't actually know about all the advatages of 720P, only the Motion since it is 60 full frames. All the other information was new to me. Simply amazing.

Of course, 1080P beats both, but I can't afford that right now!
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Old December 31st, 2006, 09:06 AM   #9
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When DV was first introduced, we saw all sorts of restrictions by broadcasters attempting to limit its use but just a few years later I cannot think of one high-end programme I worked on that did not incorporate a significant proportion of material shot on DV or DVCAM. Of course, delivery was DigiBeta and finishing was all done uncompressed but once producers saw the quality of DV/DVCAM material shot by professionals with a decent lens on 2/3" chips, there was no going back - no matter what the broadcasters said in public. I'm sure it will be a similar story with HD: Broadcasters and others will try to ring-fence the premium nature of HD for as long as possible to hold on to high rates and recoup the enormous investments in HDCAM gear (for example) and early HD post suites but HDV cameras will continue to improve, computer technology will catch up and uncompressed HD for post will become more affordable and - as long as delivery is on the required format and shooting and post are done to professional standards - people will stop asking too many questions about the acquisition format. Sure, uncompressed HD acquisition will remain the order of the day for the high-end digital cinema world and huge budget series but for the a large amount of HD programming in the future for broadcast, I'm sure that HDV will be more than adequate. Well shot HDV looks great on cameras like the HD100 and the consumer won't care how much the camera cost but producers will and they'll be very happy to have saved a small fortune on gear so that they can make more money!
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Old December 31st, 2006, 10:43 AM   #10
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Has anyone compared HDV and XDCAM HD material after compressing for broadcast? Is there a huge difference?

My gut feeling is that broadcast HD is so heavily compressed one would be hard pressed to tell the difference.

Clearly we all know that XDCAM HD material holds up better than HDV material in busy scenes but if one were to shoot a programme well within the capability of HDV and then shoot the same programme with XDCAM HD could the audience see the difference during broadcast? I have a feeling that they wouldn't but could someone give an educated/experienced viewpoint?

In the days of dial up and ISDN any video going to the web had to be shot to limit movement within the frame. I see using HDV the same way. If one understands the limits of the technology then one can work within them and produce amazing results.

I think the 10-15% rule is an unnecessarily blunt instrument given the quality of the output that can be achieved.

I hope Discovery UK has more ambition than they've currently shown. I don't think we need Secret Nazi War Machines HD! HD talking heads and HD rostrum camera work LOL :)

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Old January 2nd, 2007, 04:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Ellifritt
I'm been hearing more and more that networks are requiring 1080i and only allowing HDV in no more than 15% of the programming and reluctantly accepting 720p.

Can anyone offer some light on this subject?
Hohum.

It's the usual tech elitist restrictions that have been going on forever. It just a way of saying, "If you don't got the Ferrari, you can't join the club". Basically there are people who have been in the elite world of HD for a number of years now and suddenly with HDV they aren't so unique anymore.

Let's go back to 1980 and reel to reel 1/2 inch video. The local public stations had all sorts of restrictions against using footage shot on this format, citing all sorts of technical reasons. But if you came armed with the grant funding suddenly they were more then happy to show the footage. I remember a very long argument over a 3/4 inch master with an engineer saying that it wasn't time-base corrected therefore they wouldn't show it. I explained that it was timebase corrected but he insisted that it wasn't. He was complaining that the tape was playing back without time base correction which of course it would if you don't have a time-base corrector attached to the deck. In those days, engineers had to very careful about the video signal they sent to the transmitter and most video decks had to be sent thru a TBC. The end of this story was that the station's only 3/4" time-base corrector was broken and the engineer was trying to get me to make a 1" dub (at the producer's expense) so he wouldn't have to fix the TBC.

I had another quality control person try to remove a program from the air because, "It didn't have 100% video". This scared the hell out of the producer but I knew better and eventually was able to stop that line of thinking.
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Old January 2nd, 2007, 06:43 PM   #12
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1- If you shoot with HDV, think about your post-production workflow. A lot of the high-end post houses don't deal with HDV that often, so there are some kinks to work out there. The problem is that conforming an HDV project takes longer since some of the HDV decks don't shuttle HDV very fast. In some workflows, HDV doesn't really save you that much money. Shooting time of day timecode will also lengthen the conform/re-capture process.

XDCAM on the other hand typically conforms really fast.

2- Part of it is politics... the broadcaster wants the best quality programming. If they are paying you to produce a project, they have the power to be very demanding. They may ask producers to defer payment so that their money goes into the production (in other words, the producers are getting paid less).

For their technical departments, they can play their job safe by being incredibly/overly anal.

3- At the end of the day, what the commercial broadcaster really wants is their advertising dollars. They want programming that draws numbers in their *target* demographic. The target demographic is important to advertisers since their advertising money goes further if it reaches the right audience.

What camera you use generally doesn't have a big impact on how many people watch the show. In rare cases, it does (music videos should generally aim for 35mm production values).

4- How you use the equipment makes a big difference. Some people are doing really cool stuff with HDV.

http://www.poetsofthefall.com/

I believe the music video "carnival of rust" was shot on HDV, and their sets are mostly CGI.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 02:46 PM   #13
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Let's not forget that content is king.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 03:30 PM   #14
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It's not so much the format as it is the cameras themselves. While we are all shooting HD that blows away SD it still isn't up to snuff compared to the larger HD cameras.

With SD a 1/3" camera and a 2/3" camera still pretty much shot the same amount of detail and pixels. With HDV cameras there is usually some sort of trick done to create more detail then the chips are capable to do.

So far the JVC HDV cameras are the only cameras with the full native pixel count for that form of HD. With that said you really can tell the difference between a 2/3" 720p camera and a HD100. I was watching the Rose Bowl Parade on ABC which is 720p. Most of it looked great but there was shots from a blimp that didn't look as good. These were either shot with the JVC HD100 or the Panasonic HVX200. They were still HD but were not as crisp as the shots from the other HD cameras. You could also notice a lot more lens artifacts and tell the glass wasn't as good. This is why I think some networks try to limit the amount of HDV material because it doesn't match up 100% yet. it has nothing to do with the mpeg-2 compression but the raw detail and quality of glass.

I would say 1/3" DV to 2/3" DVCPRO 50 was about a 10% quality difference while 1/3" HDV to 2/3" DVCPRO HD is about a 25% quality difference.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 03:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
I think it all depends on *which* networks you're referring to. If it's an HD-specific channel, such as Discovery HD, then yes, there is that restriction, which also includes DVCPRO HD material coming from a Panasonic HVX200.

See http://www.discoverychannel.ca/_incl...DSpec.logo.doc

Even so, considering that your submitted master is required to be an HDCAM tape, how is anyone going to know whether or not you originated in HDV? Providing, of course, that we're talking about a one-off and not a series; and that the cameras don't actually appear in the shots.

Otherwise, outside of HD-specific channels, there answer is no, there is no such limitation. In the long run, if your production values are good enough, and the content compelling enough, then it's really not going to matter which format you used.

See also http://www.discoverychannel.ca/_incl..._Specs_TDC.doc
Chris- I found out, from an extreamly reliable source that shoots alot for DiscoveryHD, that the Canons have been approved for 100%(HDV). That was as of November 15th. The limitation that was out there before was for 30% and that was directly related to the Sonys and their issues....that are not on the JVCs or the Canons.
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