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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old May 26th, 2007, 10:37 AM   #1
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Questions for a newbie to DV

Hi all,

I am new to the digital video world and I wanted to get some good feedback on where I am and where I should go from here.

So here’s my background:

I have about 9 years of Hi8/Digital 8 tapes which I have done no editing on whatsoever. My son is now 9 and we now have an 8 month old baby girl. So, I am in the market for an HD Camcorder. I want to convert all of my tapes to digital so that I can edit them as well as my new digital video taken from my new camcorder. I have a copy of Sony Vegas Movie Studio & DVD Platinum which I received as a gift.

Here is what I'd like to know:

I’d like to know the best and most efficient way to convert my tapes to digital.

One of the main reasons I want to go digital is because I want to edit and create DVDs for family and friends. If I purchase an HD camera am I going to need an expensive burner that can rip high def disks? I have no clue about this. Also, if I burn a high def disk will it have to be Blue Ray or HD DVD? Will the people I give these to be able to watch them on a standard DVD player? How do I deal with the fact that not everyone has an HDTV or HD DVD player? I have an HDTV but not a high def player (we might get a Sony PS3).

I am in the market for a camera like the HV20 or HC7. I think I am leaning to a Sony. I have had good luck with their camcorders in the past. Unless there are benfits to getting a Canon because I am used to their D-SLR user interface.

Essentially, this will be a major change for me from simply popping in a tape and archiving the tapes into a box. I am computer literate so learning software will not be a problem.

Can I get some advice on workflow, compression, quality, etc?

Lastly, is there a place on the web I can go to learn the basics?

The more I know upfront the better off I will be.

Thanks!
Pete R.
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Old May 26th, 2007, 11:14 AM   #2
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Pete, I'm far from an expert and I don't have any experiance with HD DV.....but I can answer one of your questions.

Probably the easist way to convert your old 8mm analog stuff to DV is to use a camcorder that has "pass through" as a feature. You connect the output of your old cam to the DV cam and it outputs DV to your computer. Look for the option on either the new camera you buy or pick up a cheap, used camera off e-bay or something.

I use an old Sharp DV camcorder that cost me $70 as a DV deck and for pass though conversion of analog stuff.

As for the rest of your questions, I'll leave that to the many real experts on this forum.

Bob T.
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Old May 26th, 2007, 06:33 PM   #3
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Most digital8 cameras could do a live conversion of Hi8 to firewire/ieee1394 DV. Check and see if your camera can play analog Hi8 out the firewire port.
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Old May 26th, 2007, 07:21 PM   #4
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First your D8 tapes are digital and the D8 camcorder will likely convert your Hi8 tapes to digital on passthorough to the PC capture from iLink port ( assuming its a Sony D8). You have software to do the rest. I think the Vegas software will allow you to edit, place markers where you want chapter points in you DVD( at least the full version allows this), encode to MPEG2 for DVD and author in DVD Platinum. Little point in burning your past tapes to HD, DVD will do just fine and make it easier to view for everyone. IF you go with either the Sony HC7 or the Canon HV20 then you can shoot HDV but output SD for now and make standard DVD. IN the future when things have sorted themselves out ( and are cheaper) you can pull out the tapes and author to HD. Going this way you will have less problems in terms of PC power but still have HD for the future. If you can believe the reports Canon HV20 has slightly sharper picture than Sony but I too am more of a Sony fan and like the better battery technology ( bigger batteries with info in the viewfinder on time left) as well as LANC control for tripod use. I have an FX1 and can confirm that the difference between SD and HDV it startling. Compared to this difference I am sure the difference between the HC7 and HV20 is negligible.
In short use your D8 to capture the tapes to your PC, edit and author standard DVD's. Get one of the HDV cams as upgrade, shoot HDV but downconvert on capture to PC( in camera conversion is easiest to start with) and edit author as for the older tapes. In the future revisit the HDV tapes and author to HD discs.

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Old May 28th, 2007, 09:50 AM   #5
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Thanks the replies so far.

Ron, I like your idea about shooting HD now and using HD later. Due to my ignorance in the whole workflow process I just want to make sure you are saying that I can shoot in HD, then edit in HD and finally burn to DVD in SD? This would allow me to take already edited footage and burn to HD in the future?

Lastly, I just want to make sure I have all the needed item for my process:

I have:
(getting the camera)
computer
Vegas SW
(need a DVD burner)

anything I am missing?

Thanks,
Pete R.
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Old May 28th, 2007, 11:15 AM   #6
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Peter you can shoot in HD then set the camcorder to output SD for you to edit and encode for DVD. Most of the HD camcorders can be set to down convert to SD in the camcorder over the iLink as standard DV. This makes the load on the PC for editing a lot less while still having a HDV tape for the future. You could also capture the HD to the PC, edit in HD then output SD for DVD. Now you will need a more powerful computer to do this. This way you would have a project file already set up for the future( keep a copy of the project and any graphics you used). When BluRay burners get more economical you could then load up the project again, recapture the files as HDV from the original tapes and output to HD disc.
For best results the PC should have a drive for the OS, a drive for the video files and I like to have a drive just for the temp and rendered files. Means that no one drive is doing all the work and avoids the drives having to seek a lot for all the information. Burners are very cheap these days you can even get a BluRay burner for just over $500 I think though multi format( DVD-R/W,+R/W and DVD-RAM) burners are less than $50. The software you have will work to start with and may be enough for you. IF you get really keen you will get to know what other software you will want to buy.
Ron Evans
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Old May 28th, 2007, 09:04 PM   #7
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Hi Peter,

I'm with Ron; your digital 8 camcorder should have a firewire (IEEE 1394) out, so you can digitize (capture) your digital 8 and Hi 8 tapes.

I went with the Sony HC7. I had the Canon HV20 for a short while, but the lack of not having a LANC jack was a deal breaker for me. The Sony looks as sharp as the Canon in my opinion. One thing I did notice about the Canon is the bayer pattern would become visible in dim light. The only advantage I saw with the Canon was 24p, a little bit better light sensitivity when shooting 24p, the instant focus was awesome, focus assist for manual focusing, and the ease of the menu. On the other hand, the Sony has more custom controls, and I've had little problem maintaining a good focus. The Sony also feels like it is better made. The Canon felt cheap... a lot of plastic.

Anyway they're both excellent cameras. You won't go wrong with either one.

As far as Blu-ray is concerned, stay away from it for now. Very few people have Blu-ray or HD-DVD players. It's best to stand by and wait for prices to drop and see which format wins the war. I like Ron's suggestion of downconverting the HDV to DV (Shoot HDV, Capture DV) and then edit, encode and burn to standard DVD. Archive your HDV tapes, and when High definition DVD finally sorts out all its issues, then you can go back and recapture your clips in HDV, edit, encode and burn to whatever high definition DVD format prevails. Have fun.
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Old June 16th, 2007, 09:51 AM   #8
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Thanks for the replies so far.

Sorry for the ingnorance on this. If I decided to grab the HD content from the camera and edit in HD could I then decide if I want to create a DVD in HD or SD?

This question is huge to me because I do not want to spent hours editing footage and then someday have to edit again just to get edited footage in HD. I am aware this would require more computer horsepower.

Thanks,
Pete R.
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Old June 16th, 2007, 02:54 PM   #9
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Yes, of course. You can edit all your work in HD, then choose your delivery format as you wish. Since at this point in time there is no widely available HD DVD playback capability, most videographers shoot and edit HD, then deliver on standard definition DVD. Some of us use Windows Media HD as a transitional delivery method.

Then archive your work and later on, when HD DVD will be the norm, go back and author your HD DVD or Blueray disk.

Have fun!
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