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HD and UHD ( 2K+ ) Digital Cinema
Various topics: HD, UHD (2K / 4K) Digital Cinema acquisition to distribution.

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Old November 7th, 2008, 06:49 AM   #1
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I'm diving into HD and am trying to look down the road a little bit.

The idea is, I'm going to shoot some shorts with the HVX200a initially intended to go on the internet but, to keep doors open in the future (ie. TV broadcast, dvd, maybe even blueray) what is the best format/frame rate to shoot in?

Is down converting for the web not a big deal? And just keep the full res for DVD and broadcast?

Is there the ONE format that is the master of all formats that everything can be down converted from, or does it just sound easier than it actually is?

Any help and input is greatly appreciated.
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Old November 7th, 2008, 07:25 AM   #2
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If you shoot on HDCam SR with a Sony F23 you'll probably be safe - but bankrupt!
There's not any real safe standard that covers all the bases. That's why Panasonic have bought out 2 Varicams, 1 for 60fps but only at 720 rez, the other at 1080 rez but no overcranking.
For HD broadcast the specs required varies depending on the broadcasters, but the HVX200 doesn't meet any of them!
BBC and Discovery, and maybe Nat Geo, are along the lines of must be 1/2" chip or bigger, 50mb/sec codec, or 100 mb/sec for I-frame (like DVCPro HD), and there is starting to be a preference for 1080 rather than 720.
Then you've got tape, disc, solid state, although the actual media seems to be less of an issue now as it's fairly easy to dump them all to something useable.
Very tricky business still. For me the best compromise might be the Sony PDW700 as it's full 1080, but will soon allow 720/60P so both bases covered there. Codec is OK, but Long GOP still, so I'd rather have an I frame like AVC Intra.
Hope this starts to clear the muddy waters a bit!
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Old November 7th, 2008, 03:18 PM   #3
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The reality is that you should be thinking about your intended audience and distribution format BEFORE you start shooting anything.

Knowing what you need to deliver to a distributor to reach your desired audience (be it stock footage for an outfit like Gettys, or a master film print for striking prints from for distribution, a DVD master file for DVD replication etc) and how to get to that format should be part of your business plan irrespective of what you are shooting and how.

With the HVX200 your concerns are mostly going to be about what base frame rate you shoot at - if you are looking at the American broadcast audience it's going to be either 30 or 60, for European based audience it's going to be 25/50.

Other than that, resolution isn't that important footage is constantly being down rezzed and up rezzed all over the place these days, the results of which greatly depend on your footage.

In terms of Codec you'll be shooting DVCPRO HD - a pretty decent codec that is good for both shooting in and editing in - not that great for grading (things go sparkly pretty quickly when it gets recompressed.

Essentially, the answer to your question is 'no there isn't' as any format change, even from 24FPS film to 23.98/29.97/25FPS video requires some sort of temporal and spatial adjustment.

The best thing you can do, is pick your PRIMARY market, shoot for that, and know that there are enough other people shooting for that market that then need to convert their footage to ancillary markets that if your footage is successful in its primary market then there will generally be a way to convert it to your secondary market - it may not be perfect, and it may be expensive, but someone will have had to do it sometime, and whether it's worth doing or not is always going to be determined by the success of your footage in it's primary market.
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