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Old December 10th, 2008, 06:32 PM   #1
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Edit in HD or SD?

This comes straight out of Ignorance, USA.
I see that a lot of people on this board edit their video in HD. Yours truly edits everything in SD... and I'm wondering if I'm missing out on something.

The final product I deliver is on DVD... and since I'm on a Mac and can't edit onto Blu-Ray (my ignorance and lack of $), I wonder... what's the point? If 97% of everybody I do business with has a SD DVD player, then why bother? Right?

Besides... my Mac can't handle HD footage.

But I have a friend whose Mac does! So we ran a test. We took some HD footage. Edited in, ran it thru compressor and onto a SD DVD. Then we took the same footage, downconverted to SD on capture, edited... ran it thru compressor...

And we couldn't tell a lick of difference.

Now maybe it's because we're 2 of those 3 blind mice or whatnot, but the footage looked identical.

I bow to those in the know and seek your wisdom. Educate me!
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Old December 10th, 2008, 07:28 PM   #2
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Edit in HD, render as SD but save the project, if the client comes back at a later date and asks for HD then all you have to do is reopen the project and render a bluray (and charge for it).

Paul.
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Old December 10th, 2008, 09:51 PM   #3
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Ignorance, USA. What a coincidence. I'm from there too!

Paul's right, but there's a big caveat that goes with that. You will need a much beefier system for HD and your render times will be greater.

Today, you can edit DV on anything faster than a rock. HDV, however, needs a Porsche at least.

If you think you will want to output your project to any form of HD in the future, then by all means edit in HD and down-res to DVD for now. If anything, the DVD quality might be a little better from an HD project than editing in DV.
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Old December 11th, 2008, 08:08 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blake Cavett View Post

But I have a friend whose Mac does! So we ran a test. We took some HD footage. Edited in, ran it thru compressor and onto a SD DVD. Then we took the same footage, downconverted to SD on capture, edited... ran it thru compressor...

And we couldn't tell a lick of difference.
I too recently got an XHA1 and have done two weeks of testing. I find I can see a great difference between the HDV edits compared to the downconverted edits put on standard DVD. I can even say that the HDV clips put into an SD project prove to encode out with much greater detail and lack of artifacts than SD.

This all comes at the cost of speed in editing and rendering. I find so much of a difference in quality that I am not happy bringing some HDV footage into After Effects and rendering it out at 8 bit YUV back to PPro. I can see a difference in that also. I always look at the dvd's I make on a 32" crt set and a 52" HD LCD set.

I dont think I could go back to SD. The HDV even looks better when encoded to H.264 for the internet. Theres just that much more data to start with.
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Old December 11th, 2008, 12:21 PM   #5
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NLEs caught up with the new demand in the meantime, but this two years old thread is a good starting point to anyone trying to understand what's happening and why:

Comparison of NLE HD to SD downconversion quality - The Digital Video Information Network
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Old December 11th, 2008, 12:47 PM   #6
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It's very simple. Edit in HD..... ALWAYS!...as far down the chain as you can. You retain the resolution for any crops for a start. Only downconvert to SD at the very last stage when editing is complete.

So what if your PC / Mac is not up to HD editing? Then that's where you should now focus to resolve the bottleneck. You can buy an amazingly fast PC nowadays for not a lot and good NLE software that can handle HD effectively.

Many people (me included) have reported the benefits of this HD editing approach on here (and on all the forums). I even occassionally get some people tell me that my "normal" DVD's "must be Hi Def as they look so good and sharp".

Remember, once the resolution is gone in the chain, there's no way to get it back!
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Old December 11th, 2008, 07:34 PM   #7
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Remember, once the resolution is gone in the chain, there's no way to get it back!
IMO, that's the key to the whole discussion.
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Old December 11th, 2008, 09:21 PM   #8
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And I guess that's where some (some = a lot) of my confusion comes in. Aren't I going to lose that resolution once I make it an MPEG2 file and put it on DVD anyways?
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Old December 11th, 2008, 10:49 PM   #9
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The resolution of the final output format is absolute and defined by its specs. It won't change. But, if you transcode a file to say h.264, you'll get better output quality if you transcode a higher quality input. If there are DV sized artifacts in your source footage, the transcoder will try to compress those and they can get exponentially worse. HD will give the transcoder a better quality image to work with, often in spite of the HDV artifacts.

As was said before, quality that is lost can never be reclaimed.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 01:28 AM   #10
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Personally I'm from Delerious, USA, just down the road a piece from ya - pretty happy here...

As stated, start at the highest resolution, stay there as long as you can, considering your computer/NLE capability, reduce your resolution as late in the chain as possible.

While using in cam downconvert of HD footage to SD will probably look better than most "SD" footage, if you pan/crop or anything, you're going to go downhill fast. Better to stay at HD in edit if at all possible, even when the target is an SD DVD. Many things affect the overall quality, but you simply can't create what isn't there, no matter what they show on those crime shows.

You can always downres for whatever your final destination format/display/target, uprezzing is iffy IMO...
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Old December 12th, 2008, 06:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blake Cavett View Post
And I guess that's where some (some = a lot) of my confusion comes in. Aren't I going to lose that resolution once I make it an MPEG2 file and put it on DVD anyways?
Here's a simple test that will shed some (some = a lot) of light on your dilemma.

Take a Hollywood movie and put it side by side with your DV-originated DVD. Which one looks better? And why? Because Hollywood didn't shoot DV, they shot a lot higher resolution (4K or film). It's that simple.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 06:42 AM   #12
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Take what you read on internet sites with a grain of salt, everyone has an opinion but not everyone has the correct answer!

The correct answer is ....
" The final product I deliver is on DVD... and since I'm on a Mac and can't edit onto Blu-Ray (my ignorance and lack of $), I wonder... what's the point? If 97% of everybody I do business with has a SD DVD player, then why bother? Right?
Besides... my Mac can't handle HD footage. "

By the way, when we edit broadcast content for both SD & HD, we never down convert the finished HD edit to SD, because the fonts & graphics don't look right. We always do an SD edit version with appropriate graphics & fonts as well as the HD version.


Good Luck!
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Old December 12th, 2008, 06:46 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by David W. Jones View Post
...when we edit broadcast content for both SD & HD, we never down convert the finished HD edit to SD, because the fonts & graphics don't look right. We always do an SD edit version with appropriate graphics & fonts as well as the HD version.
Is that because of the aspect ratio difference (HD = 16x9, NTSC = 4x3) or another reason?
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Old December 12th, 2008, 08:59 AM   #14
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The scaling of fine line detail like graphics and fonts USUALLY doesn't hold up well (generally goes "soft") when generated for HD and then just scaled down to SD. SOMETIMES, this works well, especially if you've gone out of your way to create a soft, warm look. Usually it just looks soft in the not-so-good way.
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Old December 12th, 2008, 11:46 AM   #15
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Very Helpful

The responses in here are very helpful & insightful. It looks like I'll be moving a new MacPro up on my list of equipment to purchase!
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