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Old December 31st, 2008, 06:23 PM   #1
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HDV 50i vs 60i for an eventual 23.98 HD final

Budgetary issues have me reconsidering my acquisition format for my doc. I originally wanted to shoot using the Sony XDCAM-EX or Panasonic HVX200 at 1080p24, however funding is not coming in at the rate i need to afford the rental and time is of the essence for a few subjects, which has me looking to a cheaper (and I use that word intentionally) format (which I have never used) for the interim: HDV.

Since the EX-1 and HVX200 cost the same to rent in Montreal, I am looking at the Sony Z1U (which is the only HDV cam available for rent in the market). The first issue that jumps to my mind is the frame rate. What I want is 23.98 fps and I understand from reading posts here and elsewhere that the 24F of the Z1U is awful. I have read in many posts that people recommend shooting in 60i if one is planning to go to 23.98 (frames being removed in the process). However, this article advocates shooting HDV in 50i, then de-interlacing to 50p in DVCPROHD and then slowing down about 4% for a 23.98p result using Cinema Tools (no lost frames).

That workflow makes a great deal of sense to me. I have even been planning on possibly matting the picture to a 2.35:1 ratio and maybe editing the 1080 footage in a 720p timeline (for reframing shots, etc) but I don't know how well HDV will stand up to going out to a 1080p HDCAM out (via Kona card) when viewed on a large projected screen (thinking of festivals, dreaming of theatrical release), not to mention grading.

This plan (shooting HDV) is just for getting the first few interviews in the can; to have something to show the one's with access to the purse strings to convince them to shell out some money with which I can afford the camera (and crew) that I want to shoot the rest of the doc. And the interviews will be relatively simple: low-key/high-contrast (think film noire, reference photo attached) close-ups, shot in a controlled environment, camera locked down -- no handheld run-and-gunning shots.

Since I have never used HDV myself, this would be somewhat unfamiliar territory. What do those of you who do work in the format think? Does the workflow described in the article sound like a good path to 24/23.98, or is there a better way? What do you think of the other ideas I mentioned -- specifically editing 1080 on a 720 timeline?

(There would eventually be some native 720p HD footage shot with VariCam, which is another reason for a 720p timeline).
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Old January 8th, 2009, 01:50 PM   #2
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The Z1U is a good camera, but if you want 24p it's doesn't make sense to use it. Sure you can shoot 60i and convert to film using programs like DVFilm Maker, but it's still a little different than shooting 24p natively plus you have to process all the clips. Or doing what you said and shooting 50i, deinterlacing to 25p and slowing down 4%, but again that's a lot of processing and on a documentary with loads of footage that will be very time consuming and time equals money.

Why don't you purchase a Canon XH-A1 and shoot 24p natively? It shoots a great, sharp image and in 24p hdv. It has the 20x zoom lense which will be handy as well. Once you've shot your footage, you can capture through your NLE that will remove the pulldown and start editing immediately. The A1 also has great manual color settings in camera so you can get the best color possible when shooting that will help to alleviate some of the problems with the HDV codec ie falling apart after too much post color correction. They just released the A1 s model so you can find the Xh-a1's for cheaper used...sometimes under $1500.

I didn't read the article, but I think it doesn't make sense (since you are renting & don't already own the cameras) to get a camera that will force you to do a bunch of processing before you can edit, although I guess you can just do 50i>25p>23.976 process after the edit.

Hope this helps,
Andy
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Old January 8th, 2009, 02:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Olson View Post
Why don't you purchase a Canon XH-A1 and shoot 24p natively?
I'm not purchasing any camera because I do not have the budget for it. I have to rent and am thus limited to renting what is available and within my budget, which right now is the Z1U. By being aware of my limitations I can plan my workflow and find what workarounds (there are always workarounds that need to be done at some point in the process) I will need to implement, which is exactly what my OP is about.
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Old January 8th, 2009, 03:36 PM   #4
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Ask if the rental house has any V1U cameras. It shoots real 24p (but not 50i). You will need to remove the 3:2 pull down in post to get a 24fps stream but otherwise its fine.

The picture quality with the V1 is very good, especially when you can control your lighting some.
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Old January 8th, 2009, 03:59 PM   #5
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How many days are you planning to rent for? Z1U's rent for like 200 daily or $900 for a week on average here. I don't know what rates are there but unless you are only shooting a couple days, renting is going to get expensive quickly. I guess there is other equipment like lights and audio too that needs to be rented so saving where you can with renting should help.

I am a big fan of renting when it comes to shorter productions but long shooting schedules where you have to catch events on a moments notice would make owning a camera more handy. I assume since you are shooting a documentary that you would be shooting for a long period of time which would make buying make more sense. You can always buy and resell.

The Z1U shooting 50i should be fine if your fine with the added steps in the workflow. The article looks like a good idea to follow and it worked for them so it seems like a good workflow.

Best,
Andy
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Old January 8th, 2009, 04:01 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Chris Medico View Post
Ask if the rental house has any V1U cameras. It shoots real 24p (but not 50i). You will need to remove the 3:2 pull down in post to get a 24fps stream but otherwise its fine.
They do not (and by "they" I mean the different rental houses in my area). Trust me guys, this camera isn't my first, second or even third choice, but it is what I am going to have to settle for right now... down the line I hope to get a budget to rent and EX1 or HVX.

Not to go off on a tangent, but if you need to remove pulldown, is the camera really shooting "real" or "native" 24? (I am, of course, being rhetorical.)

Not that I don't appreciate the suggestions, but my options are limited... unless any of you want to through me some money. ;-D
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Old January 8th, 2009, 11:04 PM   #7
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> but if you need to remove pulldown, is the camera really shooting "real" or "native" 24?

In the case of the V1u, the end product after you remove the pulldown is certainly "real" 24p. What to label the raw footage on the tape is perhaps open to debate, but I figure the end product is what matters.
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Old January 8th, 2009, 11:11 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Andy Olson View Post
How many days are you planning to rent for?
A day here and there, just to get the first few interviews done in order to have something to show the ones with access to the proverbial purse strings and convince them to shell out some money which I can then use for the camera and crew that I want for shooting the rest of the doc. I own adequate lighting and audio equipment for shooting interviews; the issue at hand is the camera, which for now is going to be the Z1U.

And since I am going to have to settle for the Z1U, I need to get over the issue of having to settle for less and start planning for how to work this all out in post. I have a point A and my point B, now I am working on the way to get from one to the other. Believe me, I came to the conclusion that camera X would be far better for the job before I even posted the OP -- I'd rather not shot in HDV at all -- but I know what I am facing... I have enough experience to know how to look at the situation realistically. So, thanks for the tips on other cameras, but this is how things are going to go for now.

Again, not to appear to be unthankful for the intention to help, but my question isn't about which camera to use, it's about which frame rate to shoot with the Z1U in order to get the best 23.98 fps end result.
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Old January 8th, 2009, 11:19 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Graham Hickling View Post
In the case of the V1u, the end product after you remove the pulldown is certainly "real" 24p.
Right... "after you remove the pulldown"... it isn't shooting in at a "native" 24p frame rate, it is shooting in a funky jerry-rigged frame rate that allows one to extract a 23.98fps clip out of a 29.97fps recording.

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Originally Posted by Graham Hickling View Post
I figure the end product is what matters.
I agree with you on that point. It is the labeling of these HDV cams shooting so-called "native 24p" that I am pointing out as less than congruent. In fact, it is in the spirit of the end result being most important that I am looking into this workflow. Do you have any thoughts?
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Old January 9th, 2009, 05:48 AM   #10
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It does depend on your workflow. The point to take away here is you do not have to re-render the video stream and lose a generation to remove the pulldown of a V1. Your workflow should remove the pulldown before editing the footage. Both Vegas and FCP I know can do this for you.

I only recommended the V1 because places that rent a Z1 would have a higher chance to rent a V1 as well. If this isn't a workflow you can use then that will limit your choices to Canon.
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Old January 10th, 2009, 07:36 AM   #11
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Mike you have to separate what the camera is capturing and how it is recorded to tape. 24 doesn't divide into 60 period. So the data has to be formatted to be recorded in the HDV tape format( normally 3:2 pulldown). Then the NLE you use has to know how to get the data back in its original form. Unless you then go to film or Bluray the playback process on TV's will also use the same pulldown mechanism( because they also use 60i) and the film rate will really be destroyed on playback because most TV's do not remove the 3:2 pulldown so the playback has the characteristic judder not seen on true film projector playback. Only the latest high refresh rate LCD's and plasma's with Bluray player over HDMI connection can truly display 24p as intended to emulate the 3 or 5 blade film projector shutter( flickers each frame either 3 or 5 times). By the way most of these modern high frame rate TV's can also use interpolation to remove the 24p cadence!!!!
You can tell I am not a fan of 24p. You can get the composition, colour saturation etc without the hassle of the frame rate.

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