I've uploaded the CineAlta clip at DVinfo.net

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Old June 30th, 2003, 11:52 PM   #1
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I've uploaded the CineAlta clip

Hi folks,
Just to let you know I've uploaded to the dvinfo.net site a clip from Emotion studios here in San Francisco that was shot on a Sony FW-900 HD camera in 1080 format. It was then compressed using the Heuris encoder to MPEG2 TS format at about the same bit rate as the JVC records at. Part of this clip is a shot of the Golden Gate Bridge, that I tried to match in one of the clips I uploaded earlier from my JVC cam. You should be able to get a rough approximation of the difference in quality between this 100k++ camera and the 3K JVC by looking at both of these clips. Bear in mind that they were shot on different days, under different lighting conditions. The clip is named emotion.ts. I got emotion studios verbal agreement to upload this, but you don't have permission to edit or do anything else with it, so please respect that. I hope you find this of interest, I'd be very interested in people's opinions.

All the best
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Old July 1st, 2003, 03:35 AM   #2
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Well, the CineAlta looks pretty good. I wouldn't be surprised if the lens has a lot to do with it, as well as the camera. Those images looked like they were captured using very high quality optics, and that can make a world of difference all by itself. There's also no visible compression noise, which makes a difference.

Still, I can't get over the quality of the clips from the JVC that you've uloaded.

I use a pair of ViewSonic 21" monitors (old P810 models) to edit my projects (using Premiere). Normally I shoot Super-8mm film and have it telecined to Mini-DV for my school projects, but I did a project last fall with a GL2.

Now, I frequently preview what I'm working on full-screen and Mini-DV always looks terrible to me full-screen on my monitors. The pixels are too visible and blocky. You don't see it on TV, but it drives me crazy when I'm editing. I get depressed because it seems like wasted effort when the output is just so low-res.

Tonight I've been looking at both footage I shot on film and had transferred to Mini-DV and footage I shot on the GL-2. Full-screen on this monitor there's no comparison to me between your footage and my footage. The difference in resolution makes the difference between junk and beauty in this case. The noise and the optics being mediocre and the other quirks people have pointed out are nothing to me compared to the clarity and detail in your images.

-Rob
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Old July 1st, 2003, 11:30 AM   #3
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<<<-- ... the other quirks people have pointed out are nothing to me compared to the clarity and detail in your images. -->>>

Once you blow a pix to 6 to 8 feet, rez trumps most everything else. As long as DV and HD are compared on small monitors -- the higher rez doezn't seem so important.

That's why FOX claimed 480p was good enough. On most folk's TVs it looked like "OK" DVD. But on a big screen there is no comparison between DVD/FOX "widecreen" and HDTV.
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Old July 1st, 2003, 04:15 PM   #4
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<<<-- Originally posted by Robert Jackson : Well, the CineAlta looks pretty good. I wouldn't be surprised if the lens has a lot to do with it, as well as the camera. Those images looked like they were captured using very high quality optics, and that can make a world of difference all by itself. There's also no visible compression noise, which makes a difference.

Now, I frequently preview what I'm working on full-screen and Mini-DV always looks terrible to me full-screen on my monitors. The pixels are too visible and blocky. You don't see it on TV, but it drives me crazy when I'm editing. I get depressed because it seems like wasted effort when the output is just so low-res.

-Rob -->>>

I don't think anyone would be surprised if the CineAlta's better lens and optics "might" had a lot to do with it producing a superior image. And why are you worried about what DV looks like when played back from your desktop? It's well known that the Apple DV codec has problems displaying DV footage on the desktop. Just because it looks pixelated on your VGA monitor doesn't mean it's pixelated in NTSC. It's final output that you should really be comparing.
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Old July 1st, 2003, 04:28 PM   #5
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I'm sorry, maybe I'm just thick but where is the link to the 2 clips?

***ok, no need for an answer, I found them!***
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Old July 1st, 2003, 05:48 PM   #6
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A regular NTSC television is about the worst possible way to look at footage. All it will tell you is how people with televisions are going to interpret what you've done. Mini-DV looks pixelated on both Apple and PC screens because it's a very low-resolution medium. The JVC footage doesn't look like that, though, and that's the point, IMO.

<<<-- Originally posted by Yang Wen :

I don't think anyone would be surprised if the CineAlta's better lens and optics "might" had a lot to do with it producing a superior image. And why are you worried about what DV looks like when played back from your desktop? It's well known that the Apple DV codec has problems displaying DV footage on the desktop. Just because it looks pixelated on your VGA monitor doesn't mean it's pixelated in NTSC. It's final output that you should really be comparing. -->>>
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Old July 1st, 2003, 06:12 PM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Robert Jackson : A regular NTSC television is about the worst possible way to look at footage. All it will tell you is how people with televisions are going to interpret what you've done. Mini-DV looks pixelated on both Apple and PC screens because it's a very low-resolution medium. --->>

You're gonna disregard the output of a calibrated broadcast monitor in favor of your Viewsonics that're uncalibrated and where desktop video overlay is software dependent. Mini-DV is normal NTSC or PAL res, same res as formats used the pro world... Unless you're saying the JVC cam is superior too the status quo as of right now. These screen shots are from my desktop, showing what a DV file looks like on the "desktop" when displayed properly. Again, you gotta be crazy if you're gonna keep saying that is pixelated.

http://www-personal.engin.umich.edu/~ywenz/Mammoth/screen1.jpg

http://www-personal.engin.umich.edu/~ywenz/Mammoth/screen2.jpg

Sorry, wish I can agree with you.
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Old July 1st, 2003, 06:32 PM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Yang Wen :

Serisously I have no idea what you'er talking about. Mini-DV is the normal NTSC or PAL res, same res as formats used the pro world... Unless you're saying the JVC cam is superior too the status quo as of right now. These screen shots are from my desktop, showing what a DV file looks like on the "desktop" when displayed properly. Again, you gotta be crazy if you're gonna keep saying that is pixelated.

http://www-personal.engin.umich.edu/~ywenz/Mammoth/screen1.jpg

http://www-personal.engin.umich.edu/~ywenz/Mammoth/screen2.jpg

Sorry, wise I can agree with you. -->>>

BINGO! You got it! The JVC is superior to the staus quo right now!

NTSC television displays are, by and large, really low-quality. In broadcasting we had top-of-the-line air monitors and even those only handled around 500-odd lines of resolution. By comparison I run my computer monitors at 1600x1200. You keep increasing the size of a Mini-DV image, whether it's by showing it full-screen on a decent monitor or by projecting it and it starts to fall apart really fast. It pixelates like crazy because the resolution is just so low. You wouldn't buy a digital still camera that shot at Mini-DV's resolution, would you? I have still shots of a band I was on tour with in '98 that were shot with an old Olympus digital camera at 640x480 and they look terrible by today's standards. You print them out and compare them to a current image shot at 3072x2048 and you aren't even dealing with the same kind of image. The jump in resolution makes a big difference in still photography and it makes a big difference here. I appreciate that you may have trouble telling the difference on a common NTSC monitor, but that's more a problem with SD NTSC's ability to display a high definition image than a problem with the image coming out of the JVC.

-Rob
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Old July 1st, 2003, 06:45 PM   #9
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Again, your observation is at fault. Scaling the NTSC footage from your video player is a horrible way to do it. Most likely, the scaling is done on your Grafix card's hardware level, in order to keep up with the 30fps, which is why you see pixelation. In real-life the SD footage will always be scaled up using some sort of averaging technique, therefore no pixelation. I've projected letterboxed (720x373) NTSC footage to fill a 30' wide-format movie screens and it looked fine for that type of application, no pixelation whatsoever when viewing from the theater seats(only 373 vertically!!). Ideally, you really should scale NTSC footage in something like After Effects, to get its full potential.

I've resized my "letterboxed" dvx100 frame to fill a 1280x720 HD720P frame using photoshop. Keep in mind the original frame was letterboxed where the actual data is only 720x373. I think what I have here looks almost as sharp as the JVC and much richer colors.

http://www-personal.engin.umich.edu/~ywenz/Mammoth/SDtoHD.jpg
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Old July 1st, 2003, 06:47 PM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Yang Wen : Again, your observation is at fault. Scaling the NTSC footage from your video player is a horrible way to do it. Most likely, the scaling is done on your Grafix card's hardware, in order to keep up with the 30fps. You really should scale NTSC footage in something like After Effects, to get its full potential. -->>>

I edit using Premiere and After Effects and that's how I check out my work when I'm editing. You seem to have a really hard time believing that Mini-DV footage can look pixelated, but look at how low-res it is.
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Old July 1st, 2003, 07:48 PM   #11
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Robert, I think you've made a very important point here. I was stunned a week ago when I looked at some footage from my Ikegami HL-DV7W on an Apple HD 23" cinema display set to 1920*1080 resolution, and saw how terribly pixelated and blocky it looked, whereas the footage from the JVC looked very smooth and non-pixelated. The Ikegami has an excellent picture quality when viewed on an NTSC monitor, one of the best available of any DV camera. I wondered about this and resolved it in my mind by saying that I wasn't looking at the Ikegami footage on an NTSC monitor and that's why it didn't look right.
But thinking about it now, what I was actually seeing was pretty much what the DV footage would look like if blown up to a big screen, and how the JVC would hold up on the same screen. Ignoring the color differences between the two display devices and just judging from a detail and pixelation standpoint, the JVC wins hands down on a large screen, even though the Ikegami is an $18,000 camera, whereas on an NTSC monitor the Ikegami would probably win hands down. The difference is that DV is a low resolution format designed to be shown on a low resolution display device such as an NTSC monitor, whereas HD is designed (or excels at) being shown on a large screen device such as a HI-res monitor (HD) or a large projection screen.

I think what I'm saying is pretty much correct.
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Old July 1st, 2003, 08:40 PM   #12
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i've been blowing up letterboxed NTSC onto 20ft-30ft movie screens the past 3 years at various venues. The video survives rather well. It looks excellent viewing it in one of the 1700 seats. I think you'll be surprised how much it can scale up. Granted, the added res from the JVC would look even sharper. If only there's a way to render HD projects from After Effects onto this JVC cam, then I can see some use out of that.
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Old July 1st, 2003, 10:06 PM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Paul Mogg : Robert, I think you've made a very important point here. I was stunned a week ago when I looked at some footage from my Ikegami HL-DV7W on an Apple HD 23" cinema display set to 1920*1080 resolution, and saw how terribly pixelated and blocky it looked, whereas the footage from the JVC looked very smooth and non-pixelated. -->>>

Just a note on plasma displays, though, and I don't know if this is still a factor or not, but I used to have a lot of trouble with scaling video on plasma displays. Things would get really blocky unless they were at a multiple of the original size that worked well for the display. I'm not saying that's what was happening to you, but it's a possibility. It's one of the reasons I used these big 100 lb. CRTs. Multiscan monitors really seem to be the way if you're going to view video at non-native resolutions. Someone more technically versed may have an additional observation about this, but I wanted to bring it up in all fairness.

That said, all that extra resolution really rocks. I'm really surprised that more people aren't excited about how great that footage looks.

I wonder about converting the files to an uncompressed format for editing, though. Have you thought very much about how you're going to handle editing?

-Rob
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Old July 1st, 2003, 10:59 PM   #14
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Yes I've thoght quite a lot about editing. I'm using a Mac and a PC. I posted a complete pathway for this here a while back but basically it's as follows (from my previous post)

Transfer the MPEG2TS file directly from the camera to a PC,
Demux it on the PC using a shareware utility called "mpgtx"
Move the file to a Mac, uncompress it in Quicktime Pro,
Make a DV clone from Quicktime Pro.
Edit in DV,
Conform to HD on your regular DV hard drives,
Move the file back to the PC
Encode to MPEG2 (HD res) using TMPEGEnc utility ($50)
Convert to MPEG2TS using the Womble MPEG2 editor ($120)
View the HD movie on your PC or Mac using the Elecard player (PC) or VLAN
shareware player on the Mac
or transfer it to a D_VHS deck or back to the camera and view it on an HD
TV.

None of this requires any expensive HD I/O gear, the downsides of course
being the inability to view the material in HD res AS you are editing
(though you CAN load up the uncompressed file into FCP and view Still frames
if that helps), and you need masses of hard drive space. I only just found
out about the TMPEG and Womble utilities so I can't vouch for them
personally yet

Since I wrote that, Apple came out with the MPEG2 TS capture utility for the Mac and the MPEG2 playback plugin for Quicktime, which makes things easier. I may actuall just capture rough short clips directly to the PC or Mac first.

Let me know if you find you can improve on this.

Cheers

Paul
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Old July 2nd, 2003, 01:22 AM   #15
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Holy Christmas. I think I almost blacked out there for a second...any idea how much disc space this uncompressed HD stream will eat up and how fast access needs to be?

<<<-- Originally posted by Paul Mogg :

Transfer the MPEG2TS file directly from the camera to a PC,
Demux it on the PC using a shareware utility called "mpgtx"
Move the file to a Mac, uncompress it in Quicktime Pro,
Make a DV clone from Quicktime Pro.
Edit in DV,
Conform to HD on your regular DV hard drives,
Move the file back to the PC
Encode to MPEG2 (HD res) using TMPEGEnc utility ($50)
Convert to MPEG2TS using the Womble MPEG2 editor ($120)
View the HD movie on your PC or Mac using the Elecard player (PC) or VLAN
shareware player on the Mac
or transfer it to a D_VHS deck or back to the camera and view it on an HD
TV.-->>>
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