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JVC GR-HD1U / JY-HD10U
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Old October 21st, 2003, 02:57 PM   #1
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HDV an alternative to DV for non HD market.

I wanted to start a discussion about HDV being an alternative to DV even without producing HD final products.

Let me explain.

Prior to HDV being around, it wouldn't uncommon to shoot in 16mm, 35mm or even HD and transfer the footage to DV with letter box. Even though one would 'loose' a high percentage of data by doing so, the advantage in image quality was undisputable.

Now, I've just purchased the HD10U and did some test shooting for an upcoming feature we are about to produce. Here's my first feedback.

Putting aside the much talked about chroma noise which I abolutely noticed by playing the HD footage on a regular monitor, the footage I watched and especially the B&W stuff could easily be manipulated and pass as 16mm. The key here is that the resolution makes up for the single chip complex.

Here's my biggest dissapointment wih JVC. One cannot capture the HD footage in DV with letter box though firewire. The work around is to transfer it to a DV deck via analog inputs. Still OK however considering that to accomplish the same thing in Film or non HDV HD you would have to spend a pretty penny to convert your footage.

So in conclusion, I would say that the HD10 (assuming the chroma blurbs can be taken care of with color correction) is the best Prosumer camera on the market to achieve that cinematic feel. Finally, even if the footage is captured in HDV and transferred to DV for editing and final delivery, one could still re-edit the HD footage in HD once they get that letter of acceptance from sundance after they previewed your VHS tape and blow it up to film. The stretch from HD to film will not be as painful visually then DV to film.

Did any of this make any sense?

P.S: 50% of what you see on TV is shot in film or HD and everyone enjoys it on regular NTSC TVs...
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Old October 21st, 2003, 07:03 PM   #2
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Yeah, but you can still tell the quality of HD, 35 mm, 16 mm (some TV shows), SD and even DV. Watch any reality show on Discovery or Comedy Central; they use DV a lot as relief cameras, and even if they're the 500 + lines of resolution, you can tell the difference.

I work in market 39 (West Palm Beach) and we have an HD signal, EXPENSIVE HD cameras on our floor (anchors) and SD cameras (DVCPro) for ENG. You can tell the difference at home on an HDTV with HD router! HDV is very much an interest for us, but we're also going all FCP editing, and that's problematic that Apple doesn't YET support it.

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Old October 21st, 2003, 08:20 PM   #3
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Heath,

That's exactly my point. Although many shows are shot on 35mm no one watches these shows on 35mm projectors, they watch it on their TV. So at some point, this footage is being down converted to NTSC. So shooting in HDV with the HD10U and downconverting to DV still looks better than shooting in DV and watching in DV.

At least that's what I've thought when I looked at my footage shot at Island Beach State Park today...

Besides the chroma noise of course??!!!
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Old October 21st, 2003, 11:38 PM   #4
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Downconverting HDV footage definitely retains some of the added image quality -- downconverted JVC HD1 footage looks much, much sharper than equivalent SD footage. As to whether the picture is overall "better", well, there's latitude and color saturation and mpeg artifacts and all sorts of other elements that go into a picture, so "better" remains a subjective call. But definitely it retains sharpness that no standard-def camera can match. We used the HD1 and A/B'd against a DVW700 Digital Betacam, and the downconverted HD1 was much sharper -- it made the DVW700 look like it was out of focus.
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Old October 21st, 2003, 11:45 PM   #5
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I'm wondering if this sharpness is actually due to increased color and spatial resolution or simply aliasing in the downconversion process. Often, aliasing creates some noise that is perceived as an increased contrast at edges. This aliasing is perceived as sharper, but it's really noise. When frame components are static,
so are the alias components. I have little experience with video cameras, but my background is in audio and image processing.
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 12:00 AM   #6
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The only problem is that DV is DV. I recently did a lot of computer animation which I rendered at 854x480, then converted to anamorphic 16:9 720x480 DV. The original animation frames were very sharp, had lots of detail, smooth color gradients. When compressed as DV it suffered the typical blockiness that you see in areas of complex detail and there was visible banding in the smooth gradients. Now no camera was involved in any of this, just compressing the individually rendered frames as DV.

So I imagine there will be some advantages to starting with a higher resolution image from the JVC, but in the end it will have all the telltale DV artifacts. I was projecting my footage on a 40' wide screen, and it worked fine for my purposes. However, the next time I set off on such a project, I am definitely going to look into using 720p HD since the projector's native resolution is 1280x1024. I love working with DV, but there really aren't enough pixels to fill a big screen, and the compression is pretty brutal on anything that has a complex texture.
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 12:44 AM   #7
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>The original animation frames were very sharp, had lots of detail, smooth color gradients.

Boyd,

Yeah. I read your comments on the blockiness, but as you probably know, computer-generated frames aren't band-limited to your monitor, let alone DV. What you see is the data limited to the bandwidth of your monitor. One can create data files with
alternating white and black pixels. The data is stored, but viewing that data will yield ringing artifacts. Such signals are start out aliased.
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 07:25 AM   #8
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DV limitation

Boyd,

I here you when it comes to processing animations in DV. DV does better with video footage. If you can, you could process your animation to uncompresed SD or beta.

But I think what I'm hearing here is that the HD10U is a viable shooting camera even if one stays on DV to edit and deliver. It's a bit like getting a "digital super 16mm" if there was such a thing.

The other advantage is that your show could always be cut on HD using EDLs, should you have a need to distribute it in HD or transfer it to film. A luxioury that one can hardly afford with DV.

You know that most film festivals accept submissions in VHS and require film for projection.

So my conclusion is that the HD10 beets any DV camera based on the above.

There is still the color quality issue, which I beleive can be fixed in post (Look at what they did with 'Amelie'). You can tweek color and exposure (to a limit) but you can't fix a lack of resolution.

Do you guys follow my reasoning? Do you agree?
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 12:03 PM   #9
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Re: DV limitation

<<<-- Originally posted by Frederic Haubrich :
You know that most film festivals accept submissions in VHS and require film for projection.

So my conclusion is that the HD10 beets any DV camera based on the above.

-->>>

No, because if your goal is to go to film, the HD10 is the single worst camera you could choose to use. You cannot successfully transfer HD10 footage back to film, because of the 30P issue. If you really want to use HDV to transfer to film, you should wait for the next generation of cameras, and use the 1080/60i, 1080/50i, or 720/25p modes.

Most film festivals also accept DV for projection, or at the worst, BetaSP. DV has been highly successful in penetrating the film festival circuit.
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 01:06 PM   #10
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I would still rather shoot with the HD10U even if I stay in DV.

Now as far as the issue of transferring to film, I agree, the most difficult rate to transfer to film (23.98fps) is 30p. Now I haven't looked into this but since the HD10U has a HD playback capability of 1080/60i couldn't we just master the final cut to a DVHS in 1080/60i and use that for the transfer to film (Assuming that the DVHS would be digitized, etc.. for the video to film transfer process)?

This is a good question for Steve Mullen.

Just brainstorming here...
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 01:21 PM   #11
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Barry Wrote:
>>>Most film festivals also accept DV for projection, or at the worst, BetaSP. DV has been highly successful in penetrating the film festival circuit.>>>

Is anyone aware of film festivals that have allowed HD projection? If they allow DV projection, then they have already made the mental leap beyond film-only, and the expense of a quality HD projection system should be the only limitation.

With more and more theaters adding digital capabilities, and home DVD being the ultimate market for feature entertainment, are we really so far away from the end of the 24P issue, where HD becomes the standard with film-capture the exception?

Incidentally, when I saw Once Upon a Time in Mexico (film transfer of 1080 24P HD) I at first I thought Robert Rodriguez returned to film. It did not look like other HD I've seen projected. As I watched it, it was hard to imagine that the production was not shot on film.

Brian
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 01:41 PM   #12
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Brian,

Funny you should mention 'Once Upon a Time in Mexico' because I saw it projected in digital and I was absolutely dissapointed. First of all the digital projector they used (In Sherman Oaks, CA) created these very obvious vertical lines, small but noticeable. Like the NTSC lines we know but vertical. I experienced the same thing when I saw 'Star Wars' projected in digital. Now, here's what's interesting...I saw Star wars again but projected in film and it looked much better. The irony...digital transferred to film looks better than digital projected in digital.

A couple other points. Rodriguez' film looked great for most of it (after you got used to the lines) except for some of the explosions. The bright areas looked like bad VHS! Seriously, it was pathetic.

Also, I saw HD projected with the JVC HD projectors at NAB, and that looked amazing! But guess what? the footage was shot on film...

Finally, regarding your point about HD projection in film festivals. I think you are right. It's not a matter of if but when.
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 02:06 PM   #13
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SD resolution, in my mind, has always been my goal with this camera. Down sampled video is what makes a Hollywood DVD look so much better than a DV home movie, even though they are displayed at the same resolution. SD is still where the money is at. DVD and cable/Satellite TV dominate the market, with Internet distribution coming on strong.
Also noted by Brian, digital projectors are moving in fast. I can't imagine any recognizable film festival not offering full digital projection within the very near future. I mean what do you want to be showing up on that big digital projector, your 24p 4:3 DV movie shot with a DVX-100, or your 720p 16:9 HDV? Pana has made millions by selling 24p to wanna be film makers. Too bad DV looks like crap when projected.
I would rather be future proff then past proof!
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 02:06 PM   #14
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Frederic,

Do you plan to see Once Upon A Time in Mexico via film transfer? It would be interesting to hear your opinion of how this compares to the digital projection.

I have Spy Kids 2 on DVD which is a great movie, but does not look like film. Many of the people look sunburned, for one thing. I wonder how this one looked theatrically on film. Apparently Robert Rodriguez used the same cameras, since he owns them.

I saw Star Wars Episode II theatrically on film, and thought it looked better than my DVD.

Maybe DVD transfers should originate from film rather than from HD? Unless of course this is the process, but from the color look, and other intangible characteristics, I would guess not.

Brian
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 02:21 PM   #15
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Ken wrote:

>>>>SD resolution, in my mind, has always been my goal with this camera. >>>


Ken, do you edit in HD, and then downconvert to SD, or downconvert and then edit? A recent thread provided technical reasons for editing in HD, but I wonder if this is the path chosen by those who plan for SD DVDs.

Also, do you use the HD1 or H1OU? For my purposes, I am interested in black and white HD footage, so I am trying to determine the extent of the edge enhancement problem. The falling prices of the HD1 have prevented me from eliminating it as an option. (dbl syst. sound, so no need for XLRs).

With the JVC Rebate Coupon, and mail order prices on the HD1 of just over $2100 (from reputable sellers) it is hard to ignore. Either HD camera though, seems to have a considerable price advantage over DV as well as the resolution advantage, so, with DVD the ultimate prize, I am tempted to say "to hell with 24P" until of course, the new HD 24p affordable model comes out. Then I'd drop the JVC like a hot potato.

Brian
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