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Old December 5th, 2006, 11:17 PM   #1
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what to shoot for the client who doesn't know..

I have a client who will be hiring a professional documentary maker far off in the future to make a piece to be produced later. She wants me to get some shots done now and doesn't know what format this documentary person will use.

I assume that I should shoot in HD and downconvert later keeping most of the action in the 4:3 "safe area."

Any disadvantages to doing this? I am almost positive that she will end up using just regular DV at 4:3 but can't be absolutely sure it won't be 16:9.

The client wants it to be "my call."

Opinions?
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Old December 6th, 2006, 01:14 AM   #2
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I'd agree with your assumption (shoot HD but keep 4:3 safe). Not losing anything that way, just giving them more to work with.
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Old December 6th, 2006, 01:24 AM   #3
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I agree. That way you can 'pressure' the client into a more expensive HD production later :-)

You have to remember that you might be mixing progressive and interlaced then later on, so it would be nice if the shots you have to take now are low action. That way they'll intermix with inlerlaced footage better...
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Old December 6th, 2006, 07:27 AM   #4
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thanks!

Thanks guys!.

I spoke to the client and was thinking of just shooting it with my PD-150 anyway given the fact that she is almost certainly going to hire a well known documentary maker that use the same.

Don't worry, I have my foot in the door and they are using me more and more. Perhaps One day I will "replace" that well known doc maker. ;)
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Old December 6th, 2006, 11:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sal C. Martin
Thanks guys!.

I spoke to the client and was thinking of just shooting it with my PD-150 anyway given the fact that she is almost certainly going to hire a well known documentary maker that use the same.
Out of curiosity, are you saying that the documentary will be shot sometime in the future with a PD150?

How will the finished piece be presented? DVD? Broadcast?, etc.?

In the U.S. the total switch to digital has a deadline somewhere around 2008/9 -- I don't recall the last date.

In any case, all TVs will have to be new or have a conversion box. In this light, I think the changeover to 16x9 is going to be happening in very short order.

I think anything done now for anything presented more than 3 months out should be in 16x9... and I think there are advantages to shooting in HD/HDV progressive if some of the material you shoot may be used.

For one thing, if the final product really is in SD 3:4 off a PD150, you can cut what everout of the HDV frame and do some pan and scan... using this miscellaneous footing for transitions maybe, backgrounds, a montage of sorts, etc.

Also, progressive HDV would give good still shots that might be useful to incoirporporate in someone else's video work... assuming your video -- and stills -- are of interesting and relevant subjects that may not be available to the professional.

With the idea of pulling some still shots, if the end product is going to be SD for sure, perhaps shoot in SD60p. Or shoot in SD50p for the higher resolution... and also for the opportunity to pull out some slomo shots of your footage that might be interesting to mix with the professional footage, with some effects added or whatever.

In any case, the worst that can happen is nothing you shoot will used... which may be the probable case, so you may as well take the opportunity to shoot modern and also provide something that might not otherwise be available and would be interesting that could be used.

Or not... I don't know, but it's worth thinking about before shooting with a PD150 if you don't have to.
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Old December 6th, 2006, 11:40 AM   #6
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Agreed. It does seem more than a little crazy to shoot SD 4x3 for broadcast these days. If they must use low-end Sony gear and they must shoot interlaced then they should at least shoot 16:9 FHA on a Z1 or similar. I can't really see any reason not to do so, unless someone owns a PD150 and can't afford to buy or rent a Z1. But if that's the case, surely no one is getting paid and there's not much room for well-known documentary makers...
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Old December 6th, 2006, 02:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Walker

In the U.S. the total switch to digital has a deadline somewhere around 2008/9 -- I don't recall the last date.

In any case, all TVs will have to be new or have a conversion box. In this light, I think the changeover to 16x9 is going to be happening in very short order.

The engineers at the tv station I work at explained to me the switch to digital broadcasting mandates that all tv stations are broadcasting digitally by this date, not that they turn off their old analog transmitters. Eventually the idea is to broadcast only digitally, and eventually turn off the analog transmitters to free up more bandwidth, but this deadline is just for broadcasting digitally over the airwaves, not a complete shut down of the analog broadcast as well. The station I work for has been broadcasting both digital and analog for a few years now.

It should also be noted that even though the FCC is mandating stations broadcast digitally, that doesn't necessarily mean HD, SD video can be broadcast digitally as well.... which is what many many smaller market stations are doing to meet compliance.
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Old December 6th, 2006, 06:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Adam Grunseth
The engineers at the tv station I work at explained to me the switch to digital broadcasting mandates that all tv stations are broadcasting digitally by this date, not that they turn off their old analog transmitters. Eventually the idea is to broadcast only digitally, and eventually turn off the analog transmitters to free up more bandwidth, but this deadline is just for broadcasting digitally over the airwaves, not a complete shut down of the analog broadcast as well. The station I work for has been broadcasting both digital and analog for a few years now.

It should also be noted that even though the FCC is mandating stations broadcast digitally, that doesn't necessarily mean HD, SD video can be broadcast digitally as well.... which is what many many smaller market stations are doing to meet compliance.
... and some people are still using Windows 98.

My only point is that there is impetus to sell a lot of TVs in the 16x9 format, and any video that is not 16x9 is going to be looked at -- at its best -- as quaint, but not serious or professional.

Of course there are exceptions... and you can put 4x3 video in a 16x9 DJ frame, etc.

But if one has a native 16x9 professional or prosumer camera, I believe it is preferable to use that over an SD 4x3 prosumer camera. And again, there may be exceptions.
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Old December 6th, 2006, 07:08 PM   #9
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Broadcasting digital does not mean widescreen. Broadcasting digital means broadcasting digital. Good old classic 480i is still possible when broadcasting digitally, and many stations that can't afford HD yet are upgrading their transmission path to digital SD to meet the FCC analog cutoff mandate. That, and there is still an incredible amount of SD equipment in the field that is still perfectly usable by anyone who doesn't need HD. It will be a loooong time before it all gets replaced. You'll be seeing 4x3 content over the air for years to come.

A coworker told me this story from when he worked on MNF. The director basically said "Until the lowest paid utility on my crew has an HD set, we'll be protecting for 4x3." That's quite a statement from the director of one of the most technologically advanced shows on the air right now.

BTW, the analog cutoff is February 17, 2009. That means no over-the-air analog NTSC transmission in the United States after that date.

It's also estimated that 40% of the population will still be watching standard-def TVs after the cutoff.
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Old December 6th, 2006, 08:18 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Stephan Ahonen
Broadcasting digital does not mean widescreen. Broadcasting digital means broadcasting digital. Good old classic 480i is still possible when broadcasting digitally, and many stations that can't afford HD yet are upgrading their transmission path to digital SD to meet the FCC analog cutoff mandate. That, and there is still an incredible amount of SD equipment in the field that is still perfectly usable by anyone who doesn't need HD. It will be a loooong time before it all gets replaced. You'll be seeing 4x3 content over the air for years to come.

A coworker told me this story from when he worked on MNF. The director basically said "Until the lowest paid utility on my crew has an HD set, we'll be protecting for 4x3." That's quite a statement from the director of one of the most technologically advanced shows on the air right now.

BTW, the analog cutoff is February 17, 2009. That means no over-the-air analog NTSC transmission in the United States after that date.

It's also estimated that 40% of the population will still be watching standard-def TVs after the cutoff.
You can have that 40% of the market, and I'll take the other 60%. Chances are, if they have bought a Hi-Def TV they have more money to spend on my product.

And I can down rez for your 40%... are you going to uprez and squeeze out for my 60%. I'll happily compete with you.

And I think I said in my first post in this thread that the analog was ending in the U.S. in 2008 or 2009. Am I wrong about this?

And can you tell me where I should send your 40% to buy their 4:3 TVs? I didn't see any at Costco or even Walmart.

I'm sure there will be 4:3 content shown for years to come, but I'm not sure how big the market for new 4:3 SD content will be.

I know George Clooney makes B&W movies, but last night I heard him say he is not making anymore B&W movies. There were those that predicted a long life for laser discs. Well. And there are those who also say it will be years before HD DVD is mainstream. Well.

I'll say it one more time... my only point was if one has a PD150 and one has an HD110, I would suggest they shoot with the HD110. I think there are more opportunities for the footage going into the future.
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Old December 6th, 2006, 09:21 PM   #11
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You don't have to be an asshole about it. I'm just saying that SD isn't going to disappear overnight, not that it will be preferable to HD acquisition. Of course you want to shoot in the best format possible, and if you have the means to shoot HD, by all means do so. I'm just saying that there are a lot of people out there with SD equipment that still works and will continue to fill their needs into the future. That and it's simply cheaper to rent SD gear, and if your project doesn't need the extra resolution it's a way you can save some money and either pass it onto your client or increase the production values of your project in other areas.

I work in televised sports and a good chunk of the shows I'm doing are still in SD. These trucks cost millions of dollars, you don't just throw them away. While practically all of the mobile truck vendors have built HD trucks, their SD trucks remain in service for clients with smaller budgets or for days when a lot of events requiring TV coverage are going on. Most of the trucks have 16x9 capable cameras now as well, so when widescreen does become the dominant format even in SD, these trucks will be able to shoot it.

Quote:
And I think I said in my first post in this thread that the analog was ending in the U.S. in 2008 or 2009. Am I wrong about this?
The part of my post about the analog cutoff was directed at Adam, who thought the date was for the adoption of digital, not the cutoff of analog, which is incorrect.

Quote:
And can you tell me where I should send your 40% to buy their 4:3 TVs? I didn't see any at Costco or even Walmart.
They won't be buying new 4x3 TVs, they'll be keeping their existing ones. For a lot of people, if it works they'll keep using it until it breaks. There are people who simply don't care about HD, they don't value picture quality enough for it to be worthwhile for them to upgrade.

Quote:
There were those that predicted a long life for laser discs. Well. And there are those who also say it will be years before HD DVD is mainstream. Well.
If laser discs had ever achieved any kind of significant market penetration I would have agreed. As for HDDVD, the market for DVD is anyone with a TV. The market for HDDVD is anyone with an HDTV, which is only about half the market even three years from now if the 60/40 prediction is accurate. And again, many consumers will feel DVD is good enough of a format for them and will continue to buy it because it's cheaper. Look at how long the market for VHS tapes kept going after the introduction of DVD.

Don't get me wrong, I'm for the widespread adoption of HD standards as much as anybody, but the reality is that people not in the video industry care about video standards far less than we do. The general public is more concerned with convenience and cost than technical capabilities.
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