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Old May 18th, 2007, 10:54 AM   #1
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HD250 for Discovery HD?

Ok, so now I've heard a rumor that Discovery HD will now accept the HD250 (and I assume the HD200) for full acquisition for their programs. I know D-HD accepts the Sony XDCAM HDs at 35mbps for acquisition, and they're kinda-sorta HDV, but I think the HD250 is a bit of a stretch. Is 720p60p that good? All programming is mastered to HDCAM, of course.
Discovery HD will accept some HDV, but for no more than 15% of an HD program's content. Even the Panasonic HVX200 can only be used for 15% content, and it shoots in DVCPRO HD. The last specification info I saw for D-HD was only updated to June, 2006.
If Discovery HD, which has some of the toughest standards in the HD industry, accepts the HD250, then that makes that camera the bargain of the decade.
Does anyone have any links to other HD cable channel production guidelines?
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Old May 18th, 2007, 12:13 PM   #2
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The deal against the HVX200 isn't because of the format it records but because it relies on pixel shifting to get HD res. The chips have only very little more actual resolution than SD.

If D-HD is accepting HD250 for acquisition I wouldn't be suprised if there was a caveat like "But it must be recorded using an acceptable codec through the HDSDI output."

Or maybe their beef with it isn't HDV itself, just the fact that HD100 only shot [frame rates as high as] 30p. If you're broadcasting in a 60Hz standard, it's pretty reasonable to restrict the amount of material that's only running at half the frame rate.


[edited for clarification]
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Old May 18th, 2007, 04:18 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Stephan Ahonen View Post
If you're broadcasting in a 60Hz standard, it's pretty reasonable to restrict the amount of material that's only running at half the frame rate.
Except D-HD is a 1080i60 which, of course, is 30fps.

D-HD accepts 720p60. A huge amount of their programmimg is shot in 720p60. (You can tell as it's slightly soft -- or "filmic" -- depending on your love of fine detail compared to HDCAM.)

Monster Garage shot half an epidsode with a Z1. Intercut with 720p -- it looked "different" but neither worse nor better.

The anti-HDV bias -- see Studiodaily BS -- works on FUD. Of course, Sony isn't going to fight for HDV beause it gains $$$ if only HDCAM and XDCAM HD/EX is approved. That leaves JVC and its customers to push for HDV acceptance.
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Old May 18th, 2007, 10:07 PM   #4
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Except D-HD is a 1080i60 which, of course, is 30fps.

D-HD accepts 720p60. A huge amount of their programmimg is shot in 720p60. (You can tell as it's slightly soft -- or "filmic" -- depending on your love of fine detail compared to HDCAM.)

Monster Garage shot half an epidsode with a Z1. Intercut with 720p -- it looked "different" but neither worse nor better.

The anti-HDV bias -- see Studiodaily BS -- works on FUD. Of course, Sony isn't going to fight for HDV beause it gains $$$ if only HDCAM and XDCAM HD/EX is approved. That leaves JVC and its customers to push for HDV acceptance.

So, D-HD will accept footage shot with an HD250? I'm still confused. Just because Discovery uses 720p60 doesn't mean they'll accept it from the HD250, correct? I think to them, HDV is HDV.
I don't know why Sony wouldn't want their own HDV cameras to be accepted at D-HD. That's just increased sales for them.
What is Studiodaily BS and FUD?
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Old May 18th, 2007, 11:56 PM   #5
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Except D-HD is a 1080i60 which, of course, is 30fps.
Maybe technically, but the look is closer to 60p due to the 60hz scan rate. I'm really suprised that anyone, especially a guy who does "digital video consulting," would compare 60i with 30p at all.
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Old May 19th, 2007, 06:43 AM   #6
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I always thought the reason networks didn't want the Prosumer HD cameras was because of Chip Size and Pixel Shifting, not the format (hence why the HVX200 falls in the same league). The Pixel Shift is a non-issue in the JVC.
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Old May 19th, 2007, 07:28 AM   #7
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I always thought the reason networks didn't want the Prosumer HD cameras was because of Chip Size and Pixel Shifting, not the format (hence why the HVX200 falls in the same league). The Pixel Shift is a non-issue in the JVC.
I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a little politics involved as well. It does serve to protect a higher standard of crewing, budgets and working. Whether or not that is a good thing...
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Old May 19th, 2007, 08:35 AM   #8
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Absolutely. This sort of thing is as much about ring-fencing rates, status and jobs as about delivering quality.
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Old May 19th, 2007, 08:36 AM   #9
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I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a little politics involved as well. It does serve to protect a higher standard of crewing, budgets and working. Whether or not that is a good thing...
Hmmm... I'd go for the higher standard anytime. If you've got the budget you go for the best you can afford. Budgets and crew rates have suffered for quite a few years now, so I see little point in volunteering to shoot yourself in the foot. In the future, you might start complaining about not being able to get the crew rates up again.

If the budget allows you to use a better quality camera, you go for it. Just because you own a camera doesn't mean it's the right camera for every job.
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Old May 19th, 2007, 08:57 AM   #10
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Agreed but this is not about choosing gear but about excluding gear. Programmes should be judged on their quality not on the gear they were made with. I'm sure no one would say the ProHD cameras are the best thing around but they are capable of very high quality 720p production in the right hands (people who should be paid properly regardless) and no programmes should be proscribed purely on the basis that they were shot on HDV. At the end of the day we're not talking about high-end cinema, we're talking about a niche telly channel that gets broadcast without sufficient bandwidth to justify any premium/high-end ideas. It's also worth pointing out that standard HDCAM is hardly technical perfection and techie snobbery should have no place.
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Old May 19th, 2007, 09:28 AM   #11
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Since you guys insist on starting rumors and conspiracy theories about Discovery HD, I'm going to tell you how it is.

Discovery HD has a 'torture test' scene that they use for evaluation of camera/format. This scene is designed to break the codec.

They shoot the scene, then it gets encoded for satellite uplink. It's then brought back down from the satellite where it goes through a typical set top box decode and finally onto a consumer HD display. It's at that point where the engineers evaluate the quality and decide whether the acquisition format can withstand the entire broadcast chain without falling apart.

I suspect the reason that the JVC HD250 might be accepted are...

1. It's technically not 'HDV'. It's a shorter GOP structure which helps reduce motion artifacts, etc.

2. The fact that the 250 offers the higher frame rate recording.

Forget about the camera snobbery and other rumors of manufacturers not caring in order to protect the higher end of the chain. That's purely uninformed speculation.

-gb-
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Old May 19th, 2007, 09:35 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
Hmmm... I'd go for the higher standard anytime. If you've got the budget you go for the best you can afford. Budgets and crew rates have suffered for quite a few years now, so I see little point in volunteering to shoot yourself in the foot. In the future, you might start complaining about not being able to get the crew rates up again.

If the budget allows you to use a better quality camera, you go for it. Just because you own a camera doesn't mean it's the right camera for every job.
Brian, sorry, just to make myself clear, I agree with you, crews should be properly paid for their talent and equipment. My comment about whether keeping production budgets higher was deliberately vague - many producers would love to save money and shoot on ProHD. Cameramen who strive for the best possible image quality (and proper rates) may be glad that Discovery forces the production to use higher spec gear. Some will benefit from such a rule, others won't.

I think that having rules about "acceptable standards" is, overall, a good thing, as it prevents producers who don't understand the technical side of things forcing inadequate equipment on the crew. Like you say, you need the right tool for the job if you want the best results.
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Old May 19th, 2007, 09:47 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Greg Boston View Post
Since you guys insist on starting rumors and conspiracy theories about Discovery HD, I'm going to tell you how it is.

Discovery HD has a 'torture test' scene that they use for evaluation of camera/format. This scene is designed to break the codec.

They shoot the scene, then it gets encoded for satellite uplink. It's then brought back down from the satellite where it goes through a typical set top box decode and finally onto a consumer HD display. It's at that point where the engineers evaluate the quality and decide whether the acquisition format can withstand the entire broadcast chain without falling apart.



-gb-
I gather that Discovery shoot a range of subjects and actions rather than just a static shot. The BBC is also being extremely tough because of the codec they're using for broadcasting HD. They regard HDV and Super 16 (although they're arguing about the latter) as standard def formats.
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Old May 19th, 2007, 09:52 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
I gather that Discovery shoot a range of subjects and actions rather than just a static shot.
It's a scene that, even with a camera sitting static, is going to get quite the codec workout.

-gb-
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Old May 19th, 2007, 09:54 AM   #15
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1. It's technically not 'HDV'. It's a shorter GOP structure which helps reduce motion artifacts, etc.
Technically, it is HDV1 not HDV2.

I do not think that it is a conspiracy theory to suggest that a broadcaster might discriminate against cost-efficient technology or that any manufacturer of high-end technology would wish to protect that technology within their own range by limiting the capabilities of their cheaper gear. When a rival company comes along without a high-end product range and user base to protect, they can introduce relatively capable technology at a lower price and pose a considerable threat. FCP is just such a threat to Avid in the long run and the HD100 series of cameras is potentially a threat to Sony and Panasonic at a certain level of the market. Those are just two examples of direct relevance to this board.

It is clear that Discovery and other channels have technical quality control for good reason. It is also clear to me from years of finishing programmes for broadcast delivery, that tech. review specifications and other delivery guidelines are also very frequently infected by technical snobbery and by a desire to ring-fence a certain stratum of the industry. At the moment, HDV is falling foul of exactly the same silliness as DV several years ago. These days, a vast amount of respected TV programming is actually shot on DV or DVCAM. Is there anyone out there still seriously suggesting that DV is inherently not good enough for television? Economics come into play, the rules get bent and eventually everyone accepts that a given format is just fine for telly.

To my mind, it is absurd for HDV to be restricted by channels like Discovery - for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that HD channels seem to be rather less precious about the data rate/quality they actually provide for the consumer than about the gear that producers use.
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