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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
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Old January 10th, 2008, 06:45 AM   #1
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Hello everyone

I have been working as a freelance editor for a company that publishes 3 monthly sea-oriented magazines with a DVD included for each of them. I'll ask something I'm pretty sure I know the answer to, but I have to see it again in writing so that I know I'm right. The camera team shoots in HDV 1080i but the post production team (me alone, actually :-) delivers on a standard 4.7 Gb DVD. That, of course, means, as we all know, that the final videos are downconverted to match SD DVD size and their quality is obviously diminished compared to the original material.

I have often "battled" their decision to shoot in HDV and deliver in SD DVD because I see absolutely no reason for them do so since quality drops that much. Also with the small HDV 1080i cameras they use and their short-length, lower quality lenses, I myself don't see any difference in picture quality compared to DV 25p. In fact, I've seen tremendously better picture on a 25p DV project shot with my JVC GY-HD 100E (720p) camcorder than any of their HDV projects so far.

So I ask: Is there any reason at all to shoot in HDV when delivering in SD DVD? Is there any visible difference to make it worth while considering the endless original shots occupy sooo much space on the disks and is, of course, a bigger "burden" for the system to handle?

It only takes a really larger file, shot with a much better and more expensive camcorder to make a viewable difference on a standard DVD. Just like the professional movie DVDs, downconverted from the original material, originally shot on film and digitized to be edited on Avid and authored on, say, Scenarist.

Honestly I've heard a lot of crap from "connoisseurs" that I almost forgot what I've learned so far. The only thing that I can accept is the fact that perhaps in the future they might want to make an anniversary HD DVD or Blu-Ray disc with the original edited material we master in HDV tapes. Even then, with the poor original shots I've seen from their camcorders, I don't think they'll be amazed by the outcome...

But then again, maybe I should just pay attention to my work and don't bother with insignificant facts... :-)
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Old January 10th, 2008, 12:58 PM   #2
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Ask yourself if your product is serving it's market in the most efficient manner. Most people will tell you to shoot in HDV in order to 'future proof' the product. So that sometime 'in the future' you can re-release the product as an HD product, and reap more profit the second time around.

Is this a likely scenario for you?

The DVD wars LOOK like they might be comming to an end soon, with Warner Bros opting for the Blue Ray format. (Though the HD DVD folks are replying "We're not dead yet"!)

It sounds like your frustrated with the workflow and product AS ITS DELIVERED NOW. Is the frustration costing you time and sales? Are you loosing money on this workflow? (Keep in mind that ultimately TIME IS MONEY. But often, we have more time in the bank than money)

Only you can decide if the workflow is best for your product. I am not yet shooting HD(V)... as it is not necessary for my workflow or income stream... YET.

You can always console yourself with the 'future proofing' line. Lots of people do. Of course, who knows what formats will exist in ten years, considering the rate they are changing now.
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Old January 10th, 2008, 12:59 PM   #3
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No, no, no. Properly downsampled HDV (using very good resampling algorithms like the lanzcos or bicubic resizers) definitely looks much sharper than DV. Now the sharpness may or may not be lost after you compress with the mpeg2 codec for DVD, but the downsampled HDV definitely isn't inferior to high quality DV. The two can be so close after MPEG compression that any differences you might notice are probably due to camera settings and quirks and not codec issues. Okay, I notice you took back what you originally wrote. Cool.
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Old January 10th, 2008, 01:16 PM   #4
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The biggest reason for me to shoot in HDV when I am delivering in SD is the flexibility it provides me in editing. Since the HD picture is so much bigger than SD I can shoot a little wider and simpler and then make decision about cropping, panning, rotating, etc as I edit. For example, with a wide shot I can start wide and then zoom in on a person's face, but if it works better the other way I can start close and then move out. I can pan across a scene from right to left or left to right after the fact, and the zooms and pans are silky smooth. Since I started shooting and editing this way I hope it is a while before my clients start asking for material delivered in HD so I can continue with the freedom and flexibility that this offers me.
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Old January 10th, 2008, 01:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lloyd Coleman View Post
The biggest reason for me to shoot in HDV when I am delivering in SD is the flexibility it provides me in editing. Since the HD picture is so much bigger than SD I can shoot a little wider and simpler and then make decision about cropping, panning, rotating, etc as I edit. For example, with a wide shot I can start wide and then zoom in on a person's face, but if it works better the other way I can start close and then move out. I can pan across a scene from right to left or left to right after the fact, and the zooms and pans are silky smooth. Since I started shooting and editing this way I hope it is a while before my clients start asking for material delivered in HD so I can continue with the freedom and flexibility that this offers me.
Very well put. What kind of editing sofware do you use, Lloyd? My guess is Avid Xpress Pro. I've tried that with Edius but software limitation doesn't allow me to do so. Please be more specific on that..
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Old January 10th, 2008, 02:13 PM   #6
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I am using Adobe Premiere Pro CS3, but have friends who use Avid and Vegas that do the same thing. I use still pictures quite a bit in many of my productions where I pan and scan (Ken Burns effect). When HD video came along I realized that I could treat a larger video just like a larger still and have all the same options in video that I had with still pictures, only they were moving!
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Old January 10th, 2008, 03:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Lloyd Coleman View Post
I am using Adobe Premiere Pro CS3, but have friends who use Avid and Vegas that do the same thing. I use still pictures quite a bit in many of my productions where I pan and scan (Ken Burns effect). When HD video came along I realized that I could treat a larger video just like a larger still and have all the same options in video that I had with still pictures, only they were moving!

Well, I try to do that with Edius 4.51 but, somehow, when I switch project settings to DV 50i (with the original material shot on HDV 1080i) the software handles it just like that (DV 50i) so I can't do cropping, panning or rotating without loss of quality. Normally, I should be able to even zoom in almost double size without any downgrading, right? Well, not with this software. Pretty weird...
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