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Old October 14th, 2007, 02:31 PM   #16
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Any camera which isn't capable of at least shooting proper widescreen video is definitely outdated, and that means most DV cameras. Anyone with any money is watching their videos on widescreen HDTVs, so you might as well start planning for shooting and delivering in widescreen/HD format. Plus the price difference between decent DV cameras and HDV ones is negligible in the grand scheme of things, so buy an HDV camera and be done with it. If you get nostalgic you can set such cameras to record 4:3 DV, so you don't lose anything in that sense, and you gain compatibility with one of the biggest technological changes of the past several decades. The main reason we're still even talking about SD is because some people are trying to stretch the value of their old cameras in the face of this historic change.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 03:03 PM   #17
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"The main reason we're still even talking about SD is because some people are trying to stretch the value of their old cameras in the face of this historic change."

Interesting assertion. One might counter with "The Main reason we're still even talking about SD is because some people are trying to justify their purchase of their new technologies in the face of persistent SD distribution models, and quickly changing formats."


Both assertions would be equally ridiculous.

HD is the wave of the future... in SOME form. (Not necessarily the form being hyped right now.) SD is still a viable acquisition/distribution format that might enable a business model to get up and running, or stretch aquisition dollars to get more bang for the buck.

The choice is not clear cut... or the question would not continue to be asked.

"Anyone with any money is watching their videos on widescreen HDTVs," - would imply that only 'people without any money' are watching standard def... another rediculous assertion.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 03:27 PM   #18
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The main reason we're still even talking about SD is because some people are trying to stretch the value of their old cameras in the face of this historic change.
I don't think that is the main reason. The delivery of HDV is not in place, mostly in players for TV. How many people are springing for Blu Ray or HD-DVD players ? Sure, it's getting there, but not until these devices are in the sub $100 range.

You have to actually own a Sony Blu-Ray player to understand that just waiting for the machine to ejecting a disk will burn a lot of time. I'd almost say that the player is broken if you push the button and the machine needs 30 seconds to decide if it should eject or not. My personal gauge on HD technological readiness is that such a player will start up and eject a disk as fast as current players. Chuckle.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 03:41 PM   #19
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I'd just like to reiterate that I definitely believe in HD as the coming 'thing'... but that the decision on when/what equipment to buy is a very personal decision. A LOT of factors come into play.

My philosophy on buying ANY new technology is "IF I can make money with it NOW... buy it now. The cost of acquisition is amortized over the life of the gear and income anyway. If not, then wait before upgrading." By waiting, I know that I will get more bang for my given buck for any technology. Either the toy I want will be available at a lower price, or a newer toy, with more features will be available for the same price at a later date.

But there are plenty of people who just enjoying being the first with the latest, and that's okay too. Understanding your needs is the important part.

"Film is dead"... everyone proclaimed after "The Phantom Menace" was shot in 1999. Eight years later, more than ninety percent of feature films are shot with film, and virtually none of them in 16:9 ratio. These things take time.

Meanwhile, YOUTUBE puts up crappy flash files, that millions of people watch on tiny little screens... go figure.

Like I said, there is no simple answer for everyone's needs.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 04:08 PM   #20
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I know that many of you have argued against the value of HD because of the amount of money involved in a HD-DVD burner. Isn't the general consensus amongst HD owners that even on regular DVDs the picture quality is still better with HD?
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Old October 14th, 2007, 04:28 PM   #21
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There are TWO angles here...

First, delivery/presentation... HDTV's are becoming the norm - can you even buy a "SDTV" with the upcoming mandatory changeover in the US? I've still got a couple SDTV's and most everyone I know does too... so installed base is SD, but changing. Even my kids think SD looks "yucky"... they shoulda seen B&W!! An apt analogy BTW, if the internet had existed way back "in the day" the question would be posed "is Black and White TV outdated..."? Any questions?

BluRay and HD-DVD are locked in a format war, and until there's a compromise or a clear "winner", I know I won't be investing in a player or a burner! And I like new toys... what I don't like is paying a bunch of money only to have the price drop to "reasonable" (half or less what I paid), or worse the tech goes completely obsolete... Neither format has "critical mass", and I doubt either will achieve it until they can drop the price so everyone is willing to take a chance on the player ($30 DVD players may stink, but they killed off the VCR), or one prevails. So that leaves DVD for delivery for the forseeable future...

DVD produced from an HDV source looks way better (much more like a commercial DVD) than from an SD source in general (I intermixed SD and HD when I was starting the switchover... to me the difference was noticeable and not acceptable, but I got no complaints - the "end user" has different expectations), DVD is only 480, but if you shoot HD and post it right you actually GET 480 lines, so you've got a sharper final product, probably with LESS post work than if you shot SD. So the answer here is shoot HDV, deliver on DVD, look like a pro production!



The second angle is of course "aquisition" - that's the question at hand - do you stick with a SD camera, in a world moving towards HD... I drove a "vintage" (polite word for OLD) car because it was cheaper to drive and got me there. Nothing wrong with that!

HD cameras (at least in the prosumer format/price range like the FX7 or the Canon A1) are going to set one back between 2-3K plus or minus, not an insignificant investment. For that you get better resolution, better color, and the potential to deliver a better quality end result (ignoring for a moment that shooting HD requires some skills as it's less forgiving of bad camera work than SD). While yes there might be SOME "SD" cameras out there that would look "better", I'm going to guess they aren't going to be in the same price range... or as portable?? Apples to apples, right?

SO, presuming the camera isn't abused, and will last a while, the likelyhood that an SD camera will "oulive" the transition to HD (2009?) is getting smaller... and fast, SD realistically IS fading away, even if it's perfectly viable today.

I had some friends who do some "corporate" work - the prior vendor was still delivering on VHS... they shot HDV, delivered on DVD (and I think VHS too...!), and well, the prior vendor is "prior" now - the end results stunned the client... if you're delivering product shot in SD, it's a matter of time before a similar scenario happens.



Brennan, the FX7 is a great camera (underrated IMO, but thanks to that, it's available well under "retail"). Find a deal and jump, just be aware there's a learning curve, and editing takes horsepower, but the results will knock you out.

If you're on the fence and shooting a small consumer cam right now, save a BUNDLE and buy a similar "consumer" grade HDV cam to "test"... Used HC3's and HC5's are practicaly being given away, HC1's are a bargain, HV20's are coming up in the used market at reasonable prices, I personally love the HC7... ALL can be had under the 1K mark used, sometimes WELL under! If you try it and are hooked, you can sell the thing for what you bought it for or close to it, and upgrade!

Hope this helps your thought process... if it were me I'd tend towads an HDV cam and let SD slip away...
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Old October 14th, 2007, 05:18 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Brennan Callahan View Post
I know that many of you have argued against the value of HD because of the amount of money involved in a HD-DVD burner. Isn't the general consensus amongst HD owners that even on regular DVDs the picture quality is still better with HD?
Blu-ray burners are selling for under $500 now and short HD-DVD projects can be put on red-laser discs without buying a new burner, so production cost isn't a big issue in that regard. As far as regular DVDs are concerned, most HD camera owners are finding that their SD DVDs have improved noticeably compared to using DV cameras. This is particularly true for widescreen output, where most DV cameras can't measure up because they're not designed for widescreen production.

As some have said you can still make a case for doing SD production today, but that will inherently become less and less useful in the future while HD will become more and more desirable. If you already have SD cameras you might as well get the most use you can out of them, but the question under discussion here is whether buying an SD camera makes sense for the next several years. There's no logical reason to think it will, other than saving a few bucks up front - which you'd lose if/when you upgrade to HD later.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 05:34 PM   #23
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Ah yes, don't forget to factor in not only camera cost, but computer and associated equipment upgrades as well on the way to HD. If you are looking to purchase from scratch...go HD. If you are looking to add a camera to your arsenal, question whether you plan to intercut with your current cameras...if replacing cameras, it's straight cost.

These are all above and beyond your release format expectations.

Budget and Purpose play in here as well. I'm currently a hobbyist/amateur looking to move slowly and ploddingly toward a career in cinema. My needs for cameras as a learning tool/agent of career progress is much lower than if you are producing commercials or doing industrial video work. I'm still working on a pre 16x9 camera...and believe it or not, it still captures video! I then matte it to 16x9 to get my widescreen aspect. The resulting images still light up the pixels on my big SD television through my expensive SD dvd player...bringing my big 5.1 sound through my expensive sound system.

I, as a viewer who has spent (splurged) a bunch off money buying a then top of the line system to view SD footage off of DVD as clearly as possible, am not quite ready to respend all that money to replace the majority of my entertainment center...I'm sure I'm not alone.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 05:39 PM   #24
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"There's no logical reason to think it will, other than saving a few bucks up front (which you'd lose if/when you upgrade to HD later)."

This is another assertion, that simply cannot be proven. Purchasing SD now, and saving money to place elsewhere, perhaps in lighting or editing gear, might GROW your business. When you upgrade to HD later, the same money you would have spent on HD NOW will buy you MORE HD later.

Simply put, the answer is not always HD NOW - it really depends on the individuals business model, client needs, delivery options and final content.

I work constantly in SD every week, delivering content to be aired on cable television locally. I get paid for it. The clients are happy with it. The programs air immediately. They are archived to disc on DVD for storage at a later point. HD is not onl not needed, it's not a viable option for delivery right now. A three camera SD shoot is more important for most of my needs. The choice might be 'obtain two used gl2's' or 'one new HDV model'... which option can meet the needs of the station at the moment, and make money.

As I mentioned, I am preparing for my eventual move into HD(V). I am watching and waiting for the 'right moment for ME.' It might be with the upcomming doc I am planning in Ireland. IF so, then I will plan the aquisition, and change over with all the necessary purchases. But by waiting untill I know, and NEED it, I can see that newer versions of software come available, newer cameras come available, (and older ones are cheaper), I might simply RENT the necessary camera, and wait for purchase untill later.

There simply is no single right answer for everyone. THe original poster had two questions really. IS SD outdated, and is HD the right choice for me now? Most of us were trying to help him determine what his immediate and near future needs were... again, low light? interchangeable lenses? etc. etc. But the answer to the topic question "IS SD outdated is still 'no'."
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Old October 14th, 2007, 07:21 PM   #25
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...if I buy a SD camera, will I be all set to film for at least 4-5 years?
If you miss even one job during that period because you can't offer HD you'll have loss any money you save by not buying an HD camera today. 'Nuff said.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 07:31 PM   #26
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As I've said in each post I made... "IF a job requires HD, then BUY IT"... nuff said.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 07:49 PM   #27
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Whew... first off I really want to thank Richard and Dave for their excellent reality speeches.... they definitely helped.

Dave- You recommended buying consumer HD camera such as an HV20 and see how I like the HD format. Quite simply, that is not an option. Whichever camera I buy will be the one I have for a while, and I don't want to be selling a camera I have bought for half of its original price.

Richard- As I film sporting events, I won't really need the option of an interchangeable lens system, nor am I worried about low light capabilities - if I shoot at night it will be under the lights of the field
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Old October 14th, 2007, 07:55 PM   #28
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Whichever camera I buy will be the one I have for a while, and I don't want to be selling a camera I have bought for half of its original price.
That's a good reason to go HD now if you're shopping for a camera, and then you don't have to worry about this until something better than HD becomes the norm...which should be at least a couple of decades or so.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 08:26 PM   #29
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Brennan,
Since you are shooting sports, are you close to the action (Sideline) or do you have to shoot at the long end of the lens a lot? IF you are up in the stands, shooting at the long end of your telephoto, then a really good smooth tripod is a must.

What is your current situation regarding post production? Are you set up to deliver HD right now? What will it take to get you up to speed if not? Is this a hobby/avocation or are you building a business around this? That is, can you write off your purchases, amortize costs etc? The camera is just one part of the whole delivery process. What other income streams can be generated by this purchase?

Selling a camera for half of it's original purchase price, AFTER IT'S PAID FOR ITSELF SEVERAL TIMES OVER is an excellent deal by the way, don't knock it.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 09:00 PM   #30
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Shoot HD for master/archive. If client asks for SD, then it's not dead for that paycheck. Don't matter what everyone else thinks.
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