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Old October 13th, 2007, 11:03 PM   #1
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Is standard definition outdated?

I have recently been looking to purchase a high quality camera, and have been primarily looking at the GL2, Vx2100 and FX7. My concern with buying a standard definition camera is whether or not within a a few years it will not be able to keep up with Hi-Def footage. I film sporting events, and am often asked to make recruiting videos for potential D-1 players, so as you can imagine, image quality and clarity is paramount. Then again, by purchasing a SD camera, I can spend more money on accessories (tripod, UV filter etc.)

I guess what I am asking is.... will I be making a bad choice if I choose a standard definition camera? Will the footage become outdated within a few years? Or if I buy a SD camera, will I be all set to film for at least 4-5 years?
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Old October 14th, 2007, 12:20 AM   #2
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Brennan:

I love my VX2000. My first prosumer camera. Problem is I haven't used it in a year and half since I got my FX1, and then followed up with the Canon HV20.

I'm afraid HD and 16:9 is the end of it for those SD camera, and with HD sets becoming common place, I think its time to move on.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 12:25 AM   #3
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No, I don’t believe standard definition is outdated. Sure, a change is coming but standard televisions are still the overwhelming majority of televisions in America. I don’t think there’s going to be an overwhelming change anytime soon, especially with the HD vs. Blu-Ray war making people hesitant, fearing they’ll choose the wrong format.

As for your camera… If image quality is that important, certainly go Hi-Def. I wouldn’t buy old technology (GL2) just to save money for accessories. Accessories to what? An inferior image?

Go Hi-Def. Buy accessories over time, a little at a time. Besides, it will take you a while to get used to Hi-Def anyway. Don’t forget, you can always down convert the image to standard DV. A standard DV image from HD is superior to a standard DV image shot in standard DV.

As for technology five years from now, I wouldn’t worry about it. For all we know, our computers could be outdated by then. According to computer makers, they already are.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 02:06 AM   #4
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At the moment, HD is not very viable for distribution aside from TV.

Soon, blu ray and/or hd dvd (hopefully just one will win out) will be available for the general population, but for now the burners and discs are expensive and really not able to play for many viewers. Given a few years, it'll probably catch on like DVDs did.

If you shoot SD now, you will never have an HD copy of that footage. That's the downside.

I'd guess that in 3-5 years, HD will have a place in the real world, not just TV and a few people with blu ray / HD DVD players.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 03:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Keith Moody View Post
...Don’t forget, you can always down convert the image to standard DV. A standard DV image from HD is superior to a standard DV image shot in standard DV...
Brian, is this correct? I have the FX7 and, so far, I only shoot in DV because none of my customers want HD at this time. Why, as you say, when you shoot with a HD camera in DV mode the image is superior?

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Old October 14th, 2007, 03:50 AM   #6
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ABSOLUTELY! Think of it this way - shooting HD from the start gives you roughly 4x the "information" - even if your final delivery is SD on DVD, preserve the HD as long as you can in the workflow. You'll see a better end result.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 06:43 AM   #7
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Yeah, whenever you down-size an image the quality becomes better. Not only that but you'll have more flexibility when it comes to colour correction and you won't have to worry about grainyness because after you down-size, the grainyness goes away.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 06:58 AM   #8
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Well, a really good SD camera will still look better than a cheap HD camera.
Generally, though, true.

Most importantly, even though it is very true that HD isn't really doing much right now for distribution (I have yet to hear a convincing argument, regardless of what should happen, etc.), every day brings more and more people closer to having a bluray player, etc. Soon...
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Old October 14th, 2007, 07:21 AM   #9
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I don't think SD is completely dead, dispite the format war between HD DVD and Blu-Ray disk, it will be a long time until the DVD format is discontinued because it's been given an extended life with new DVD Players that can upconvert a 480i signal to 1080pHD

Also, set to go into effect in 2009 a new broadcast standard that will replace NTSC. It's called ATSC and it is said that it will broadcast full 480p. They already have SD, ED, and HDTVs on the market that will execpt ATSC already.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 12:34 PM   #10
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The answer all depends on what you shoot and for whom. SD has a lot of life left in it in corporate work, etc.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 12:52 PM   #11
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well, as I said, I shoot sports and put together DVD's for colleges. If I were to guess, I would say that most of my work will be viewed on a CRT screen in a coaches office...

I am shooting with a Canon ZR65 (I know.... I know...) and luckily I can color correct etc. in post to make the footage usable. I have worked with a PD170, GL2 and XL1 and understand manual features.

P.S. Before you all start making recommendations for the HV20, please note that I want a camera with weight to it, a focus ring and a steady build. The HV20 has none of these attributes.

Thank you all who have responded.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 12:55 PM   #12
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Funny thing I'm looking at it from the opposite side. I spent extra money on an HD camera because of the same concern as you, but I haven't done one project using HD and I've had the camera for a year. I don't regret getting my camera because there are many features that are just as important as HD, like good color, low noise, etc.

I shoot dance recitals, education documentaries, and a few weddings. Not many ppl own a HD TV and almost no one owns an HD DVD player. Since I only out put my movies to dvd I no use for HD until clients start asking for it.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 01:46 PM   #13
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"Is standard definition outdated?" is like asking "Is this piece of string long enough?"... the answer of course, is "It all depends on what you use it for."

Standard Def is still the dominant format for broadcast and distribution and viewing at home. It is likely to remain so for at least another two or three years. (I'm ready to conceed that it looses it's 'dominance' when the majority of material is shot, distributed and VIEWED in HD.)

HiDef in some form or fashion is definitely on the way, but its not a given as to what that 'flavor' will be.

Ask yourself "IS MY CONTENT LIKELY TO BE OUTDATED"... in other words, is your content 'perishible'... of limited life-cycle. You see this all the time with web-content, (which need not be standard def anyway) or industrial material that is meant to have a limited lifetime and distribution.

Ask yourself DO I/MY CLIENTS NEED HI DEF now, or 'in the future'... in which case you fall into the 'future proofing' logic that most people use to justify a purchase now. "I can always reacapture/re-edit at the HD level" is a good justification for shooting now.(Though to be certain, shooting on film is the only known 'future proof' image capturing technology PROVEN to last at least one hundred years.)

Saying "I can always re-edit as HD" is much more logical than "No one will watch SD in the future" - which is as silly as saying "No one watches old black and white movies shot in 4:3 anymore... they are 'outdated'." - Note, that the technology (arguably) might be, but the content is not. (I never get tired of watching Noir Films)

And finally, no one can answer your specific budget work flow issues. Obviously, it's time for you to buy a new camera. HOW MUCH do you have to spend? What are your needs? (interchangeable lenses? Low light? Small form factor???). Can you spend the money on USED instead of new, to stretch your budget? Get the projects done NOW, and move UP later, when the clientel calls for it, and you will definitely get more bang for your buck, the longer you wait.

Being on the 'bleeding edge' of technology has it's perks and pains. "The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese..." is one way to look at it.

For my part, I will upgrade to HD (in some flavor) when my projects call for it. I'm currently looking at shooting a doc in Ireland next year. It's not clear if I'll need to go SD, HD, PAL/NTSC since the client hasn't determined the final distribution model yet, OR the final budget. At the moment, I'm working quite well with my XL2, which I purchased on the 'bleeding edge' of the HDV revolution, months before the XLH1 came out. The XL2 has more than paid for itself, and is making me money now. I could sell it for a couple of grand, keeping the lenses and FU-1000 and move up to the XL-H1 and never feel like I was 'too late' to the game.

But that's just me. Only you can answer all the inside questions.

But I'll make the simple call. "NO. SD is not out of date."
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Old October 14th, 2007, 01:55 PM   #14
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Got to disagree with Richard a bit. I think the question here was in buying new equipment today, should he buy a high definition FX7, or stick with a GL2 or VX2100. Looking at the difference in price, which I peg at around $500.00, there is likely no question that he should go to the FX7. In addition, hearing about his use for sports shooting, my recollection is that the FX7 has 20x zoom, with a 30 enhanced electronic zoom (I assume it has same feature there as V1U). When V1u first came out, I saw the 30x footage and you could not tell that it was done with an electronic zoom.

Now, here is the kicker. FX7 will not have as good a low light capability. VX2100 would be king over the other two cameras there. You should be aware of that issue and satisfy yourself that FX7 will work in the conditions you will be shooting before jumping.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 02:20 PM   #15
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My US$.02 ... Both are viable options, the driving factor is your intended release vectors. If you intend to do nothing bigger than DVD + internet + broadcast TV, SD is just fine.

If you're looking to do HD-DVD (whatever flavor), filmout or direct projection/HD internet distro, your decision is made for you.

SD is still very relevant. HD is becoming more popular...remember, DVD's took 10ish years to catch on. New equipment needs to be purchased on the viewing end to make new media technology usable and "accepted".

I would say, however, if looking to purchase, look ahead...but don't throw out the SD camera because the bleeding edge folks frown upon your SDishness. :)
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