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Old December 20th, 2007, 10:58 AM   #1
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HDV vs SD continues

Rather than add to the way-long thread started about using SD now, I thought I'd state my thoughts and start another thread.

Here's the way I see it and here is a long list of considerations that I think should be thought about. Granted these are "my opinions" based upon the knowledge and usage that I personally experience. Being the owner of a Canon A1, I'm a little disappointed that the promise of HD has more or less fallen flat after you get the image in the camera.

The promise of HDV, nice run & gun cameras, new electronics, great features. After you have your footage in the can, what then? Most of us need to edit this footage and deliver a product, not simply hook the camera up to the TV so the kids can see how great HD footage looks.

So what to do?
Purchase a 3K deck for post work or wear out your camera? Purchase a Hi-rez monitor? How much are you willing to spend? How many software packages offer a complete ingest, monitor and final output solution? Apple's Final Cut Pro 5 certainly does not. You have to capture with an intermediate codec and you can't monitor it. I realize that FC 6 offers the Pro-rez codec but it's still a work around with long render times.

Archival and down-rezing:

I don't think that HDV will be a long term archival source. It's 15 frame, mpeg2 GOP structure will not stand the test of time. So shooting with the idea that you'll always have an HDV archival source is probably a false notion. I don't think HDV will be around 5 years from now. You may not even be able to find a deck. Mpeg4 codec technology will overtake mpeg 2.

As far as down-rezing to SD, pixel count is pixel count. If you downrez HDV to DV 720 x 480, then that's all you get. What really counts is the quality of the imager to begin with. Granted that the new HDV cameras have excellent lensing and imagers but if your going to end up with SD, then shoot SD with the highest quality camera you can get. A Sony DSR-400 with 2/3" chips, broadcast quality will deliver a better image than any of these downrezed HD cameras. People get a lot of mileage and there's a lot of buzz about downrezing but in my opinion, it's just twice the work with a lot more steps. Anytime you downrez images, you are transcoding and thus re-interpreting the original data. This is never the optimal way to work.

Then there's the release issues: While burners are coming down in price, which format will you choose? will the cost of the current slow speed burner and certainly the cost of blank disc's be made up in the final sale? And how many people own HD players anyway?

I think this issue primarily boils down to one thing. The most viable use for HDV cameras is to supplement the larger HD cameras currently used for either TV production or motion picture. There's lots of uses in those arenas. but primarily, the HDV footage is shot and transcoded to I frame (DVC PRO HD) or some other format that can be more easily edited and integrated into an HD workflow. These cameras are considered "cheap", somewhat disposable acquisition cameras. (not to me of course). For those of us that eek out a few bucks in the DV arena, HDV is not really a totally viable solution for all the reasons stated above. If it wasn't for the feature set on my Canon A1, I'd sell it.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 11:16 AM   #2
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Purchase a 3K deck for post work or wear out your camera?
That's a myth. You're not going to wear out your camera by using it as a deck. The only reason not to use your your camera as a deck is because doing so takes the camera out of production -- and if it's not shooting, it's not making money. Other than that, there's no valid reason why you shouldn't use it as a deck. It has a VCR mode which was intentionally put there expressly for that purpose. Meanwhile, there are enough tapeless acquisition options currently available that you don't have to play back a tape if you don't have to. Record simultaneously to tape and FireStore -- the tape is the instant archive copy while the FireStore is edit-ready.

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Purchase a Hi-rez monitor?
This should be the very first step for anyone entering into HD production; it should be in place before buying an HD camera. In other words, it's a given.

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How many software packages offer a complete ingest, monitor and final output solution?
Canopus / Grass Valley's Edius, for one.

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I don't think that HDV will be a long term archival source... I don't think HDV will be around 5 years from now. You may not even be able to find a deck.
This has been said about *every* video acquisition format that ever existed, and it continues to be a false notion. On those very rare occasions when a five-year-old tape is needed, there will be a way to access it, just as 3/4" U-matic or ED-Beta can be today (and both of those formats are a lot older than five years). Acquisition formats and archival sources are two completely different things, but I don't think there will be any problem finding a way to play back an HDV tape five years from now.

Sorry, there's way too much Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt going on here.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 11:57 AM   #3
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No need to apologize for your opinions either. However, I respectfully disagree with your opinions.
-No way the camera transport can match a deck. I pray the tape ejects everytime I hit the eject button on my camera.

-case in point, the expense of a hi-rez monitor. does HDV work justify this? Most of todays HD TV's are rather cheap, so what are you really monitoring?

In particular, they suffer from cheap de-interlacing. I'll take a 20k CRT 16 x 9 hi-rez monitor any day.

-I would think that most of us are using FC Pro or Vegas, maybe avid express or premier. I work on a Mac so Vegas is not an option anyway.

-3/4", VHS, Betacam= analog, much like saying that tube TV's have been around for 60 years. They have. However, in this day, technology is moving so fast that this will no longer be the case.

This post was not entered to generate fear but more to try and spotlight HDV as a total acquistion, edit and output format for us DV budget minded folks.

-I stick to my guns on HDV being not much more than a temporary quazi-HD acquisition format. That being said, I'm perfectly happy with high quality SD results.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 12:52 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by David Morgan View Post
-No way the camera transport can match a deck. I pray the tape ejects everytime I hit the eject button on my camera.
Does it get stuck often? If not, then your fear is unreasonable.
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Morgan View Post
-case in point, the expense of a hi-rez monitor. does HDV work justify this? Most of todays HD TV's are rather cheap, so what are you really monitoring?
I just don't know how to reply to this... if you are ok with 4:3 interlaced picture with finger-wide scanlines, if you don't have an HDTV already then I guess this argument is pointless. Many housholds have HDTV now, HDTVs are not a hi-end product anymore. They are quite cheap now, a decent HDTV can be found for around $500, or you can buy a good 24" widescreen computer monitor for about the same price. The monitor is very simple to calibrate, just attach the sensor to the screen and run calibration program, no user interaction needed. An HDTV set can work as a monitor very well too when properly calibrated.
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Originally Posted by David Morgan View Post
In particular, they suffer from cheap de-interlacing. I'll take a 20k CRT 16 x 9 hi-rez monitor any day.
I am lost here, are you comparing signal processing with display technology? Good deinterlacing costs money and is not a silver bullet anyway, still you can find an inexpensive TV with good signal processing, like Olevia with HQV or Vizio with Faroudja.

On the other hand, why do you care about good/bad deinterlacing of your monitor? What would you gain if your video looks ok on your monitor but all jaggy on a normal TV? Nothing. You have to either accept interlaced artefacts, or to shoot progressive and distribute progressive. All in all, the "cheap deinterlacing" point is not relevant at all.

Also, both DV and HDV can be interlaced and progressive.
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Originally Posted by David Morgan View Post
-I would think that most of us are using FC Pro or Vegas, maybe avid express or premier. I work on a Mac so Vegas is not an option anyway.
Vegas accepts and edits HDV. For output you can either use one of the third-party codecs or you can buy Ulead Movie Factory Plus and burn an HD-DVD or a Blu-Ray disk. You can use regular DVD blanks, 35-40 minutes of hi-def MPEG-2 on a DL disk.
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Originally Posted by David Morgan View Post
-3/4", VHS, Betacam= analog, much like saying that tube TV's have been around for 60 years. They have. However, in this day, technology is moving so fast that this will no longer be the case.
I would agree with this, but you will not need a deck for a decade-old video if you backed it up, see below.
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Morgan View Post
I stick to my guns on HDV being not much more than a temporary quazi-HD acquisition format. That being said, I'm perfectly happy with high quality SD results.
HDV is not quazi-HD, it is real HD, not the best possible HD, but it is still HD.

You have to wake up. Google for HDTV set statistics, in 2006 and especially in 2007 the HDTV sales skyrocketed. Players are still lagging due to format war and high prices, but they are proliferating as well. I bought an HD-DVD player for $100 at Wal-Mart and I am very happy with it, works great with my HDTV.

As to sticking with your guns, If you are an amateur like me, then you will not lose a lot if you buy an HD-DVD player for $100 or even for $200 (Costco has HD-D3 for $200), and later Blu-Ray wins. At worst, you will have a perfectly capable DVD player, and you will be able to play your own amateur video on it in HD. If you are a professional, then you have to deliver whatever your client wants, and as time goes by, more likely it is going to be HD. By sticking to your guns you will lose customers.
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Originally Posted by David Morgan View Post
I don't think HDV will be around 5 years from now. You may not even be able to find a deck. Mpeg4 codec technology will overtake mpeg 2.
I take it, you are not a computer person. You should stop thinking about video in terms of decks and tapes, you should rather think in term of computer files. After you upload video onto a computer it does not make any major difference whether it is MPEG-2, MPEG-4 or something else. As long as you have a codec you will be able to decode, play and convert your video. Whether MPEG-4 will overtake MPEG-2 or not, does not matter as long as you have your files and a codec. You will not need an HDV deck in 10 years if you backup your video as computer files.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 12:58 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by David Morgan View Post
No way the camera transport can match a deck.
Actually in many cases the same transport is used in both camcorders and VTRs.

Quote:
I pray the tape ejects everytime I hit the eject button on my camera.
Then it sounds like you're a prime candidate for several tapeless acquisition options. For many folks, tapeless acquisition is an excellent solution to a variety of concerns... its primary benefit is that it completely bypasses the capture process, rendering moot any perceived issues about using the camera as a deck.

Quote:
the expense of a hi-rez monitor. does HDV work justify this?
Since it's an HD format, it's always best to use a professional production monitor; but as I said, that should have been Step One for transitioning into HD in the first place.

Quote:
I'll take a 20k CRT 16 x 9 hi-rez monitor any day.
I don't think you will. First, you've already indicated in your previous post that the cost would be prohibitive; and second, you can't buy a new CRT monitor because they're no longer made. If you want a CRT monitor, you'll have to buy used or from a rapidly dwindling supply of new old stock.

Quote:
I stick to my guns on HDV being not much more than a temporary quazi-HD acquisition format.
For you, perhaps; and unfortunately that's strictly a self-imposed limitation. Meanwhile it's very important to understand that on this site, HDV is indeed HD (there's nothing "quasi" about it). One look through our JVC Pro HD forum quickly reveals numerous working professionals earning a living with HDV. For them, the format clearly represents opportunities, not limitations.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 01:14 PM   #6
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If your clients want HD, and you can make money shooting HD there's no reason to stay in SD. If your clients don't want HD, and you can't make money shooting HD there's no reason to move to HD.

And you're a little late w/the HDV doom-n-gloom posts, "HDV sucks and will never catch on" is so 2005. ;)


-A
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Old December 20th, 2007, 01:15 PM   #7
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I have to side with David.

Just yesterday I was in an electronics store that was trying to prove how great HD TV is over SD TV (let alone the capture formats). Up close to the display (i.e., about 18 inches) I could see the benefit. Standing back at a realistic distance - i.e., 10 feet), there was no benefit other than the obvious tweaking of the image. It was split screen and the "SD" half was deliberately fudged to have less contrast and saturation. That was easy to prove by adjusting them!

On another HD display was a baseball game - it was unwatchable (I don't watch the stuff, anyway) but the strong strobing due to progressive recording of high motion action was dreadful. Give me interlacing any day. And then there's the MPEG2 artifacts. Awful. And these exist from the moment HDV is recorded.

I'd be interested in HD as a capture format if I could afford *real* HD camera equipment that records in a true I-frame format.

I think HD as it is today is like audiophile equipment of the 80's. If you spend large sums of the top-notch equipment and have an acoustically ideal room for it, then I'm sure a lot as satisfaction can be had.

Plumped in your average living room, surrounded by objects (and people!) that distort the sound, windows that reflect off the display, owners that are blissfully ignorant of incorrectly adjusted displays, dreadful motion artifacting on cable and satellite HD channels and, finally, worthless programming content - I just don't get it.

Humbug, I say!
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Old December 20th, 2007, 01:18 PM   #8
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1440 X 1080, it is 1920 X 1080
As we've pointed out numerous times before, within the realm of these $10K and under camcorders, the number of pixels on the chips isn't nearly as critical as format, ergonomics, workflow and other considerations... the biggest difference between HDV and XDCAM EX is format and workflow: tape vs. tapeless. In each case (HDV and XDCAM), the number of pixels on the chips on the chips equals the number of pixels in the recording format, but it's important to understand that they don't *have* to match, and the number of pixels isn't what makes or breaks a purchase decision.

While Sony currently has *one* XDCAM EX camcorder, they've also announced *three more* HDV models (one of which is already shipping), and no not everyone will be flocking to the EX1. There is no one single solution that's right for everybody...
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Old December 20th, 2007, 01:19 PM   #9
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Hey, I am not all doom and gloom about HDV cameras...I use a couple of Z1's myself. I am just saying, that the EX1 DOES look sharp, and it looks to be a better camera than the Z1. The workflow especially, as Chris mentioned.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 01:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by John Miller View Post
On another HD display was a baseball game - it was unwatchable (I don't watch the stuff, anyway) but the strong strobing due to progressive recording of high motion action was dreadful. Give me interlacing any day. And then there's the MPEG2 artifacts. Awful. And these exist from the moment HDV is recorded. I'd be interested in HD as a capture format if I could afford *real* HD camera equipment that records in a true I-frame format.
How does strobing relates to progressive? Also, do you really think that football or baseball shown on TV is shot with HDV cameras? Nah, don't think so. MPEG artifacts you are seeing are caused mostly by bitstarving during broadcast.
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Originally Posted by John Miller View Post
I think HD as it is today is like audiophile equipment of the 80's. If you spend large sums of the top-notch equipment and have an acoustically ideal room for it, then I'm sure a lot as satisfaction can be had.

Plumped in your average living room, surrounded by objects (and people!) that distort the sound, windows that reflect off the display, owners that are blissfully ignorant of incorrectly adjusted displays, dreadful motion artifacting on cable and satellite HD channels and, finally, worthless programming content - I just don't get it.
I see the huge difference in my average living room but you are right, considering the content it is better not to watch TV at all. Ah well, I bought my HDTV set mostly to watch movies. Yesterday I ordered a collector's edition of "Blade Runner" in HD-DVD.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 02:03 PM   #11
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How does strobing relates to progressive? Also, do you really think that football or baseball shown on TV is shot with HDV cameras? Nah, don't think so.
I meant to say "In the case of HDV..." - I didn't mean to imply these games are shot in HDV.

The progressive bit - I see each frame. I don't see motion. My vision seems to be very sensitive to this kind of thing. I can't watch PAL TV anymore because of the flicker. I can see aircraft beacons on the top of transmitters strobing and cars with trendy LED tail lights. They drive me insane and I can't be the only person sensitive to these things.

Quote:
MPEG artifacts you are seeing are caused mostly by bitstarving during broadcast.
Except in some of the cases it was from a commercial DVD.

There are two things that might persuade me to change:

The David Attenborough version of Blue Planet
The Led Zeppelin O2 concert if it is ever released

(If ever there was a perfect example of how the visual quality can be irrelevant, it's the second one. I was transfixed and delighted at the Youtube/cell phone recordings from the concert!)

And if that day arrives, I might as well get Blade Runner - as long as it's the original European theatrical version. (Pointless trivia, Sebastian's son cuts my grass!)

The quality of TV speaks for itself when I haven't recorded a single show in ten years nor gone out of my way to get home to watch something (in the latter case, it's usually going to be repeated anyway....)

I'm looking forward to watching some old 4:3 black-and-white Western Electric audio movies during the next week or so...most better than nearly every Hollywood offering in the last ten years.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 04:13 PM   #12
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Fantastic guys. Nothing better than a good spirited debate. (I think Andrew Jackson said that).
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Old December 20th, 2007, 06:23 PM   #13
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Buying a 3 in one camera seems like a solid , short - medium and long term
investment.

SD + HDV + UNCOMPRESSED HD VIA HDSDI.

By taking Moore's Law on PC performance in consideration and recent developments on portable capturing devices via HDSDI and HDM1 it becomes
clear that a 3 in one solution will cover one's needs.

SD / HDV and the "BETTER" HD as quoted in this thread.

My personal opinion is that HDV is an excellent "crossover" medium for now
until affordable uncompressed HD mediums and complete workflow's becomes
the norm.

Even then - A backup on HDV tape is ideal .
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