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Old April 30th, 2009, 04:51 AM   #1
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Is HDV worth the trouble?

Hi Guys,

I have been on this forum for a while but this is my first post. This is a fantastic forum so thanks for all the info!

I have several years professional experience shooting and editing SD stuff but have yet to venture into the world of high definition. We shoot on the XLH1 and edit in FCP on a mac pro and output to the web and DVD in SD.

I have an Aja IOHD which has been gathering dust in our office and have been considering starting to shoot stuff in HDV and use this to help with the editing. I have read all the stuff on the web about this piece of hardware but I am still a bit baffled by it (I'm not that techy!)

Our clients are unlikely to be interested in Blu Ray just yet. We distribute stuff via the web by progressive download and have to keep files under 20mb.

I have read up a bit about HDV but still am unsure as to whether this format is worth the trouble as a stand alone format. On top of this is it worth the trouble especially if you output to SD DVD?

The other thing is that we don't have an HD monitor either for shooting or in the edit suite. We do have HDTV's we could use but again I'm not sure how good these are for monitoring HDV.

Any advice would be much appreciated. I have read up lots of stuff on this but I am still unsure and it would be great if anyone can give me any 'horses mouth' advice.

So in summary my question is should I start shooting and editing HDV even if I output to SD at this stage?
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Old April 30th, 2009, 06:21 AM   #2
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Based upon what you've said and how you've said it, I'd say no. It's only me saying this but I think the HDV format's days are numbered. As the AVCHD format's data rates increase and companies introduce SD/HC cameras, the first steps away from tape have been taken. As tape dies, HDV and it's conforming to the IEEE 1394 standard dies with it.

So, I'd wait as long as you can to get into HD and let the transition play out before you get into it.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 08:42 AM   #3
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Shooting on an XL-H1 and not using a HDV workflow over DV if it's physically possible is usually a big mistake in my opinion, if only for the reason of possibly future proofing yourself should any properties by sold and higher quality originals are needed (or, even for a web series, as HD video on the web becomes more popular, if you want to remaster earlier work).

But show yourself all this and just give it a try for a project or two and see if the workflow can work for you instead of against you, I'm betting you'll stick with it in the end.

HDV will be around for quite some time yet in one form or another.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 09:22 AM   #4
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I see things differently than Tripp, more in line with Doug. Even if 1394 wasn't going to be around for a while yet, which it will be, it's eventual obsolesence isn't really relevant to deciding whether to shoot miniDV or HDV. Both are normally transferred to computer via 1394 from your XL H1. Then once footage has been transferred to computer, it is just another video file and the "capture" method isn't important. Even if HDV totally dies as a supported (ie readable) format in the foreseeable future (again, I very much doubt it), you can choose to do a one time conversion to whatever future HD format you'd like your archive to be. I did this with my old DV files in the Canopus format in the days of the original Canopus Raptor card...even now, I could maintain the codec and read the files but I just didn't want to bother keeping up the codec on every future editing box, so I just converted files to the MS DV codec and there they still sit in my RAID, ready to use anytime I want them.

I don't know anything about the AJA card in particular and am not a Mac user, but it sounds like you have plenty of horsepower to edit HDV if you wish. DV will perform better on your editing box since it involves much less data and number crunching and that's ok if you are sure you'll never want to repurpose your footage later when HD will be expected. If you shoot HDV, the footage archive will have more use later...if desired.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 09:40 AM   #5
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In addition to the points already made there is another very good reason to shoot in an HD format and edit in an HD format, whether HDV or even AVCHD (if your processor will handle the latter). That reason is that typically when rendered to an SD fomat the result is often a bit crisper and sharper than MiniDV to the same format.

In the case of DVD, with an ever increasing number of homes now using "upconverting" players, the end result can look even better. A recent military "remembrance" ceremony I shot in 1920x1080 AVCHD, edited natively in an NLE that will do that, and then rendered to standard DVD in SD shocked me at how good it looked on my 42" LCD. Not HD to be sure, but none of my older MiniDV based projects look anywhere near as good.

I primarily render to standard DVD for distribution (produce my own training video in support of a Defensive Handgun course I teach), then render to an HD computer file for playback on a media player connected to my TV.

So in shooting in an HD format not only will you have the project available for production in HD later if needed, but your current SD production will tend to look a little better.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 10:07 AM   #6
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Think about tomorrow

I agree with Douglas. We shoot for the web but shoot everything in HDV. Wny? Because the files we have today will be our archive of tomorrow, when today's tiny web videos will be a laughable anacronism. So we archive full-res .mov versions from the HDV's for the inevitable repurposing. You are probably doing commercial work, not web news, but consider the future is bearing down on us quickly and it's not going to be low two cents ... / Battle Vaughan/ video team
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Old April 30th, 2009, 11:47 AM   #7
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also looking into it from another angle, you haven't got really much choice (from the hardware perspective) as most of the "practical" and established cameras are HDV. I have two of these cameras the Z5 and the FX7 and I shoot in SD at the moment as my output is DVD, and I must tell you the pictures are outstanding! So it doesn't bother me really, but at least I know that at any time I can shoot HDV if the requirements arise.

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Old May 1st, 2009, 04:31 AM   #8
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Hi guys,

Thanks very much for your opinions - they are very helpful. I think that seeing as I have the resources it would be a shame not to at least experiment with HDV for a couple of projects.

The point raised about future proofing your archive for HD is a good one that I hadn't really considered. I work for an organisation where many of the projects have a limited lifespan so it had not really occurred to me.

With regards the Aja piece of hardware - could someone please explain this to me in laymans terms. I have read a lot about it but I'm still a bit confused as to exactly how it works. How would it be used in a HDV workflow?

I realise there is really only one way to find out these things but it helps to get a bit of advice before taking the plunge so thanks for all your responses!
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