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Old May 28th, 2004, 11:45 PM   #1
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HD, SD and DV

When folks talk about upcoming DV cameras, they often mention HD and SD along with it. Is this nothing more than the HD or SD pixel dimensions but with DV compression, ie 5:1 compression and 4:1:1 color sampling? Maybe there is more to it.

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Old May 30th, 2004, 09:27 AM   #2
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I'm not exactly following your question. Basic DV shoots @ SD
resolution. HDV does HD (a form of it). To the best of my knowledge
HD/SD does not have anything to do with color resolution / sampling.

DV NTSC is 4:1:1, but PAL is 4:2:0 for example.

Keep in mind that HDV is an MPEG2 stream inside a DV container.
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Old May 30th, 2004, 11:24 AM   #3
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So, Rob, do you have thoughts on this: my only exposure to HDV was through that JVC camera, and I didn't like the camera itself. Since we are going to be seeing plenty of new cameras in that format, I'd like to get an understanding of HDV as a practical concept. Is it actually more compressed than SD DV, and does that show up as increased artifacting in the image? Or is it essentially an equivalent image to DV, just with greater resolution? Basically, am I going to like this format or will it piss me off in a one-step-forward, two-steps backwards way?
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Old May 30th, 2004, 12:02 PM   #4
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I'm going to be a bit bold and say it will probably p*ss you off.
But that's a bit of a "feeling". I haven't seen too much of it myself
due to the lack of HD here in Holland. I'm still planning to rent a
unit here if that is possible to check it out myself. The MPEG2
stream is basically 25 mbps MPEG2 which is more than a DVD
(which is max 9.8 mbps for video) but as you also said it does
have more resolution.

MPEG2 is just difficult to edit due to the fact each frame is not
a full frame but stored as a difference from the previous one. If
I remember correctly HDV has a 5 GOP structure.

I'm still confused why they didn't use 25 mbps MJPEG (which
closely resembles DV itself) which is way more compatible. Look
at how many NLE's support HDV edit natively (2). The rest need
a codec from some other company or don't support it all.

I really believe they should've thought better about an HDV
format. It all feels rushed now. I would not be surprised if a new
HD format comes along (even if it is not an official standard)
shortly (couple of years) and gets better support then HDV will
get.

But that's all guessing, ofcourse. If I ever do check this out in
more detail I will let you know!
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Old May 30th, 2004, 10:46 PM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Rob Lohman : I'm not exactly following your question. Basic DV shoots @ SD
resolution. HDV does HD (a form of it). To the best of my knowledge
HD/SD does not have anything to do with color resolution / sampling.

DV NTSC is 4:1:1, but PAL is 4:2:0 for example.

Keep in mind that HDV is an MPEG2 stream inside a DV container. -->>>

Rob,

My question was about HDV and I didn't make that very clear. I have since learned that HDV is MPEG2 which is not what I am after. I don't think working with a compressed format that compresses between frames so to speak is ideal. I much prefer DV25 or DV50 where each frame is compressed independently of those that come before or after.

I knew that SD and HD were independent of any color sampling but did not know that DV PAL was 4:2:0. I guess what I am really after is DV50 which I think is 4:2:2 with 3:1 compression with 16:9 CCD's. Too bad those cameras are still so expensive.

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Old May 31st, 2004, 01:57 AM   #6
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Oh boy...wonder if that XL2 is going to be HDV then. Sounds like it could have a shorter shelf life than it's predecessor (then again, what camera doesn't)
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Old May 31st, 2004, 06:09 AM   #7
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We'll have to wait for XL2 news to see where it is going. But it
will be interesting to see what they've come up with. I would not
be suprised to see some form of HDV on there (I'm NOT saying
that it WILL be there, just that I would not be that surprised).

Let's hope they also support some other indepedent frame
compression format.

Greg: DV50 is still no HD to the best of my knowledge. Keep in
mind that HD for consumer equipment has just begun. So anybody
working in that format now is working with first level product
that undoubtly will change along the ways.
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Old June 1st, 2004, 10:37 PM   #8
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Rob,

If you don't mind my asking, what do you think would be the best image for the money? DV50, or HDV or some other format? I have no problems with HDV if it can be edited properly. I would have to see footage to know for sure but if I could get a camera with a true 16:9 chip with a sharper image and better dynamic range than DV25, I would be thrilled.

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Old June 2nd, 2004, 03:30 AM   #9
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I don't think I'm qualified enough to answer your question. One
of my primary believes is that it doesn't matter much which good
DV camera you get since we can't distribute in a higher quality
format at this point in time anyway. I also believe that there are
lots more important things than camera's (like a good script).

But the main reason I think I'm not qualified enough to answer
that specific question is the simple fact that I've mainly worked
with the Canon XL1S (PAL) and not others camera's worth
mentioning. So I can look at the technology behind things (I have
good working experience with those) but from my point of view
not enough knowledge to see which camera would work best
for other people.

The best tips I can give you is to make three lists of things:
must have's, would be nice to have & don't care/want/need lists.

Then you can prioritize those lists and see which camera's come
up as good matches. Removable lens system might be very
important to some people while 24p is king for someone else
(which I don't care about since I'm in 25p PAL land which is very
close to 24p).

You see where this is going? What would be a must for me might
very well be a don't need for you.

It also depends on what you are going to do with a camera. 24p
is much more important perhaps if you want to make fictional films
than it would be if you are shooting stuff for the news!
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Old June 2nd, 2004, 07:59 AM   #10
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The 4:1:1 colour sampling issue is an interesting one. I've been doing some experimenting with a plugin that I developed for FCP to turn 4:1:1 into a good approximation of 4:4:4 - aiming for full quality gives me a darn good 4:2:2.

http://www.nattress.com/filmEffectsGNicerTests.htm

shows the results of my tests, and really DV at 4:1:1 is not the evil it used to be. I'm going to refine my algorithm for 4:2:0 (it works now, but is not quite optimised enough) and add it for 4:2:2 which will make the plugin of use to everyone who isn't shooting HDCAM SR!

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Old June 2nd, 2004, 08:22 AM   #11
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That looks interesting Graeme! Is this plugin going to be available
only for FCP?
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Old June 2nd, 2004, 08:25 AM   #12
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Yes - only for FCP. I'm only a small business and don't have the time to spread myself too thin at the moment.

Thanks for the comments - I reckon I can improve it still further by reducing it's tolerance to luminance artifacts. There's alread some supression of compression artifacting going on which smooths the chroma a little extra, but I reckon I can take it further still.

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Old June 2nd, 2004, 09:59 AM   #13
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Rob,
Going back to your posting on relative DV picture quality,
last week I needed to edit some material at home on DV that had been shot on Digibeta. It had been transferred to DVCam for me. Since my Canon XM2 won't play that format, and since that's what I was using to capture the material into my PC, I hooked up my camera to a friend's DVCam in work by firewire and transferred it accross.
While cutting the stuff, I couldn't help but notice the superb picture quality that you'd expect with Digibeta.
I suppose what I'm trying to say is that MiniDV compression is capable of maintaining very high picture quality, even through all those transfers. It's in the actual picture acquisition from the DV camera (XM2) at source that the quality isn't being created.
I suppose that if I want better quality I should be upgrading to a DSR570 and quit moaning to myself about resolution ;-)

Robin.
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Old June 2nd, 2004, 11:20 AM   #14
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Well, that's sort of the thing--the ultimate judge of a format is how it looks to the eye in its final form of delivery, not what the specs might suggest. Whenever I shoot a spot on 35mm, I always ask for a Digibeta and a DV copy. I use the DV for editing my reel on FCP, and save the Digibeta for future use. The DV looks really good, certainly considering that I'm delivering my reels on DVD's these days (it's only in the past year that I don't get requests for 3/4" dubs any more!). So yes, the type of source material makes a big difference, although I can see the difference between that and the Digibeta versions if I look hard enough.
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