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Old August 4th, 2004, 04:14 AM   #1
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In my opinion JVC and the industry in general have done a bad job explaining HDV to people.

The bottom line is this: anyone watching HD on satellite, cable, or over the air is watching an MPEG2 Transport Stream at anywhere from 15 to 19 Mbps. DishNetwork, DirecTV, ComCast, etc. all broadcast this format.

This is not changing anytime soon.

HDV is simply this same HD MPEG2 TS format that has been around for years (JVC D-VHS), but recorded to DV tape.

In that respect HDV is the most "native" of all the HD formats for broadcast work. Anything else (HDCAM, DVCPROHD, etc.) will end up being downconverted to what is essentially HDV for broadcast anyway. HDV is the only format you can shoot, write out to D-VHS tape, and hand to an HD station for native broadcast.

As far as editing goes, you are right, HDV is a bad editing format (although it is a great acquisition and delivery format). That is why we use ConnectHD ($500) which simply uses a lossless codec to convert the files to HD AVIs. We can then use the resulting AVIs in ANY DV editing package that supports HD resolutions. It really isn't that complex.

Having said all that, obviously the Cinealta and Varicam produce far superior images to the JVC HD10. However, it has nothing to do with the HDV format. It is simply because of better optics, larger and more CCDs, better controls, etc. For HDTV broadcast purposes, HDV is equivalent in quality to HDCAM or DVCPROHD. Now, if you are using HD as an alternative to film, then that is a whole 'nother story. For film transfer you would want the highest bitrate possible, so HDCAM or uncompressed HD would be the way to go.

In conclusion, you better get used to the HDV format, because it will become the standard for HD broadcast work. High bitrate HD formats will end up being specifically targeted at the film industry.

Now if they could just come up with an HDV camera that has the CCDs, optics, and manual controls of the XL2, I would be happy. For now we have to stick with the HD10 and work around its flaws, because we have clients that need and want HD today at a reasonable price.
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Old August 4th, 2004, 08:23 AM   #2
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To supplement Ben's very accurate remarks about HDV, I should point out that some over-the-air HDTV signals go down as low as about 9 mbps. PBS is one of the best at about 18.5 mbps. Each of the networks, through their affiliates, has a different level of compression and bitrate in their OTA HD signals. And since HDV and D-VHS use 25 mbps, they actually have significantly lower compression and carry more quality than the broadcasters use.

HDV/D-VHS is like using 16mm movie film, compared to the 70mm of the best big-budget movies. But, some nice movies can be produced on 16mm, if the cinematographers know how to squeeze the best out of what they have to use. Good HD video intended for purposes other than topgrade theater presentations, can be and will be turned out by HDV artists. When HDV cameras and editing systems for the format are improved, we'll see acceptance and wide use of it. It's nice to look forward to an affordable way to enter into HDTV production.

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Old August 4th, 2004, 08:36 AM   #3
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<<The bottom line is this: anyone watching HD on satellite, cable, or over the air is watching an MPEG2 Transport Stream at anywhere from 15 to 19 Mbps. DishNetwork, DirecTV, ComCast, etc. all broadcast this format.>>

True enough, BUT since going 'digital' our cable tv's image quality now sucks
compared to analog. Jay Leno looks great at 19mbps (not on our cable system
but when the actual digital signal is recorded off broadcast El Gato EyeTV500) ,
but we're talking about content with
very little movement and tons of redundancy that is shot on HDCAM.

<<<This is not changing anytime soon.>>

A shame imo. H.264 BLOWS the doors off mpeg2 . . . sorry.
So does Sorenson and WMP9.

<<<HDV is simply this same HD MPEG2 TS format that has been around for years (JVC D-VHS), but recorded to DV tape.>>>

True.

<<<In that respect HDV is the most "native" of all the HD formats for broadcast work. Anything else (HDCAM, DVCPROHD, etc.) will end up being downconverted to what is essentially HDV for broadcast anyway. HDV is the only format you can shoot, write out to D-VHS tape, and hand to an HD station for native broadcast.>>>

VHS (and/or MPEG1) is the most native of analog video recording formats, but
what does that mean for quality . . . not much imo. You always want to
work in high resolution and THEN dumb it down for DVD, CD, VHS, etc.
If you shoot in VHS, just how good is it going to be after post? The answer
is not as good as if you shot in betaSP and bounced to VHS.

<<<As far as editing goes, you are right, HDV is a bad editing format (although it is a great acquisition and delivery format). That is why we use ConnectHD ($500) which simply uses a lossless codec to convert the files to HD AVIs. We can then use the resulting AVIs in ANY DV editing package that supports HD resolutions. It really isn't that complex.>>>

I know you must own one of the JVCs and are able to tell your customers
all this as a sales pitch, but HDV is NOT a great acquistion format imo.
It is cheap though ;)

It's also a pretty poor way of having to work
if you need to get something accomplished
in a timely matter. I'd rather acquire in a better format and render out
HDV, not acquire in a VERY lossy codec and then bounce to uncompressed,
edit and then have to rerender back to HDV.
It seems to me to this workflow is backwards, clumsy and SLOW.

<<<Having said all that, obviously the Cinealta and Varicam produce far superior images to the JVC HD10.>>>

We agree here.

<<<However, it has nothing to do with the HDV format. It is simply because of better optics, larger and more CCDs, better controls, etc. For HDTV broadcast purposes, HDV is equivalent in quality to HDCAM or DVCPROHD.>>>

I completely disagree.
Bandwidth matters, especially in content such as blowing fields of
grass or leaves . . . even pans and tilts. Your HDV cam with the best glass
in the world cannot equal the output of a varicam hooked to a D5 machine.
If you think so, you haven't seen it. Try to color correct HDV, or stack
layers and layers of video with movement. I bet HDV falls apart quick,
whereas SMPTE 292 @ 10 bit can hold up to color correction and compositing
during editing and the render out of 19mbps stream will look FAR better
because you have zillions more 'free' pixels to work with, instead of a "quilt"
of LARGE macroblocks.

<<<Now, if you are using HD as an alternative to film, then that is a whole 'nother story. For film transfer you would want the highest bitrate possible, so HDCAM or uncompressed HD would be the way to go.>>>

Huh? This doesn't make much sense. So you're saying if you want crummy
video, HDV is fine, but if you want "film" (read: high quality) results,
HDV doesn't make the grade. I guess I agree with that.

<<<In conclusion, you better get used to the HDV format, because it will become the standard for HD broadcast work. High bitrate HD formats will end up being specifically targeted at the film industry.>>>

Bite your tongue! As I said eariler, there are many other codecs that look
better using less bandwidth, but you are probably right as we
"race to the bottom." Many of the shows I now watch in 'digital'
suffer horrible artifacts and mosaics.
Yeach, give me back analog composite (I used to wish for better quality
and thought it would be digital).

<<<Now if they could just come up with an HDV camera that has the CCDs, optics, and manual controls of the XL2, I would be happy. For now we have to stick with the HD10 and work around its flaws, because we have clients that need and want HD today at a reasonable price. -->>>


I think its been said, but most Canon insiders know they are working on an
HDV camcorder now.

Hey, I don't mean to sound so mean, but I saw HDV
at NAB. All the test material had little movement and to me, the image
barely hung together even so. You start to pan and the image goes to hell.

I applaud those working to bring us HD at reasonable pricing, but HDV isn't
to HD as DV is to D1.
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Old August 4th, 2004, 08:55 AM   #4
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Jacques, the digital SD channels you see on cable that look so bad, are heavily compressed to the point they only deliver about 230 lines of resolution. They naturally fall apart during motion, but don't equate this application with HDV, that may use 10 times the mbps.

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Old August 4th, 2004, 09:39 AM   #5
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Hey Steve,

I know those bandwidths are even smaller than 19mbps,
but do not forget we're still watching NTSC. So, 5mbps equals about
the same bandwidth per pixel as HD at 20mbps.
Also remember that the spec. for SMPTE 292M is 60 frames a second,
not HDV's 30.

BUT the point is when you have to fill 4X the resolution (HD) with
the same bandwidth as DV, unless the codec is state of the art (not mpeg2)
I cannot help but be skeptical. Unlike others who post theories without
experience, I have seen both high resolution HD and HDV. No one is going
to convince me (without solid proof) that acquiring video in HDV, *the final output*
is going to look as good as if the source material was
recorded in HDCAM, DVCPro100 or Viper. Let's not even go into
what looks to be a hideous and CPU intensive workflow.

From what I can tell, HDV is smoke and mirrors hanging on by a slim
thread. Yes, final output may be at the same bandwidth, if and when
broadcast, but we all know there is good compression, great compression
and poor compression. MPEG2 is _OLD_ and could only really be called 'good'
at best.

I am not the only person who thinks that HDV has serious issues,
but it is affordable and that will probably doom us to low quality forever.
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Old August 4th, 2004, 12:18 PM   #6
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This thread was split from an XL2 thread, where it was way off-topic.
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Old August 4th, 2004, 12:44 PM   #7
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This topic sure lights big fires.

As usual someone who doesn't own or use HDV slams it. But, the people on the forum who DO own and use can say without a doubt that HDV is the best thing to happen to video since VHS went DV. It's DV's natural progression and no one is trying to say HDV is equal to HD on the higher end. No one has ever said that from what I've read. The OWNERS of the HDV camera have stated pretty clearly what their experience has been...good and bad. But, I think it's safe to say that the majority of people who OWN the camera have mostly good things to say. Myself personally? I have worked in many areas of television - from Network HDTV to Public Access VHS. The HDV camera is the best thing to happen to ALL aspects of television in a long time.

It's really funny to me because I don't own a Panasonic, but have seen them with my own eyes....nor do I own a Canon, but have seen one with my own eyes. Even though I have used these cameras I don't feel like I've got a place for positive or negative comments because I don't own one and can't say I know it inside and out. Why is it that people who have never used the HDV camera extensively slam it so? It's usually someone who doesn't even own ANY HD equipment - only NTSC.

I do understand the need to exchange information. But, in the last 1 1/2 years on this forum I've seen TONS of posts that lead to nowhere because it's child-like complaining about HDV. It's a true 100% fact that many people now OWN the HDV camera and use it. These people almost always post exciting news about it or share tips to overcome hurdles of the format. It's no different than trying to figure out software with bugs, or whatever else out there needs discussion. What we owners don't need is reminding over and over that our beloved HDV format isn't perfect or as good as the HD the big boys use. We know that better than you because we USE and OWN the darned format.

Ok, let's get back to useful discussions!

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Old August 4th, 2004, 08:31 PM   #8
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Why chose MPEG2 over all tehnew compression codecs for something thats going to be chagning and updating and "taking off" from now onwards?

Why not pick WMV9 (just as an example.. i'm not a fan of M$ having that market!) and give us 720p/1080p in a pro/consumer device at bitrates selectable 5/7/9/12/16/18 or something like this? It just doesnt make that much sense to me to chose an old format for a new rising and popular by default format such as HD. Especially considering all these formats can be completely recorded in K frames so its frame accurate editing and compatibility with editors the same as our beloved DV... user selectable saturated/high bitrate for added quality etc All on a miniDV tape! What more could you want for a prosumer standpoint? (besides custom or even preset major frame rates up to 120fps!! LOL)
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Old August 5th, 2004, 09:00 AM   #9
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Well,
I've seen a couple of things on the web and would have to say that the HDV stuff shot correctly looks pretty darn good. When I was at NAB two years ago, I was really disappointed with the JVC camera that I saw, mainly I couldn't do a decent pan with it, but I also didn't know anything about it or how to work with it's functions. If I was to guess, I think HDV will be replace DV in the consumer and prosumer realm. Although I would agree that mpg4 or WM9 would most likely be better.
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Old August 5th, 2004, 09:36 AM   #10
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There's technical limitations which made the engineers choose MPEG2 as the format of choice.

Variable bitrate: One reason this will not work well is to have changing bitrates you need the tape to move at different speeds. This would complicate things. It's easier if there's only 2 modes to deal with (i.e. LP and SP). Not sure if the JVC supports it.

Better codecs: There are some compression tricks you can use but those take more processing power, raising the price of the electronics. It will also make the footage harder to edit.
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Old August 5th, 2004, 09:54 AM   #11
 
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My apologies if the following rant is a little off thread topic.

As much as I hate to admit it, because I REALLY dislike Micro$oft, the WMP9 format is outstanding. I was fortunate in seeing the WMP9 presentation at NAB, and it was nothing less than thrilling. The footage presented had a lot of motion in it, and no artifacts that I could see. Now, I have to admit that I didn't know the bitrate, nor did I know what format it was editted in. There are several very obvious issues for small video shops and one BIG issue for everyone with production in this format.
Towhit....
1-no one presently has, on the market, a desktop WMP player. No consumer players, no market. No market, no incentive to produce in that format. There is only one company currently working on a desktop WMP9 player, V Inc. WMP9 is anything but open source. I suspect this scares a lot of developers away. Who'd like to dance with the devil?

2-Editting, in general, any highly compressed format is going to be problemmatic. There is the issue of keyframes, processing power to losslessly deconvolve the compressed streams(I-frames, and B-frames), and last, but not least, the raw memory and memory I/O required to handle the massive data stream.

I don't care what compressed format you're talking about, they all need processing power and memory to edit. We are nowhere near the technological capability to INEXPENSIVELY and EFFICIENTLY deal with this problem. This is a show-stopper for small video business, altho' I'm sure the likes of Speilberg can afford the computer processing power.

Perhaps this brings some level of comfort to the video (and ex-patriot film )snobs among us.

It will be a Lo-o-o-ng time before a useable HD format is available to the masses.
So, in the meantime, expect to see a plethora of bandaid solutions, like JVC's HD1 and Cineform's Connect and noteably HDV, that work...sorta.
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Old August 6th, 2004, 03:00 PM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Christopher C. Murphy : This topic sure lights big fires.
As usual someone who doesn't own or use HDV slams it. But, the people on the forum who DO own and use can say without a doubt that HDV is the best thing to happen to video since VHS went DV.>>>

For a lot of content, HDV will rock, but for nature videography I don't think
it is going to cut the mustard. I do not own one of the JVCs, but they had
them set up and working at NAB. (Please don't pan, you're scaring the
customers away :)


<<<It's DV's natural progression and no one is trying to say HDV is equal to HD on the higher end. No one has ever said that from what I've read. The OWNERS of the HDV camera have stated pretty clearly what their experience has been...good and bad. But, I think it's safe to say that the majority of people who OWN the camera have mostly good things to say. Myself personally? I have worked in many areas of television - from Network HDTV to Public Access VHS. The HDV camera is the best thing to happen to ALL aspects of television in a long time.>>>

Because of it's price? Yes, I would agree with that, BUT I also think that
the big boys aren't going to make the same mistake that Sony made with
the VX1K. There will be enough caveats to keep a lot of buyers ponying up
more dollars for real HD.

<<<Why is it that people who have never used the HDV camera extensively slam it so? It's usually someone who doesn't even own ANY HD equipment - only NTSC.>>>

I guess I am waiting for someone like you to point the HDV camera at a wall of
flowering vines blowing in the wind and report back that the video is
gorgeous and clean of artifacts :) How about a hand held walking shot following
two actors down a crowded street? That would work for me almost as well.

<<<. . . These people almost always post exciting news about it or share tips to overcome hurdles of the format.>>>

Yes, for the money HDV is really cool. It's also great that
people are getting together to figure out what works and what doesn't.
I guess I'm just another snob (or idiot) who
wants the world for a dime. I am bitching only because HDV acquistion
is probably not going to work for me. PLEASE do NOT let me pour water
on your fire. If you write a script with HDV's limitations in mind, I am sure you
can still create something wonderful that blows NTSC away. That I do not
doubt.

I will come out swinging when someone says that a higher end acquistion
format does not matter because TV spec for broadcast is 19mbps. I don't
buy that one (yet ;).
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Old August 7th, 2004, 08:49 AM   #13
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One very good reason for JVC going for HDV in their semi-pro camcorder is the obvious fact that it's directly compatible by wire with D-VHS. This gives HDV a low-cost and ready-made way to edit (such as you can do with it) and to archive it on a long-playing tape that is relatively inexpensive-----S-VHS tapes will substitute for dedicated D-VHS tapes. Even when the promised NLE editing programs for HDV are available, D-VHS will still make a good archiving format for it and probably some blue-laser DVDs will mesh with the M-PEG2 CoDec, as well.

Again I say, with 25mbps for HDV and only 19mbps for the best broadcast HDTV, if HDV has more headroom than OTA HDTV, surely well-shot footage with it, from 3-CCD cameras, can't be that bad.

Personally, I'd like to see an HD version of DV give 30 min. of recording time, with twice the bit-rate, but you'd lose the direct compatibility with the M-PEG2 systems that are already in place, that I've mentioned.

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