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Old October 31st, 2002, 03:54 AM   #1
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Is DV Dead?

I spend a great deal of time most days of the week digesting all the posts I can in this forum. Recently, I had the good fortune to get a good price on a 38 inch,16/9 high-definition monitor. I acquired it primarily for use as a monitor to test the quality of my video editing. This TV has a resolution that is nearly ten times greater than a normal television, so whatever you see is the honest truth of what your video really looks like.

I was shocked ( though not surprised) to see just how crappy my digital video looks on it. In fact, I now believe that all standard DV cameras, no matter how expensive, will look like crap on it. How many countless posts have I read in this forum with people dancing on the head of a pin, splitting hairs about the difference between a Sony TRV 950 and a Panasonic DVX100? Why doesn't everyone here admit that either single chip, or three chip, they all put out just about the same awful image quality. With the advent of high-definition television, I believe that in the next couple of years all of the current, expensive camcorders that are on the market will be delegated to the bottom of the junk drawer.

When I turned my HD TV on and discovered that there are at least five high-definition channels broadcasting content that I never knew existed before - my jaw absolutely dropped when I saw the quality of high-definition video. I'm ruined! There is no going back now: the detail is so amazing, it looks like a projected 35mm slide.

I have a Ricoh RDC-7, 3 million megapixel digital still camera that I bought for about 700 bucks a couple of years ago. When I transfer the stills to my video editing software, and write them to a DV tape they look totally fantastic. They look very close to the video footage I've seen in high-definition broadcasts. I have often wondered why a camcorder that costs several thousand dollars more, takes footage with such abysmal quality that barely holds up to a cheap WebCam. Because of my experiments with transferring high-quality still pics to DV tape, I know the medium is capable of so much more. I have finally managed to afford climbing up a revolutionary cliff, just to realize the vast uncharted territory that I now have to to start out conquering all over again.

I had suspected that camcorder manufacturers have known this all along from day one, and have held back on the technology just so that they can control the market. Knowing that HD was right around the corner, they have played the game long as they can selling people expensive camcorders that tout "new" features like bluetooth technology and sub-par still pictures. Go to your local Best Buy, or Circuit City and the shelves are now filling up with affordable HD ready TVs. Once people experiance the incredible image quality, it will create the demand for a whole new market of camcorders and storage media to support it. After all the time and money I've spent building a quality DV editing and shooting station for myself, I now don't even want to look at this stuff!

I know I am probably going to create a firestorm here with these comments, and actually that's my intent. With rumors of JVC introducing an affordable consumer HD camcorder next year, I am drooling all over myself just thinking about getting my hands on this technology. Let's start pushing Sony and Panasonic to jump in and give us what we want. HD is here to stay and its here now. I want to know everything I can about it, and about how I am going to be able to edit and transfer this stuff with a computer. What does everyone else have to say about this?
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Old October 31st, 2002, 04:05 AM   #2
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Keep in mind, with High Definition video comes the need for High Definition production values. No longer will tricks like taking down an overly exposed window in a shot with black organza work; it will show up in the video quite clearly because of the quality of the signal. All the little zit scars on people's faces will be glaring; no more skimping on makeup. The list goes on. Sometimes it's more a curse than a blessing.
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Old October 31st, 2002, 06:38 AM   #3
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Although you might have some valid points, I thought of this
whilst reading your post:
  • HD cameras and such are just not affordable at the moment. the best quality currently affordable is DV and perhaps (and that is a big perhaps) 16mm film. So there is not much choice, now is there?
  • I think the quality is superb! Ofcourse a HD signal and film will have higher resolution and stuff. I cannot believe that it looks crap. Although I don't have a high res monitor I just cannot imagine that it will look crap. Perhaps it will look not as good. My next point has some more on this.
  • You took a 3 megapixel image and down converted it to 0.35 megapixel format (DV) and it still looked fantastic on your HD monitor. Do you know what you are saying here? You are basically testifying that a low resolution image can look good on a HD monitor. Therefor throwing away all your previous claims.
  • What cameras did you use to test it? In what modes (interlaced, frame mode or true progressive)? Did you shoot quality footage?
  • Last note... I highly doubt that a $4000 camera DV stream will look that bad on a HD monitor.... But I'll have to see that for myself ocourse

Just some thoughts of mine....
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Old October 31st, 2002, 06:52 AM   #4
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This is nothing new. Change happens in this industry every day. HD cameras exist right now, but not at a price most people in this community would call affordable. DV has it's place in the market and will for years to come. All of the major manufactures are working on lower and lower price HD cameras as we speak. Chips will have to be invented and prices fall before many prosumer cameras arrive on the market. To the best of my knowledge there are no 1/3 inch 16:9 HD chips on the market. Have you priced 1/2 inch and 2/3 inch HD chip cameras? How about the size and weight? So, your willing to accept heavier and bulkier cameras. Now you'll need a heavier tripod and more (and heavier) batteries.

What will you edit your new HD footage on? You'll need HD capture card ($4,000 and up) plus more drives. New software too. I believe only FCP and Avid (higher end, not Xpress) has scaleable software (maybe Premiere, I'll have to look). Most people I know doing HD editing use very fast (expensive) SCSI RAID 0 configurations (two 72GB 10,000 rpm drives with controller $1,500). You might need 2 or 3 of those set-ups for larger projects because of the amount of data storage HD requires.

This isn't something that will happen over night. Current mini DV has a life span of at least 2 to 4 more years for prosumer work. Why? Most people aren't prepared to spend $5,000+ on a new camera and accessories. Not to mention an HD editing station starting at $10,000 and probably more. Are you prepared to spend this just to watch home movies on your new HD TV?

Jeff
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Old October 31st, 2002, 09:04 AM   #5
 
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Hmmm...firstly, I find it hard to beleive that a DVcam image will look better on HDTV than on my computer monitor. My own DV clips look pretty damn good on my computer monitor and get de-resolved on a standard NTSCTV monitor.

Secondly, The data thruput and processing power required to handle more than a million pixels of info being streamed thru the camera at HD datarates is the bottleneck currently limiting consumer and prosumer cams. You just can't squeeze all those bits of info thru the camera, much less onto some recording media like digital tape. Which means you have to do some pretty fancy and fast compression, which just adds to the overall processsing power needed by that little handi-cam. Now, I submit that the total resolving power of the camera is no longer constrained by optics resolving power and film grain, but, by the artifacts produced during compression/decompression. Until a lossless and efficient compression technology is developed, you won't see digital video cameras much over 1 Meg of pixels.
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Old October 31st, 2002, 10:58 AM   #6
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I dont understand that this thread--comparing the image that you get from DV to HD is like comparing the ride of a Honda with a Mercedes! Who is watching DV on a HD TV? Who has a an HD TV (very few people). For the near future, DV will have to do and a comparison between the two is irrelevant. Remember, a Honda gets the job done!
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Old October 31st, 2002, 12:24 PM   #7
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"I was shocked ( though not surprised) to see just how crappy my digital video looks on it. In fact, I now believe that all standard DV cameras, no matter how expensive, will look like crap on it."

Well here's the problem with your whole argument. Just how crappy YOUR digital video looks. I've seen MY DV footage on a High Defenition TV and it looks four times better than it does on a regular TV. So I would guess one of three things. First, your particular video camera is broken, and not taking pictures properly. Second, you made some error hooking it up. Third, you are a troll looking to start a flame war, like you suggest at the end of your post.
As I think the last one is the case, I will no longer reply to this pointless post.
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Old October 31st, 2002, 01:18 PM   #8
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I dont think he meant to start a flame-war---I just think that to often we look to the future and disregard the wonderful tools that we have today-----I get a kick out of making DV's that look good and express who I am---I will worry about the future when it arrives.
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Old October 31st, 2002, 09:37 PM   #9
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I have never had a honda or a mercedes......


But I do have a BMW and a Porsche

Eat your heart out keith

But I don't have a job anymore So I could sell them both and get a HD cam but I need mac -n- cheese too

what a choice.....

Besides I have no talent

Hence the bmw and porsche = : )
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Old October 31st, 2002, 10:05 PM   #10
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For the original poster:

"I had suspected that camcorder manufacturers have known this all along from day one, and have held back on the technology just so that they can control the market. Knowing that HD was right around the corner, they have played the game long as they can selling people expensive camcorders that tout "new" features like bluetooth technology and sub-par still pictures."

Sorry, but the reality of the situation is that consumer DV camcorders are, in relative terms, dirt-cheap with amazing quality and bang-for-buck. They are two to four times less expensive, and two to four times better image quality than their analog predecessors.

You're not revealing which DV camcorder you have; assuming it's a one-chip consumer unit, then comparing it to HD is like comparing a bicycle to a dump truck.

"I know I am probably going to create a firestorm here with these comments, and actually that's my intent."

You may have found yourself in the wrong place. That's not the way we work around here.
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Old November 1st, 2002, 01:05 AM   #11
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Lets face it, has anyone actually looked at the majority of (film) prints that people get back from the 1hour labs & such, with skin tones the color of this sites background, over & under expose, you name it, and when you point it out they say, "oh I thought it was a little off", and that's 35mm.
We're pros or aspiring to be and so we have a very critical eye for a quality image. The majority of people in the market place are much more concerned with the "entertainment" quality and therefore an XL1 with good audio is certainly sufficient. I've seen a lot of "crap" coming out of the big production houses on 35mm and I say that creativity is much more important than format and what DV offers is the hope or the chance for a "small man/woman" being able to create something truly inspired without needing the budget of a small country.

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Old November 1st, 2002, 01:53 AM   #12
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Chris K.:

Quote:
"... I say that creativity is much more important than format and what DV offers is the hope or the chance for a "small man/woman" being able to create something truly inspired without needing the budget of a small country.
Hear, hear! My glass of amber beverage is high over my head in salute to your remark! Bronze that post!

As the famous 17th century English philosopher and videographer Sir Albert Shootsalot wrote:

"To the extent that mine images doth not detract nor distract from the vision that mine mind presents to another soul, then mine tool doth suffice."

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