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Old October 23rd, 2010, 08:38 AM   #1
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SD and HD mixed in videos?

This may seem a bit barmy but are high end SD (4.2.2.) and HD ever edited together in the same production?
If so, are the cuts between the two very obvious? Are there technical problems editing the two together in FCP? The reason I ask is simple; there are loads of high quality broadcast SD digital video cameras with 16:9 aspect ratios for sale at rock bottom prices (as we all know). As a video training company we are always looking for quality gear but at the lowest prices. We already have a quality prosumer HDV camera, so we need to use it, but we also like a two camera shoot. I spotted a mint Ikegami HL-V77W DVCPRO camera with an excellent Canon lens for sale for under three grand! In some ways it's heartbreaking to see such quality gear being shelved so early in its life and it's sorely tempting to buy such a bargain.

Just out of interest, does anyone know if this camera can be linked to a computer to download the recorded video files into FCP (with ease)? Also, will DVCPro tapes be supported for a few years?

Many thanks
Simon

Last edited by Simon Glidewell; October 23rd, 2010 at 09:59 AM.
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 08:42 AM   #2
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I forgot to say that our videos will be transferred to disc to be viewed on family widescreen televisions (not transmitted, however) and played on online media players.

Simon
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 10:46 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Simon Glidewell View Post
This may seem a bit barmy but are high end SD (4.2.2.) and HD ever edited together in the same production? If so, are the cuts between the two very obvious?
Simon, I'm in the US, and have a 50" Pioneer plasma available, just for context. The answer to your first question is yes, people do this all the time. Unfortunately, the answer to your second question is also yes, you can certainly see it.

Much is going to depend on the display and the electronics feeding the display. Low end equipment makes for a more homogeneous viewing experience. High end equipment makes the differences in sources more obvious.

I'll give you an example that might illustrate the differences. Try to rent the Ken Burns series (rent the blu-ray version) on the http://www.amazon.com/National-Parks-Americas-Best-Blu-ray/dp/B002GWDK6Q They used all kinds of stock footage in building the series; I remember one spot that looked quite like super-8 film, and a number that I'm pretty sure were 16mm film. On a sharp plasma it's easy to see if you are looking for it.

But does it really matter? Does it distract the viewer enough that he/she can't get the message? The answer is that sometimes it does. To control this many broadcasters set limits on how much of the total footage can be lower quality like SD video -- often in the range of 20% or less of total footage.

And the unasked question is -- will you be using this footage in the future? This might be worth considering as the technology is almost certainly going to continue to improve. Some time in the future today's HD will be looked down on as SD is currently. Or as super-8 was 15 years ago. Just something to consider.
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 11:07 AM   #4
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Cheers Bruce for your post; I rather suspected that the answers to my questions would be as you have given. I suppose we could just shoot our productions in one format only to avoid this issue. All that I've read about DVCPRO 50 indicates that this is a superb picture quality format, even rivaling digibeta. One of my concerns, however, is that with such high quality footage is it easy to transfer the recorded video from the camera (especially the Ikegami) to computer for NLE in Final Cut? And further can FCP handle the video files with ease?
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 05:54 PM   #5
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One of my concerns, however, is that with such high quality footage is it easy to transfer the recorded video from the camera (especially the Ikegami) to computer for NLE in Final Cut? And further can FCP handle the video files with ease?
I'm probably not the one to ask as I'm tapeless and Adobe. That said, I don't think you'll have any worries -- the DVCPRO50 codec has been around for 15 years or so and is well understood -- all the well known NLEs can handle DVCPRO50. Likewise, the tape workflow is fully mature and well understood. You might want to buy a tape reader for your NLE machine, but doing that will probably eliminate any cost savings you'd have buying a used camera like you propose.

It all comes down to what you value most, and what the job requires. The camera you are interested in will give you a first class picture, but at low resolution, and with a tape-based work flow. A camera such as the new Canon FX300 will give you the same bit-rate, same 4:2:2 chroma subsampling, is already approved by the BBC, has HD resolution, and has a tapeless workflow (as in no tape drop-outs and faster transfer to computer). And without the tape transport in the camera, the camera is typically lighter weight.

But if your question is really along the lines of "can I successfully transfer to computer and NLE" the answer is yes. How much "with ease" you can edit will probably depend more on your hardware than software of course. A modern computer and up-to-date NLE will easily handle DVCPRO50.
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Old October 24th, 2010, 03:16 AM   #6
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Many thanks again Bruce! Your information has been extremely informative and helpful with lots of food for thought. As you say it would be an appropriate VTR that would push up the cost significantly. I have also looked at similar digibeta set ups but have been put off by the cost of a decent "low" hours VTR. However, if I could find a complete digibeta kit with camera and lens, plus VTR for around 6000 that would be appealing. Probably a long shot, however!

All the best
Simon
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