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Old March 28th, 2011, 12:15 PM   #1
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Ubiquity of HD Online

My company has recently decided to begin producing videos in-house for the products we make and sell, to be displayed both online as well as in our stores. We have setup a small studio and are preparing to produce our first videos after running a number of concepts to nail down the look and flow.

Our current camera is a Sony HDR-PD170 Mini DVCam. It's a good camera, and is of the ancestry of the cameras I was very interested in when I was taking Television Broadcasting in school. However, it's only capable of recording in SD. As such, I am trying to convince my company to invest in an HDR-AX2000 before we begin producing actual video for publishing online, rather than having to go back and re-shoot videos in HD at a later point.

Is anyone aware of any online documentation regarding how ubiquitous HD video content is online, or what kind of consumer demand there is for it? I'm usually pretty good at researching online, but I've drawn a blank on this.

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old March 28th, 2011, 03:39 PM   #2
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Re: Ubiquity of HD Online

Shawn, no matter where you look, it's obvious that resolution is going higher and higher... from computer monitors to televisions, consumer still cameras and camcorders, not to mention professional camcorders.

Sure, there is still plenty of SD video out there on the web, but if you're working on something that you know needs to stay online for years, there is no question, you need to go HD.
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Old March 28th, 2011, 04:00 PM   #3
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Re: Ubiquity of HD Online

Oh, I fully understand that. But convincing those who make the purchasing decisions isn't that easy, especially when they don't understand technology to the same degree as you and I. Hence my request.
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Old March 29th, 2011, 01:47 AM   #4
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Re: Ubiquity of HD Online

I have been doing on-line video in HD for five years and it is worth it as the streaming provided by You Tube and vimeo is very good quality.

I now shoot everything to broadcast standards but even when it is squeezed down to 1280x720p for You Tube the quality is still very good.

On-line video is still developing but what will stand out in the future once delivery is more through the TV in your living room will be the good quality content so it is worth investing in HD now.
Over 15 minutes in Broadcast Film and TV production: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1044352/
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Old March 29th, 2011, 06:06 AM   #5
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Re: Ubiquity of HD Online

I often deal with this issue of decision makers/checkbook holders not having the pedigree/background to make an informed decision. Visualizing "what done looks like" makes all the difference.

If you can borrow an HD camera from someone and a flat panel display like you would expect in a showroom, then shoot a sample "product-mercial" on the 2 cameras. Don't cheat and shoot in HD then post produce to SD. You want to show the difference between what it will look like on current equipment (PD170) and new. If your showroom kiosks are SD DVD driven, even SD shot with HD *can* look better but you have to know what you are doing. Shoot that one in 720p to minimize aliasing during the downrez to SD. If your kiosks are driven by computers, and the displays support 1080p, then yeah, go for it.

If there's an observable difference on the kiosk flat panel, then also produce versions for the web. When you demo it, use the biggest computer screen you can find and go into full screen mode on the online player. The online SD 320p will look ratty compared to the 720p HD.

Then go search Youtube or whatever to see what your competitors are producing video to. If they are still on SD, then slam-dunk, HD is a way to kick their butt.

Don't under estimate the cost of moving to HD. HD will need a bit more lighting than the PD170 so some lights *may* also be in order. Your editing computer may be in need of upgrade(s). Be fair and give them the cost of the whole package. You may find there isn't an observable difference and you will do your company a service to establish that. Put the money into employee bonuses.
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Old March 29th, 2011, 11:23 AM   #6
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Re: Ubiquity of HD Online

I would suggest approaching the question from two aspects - first, are the final videos intended for short or long term use - do they want to have to re-do the productions with any associated cost in 2-5 years (and that SD will look REALLY dated that far down the road). If the use is ONLY shorter term, or this is a "pilot project", use what you've got.

Second, what is your target market - will they even care about the video quality? Is there detail in your product that will be "lost" in SD and brought out in HD.

The investment in HD as noted can be substantial - new or updated computer with current software, etc...

One option might be to explore getting a HD higher end consumer camera - won't have all the controls you're "used to" on the big cam, but you'll be able to get image quality that will look great on an HD display. A lot of us use the Sony xr500/520 and later cameras in that series. I love my CX550V, and they have a new CX700 with some interesting features. It might get the "budget" into a more palatable range, with room to buy accessories and a computer! While they don't look that impressive, the image quality is arguably on par with the "big boy" cameras, and in my book, that is what counts.
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