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Old September 9th, 2005, 02:55 AM   #1
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Questions: NLE, FPS, pixel aspect ratios, etc.

After doing a little research, there are a few things I'm unsure about, and left me with some questions. Of course correct me where I might be wrong :) Also, since I have the most experience in digital graphics - any analogies/comparisons of DV/video to graphics should help, if you need to clarify. Secondary would be audio/music production. Appreciate your help!

LEARNED
-----------

- 3 CCD's is best for low light conditions and intense color
- the more pixels, the more detail to work with (esp. when zooming)

UNSURE OF
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- non-linear editing = editing on a computer, not realtime?
- linear editing = realtime "in-video" editing?
- Striping, quote "Striping is the recording an entire tape end to end with a "dummy" signal. The reason you do this is to create continuous timecode on your tapes" -- does this mean that when you stripe a tape, it lays out the timing - so the tape or player knows the length or intervals?

QUESTIONS
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1- What are the top brands out there for DV camcorders and what may one excell in over the other? (Like "Sony lacks in ___ where JVC excells, but Panasonic exceeds both in ____")

2- Why are there different broadcast standards? (PAL/NTSC)

3- What issues might you deal with when converting your video from one broadcast standard to the other?

4- What is the color format of video, RGB? I see values 1-15 and 236-254 are "headroom" and "footroom" - like the dynamic range one would consider when mastering audio.

5- Are frame rates what make the noticeable difference between a film, a TV soap opera, UK programming (PAL), news broadcasts, etc?

6- 16:9/letterbox. Is there any drawback to faking it (cropping)? Or is it preferable to shoot natively in this format? Also, if you shoot in 16:9 - will it appear as letterbox (with black bars) on 4:3 TV, and 16:9 on a widescreen TV (no black bars)?

7- Can Final Cut Pro do everything, or is it recommended to get additional apps? I see After Effects mentioned moderately. Titling seems to be a concern across apps too.

8- Pixel aspect ratios - I see DV is rectangular, while computer is square. Does this mean when editing DV on a computer, you are working in square-pixel mode? Might there be a choice of what mode to work in? I'm sure you need to be aware of aspect ratios in the conversion process.

9- Lastly, when looking for a camera to do an indie movie but with that ever important "film look" - what are some features you do not want to overlook?
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Old September 9th, 2005, 06:38 AM   #2
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A great many books have been written answering those questions. There are hundreds of posts on dvinfo.net that address each of those questions. Perhaps you should check out Herbet Zettl's "Video Basics" which is an introduction to video technology.

Look around and see if any local community colleges or universities in your area teach video. Another thing to do would be to join with a community cable access station and start using their equipment. You'd be amazed at the wealth of video knowledge cable access people can provide... for free (or membership).

What you've learned so far and are unsure of sounds like you don't have a complete picture... yet. You're pieceing together a puzzle that changes as video technology evolves (i.e. you don't need to learn linear editing, everything is going non-linear). Just from some of the questions posed, you tend to get overwhelmed by the information provided here on dvinfo.net. Welcome to the club.

Questions 1 and 9 are subjective which means that you're going to get tons of opinions on those topics. However, I think once you get past the basics of video technology, you'll be able to answer those two questions for yourself.

Think about this -- Who will make a better video at little Billy's birthday party: Billy's Mom and Dad using a $60,000 Digital Betacam camcorder, or Steven Spielberg using a $250 Digital8 camcorder? Ironically a teacher once told me, "Once you understand the limitations of a technology, you'll be able to exploit it to its fullest potential."

Email me off list as I'm going to Green Bay early next month to scout locations for a short film. Maybe I can impart some knowledge while I'm there.
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Old September 9th, 2005, 08:03 AM   #3
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Quote:
1- What are the top brands out there for DV camcorders and what may one excell in over the other? (Like "Sony lacks in ___ where JVC excells, but Panasonic exceeds both in ____")
I think it's hard to make generalizations about each manufacturer.

Each manufacturer may have its own technologies which others don't have/use. i.e. Sony monitors use the aperture grille design.

Some of them have their own formats. Sony has DVCAM, HDCAM
Panasonic has DVCPRO 25, 50, 100
JVC has SVHS
All three companies license their formats to others (i.e. Ikegami).

Quote:
2- Why are there different broadcast standards? (PAL/NTSC)
Part of it is due to different electrical standards in each country.
North America is 60hz, Europe is 50hz.

Quote:
3- What issues might you deal with when converting your video from one broadcast standard to the other?
Resolution and how the motion looks, and cost.

Quote:
4- What is the color format of video, RGB? I see values 1-15 and 236-254 are "headroom" and "footroom" - like the dynamic range one would consider when mastering audio.
The DV format stores video information as Y' Cr Cb, with compression. The explanation of Y' Cr Cb is long-winded and I don't think I'd get it right.

1-15 is not footroom. May be wrong here: Cameras don't record those values, except when there are compression artifacts (which can push some numbers below 16).

Many cameras record bit values over 235. (known as "superwhites")

Quote:
5- Are frame rates what make the noticeable difference between a film, a TV soap opera, UK programming (PAL), news broadcasts, etc?
I think budgets and time constraints make a bigger difference.

Soap operas have low budgets and they have to churn out a large number of episodes. There's a reason why the writing is so terrible, and why they "talk funny" (huge pauses between each line makes switching, blocking, camera easier).

Quote:
8- Pixel aspect ratios - I see DV is rectangular, while computer is square. Does this mean when editing DV on a computer, you are working in square-pixel mode? Might there be a choice of what mode to work in? I'm sure you need to be aware of aspect ratios in the conversion process.
The editing program can show the proper aspect ratio of DV, or not. i.e. Vegas is switchable.

Quote:
9- Lastly, when looking for a camera to do an indie movie but with that ever important "film look" - what are some features you do not want to overlook?
The talent of the person using the camera, and lighting and color grading. Ok, so those aren't really features.

Cameras that can shoot 24p, have adjustable gamma settings, and shoot high definition would help you achieve a film look. Those with larger CCDs have shallow depth of field, although to get equivalent DOF you can get a 35mm adapter.
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Old September 9th, 2005, 04:04 PM   #4
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THanks for the responses guys.

The bit about "who would make a better movie", all too familiar but good point :) I've spent a couple years learning homebrew music production and a similar point has came up with regards as to who'd produce a better record with pro/entry level gear.

But I think it's not bad to shoot a little higher, esp. if you have the money. Usually my creative pursuits are written in concrete and I dedicate myself throughout them. Film is going to be my future project pursuit.

Anywho, yes this stuff can get deep. I'll dig around a little more. Thanks again!
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Old September 10th, 2005, 07:32 PM   #5
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Been digging in a little more. This stuff is exciting.

Here's something for you -- storyboards. I came across some templates at Sonnyboo.com, but I was wondering if there is anything more efficient in balancing out the scene-box and information fields. Like, do you have a particular template you like to use that conveys enough information in that panel, without resorting to just 1 or 2 panels per page?
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Old September 12th, 2005, 07:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Kohli
LEARNED
-----------

- 3 CCD's is best for low light conditions and intense color
Technically, a 3CCD cam of the same space as a 1CCD cam will result in a darker image. The confusion might lie in the fact that the best low light cams have 3CCD sensors, but these are often a lot larger than 1CCD cams (ie a 1/4.3" x3 sensor compared to a 1/6" sensor) in order to pull this off.
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