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Old January 21st, 2006, 12:21 AM   #1
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Post Production Workflow and Price

In another post, I'm trying to decide which camera to rent/buy for a feature film.

I'm reading lots of post in this forum and others... learned a good amount about HDV today. It seems that getting footage and editing it, might be difficult and require some finess.

So, I'm looking to figure out what is Needed and how much it would cost to edit my footage depending on which camera I choose.

Knowing that it might cost twice as much to shoot and edit using HDV, might lead be to choose mini-DV or some other option.

I mean knowing that mini-DV is proven and that I understand the workflow is for sure playing a part in my decision.

Here are my camera options again:

I'll throw in HD now.

Panasonic VariCam (HD)

Panasonic SDX-900 (DVCPRO)

JVC HD100 (HDV)

Panasonic DVX100B (MiniDV)

Canon XL H1 (HDV)

Canon XL 2 (MiniDV)

If someone is nice, maybe they could describe the basic workflow of HD, DVCPRO, HDV, MiniDV.

My current post production set up is

iMac G4/1.25mgz/768RAM/external 7200 RPM HD
Final Cut Pro 4.5 HD
One Chip Sony MiniDV Camcorder (VCR/Monitor)

I'm willing to buy new equipment, but I'd like to know, using this type of setup as my starting point, how that affects where I go from here in choosing a camera.

If the HD option requires that I rent lots of special equipment or buy lots of software, maybe miniDV will make most sense.

If HDV is a pain right now in Final Cut Pro (or isn't supported like the JVC model appears NOT to be) that is good to know upfront.

Again, I want to take after the R. Rodriguez of Acquisition. Shoot to achieve best original image possible (his case 16mm) then, if need be, transfer to a lesser format for editing, distribution on DVD.

However, maybe this method is pointless because any of the digital formats are supported with Final Cut Pro. However, maybe the space required of HD and power needed by the computer, would make sense to edit the video in some lesser format like mini-DV. I'm not sure. But it seems that HD is 16mm in today's current technologies for independent filmmaker. Hell HD is 35mm. So, shooting in HD, and editing in some other format, makes sense ( at least in theory).

Any thoughts you have on this and things you can point out to me that would explain the post production process, hidden prices, actual cost of a feature film using a particular format, and just general considerations (being supported by my NLE of choice -- FCP-- as an example) would be wonderful.

Thanks in Advance.

- Matt
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Old January 21st, 2006, 06:37 PM   #2
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Well, you can read my HD workflow blog at www.lfhd.net. I am editing DCPRO HD footage shot with the Varicam and HVX-200 cameras. DVCPRO HD requires a G4 and FCP 4.5...but a G5 tower would be what I recommend for any HD production...except for HDV. HDV has slightly higher requirements than DV...and can easily be edited with your current computer, but with the need of FCP 5. DV and HDv can be edited on any G4 and you can use firewire drives. This is because they both have low requirements. HDV isn't HD (no matter WHAT people try to tell you), it just has the dimensions of HD. It is MPEG-2 compressed footage at the 1440x1080 dimension.

DVCPRO 50, HD...any form of uncompressed SD needs bare bottom firewire 800 drives. I recommend the G-Raids. If you do any form of uncompressed HD work (D5, HDCAM) then you need an external RAID...with SATA raids being the lowest recommended, and fibrechannel being the best you can get.
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Old January 30th, 2006, 09:50 PM   #3
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Shane I went to your blog, but currently it reads like another language because I don't know if I have the basic understanding of HD workflow.

I guess I"m still looking for the "4th grade" guide to workflows.

I'm just trying to figure out what you need in terms of equipment (buying/renting) and think low budget.

Mini-DV I've done before so I've got that in mind.

But what does choosing HD add to the process?

Is using the SDX-900 the same as using the DVX-100, except that I need to rent a DVCPRO deck to get the footage in?

HDV sounds great, but people same it's a pain to edit with. Is this true?

It looks like Final Cut Pro 6 is right around the corner at NAB, so this might solve many of the HDV issues, if FCP 5 didn't already solve them.

My goal is simple. Get the best possible image from the start and then transfer to whatever format will be the best to edit with.

Shoot HD, but maybe it's easier to transfer the footage to another format that requires less processing power than HD requires.

I've got that mindset that shoot 16mm film, transfer to video for a feature, and if anything happens, let the distributor pick up the cost of transfering to 35mm. But maybe I can stay in HD the whole time, I just think I can't afford it.

The more I read about low budget film production, the more I"m convinced that if you rent equipment, plan accordingly, and treat the shoot like you are using expensive 35mm film (keep shooting ratio low) that you can make a great looking movie with even a budget as low as 15,000.

Maybe I'm totally wrong, but maybe mini-DV isn't the way to go. It's fine, but maybe for just a little more effort, money, the end product can be far superior and taken much more seriously.

In five years, everyone will be shooting some form of HD right? It's here to stay.
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Old January 30th, 2006, 11:15 PM   #4
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I think if you plan on working with HD in ANY capacity, you need to research it and read up on it enough that you can understand my site. My site is one of the SIMPLIEST in terms of explaination...as I am NOT a technical guy. Just go to www.HDFORINDIES.com and read what he has to say. Numbers that will make your head swim.

If you are going to be working with a format, you need to have a working knowledge of it....not a 4th grade understanding of it. At least a High School graduate understanding. Read hdforindies...look at all the people he links to, read them. Go to www.kenstone.net and read there...research research research. I researched for 5 months before I started working with it...and I STILL don't feel I have a good enough grasp.

Basic equip...for shooting with what format? HDV...any current Mac, decent firewire drive and FCP 5. DVCPRO HD? Dual G5 tower with 2.5 GB RAM, Firewire 800 minimum, and FCP HD (although FCP 5 is preferred).
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Old January 30th, 2006, 11:29 PM   #5
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Shane what I meant is that your blog seems to jump right in, and will only make sense 5 months from now (after research).

Right now I'm just looking for the basics.

I will and do read other sites, but I figured someone on here could lay it out.

Basically if I need to rent or buy 20,000 dollars worth of equipment I won't ever consider, at this time, trying to make a film on HD. If I need an I/O like the AJA to edit HD, I'd like to know that.

I just want to understand the basics of post production so I know the overall concept.

I'm not being lazy, I just figured there are plenty of people (like you) who have been where I am right now.

Of course I'm not ready to work in this form. I never said that.

I thought 4th grade would be funny, I guess you didn't think so.
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Old January 31st, 2006, 01:28 AM   #6
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Matt: I'm not sure if this is true for all HDV cameras, but with the Sonys you can record in HDV and have the camera downsample to widescreen DV when you capture to the computer -- meaning your workflow is exactly the same as from a DV camera. This way you'd have some high-definition footage on tape when you're ready to work with it, but you don't have to do anything special to work with the downsampled footage now. (Except for dealing with widescreen versus 4x3 image aspect ratio.)

As far as editing HDV is concerned, you'd probably want a more powerful computer and you have to decide how you want to output and deliver your HD footage. Keep studying...
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Old January 31st, 2006, 05:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
Matt: I'm not sure if this is true for all HDV cameras, but with the Sonys you can record in HDV and have the camera downsample to widescreen DV when you capture to the computer -- meaning your workflow is exactly the same as from a DV camera. This way you'd have some high-definition footage on tape when you're ready to work with it, but you don't have to do anything special to work with the downsampled footage now. (Except for dealing with widescreen versus 4x3 image aspect ratio.)

As far as editing HDV is concerned, you'd probably want a more powerful computer and you have to decide how you want to output and deliver your HD footage. Keep studying...
You can also shoot HDV and use Cineform to downrez it to DV in post. Using the Sony cams, if you compare footage downrezzed in the camera versus imported into your NLE and downrezzed there using Cineform, the latter retains much more quality in the image. Using the camera to convert the result looks like it was mastered on DV to begin with while converting in post gives a much crisper image in the samples I've seen.
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