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Old September 10th, 2006, 04:44 PM   #1
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HDV unacceptable for broadcast?

Hello everyone,

Last week, there was an HD conference held here in Saskatoon with a presentation from a technical producer for CTV Toronto talking very in-depth about HDTV. I missed the conference but people who went told me that he talked about how HDV is apparently not of high enough quality for HDTV.

As a Sony Z1 owner, this was kind of shocking, especially after hearing about how many hi-def shows have used Z1s (Jag, 24*, American Chopper and others). Apparently this guy owns an F900 so maybe his expectations of hi-def are a little higher than the average person's. But what do you think?

Has anyone here who owns an HDV camera had their footage shown on TV? Do you think it's acceptable for TV?

Your feedback is appreciated.


Thanks!

-Mark


* I don't know if the HDV footage tested for 24 made it to air
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Old September 10th, 2006, 05:02 PM   #2
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Typically HDV is not used as a delivery codec and this is likely what he was referring to. Any HDV material would be converted to either HDCAM or DVCPro100. Just as DV25 is not considered a delivery option in the broadcast world. You would either bump your DV25 to something like BetaSP. Of course all this depends upon who you would be supplying the footage to as DCI is very stringent with regard to what formats they take, so ask before you start your project to be sure.
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Old September 10th, 2006, 05:10 PM   #3
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So what is the verdict? As of now, using a Cineform or the mt2 from Vegas wouldn't be acceptable? What codec would that is available for the FX1?
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Old September 10th, 2006, 05:15 PM   #4
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And to add, HDV is a GREAT format for shooting if you're delivering in SD. This might sound bizarre, but the shortcomings of HDV cameras (4:2:0, MPEG compression), after the images are down-converted, all go away and you wind up with much better quality than if you shot DV. Providing of course you take care in the downconversion.

This discussion is the same ole' goofyness that happened back in '98, when DV cameras were popping up all over, by the way. There were broadcast engineers who would tell you as many times as you would listen that DV was a consumer format, not broadcastable, and would die a horrible grisly death. Of course DVCAM and DVCPRO 25 went on to take over BetaSP as a newsgathering format, and today DV is everywhere.

By the way, even DiscoveryHD (famous for being stingy arbiters of HD format tastes), every time they air an episode of Mythbusters, airs a bunch of single-chip HDV from Sony HC1s.
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Old September 10th, 2006, 05:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Weaver
This discussion is the same ole' goofyness that happened back in '98, when DV cameras were popping up all over, by the way.
That's what I think, too. These are just the early stages of HDV and they're looking pretty incredible.

Oh, which reminds me: apparently someone here in town shot something with a Z1 for the Dr. Phil show.
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Old September 10th, 2006, 05:38 PM   #6
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I had heard something similar about MuchMusic here in Canada that HDV and DV were not considered broadcast quality, but it might be more in the wording that in actual fact.
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Old September 10th, 2006, 05:58 PM   #7
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1- Part of this is politics... as the broadcaster is the one buying shows, they want to get the best quality possible. So it doesn't 'hurt' them to ask for better than HDV.

The paradox is that they still want to spend as little of their money as possible on shows. So if the production is on a fixed budget and HDV might be a more appropriate choice (due to the cameras, or the format+cameras being good enough), saying no to HDV may not be the best idea. They just shouldn't be overly demanding, but it's really their job to be demanding.

2- From a technical standpoint, you probably won't be able to tell any difference between HDV and say DVCPRO HD.
Most broadcasts are from video servers with heavy compression.
Most people don't sit that close to their televisions.
Most people are paying attention to the show, and not looking for artifacts.
Most shows don't involve test patterns.

3- Part of it might just be intellectual laziness or snobbery, like what people were saying about DV.

4- How you use the equipment is much more important than its technical specs. Things like concept, lighting, etc. etc. make a huge impact in quality. "Broken" for example shows a lot of resourcefulness in making DV look very good, better than stuff shot on F900s.

If you're looking for work in television, your equipment does not matter as much as your talent, ability to work with others, and having connections/luck.

5- If you are a producer in charge of productions (TV series, music videos, etc.) it may be a good idea to avoid HDV. It may be hard to find people with experience with the format that know how to play to its strengths and weaknesses. People may not know how to light it well and make it look good. The workflow may also be poorly understood... i.e. shooting time of day timecode on HDV may be a bad idea. The decks are very un-response and editors can have problems re-capturing footage.
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Old September 10th, 2006, 06:51 PM   #8
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Glenn has it right. Pretty much every point.

I laugh a little to myself when people complain about HDV codec, and then talk about Varicams...not knowing their DVCPRO HD format is nothing but overgrown DV. At a barely better than DV data rate, I might add!

edit: An interesting discovery I just made; DV is 720x480 (345,600 pixels) spread across 25mbits. DVCPRO HD 720 is 960x720 (691,200 pixels, exactly twice as many as DV), spread across 40mbits when running at 24fps. Native 24p DV is 20mbits.
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Old September 10th, 2006, 07:21 PM   #9
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If you're shooting for series work, before the final ok you'll probably have to send samples to QC at the network. Most networks have specs of what is and is not acceptable. Discovery networks have VERY specific lists of cameras and delivery requirements. We recently bid a series and tried to use HDV. We were told that the Xl-H1 and GY-Hd100 were acceptable for 18% of the final visuals in the show. How would they know is my question... I'm sure we could have finessed the hell out of the cameras to make them look fantastic...but at great cost and effort. Regardless the workflow turned out to be too difficult and expensive to use HDV, so we took the cost savings and went with Varicams. In the meantime, Panny came out with the HDX-900's, which could have saved us a small amount more. In the end, the cameras and tapes are such a small portion of the total budget of the show. It would have been nice to shoot smaller and lighter cameras that we could have bought... but in the end you can't argue with the picture from a Varicam, which is quite stunning and easy to achieve. HDV will eventually come into its own with wider NLE support and better implementation of the codec. For now though, believe it or not, for series work the bigger cameras can actually be cheaper in the long run. Go figure.
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Old September 11th, 2006, 03:21 AM   #10
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maybe it has more to do with the view that if you are shooting HDV then that means a 1/3" camera. If there was a 2/3" HDV camera out there I'm sure more people would think the footage was good enough. Saying no to HDV is much easier than trying to say no to 1/3" cameras.

I bet if you shot something on HDCAM and for the fun of it encoded it as HDV and then recorded it back to HDCAM tape and sent it off they would have a hard time telling it ever went down to HDV.

The HVX200 records in the same exact format as the Varicam but yet I am pretty sure they wouldn't want footage from the HVX200 either.

Now if we are talking about PBS they really need to get a good kick in the head. PBS looks so bad I really think they would be better off broadcasting 854x480 SD. What they heck are they doing over there?
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Old September 11th, 2006, 06:39 AM   #11
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Well Lifetime channel is originating a show on HDV, I think:

See http://www.studiodaily.com/main/searchlist/6788.html

and http://www.studiodaily.com/main/searchlist/6517.html
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