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Old June 18th, 2007, 08:33 PM   #1
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DV, HDV workflow questions

I am rather new to video production and Im getting ready to upgrade my current studio. I am looking for some basic advice on workflow before I purchase any new equipment and was hoping someone could help! I am shooting with a Sony Z1 camera and I was thinking about getting the Panasonic HVX200 as a second backup. I shoot a lot of weddings and corporate work and just recently have been shooting a lot of music videos for broadcast. My questions are as follows.

1. Both the sony and the panasonic shoot in SD and the sony in HDV and the pansonic in HD. If I am shooting something destined for broadcast should I shoot at the highest possible resolution (HDV/HD) and then downconvert it or would I get better picture quality if I shot DVCPRO50. I mean if I wasn't sure what the broadcaster is broadcasting in (SD/HD), what is the safest format that would yield the best picture?

2. What is the advantage of shooting uncompressed and capturing uncompressed?

3. Is it obsolete to purchase a tape base VTR? It seems like everything is going to tapless in a 3-5 years. I am trying to justify spending $10,000 - $17,000 on a deck. Will this have some bearing on my mastering and delivery options?
Tim Kuhlman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 19th, 2007, 02:48 AM   #2
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All advice imho...

1 - Shoot at the highest resolution. No matter what the broadcaster is sending out or what your editing capabilities you'll always have your footage at its best quality. So even if they want stuff at SD you can use the same footage in HD for showreels, other projects etc...

2 - At the moment, very little advantage unless you have the full workflow capable of handling uncompressed HD all the way through. And for what you're working on its really not needed, the quality you'll get from the compressed HD formats will still be hugely better than SD and you won't need to spend a few $/Łk upgrading your systems.

3 - Depends - are you planning on going tapeless in 3-5 years? You're pretty well futureproofed with the kit you've got, the HVX200 is of course using the P2 cards (Basically 4 SD+ cards in an array) so you'd be half way there already. At the same time you don't want to be rinsing the tape deck on your Z1 if you want it last 5+ years. I'd say this question is down to how much you need a deck and if you can afford it against other kit you're gonna need down the line such as higher capacity P2 cards.

Hope thats sound advice, its still early :)
Jamie Allan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 19th, 2007, 08:05 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Tim Kuhlman View Post
Both the sony and the panasonic shoot in SD and the sony in HDV and the pansonic in HD.
The HVX200 shoots DVCProHD, which is less compressed than HDV but is not uncompressed HD. The extra bandwidth of DVCProHD is useful for broadcast production because the image has to survive various transmission processes, but HDV footage is also being used in many broadcast shows. If your current clients are satisfied with the broadcast results from your Z1U footage then take your time planning any other equipment purchases, especially something like an expensive DVCProHD tape deck. Don't buy that unless you absolutely have to, and in the meantime see if you can find a large shop which will master to DVCProHD tape for you when requested by a network.

Since you already have a Sony Z1U, hold tight until the end of this year when Sony is scheduled to ship their XDCAM EX camera. This will offer some of the broadcast-quality advantages of the HVX200 but using less expensive memory cards, so it will be more practical for weddings and corporate work. Plus since it's a Sony camera it will probably match footage better with your Z1U than the HVX200 would. The XDCAM EX is a tapeless camera but that won't determine how you deliver to networks: if they ask for a tape then give them a tape. Hopefully they'll stop asking for tapes someday and allow us to deliver digital files to them on hard drives or memory cards, but that's up to them.
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