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Old July 23rd, 2010, 11:23 PM   #1
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HMC150 to Vegas to DVD, or should I keep the PD170!

Days of study and I finally settled on HMC150 and a 40 to replace my PD170/vx2k combo. I shoot weddings and deliver on DVD.

But then........I start to read many tortured threads about great footage which ends up looking crappy on DVD- no better than if it had been shot on a PD170. Often Worse.

Work arounds seem to include pre renders and re renders with neoscene, v dub, etc

Is this all for real?

How do your Hmc150 DVDs (1.5 hours or more) look compared with good miniDV SD DVDs?

and for those with Vegas, what are the best workflows to get to a good DVD?

I know these are old questions, but after days of reading, I'm wondering if I should bother upgrading considering my output is DVD.

I am very sick of 4:3, but if the output is sharp and sweet, well....

All and any thoughts greatly appreciated.....
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Old July 23rd, 2010, 11:34 PM   #2
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Really it's very simple.

Can the output from a 150 look better than the output from your current camera on DVD? Yes
Will it require more work on your part to ensure that it does? Yes.

If you are unwilling to make the effort to ensure a good product, stay with what you have now. HD rewards those who are careful in their workflows and don't mind spending the time required for a good result. If you aren't willing to do this, then success is certainly not guaranteed.

I certainly wouldn't want to be explaining to clients in 2010 why I didn't have an HD camera when they could grab one from Wal-Mart for $500. Of course we know it's not a pro camera like you have now, but they won't see that. They will see that you can't shoot HD.
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Old July 24th, 2010, 12:17 AM   #3
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TY for your reply, Perrone and I have enjoyed reading many patient posts on this subject by you in this awesome forum.

I do believe you regarding potential great quality HMC150 DVDs, however I have also seen posts which show PD170 footage scaled to widescreen and looking incredibly sharp with what seems no more work----.

e.g.

http://www.gyroshot.com/upscale1.htm

Funny I have shot over 100 weddings and never a complaint about 4:3 or image sharpness. Exactly once did I have a phone call asking if I shot in HD. Instead I get tearfull testimonials from gratefull mothers and brides.

Now, after all this reading I might plausably say: my cameras shoot all the pixels a DVD can handle.

My wedding movies are at least 1.5 hours and often bump up against 2. I get the idea I am looking at render times of over ten hours--more, even with my new 6-core rig.

I do very much admire your quest for excellence, but it's the exception. Most footage recorded in HD for a wedding and delivered by DVD, IS WORSE that what I can produce now with ease. So I'm ahead of the industry standard, hehe.

So far the best tutorial I found for SD downconversion is:

BDVS Tutorials

For now I think I'm going to take my PD/VX off the market----they aren't worth much anyway. Once I see some simple high quality down conversions, I will look at cameras again.

But please someone convince me otherwise!
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Old July 24th, 2010, 07:53 AM   #4
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Hi Charlie

I shoot in 1920x1080 i only and use Panasonic's AVCHD Transcoder to simply take the AVCHD file and transcode to DV-AVI. I also had serious doubts as I too was shooting in 4:3!!!

I have spend hours and hours with "test DVD's" making clips with AVCHD to MPEG2, Transcoding AVCHD to HDV and then to MPEG2 and finally transcoding AVCHD to AVI and rendering to MPEG2

I have watched the 3 clips (identical!!) in any order on TV's from an old 21" tube to a brand new 50"Plasma and seriously I cannot see the difference!! I have invited friends to view the clips (without telling them which is which) and the results are totally random!!

Here's my take on the issue!! Since neither myself or my viewers can really spot anything "extra" in quality it pays me to transcode back to SD AVI because my render times on my DuoCore are lightning fast in SD!!! Typical 20 min clips transcoded to AVI will render in about 10 mins...AVCHD clips take nearly 80 mins. I do weddings so I can get my product out a whole lot quicker and easier in SD.

I guess there MUST be a slight quality improvement if you were filming a resolution chart but with good solid content no one can really say "Ah!! that's HD!!!" We get way too caught up in technical perfection rather than concentrating on good content.

Until my clients start requesting BD I will stick with this method which is quick and simple with stunning quality. The ONLY downside is that the Panny Transcoder will not accept progressive footage... I'm shooting weddings for TV so I'm quite happy to shoot interlaced and have no issues with the results at all.

That's just my opinion and I'm sure others will disagree but it has worked for me for the last 15 months and my clients are delighted with the results!

Chris
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Old July 24th, 2010, 09:30 AM   #5
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Charlie, I see you found my other thread here, but I thought I should comment on this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Webster View Post
Once I see some simple high quality down conversions, I will look at cameras again.
I only ever shoot anything for personal, hobby projects, so I'm hardly qualified to speak on the subject of paid work, and I can't offer any meaningful advice regarding equipment investments, but if downconversions are your concern, the AviSynth script used in that tutorial, SimpleSlugUpscale, now does those, too.

I don't have any proper HD equipment of my own--just this little Cybershot still cam--but I've downloaded sample clips made available here on DVi by various parties, and they look great as DV. 1920x1080i, downscaled to DV size by SSU, sent out over my Liquid Pro BOB to my old Sony CRT, looks perfectly fine to me. As does 2240x960 RED 2k footage (I've only got one sample of that, actually, but it looks great). Not overly sharp, no harsh twittering lines.

If it were me I'd still have a hard time getting rid of my SD equipment (I'm the sentimental type), but don't pass up an HD upgrade just because of the downconversion thing; if you're comfortable using my script, that's no more difficult than upconversion.

Last edited by Robert Martens; July 24th, 2010 at 10:54 AM.
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Old July 24th, 2010, 03:18 PM   #6
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What a great forum.

Chris: That's a totally new strategy to me and seems more practical, but aren't you guys PAL down there? That should give you better rez anyway. I wonder if anyone has done the same comparisons on NTSC.

I should bum a few short clips from an 150 owner to play with. Somebody was saying 720p is the "sweet spot" on the 150, and I kept reading that interlaced footage is to be avoided in down conversion--or do I have that wrong?

Of course using the pani converter may mean it's better to shoot the way you do.

Robert:

Thanks for that great detailed reply in your other thread. It's so interesting that you use many of the same tools as the DC techniques.

One thing I think I decided, is that before I pull the trigger, I want to have my workflow figured out, instead of "Camera first" then "nightmare second"!

I'm in a very small market here, also a computer consultant, so I do not have huge pressure.

I've been using my old P4 matrox NLE for years and only just now built a new machine and installed vegas 9 and DVDA. It better I concentrate on getting good with those tools first, I think. Then learn the DC. Then get new cameras.

I know I will have to bite the bullet someday, but as far as DVD quality, I am not really so far behind as I thought.

Love to hear more thoughts, thanks so much you guys.
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Old July 24th, 2010, 08:15 PM   #7
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Hi Charlie

Never thought about the smaller USA format. The only way to tell is to beg a short clip and try it out that's shot as 60i and then try a few methods to downsize. The transcoder actually doesn't have any problem whatsoever with the downsizing and interlaced lines ...guess it's done within the transcoder as the output on this side is 720x576 widescreen interlaced with lower field first, opposite to the AVCHD

I was in the position where I had two SD 4:3 Panny cameras and just couldn't find SD16:9 replacements hence the move up to HD (purely to be able to shoot in 16:9) The transcoder, despite the fact that you have to allow extra time to transcode the footage (around 40 mins for 60 mins footage, was appealing as it's made by MainConcept and I use Sony Vegas to edit. I figured the match would be good and it was!!

However your concern with having just 345K pixels versus 414K with NTSC/PAL might force you to move to a better intermediate operation. It certainly would be worth a try is someone can upload a short bit of 60i fooatge to play with??

Chris
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Old July 25th, 2010, 11:53 AM   #8
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Hi Chris,

That would be a very informative test, for sure.

The downside is that, best case, you end up with a nice 16:9 SD DVD, and no HD except for the raw footage.

Would I would like to do is delivery those DVDs AND a full HD File. With one editing job.

That brings us back to Perrone's method or one of the other variants.

And the questions which come back again and again.

What format do I shoot in?
What format do I edit in?
Which NLE gives the easiest workflow/ best output In both HD and SD Dvd?
What downconversion method, and does it work with the newest editing machines, i.e. Win7 x64 and multiple-cores, not to mention those who are working with OSX?
Which DVD creator will be the best?

Today it's left to the time-strapped videographer to Wade through 13 page threads, and spend hours experimenting.

Perrone has no sympathy- believe in excellence and spend the 20 + hours to develop a workflow. To his great credit, he is more than willing to help.

Maybe it's time to get some stickies, or a real comprehensive tutorial that answers these questions wikipedia style. For the Professional "masses".
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Old July 25th, 2010, 06:10 PM   #9
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This has been a major point of contention for some five years now. Thankfully PD170s are 3:4 which makes it an easier decision to upgrade, Apologies if this is lightly OT and I don't want to revive the XL2 PD170 debate but It's much harder for those of us with XL2s that shoot true 16:9. Should I get rid of the XL2 while it's still worth anything, or keep it because to the natives the form looks more pro than my colleague's HMC150 and (perhaps) the DVD output looks just as good? The essential question comes down to, theoretically, no matter how you downres, squeezing five pixels into 1(for PAL) means some of your pixels are going to go the wrong way and you therefore are better off shooting SD; vs, why do Hollywood DVDs look so much better than the one's we produce? with downresd footage there is to my eye twitter on straight lines (e.g. utility poles and fence palings) but this is not evident to most viewers. Like Chris, I've spent hours on this and I can't get consensus on whether comparable 1080 downresd to 720 looks better than 576 upresd to 720 let alone native 576 vs downresd 1080. Personally, I now have to (somewhat reluctantly) agree with Perrone that for some unknown reason properly downresd HD does look (slightly) better (perhaps its just better processors in camera?), and certainly tape vs card is no contest. Unless I get a good offer I'm keeping my XL2 until either it breaks or BRD becomes standard, in Oz this is still a few years off; I would have sold a PD170 for the lack of true16:9.
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Old July 25th, 2010, 07:59 PM   #10
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You are right, with an XL2 it's almost a no brainer, if you are delivering DVDs.

5 years and the NLEs still cannot properly downsize: that is pathetic.

Surprising too, because a high quality HD to SD feature would tip the scales to whichever NLE did the job.

The software boys are so far from the trenches----jeez.
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Old July 25th, 2010, 08:56 PM   #11
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I'll say this and leave it alone.

I am not sure what rescaler they are using, but Avid Media Composer 4 and now 5, appear to downscale as well as what I get from virtualdub. I noticed this on a multicam shoot I cut back in December. I know for many home users Avid is out of the budget, but at least SOMEONE get's it. On the Mac, turning on frame controls seemed to give excellent output for the FCS guys as well. I can't speak to any other NLE other than Vegas which does a poor job of it.
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Old October 24th, 2010, 04:13 PM   #12
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Well....bit the bullet

Another hobby of mine has been backcountry photography where I've been using just a super-zoom pani. Horrible noise in the long shots.

So I started to look at alternatives last week and came across the sony NEX cameras. I settled on the NEX-5, but I needed the big lens, which is 900.00 if you can find it.

Then I noticed a bunch of my searchs also pulled the VG10 which comes with the 18-200. Found this thread and read some more reviews.

End result: just ordered Nex-5 two lens bundle (16 + 18-55) 799.00 + the VG10 from adorama for a total cost of 2798. from adorama. Ouch!

Of course I'm terrified of the manual zoom and DOF focus issues for weddings, but the season is over and I'll have time to figure it out.

I could have held out for a red scarlet or the AF100 and REALLY spent some dough, but I'm excited to try this setup.

TY again for the input to my post here.
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