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Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series
Sony's latest single-CMOS additions to their HDV camcorder line.


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Old October 23rd, 2007, 08:51 PM   #1
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To record in HD or SD...that's the question

I am going to film my first wedding in November and i m using a Sony HDV hc-3 and a Sony HDV hc-7. Because of my current hard drive space situation I will be unable to render the final project in HD (using premiere pro 2 ). There will most likely be 5-6 tapes and if recorded in HD this will equate to about 10 gigs per tape. As stated my hard drive space is lmited right now ( i need to collect on this wedding in order to purchase the necessary hard drive space), so it is sort of like the chicken and the egg thing..... Not to mention that i can't produce HD-DVD, so i will no doubt be producing a standard definition DVD. But i usually film everyhing in HD and the down convert later.

Which finally leeds to my question.

Should i film in HD and then capture to the computer in standard def, allowing the camera to do the down converting ???

Or should i film in straight standard def which would leed to capturing in stadard def ??
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 09:17 PM   #2
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Hi Denny, and welcome to DVinfo. The hard drive space used by HDV and regular DV are pretty much the same actually. In fact, I would say that 12 GB per hour is a better ballpark number for capturing regular DV: data rate is 25 mb/sec which is 25/8 = 3.125 megabytes/sec, so 60 x 60 x 3.125 = 11,250 MB/hr, plus some disk overhead.

I don't have personal experience with the two cameras you're using, but I find my Z1 produces a better image when I shoot in HDV and use i.LINK CONV to capture as regular DV. This also gives you the full HDV tapes if you ever want to use them in the future. Might also be handy if you want to capture high quality still images.
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 11:21 PM   #3
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As Boyd said, unless you are transcoding the HDV (which takes WAAAAAY more space), the file sizes are nearly identical - remember you're recording HDV digitally on THE SAME miniDV tape as you record SDV digitally - so they obviously take the same space more or less.

That said, record in HD, downconvert when you transfer, or if your computer can handle the HDV streams, keep in HDV when you download. Keep the files as hgh res as possible as far down the workflow chain as possible!

I'm guessing that if you have a small HDD, your computer may be underpowered for editing HDV files without transcoding?
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Old October 24th, 2007, 02:33 AM   #4
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You actually produce a better result capturing raw HDV going to SD-DVD because they have the same chroma sampling and discarding one HDV field produces perfect 30p.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 07:42 AM   #5
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Thanks for the help. I see now that i think about, it does make sense to work in the highest quality file available, as far down the production line as possible. Also didn't realize the SD and HD file size would be relatively the same size.

The computer i am using for this project (temp) is a Duo core laptop. It has two gigs of RAM and is running Vista. Which by the way is pushing Adobe production Suite 2.0 pretty well. I researched on compatibility issues with Vista and 2.0 and couldn't find any major problems. If anything it is very minor and does not bother work flow at all.

Working on a laptop can be challenging but we have a 6 month old little igrl at home and i have to do the upgrade of my real editing machine, in pieces ($$)

Thanks again.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 08:51 AM   #6
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Denny, I suggest that you do some short tests capturing as both HDV and in-camera downconverted DV. That way you can see the results for yourself. I don't have any experience with your hardware/software since I'm on a Mac. But I didn't see much advantage to capturing HDV and using software to downconvert for my kind of work. Doing the conversion was very slow on my older machine and it adds an additional step to the process.

If you're concerned about disk space, capturing HDV isprobably a bad option because it will double your storage requirements. You will end up with the original HDV files as well as a second copy in standard definition, so it's going to be something like 24GB for every hour of video.

If you do a test you can judge for yourself whether the improved quality is worth the trouble.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 03:41 PM   #7
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Boyd -
If you shoot HDV, capture HDV and render to SD, the disk space should be about the same as far as the .m2t files being edited vs. SD .avi files. Not sure what workflow would result in HD and SD copies of the same source stuff on the hard disk... I have the HDV source files, and the final rendered output in SD... around 4G/20min for the source files.

If your computer can't handle the HDV native (I've concluded that rendering/displaying all those i-frames in the long GOP in real time is a real tough job...), it's better to let the cam downconvert at capture than to transcode and end up with huge files IMO, unless the final delivery requires HD, in which case, up the budget to get a computer capable of handling the HD in edit...

ONLY if you transcode the HDV to .avi in either SD or HD would your disk space go up (WAAAY UP! I only tried this once, and concluded it was not practical, either in time or file size).

I've not seen a huge increase in render time (vegas7, waiting on 8), and I can work with the native HDV footage reasonably well (Vegas 6 was sluggish though), so for me it's beneficial to keep the source as high res as possible up until the final render out for DVD or whatever.

Denny - here's how I'd suggest you proceed - see if the computer can handle the HDV in edit (going to depend on the hardware AND the software), if not, then let the cam downconvert to SD so your editing is smooth.

I saw a huge difference in keeping the source HD until the final render, YMMV, but my results rendering out to 24P 480x720 (standard DVD) are noticeably better than older SD stuff I've shot - only thing I haven't tried is letting the cam downconvert - I know the SD footage seemed superior to older SD cams... just better sensor and electronics I guess?
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Old October 25th, 2007, 06:43 PM   #8
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Just remember hd shoots in 16x9 and sd in 4x3, what will the client be expecting?
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Old October 25th, 2007, 06:52 PM   #9
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Shot List

You can always shot list the tapes, and then transfer only the images you need. That can save a lot of drive space.
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Old October 26th, 2007, 12:44 PM   #10
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What i think iam going to do is use a firewire external hard drive for my rendered output. Thanks for all the tips. It makes total sense to use the best footage available, as far dow the workflow as possible.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 05:54 AM   #11
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record directly to DV

on file size - yes the source material you capture from the camera is the same (exact) size as DV per minute BUT if you want to keep the good quality - you'd want to render to quicktime with at least photo-jpeg or animation codec - and those files will then be very much bigger.

why work in HD when the final output is SD - it will make very little difference if any and it will cost you so much headache while editing. i wouldn't do it. at best it's not worth the effort.

also keep in mind that if you are capturing fast movements - as you would get when filming out of a moving car for example (which at a wedding i assume you are not) DV is much better option than HDV - since in this situation you get very noticeable and nasty compression artefacts (that are still very noticeable after downconverting).

so, if i delivered a DVD to a client and it was authored from DV source material shot with an HD capable camera i would be satisfied that i have done my best. if i delivered a DVD which had massive big coloured blocks in the image but was authored from HD source i would not!
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Old November 16th, 2007, 10:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mauritius Seeger View Post
you'd want to render to quicktime with at least photo-jpeg or animation codec - and those files will then be very much bigger.

SO render to quicktime, (for qaulity sake) and then import this into encore?? Will this quality look better on DVD? Encore will only let you import a project that is standard def.
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Old November 18th, 2007, 07:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denny Gay View Post
SO render to quicktime, (for qaulity sake) and then import this into encore?? Will this quality look better on DVD? Encore will only let you import a project that is standard def.
well, i actually suggested you either shoot the material in DV or at least down-convert when capturing and then just import a DV file into encore. keep it simple, not sure if HD editing is worth it if the final output is a just a DVD.

alternatively (and given that encore doesn't import HD files) if you choose to shoot and edit everything in HD then i guess it would make sense to either go directly from your HD time line to the correct DVD format (i.e. a version mpeg2, if you editing package can export it and encore can import it) or render to some intermediate (SD) format that has better quality than DV - such as quicktime with an animation codec.

i guess the argument on this thread was that DV -> DVD is slightly worse than HDV -> DVD since DV has very poor colour resolution (worse than mpeg2)

i suggest you test both options and see if you can tell the difference and if so if it's worth the extra effort.
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Old November 18th, 2007, 04:19 PM   #14
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Unless your compuer is simply too slow to handle HDV editing, edit the m2t files - same size on the hard disk as the DV files, higher quality - the problem I've found is that when editing HDV, the computer has to reproduce all the i frames which can really be a chore for even a fast CPU.

Vegas improved HDV handling a lot betweeen v6 and 7, and 8 seems even a touch better.

Undoubtedly the NLE you use and how refined it is with HDV workflow will determine whether you can edit the HDV "native" (and you may need to turn any effects off until it comes time to render, just turn them on and off to confirm the results as needed).

Again, the longer you preserve the higher resolution in the workflow, the better the end result - simple example, you decide you want to crop a segment - if you start with DV, your res crashes well below DVD resolution, if you crop from HDV, you can crop down significantly before you reach even DV res...

As for DVDs - compare your "DV output" to a commercial DVD, notice any difference?? DVD is capable of fairly good overal picture quality (esp progressive), IF you know how to get there - obviously the studios make sure they start with high quality material, and have ways to make the DVD look pretty good... starting with the high quality raw footage makes a difference!!
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