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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 May 28th, 2006, 12:48 AM   #1
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HC1 HD & DV mode suggestions

Regarding my Sony HDR-HC1 I have the following questions:

1) Does anyone know if I record in HD and downconvert to SD if I will get a better looking video than if I just recorded in DV mode and used that as my final output picture?

2) Or is taping in DV mode just a good idea if I want to be able to play the MiniDV tapes in other cameras?

3) Otherwise, is shooting in HD is the way to go?

I would appreciate an explanation of the 2 modes.
The benefits and drawbacks of shooting in HD and/or DV modes

Thanks in advance!
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Old May 28th, 2006, 10:51 AM   #2
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Video shot in HD and then downconverted looks far superior to video shot in straight DV. I shot an event in DV the other day becuase I was just going to downconvert anyway and thought I would save some time shooting in DV. Results: lots of artifacts. LOTS. I don't know why but when in DV mode, the HC1 just isn't that great. Re-shot some in HD and used the firewire downconvert. Result: Beautiful DV footage. No artifacts and it had exceptional color.

Lesson learned: ALWAYS shoot in HD and then downcovert if you need to later.

The only time I will ever shoot in SD on my HC1 is if I need to play the DV tape back in another camera or Mini-DV Deck.
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Old May 28th, 2006, 06:51 PM   #3
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What do you mean by artifacts?
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Old May 29th, 2006, 08:54 PM   #4
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Always always always shoot in HD unless you just have an extreme reason not to. You bought an HD camcorder so get the benefits. I would then recommned, if you are going to edit, using an intermediate codec to work with the HD (cineform etc.) in your editing program. I use Vegas. From here you can burn to MPEG2 DVD (at least in Sony vegas) and have a much superior dvd to own shot in SD. You can also put the edited HD back onto tape.The benefits of working with an intermediate codec are many, but basically your are not degrading the picture like you would if you just edited the SD alone. Kind of like using layers in photoshop if you have ever done it. You work with the layer and not the actual video so you do not degrade the video nearly as much and then this layer kind of over lays the shot. Also...if you want to work with the HD footage directly, which has been shown to be the best way to go, using an intermediate codec is really the only way to go unless you have a computer from NASA to handle it :-) Also...if you shoot in SD you will never be able to move back to HD with that footage, unlike the opposite way. HD is such a better picture that putting the tape away, with the HD on it for when it is widely available, is a much better solution.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 12:25 PM   #5
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I agree--shoot in HD, capture in HD, edit in HD, down-convert last. HD down-converted to DV looks better than DV shot in DV.

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Old June 2nd, 2006, 01:07 AM   #6
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My current PC workstation is not powerful enough for HD Video editing just yet =( I am hoping to upgrade to a MAC soon!
For the meantime I am editing in SD.

My question is:

Since I will be recording in HDV for the most part.....is the internal HDV to DV downconverter that is built-in the HC1 a good thing to use?
I've done it many time and it seems to work nicely.
Or are you guys suggestiong that dumpin HD video into a computer and editting in HD then downconverting (from the computer) will provide better quality than my current way of doing this?

Please advise!

If it makes you all feel any better, I am seeking this advice so that I can better understand how to get the optimum setting for what equipment i got!
I am in the slow process of making 2 1 man documentaries!

the first is about my grandmother (69) who has dedicated her life to mentally and physically disabled children. Think CRACK BABIES!
I will document her daily activities to show others what this rare woman is doing to save and prolong beautiful lives!

The second is about Colon Cancer & UC (which I have). The doc will focus on prevention and awareness.
I will show my own daily & weekly struggles and my road back to health.
"Come follow me on this journey back to feelin like ya should!"

All this by myself, so I anticipate anything far from great since it is my first DOC (s). I just want to get the stories out there for people to see.
The Audio is good though! made that priority #1

Trip out..........this is one of those tangents i tend to go off on!!! whoa!!

Thanks in advance
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 01:56 AM   #7
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Why would it look better if you shoot in hd first? It will encode it to mpeg2 and then resize and encode to dv. You would think that by coding straight to dv it would get rid of those mpeg2 artifacts.
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 02:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikko Lopponen
Why would it look better if you shoot in hd first? It will encode it to mpeg2 and then resize and encode to dv. You would think that by coding straight to dv it would get rid of those mpeg2 artifacts.
Look this up in the HD editing group. Mainly..."What happens in vegas". It is all about the amount of data and degradation of that data. The more you have to start with the better you have after downsizing of editing. Look it up and the experts can explain it much better. I have done my own, non professional, tests and shooting in HD and then downconverting wins every every time (yes...I meant to type it twice).

Besides...what happens if the ulitimate moment happens and you capture it on tape, but only SD when you have an HD camcorder. Try upconverting that once in a life time shot. In case you have not noticed...there is an extreme difference between HD and SD ;-)
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 03:16 AM   #9
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I agree with the others that unless you have a specific need for DV (e.g. you need to give the tape to someone who expects/needs DV), shoot in HDV. It has been shown that when HDV is downconverted to SD DV (either by the cam or in an editor) the footage will be better than shooting DV. There is an example here (30 MB) http://www.vasst.com/streaming/HDV_downconvert.mpg

Now, comparing the in-camera conversion to conversion in software - in terms of quality, there isn't much difference. The camcorder conversion does a very good job. The quality of the software conversion depends on the software used and the settings used; with the right software and settings you can get slightly better quality this way, but the difference is not large (in my opinion). I've also seen some people have found the quality of the camera conversion to be better than what they could achieve in software. So if your PC isn't up to editing HDV, using the camera to convert to DV is a reasonable and easy option.

The main disadvantage I see with having the camera downconvert isn't a drop in quality (compared to software downconvert - of course any downconvert drops the quality). It is that at the end of your editing, you don't have an edited HD master. If you edit HD all the way and convert at the end, you can create both HD and SD versions of your edited material. Even if you don't need the HD now (as there is no mainstream way to distribute HD DVDs yet), creating a HD master would make this easier to do in future.

Lastly - any PC which can edit DV can edit HDV as well - you just have fewer options and it will involve additional steps. You can edit using a DV proxy, and swap the proxy for the original material at the end before you render. It requires an additional render to create a proxy. And this render, as well as the final render at the end will take some time on a slow PC. But it can be done. Vegas can do this (optionally with Gearshift plug-in which makes it easier). I've also read that Ulead VideoStudio 10 has a proxy editing feature included, specifically for this reason - to allow HD editing on slower PCs.
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 08:23 AM   #10
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What have you got

Hi, can you tell us a little about what computer and editing software you have? Perhaps about what you think may be your ideal solution / NLE? (You mention a MAC...)

What about NLE experiance -have you used Premier / Vegas / FCP?

What's your budget for new stuff? (It looks like you have already invested a good chunk in the HC1!)

I would backup most comments here: shoot in HDV mode with good quality Sony HD tapes.


Regards, Nick.
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 08:53 AM   #11
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Charlie,

You could always do proxy editing, like using VASST's Gearshift or on a slower Mac, Lumiere HD.

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Old June 2nd, 2006, 12:08 PM   #12
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Yeah....I think you guys are right about my current computer system.
Perhaps I was doing something wrong.
It is powerful just enough. It captures SD fine.
I am using Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5

Do I need Aspect HD to capture HD Video?
It seems I have trouble capturing directly to premiere. It does not see the camera or sputters when it does.

My dream system would be a MAC Turnkey system with all the extras!! (sniff.......ohhhh that new CPU smell!!)

Only problem is that I spent most of my $$ on my new HC1 and and accessories from B&H!

Now I just save up and wait! Besides, yhe more I wait the better the CPU's get anyway!

Thanks again!
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 02:35 PM   #13
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I'd shoot in HD. If you can edit capture HD, then do the down covert in software, as it's a better result than allow the camera to do it.

If you can't capture/edit with HD, then shoot HD anyway, and turn on HDVlink (menu setting), and let the camera do the down convert, (It will connect to your PC as a DV camera). Then edit as usual DV25.

If later you upgrade your pc, and respecting timecode, you could recapture as HDV and rerender to higher rez. The sticky part is whether your editing application will allow you upgrade a native DV25 project file to an HDV one (project import). What NLE are you/do you plan to use?
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 02:45 PM   #14
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Oops, I posted and then read that your using PPro 1.5. You need to upgrade premiere to 1.5.1 which installs the free version of the cineform HDV plugin.

BTW, if your capturing as HDV, make sure you turn off HDVlink to DV in the menu options. Otherwise your camera will be recognized as a DV camera. With HDVlink off, it will be recognized as an HDV camera in PPro. Make sure that you select the "HDV Device Control" in device capture option in the capture window.
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 04:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Vankirk
Yeah....I think you guys are right about my current computer system.
Perhaps I was doing something wrong.
It is powerful just enough. It captures SD fine.
I am using Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5

Do I need Aspect HD to capture HD Video?
It seems I have trouble capturing directly to premiere. It does not see the camera or sputters when it does.

My dream system would be a MAC Turnkey system with all the extras!! (sniff.......ohhhh that new CPU smell!!)

Only problem is that I spent most of my $$ on my new HC1 and and accessories from B&H!

Now I just save up and wait! Besides, yhe more I wait the better the CPU's get anyway!

Thanks again!
You should always use an intermediate codec to work with HD. ConnectHD from Cineform is one. I use Sony Vegas so I do not know what is best for other editing programs. I can capture the HD directly to computer and then put the files on the Sony time line. From here I could render to an intermediate codec and work with that. Otherwise...I could use something like ConnectHD which captures the footage from your camcorder at the same time it renders it into an intermediate codec. Or...I could just downconvert from the camera. The preference is using something like ConnectHD which does a great job and saves valuable time. I do not have any trouble capturing the HD directly to my computer, but I would not even think of editing direct HD.
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