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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 January 17th, 2007, 03:02 PM   #1
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Shootin DV with HC1 and Vegas - 4 alternatives - how to get best quality ?

Hi,

I am wondering if anyone has experimented with the following:

I need to shoot using my HC1 - and get best possible rendered quality to SD. I am using Vegas 7.0 for post. The final rendered file is MPEG2 (DVD/PAL, 16:9). No funny transitions or post filtering in Vegas - just simple scene cuts and the need for best quality standard definition and highest detail (and least artefacts).

Wich of the following alternatives gives the best DV-final quality? I found at least 4 combinations I could use:

1. Shooting with HC1 in HDV and capturing in HDV into a native Vegas HDV project, doing the HDV to DVD (MPEG2) conversion during final rendering.

2. Shooting with HC1 in HDV and capturing in HDV into a native DV project, doing the DV to DVD (MPEG) conversion during final rendering.

3. Shooting with HC1 in HDV and capturing in DV into a native DV project - letting the cam downconvert it to DV during capture. DV to DVD (MPEG2) conversion during final rendering.

4. Shooting with HC1 natively in DV and capturing in DV. DV to DVD (MPEG2) conversion during final rendering.

There might be ohter combinations that I have overseen.... ;) Too many alternatives.

This would require lots of experimenting and an objective A/B/C/D comparison afterwars. Lots of work. I wonder if someone would have already done this or at least some other comparisons, and would have come to some kind of conclusions. There must be some kind of quality differences between different rendering HW and SW.

Please remember that I do not need any other post processing other than just simple cuts. I do not need this material in HDV in the future, therefore that is not an argument to shoot in HDV. I just need the best possible final result on a SD DVD using my HC1. I might be forced to also use some material from another excellent quality SD camcorder in the same project. Would that force me to use one of the suggested alternatives?

Any comments - anyone ???!!!

Thanks in advance !

Best regards,

Christian
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Old January 19th, 2007, 05:33 PM   #2
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More to this, it would be nice to see some setting for colour/exposure etc on the HC1 listed that have yield great results in :

1) Low Light
2) Continuous budget lighting
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 01:09 AM   #3
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I've never used the HC1 (I have an FX1 and a new HC3) but I would assume you will get the best visual results by shooting in HDV and bringing it over to Vegas as HDV. You can then edit in HDV, convert to an intermediate and edit that, or GearShift into a DV proxy and edit that. Since your final output will be to DVD, you could take your DV proxy results directly into the MPEG2 encoder, but you will get slightly better results encoding from the intermediate or the HDV formats.

Personally, I like the concept of shooting in HDV, because I've then captured all the quality inherent in the camera. I like editing in GearShifted DV, because it's really snappy on my new PC.

HDV is great. Other than the dropout issue (use quality tapes), I see no reason to use DV any more.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 06:24 AM   #4
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The highest quality will be option #1:

Shoot HDV -> Capture HDV -> Edit HDV Project -> DVD MPEG2.

BUT!!! Option #3 will get you really close:

Shoot HDV -> Capture Downconvert DV Widescreen -> Edit DV Widescreen Project -> DVD MPEG2.

You should try these two and watch the footage on a DVD and see if you can tell the difference. Most of the difference should be in the color rendition since in option #1 the 4:2:2 HDV was maintained throughout the editing process and only converted to 4:2:0 at the very end. Option #3 converts the 4:2:2 HDV to 4:1:1 at the beginning and you end up with the equivalent of 4:1:0 in the end. But you really need to do a side-by-side comparison of these two because you might not see any discernible difference at all.

I mostly use option #1 but I have used option #3 with excellent results (i.e., still better than shooting DV).

~jr
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 08:16 AM   #5
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Hi,

Thanks for your very clear and logic answers. Using now Vegas 7 I do not bother to do any intermediate files, especially if the final render is to DV.

I forgot that DV and HDV uses different coding for the color innfo (4:1:0 versus 4:2:2). Thank's John for reminding me that it is not just a pixel count issue...

So - I finally shot my project in HDV (alternative 1). I am in the middle of editing and do not regret this decision. However, editing material from two simultaneous cams - one stream in m2t and the other as avi - makes the editing preview a little slow (even at the lower preview resolutions). Syncing with a third separatedly recorded audio track becomes little difficult due to stuttering preview, but not impossible.

One reason for why I decided to record in HDV with the HC1 was the ability to (during post) still do some zooming and panning without degrading the outcome, due to the originally higher resolution. This alone should be reason enough to shoot and capture HDV - even if the final outcome is SD.

Now the final question - still for aiming at the best quality:

One video track is in my project HDV(m2t, 16:9), the other is DV(avi, 16:9).

Should I set the PROJECT itself as HDV(16:9) - OR - DV(16:9) - before the final render to DVDV(MPG2)?

Is there any difference quality-wise? Or in render time? Or in the way Vegas is doing the rendering from these two different sources to a third format?

I do miss, after all, some sort of a guideline about the best combinations so you do not have to experiment. Mayde that would be a wellcome addition to some upcoming handbooks ;)

Actually - it is Vegas to blame - you can thow at it source material in so many format(s), have the project in any format you like, and output in any format... Nice that it is so - but there are too many possible (and poor?) combinations...

Best regards,

Christian
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 08:45 AM   #6
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I would recomend setting the project as DV. This may actually help your stuttering preview problem some and I do not believe that it will affect the final render at all.
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 09:16 PM   #7
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i have not experimented with the different options, so i can't really help.

however, one thing that strikes me with HDV are the sometimes unbelievably bad compression artefacts i.e visible macroblocks. DV does not suffer from this. although these artefacts show up only in particular conditions (fast moving objects etc) - in those cases surely recording directly to DV (i.e. option 4) is going to give you the best quality.

this makes the reasonable assumption that HDV compression artefacts can not be removed by converting from HDV to DV.

also of course it's a huge pain to edit HDV in vegas - i would advise using DV just for the benefit of your own health and sanity ;-)
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Old January 26th, 2007, 04:52 PM   #8
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Mauritius:

--the only time I've heard of macroblocks in HDV is when flashes are fired in the scene. Everything goes white and it takes a short time for the MPEG2 codec to rebuild the image. Other than that, I've never seen anything blocky in my FX1/HC3 footage.

--Vegas7 works really well with native m2t files, where Vegas6 was pretty poor. Also, the big limitation I noticed with V6 was that as I approached having 70-80 m2t clips on the timeline, refreshing got extremely slow, and Vegas would eventually hang. Not so with V7. Still, I use GearShift to convert all my m2t clips into DV, just because I really like the snappy response when dealing with multiple clip dissolves, color corrections, etc.
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