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Sony HVR-Z5 / HDR-FX1000
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old April 10th, 2009, 06:19 AM   #1
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How to get the best SD image from these cameras?

Do you record in HD and down convert or simply record in SD?
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Old April 10th, 2009, 06:51 AM   #2
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If you record in HD and have to downconvert for any practicaL reason, you can always later pick up the footage again to produce in HD.
That will not be possible of course, if you shoot in SD.
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Old April 10th, 2009, 12:35 PM   #3
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If your deliver medium is SD (DVD), the simplest workflow is to shoot in SD. There are some workflows that can deliver better results by downconverting from HDV to SD but they are not native to any of the NLEs so unless you know what you are doing, it is best to stick with SD the whole way down the delivery chain.
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Old April 10th, 2009, 01:12 PM   #4
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Gosh, I couldn't disagree more. I'm with Jo on this one. Having done it both ways, I can tell you the results are vastly superior if you keep the whole process in HDV until you burn the disc. It's two steps in Premiere -- that's as close to native as possible -- and the SD DVDs come out way better than anything shot in SD mode on even the best cam. At least for me.
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Old April 10th, 2009, 01:16 PM   #5
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Barron, you might want to avoid shooting in HD and downconverting with the camera for the best image. I hear that the downconversion process is not as good as if you were to say, render HD to SD in Vegas, etc.
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Old April 10th, 2009, 02:26 PM   #6
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I'm with you Adam, HD all the way to the burn.
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Old April 10th, 2009, 03:40 PM   #7
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Gosh, I couldn't disagree more. I'm with Jo on this one. Having done it both ways, I can tell you the results are vastly superior if you keep the whole process in HDV until you burn the disc. It's two steps in Premiere -- that's as close to native as possible -- and the SD DVDs come out way better than anything shot in SD mode on even the best cam. At least for me.
Adam, Sorry but I disagree with you there. How come the results are vastly superior if you down convert to SD? Please explain why. Don't you loose anything in the process? I would have thought that keeping it all the way in SD the results should be better. Is there any technical person out there who can explain to us or tell us who is right (with test results if possible) .

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Old April 10th, 2009, 03:50 PM   #8
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Oh I do not need a rock steady proof to show that. I know what I've seen, The DVD, burnt from HD footage in a HD project in Vegas beats the quality of downconversion prior to the actual burning. And I am sure that this is not only the case in Vegas, but in all apps.
And it's not only mee asuring that, but I have read that repeatedly.
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Old April 10th, 2009, 05:43 PM   #9
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There is a similar case in audio. If you record, mix and master audio at 24-bit, and then create the final 16-bit CD from that 24-bit master, the results are way superior to if you did the whole project at 16-bit, largely for reasons of accuracy.

*Especially* if you are doing colour corrections or any other video processing, using the highest resolution material you can should ensure the FX have good material to work on, and this should be superior than doing the same processes on lower resolution video.

Bottom line is to try it yourself both ways, and see whether your own material (and workflows) benefits most from which method.
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Old April 10th, 2009, 06:16 PM   #10
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Adam, Sorry but I disagree with you there. How come the results are vastly superior if you down convert to SD? Please explain why. Don't you loose anything in the process? I would have thought that keeping it all the way in SD the results should be better. Is there any technical person out there who can explain to us or tell us who is right (with test results if possible) .

Stelios
I'm not a technical expert so I can't explain it fully, and in theory you should be right -- there should be no difference.

But in practice I find that anything you do in post degrades your footage a little bit, especially when you are re-rendering things like effects and such. Starting from a higher base gives you better quality throughout the process, and any degradation is happening to a higher "level" of quality that is mitigated when you downconvert.

The way I like to think of it is as if HDV is five gallons of water in a five gallon bucket, and DV is one gallon in a one gallon bucket. If you carry the big bucket around and some sloshes out, you still have more than enough to fill the one-gallon bucket.

More literally, lets say you're working with 1080 footage. You do some stuff, maybe re-encode or re-render and you lose 5% of your apparent resolution through degradation. It shouldn't happen as this is all digital, but we all know sometimes it does. So now you have an apparent resolution (how it looks to your eyes) of about 1025. Do this a few times and maybe it ends up looking like 925 or so. You then downconvert at the last minute to 480 and you still have 480 because your earlier losses are below the perceptible limits of the new resolution. If you'd converted to SD or shot that way from the beginning, each bit of loss would add up and to your eyes it might look like something in the neighborhood of 410 lines of resolution or so, which *is* visible.

I've been accused of being all wet on this, but that's my experience. Viewing my DVDs done this way shows they are virtually identical to the BD versions on a 65-inch screen. You can tell they're not HD, but the difference is slight. Always keep the highest quality you can for as long as you can. Besides, now you have an HDV master you can simply burn to Blu-Ray if you suddenly need one. If you have a PC that can handle HDV easily, I don't see any downside to doing it this way.

In Premiere with Prospect, a simple "Export to Encore" results in near HD DVDs for me.

But as always, your mileage may vary.
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Old April 10th, 2009, 09:32 PM   #11
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I agree with the others. Shoot in HD. Edit in HD. Output to DVD with a good program like Adobe Encore and get as close to Blu-Ray quality as possible.
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Old April 11th, 2009, 12:35 AM   #12
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OK guys this is what I will do. Shoot in HDV, edit in HDV and then burn in DVD.
Then do the same thing, same scene, shoot in DV, edit in DV and burn in DVD. Get a few friends over some drinks show both videos on the same big LCD screen and ask them if they notice any difference and see. This will be interesting... It's not that I don't want to shoot in HDV, its because I know that my clients, so far, want the finished product in DVD with no intention to change it in the foreseeable future. Besides editing in DV (with my PC) is quicker.

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Old April 11th, 2009, 12:44 AM   #13
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Your results will probably depend upon how many drinks they have.

Just be sure you don't tell them which is which and do proper A/B switching. Or just burn both versions to the same disk with random changes.
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Old April 11th, 2009, 03:59 AM   #14
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Your results will probably depend upon how many drinks they have.

Just be sure you don't tell them which is which and do proper A/B switching. Or just burn both versions to the same disk with random changes.
Come and join us Adam. We provide the ouzo and scotch and some delightful Cypriot snugs..."Or just burn both versions to the same disk with random changes" That's an excellent idea! I will try that. Thanks

Cheers
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Old April 11th, 2009, 10:42 AM   #15
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Barron, you might want to avoid shooting in HD and downconverting with the camera for the best image. I hear that the downconversion process is not as good as if you were to say, render HD to SD in Vegas, etc.
Rendering to SD and out-of-the-camera conversion to SD are two good points Jeff. In my mind, I was picturing the render method. I'm testing both and should have a frame grab from each very soon.
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