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Old March 7th, 2008, 06:26 PM   #1
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True or False: the EX-1 is true 1920x1080 HD?

I'm locked in a debate with my stock footage library. I shot footage recently in HQ mode, 1080 24p. I transferred the clips via the USB provided, didn't touch the original folder, burned it to DVD and sent it off.

The people at the library logged it on their website as "XDCam digital files"
when all of their other clips are labeled, "HD 1080p". When I quizzed her why, her reply was..... "This format is compressed and is an HDV format, not true 1920 x1080 HD as is all our other HD content."

Every spec from Sony about my camera, as well as all the reviews from people like Simon Wyndham, state clearly that not only am I delivering "true 1920x1080 HD, but that if extraordinary steps are taken, it can be delivered in full 4.2.2 color space (which I'm not at the moment).

If they re-wrapped the files via FCP, why couldn't they remain 1920x1080 HD? Did I blow it by simply burning the folder to a DVD? I didn't purchase the camera for anything other than true 1920x1080 HD output. If she's wrong, then it makes a difference in several ways. Please advise me...Thanks!
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Old March 7th, 2008, 06:35 PM   #2
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it is pixel for pixel 1920x1080 (which most other "true" HD cameras don't even deliver on the chip end.....even an F900 is 1440x1080). The whole "true" or "real" HD discussion is kind of bothersome, and I assume what people generally mean is on MPEG compressed I-frame HD. But HDCAM and DVCProHD are all compressed HD formats too. I think its all really just semantics and marketing ploys to get people to buy into more costly gear.

But yes, its 1920x1080 in 4.2.0 colorspace, but you can record 4.2.2. 10-bit if you can record live out the HD-SDI output.
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Old March 7th, 2008, 06:48 PM   #3
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Thanks... as I thought. She just sent me this followup as well:

"Just for clarification, the best way for me to explain the difference we see is XDCam employs interframe as well as intraframe compression. HD Cam only employs intraframe compression."

Essentially, she's wanting to represent and categorize this footage in the same realm as previous models of "prosumer" cameras with far inferior image and specs. I'm curious to see what other's comments will be as well.
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Old March 7th, 2008, 07:17 PM   #4
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Michael, can you send me a private mail with the name of this stock footage house? I'd be happy to help set the record straight.

-gb-
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Old March 7th, 2008, 08:07 PM   #5
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Greg, your offer of intervention is most generous. However, as this has already grown a bit testy, that path might not be the best diplomacy.

Rather... if you could weigh in here with full explanation (validation), I'd be happy to cut and paste, quoting you, over to this person.

with much appreciation...
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Old March 7th, 2008, 10:15 PM   #6
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I think what she's saying is technically correct but not meaningful. The EX1's codec, as I understand it, is "grown up" long-GOP, but still related to HDV. But what matters is the image quality. If you were to take your EX1 footage and encode to ProRes, I wonder if they would be able to tell the difference.
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Old March 7th, 2008, 10:25 PM   #7
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Pre-judging image quality based on a category of technology is making less sense as those technologies improve over time.

I recall seeing some tests of compressed video back in the 1980's. The frame rate was probably about 10 fps, and the compression blocks would only go away when all movement ended. The model could make only the slowest moves and the scene was very simple to minimize detail.

The general thought at the time was compression of any kind was useless.

Two decades later and look where we are.

Long-GOP compression might have been a problem a few years ago with HDV. But this isn't HDV. The data rate is different and the compression algorithm is different. And the results are absolutely unrelated.
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Old March 8th, 2008, 10:03 AM   #8
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Weird...
Where is it written that intraframe makes true HD.

Some people learn just enough to make themselves worse off.
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Old March 8th, 2008, 10:09 AM   #9
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As I read these responses to my initial question, I find people answering both "yes" and others "no". This seems to me a very straightforward question and I'm receiving confusing replies.

The camera is either producing 1920x1080 native 1080p content or it isn't. I had one person say a resounding yes and the rest are saying..."well... no...because it's this or that with compression". I'm as lost as when I posted it in that regard. Of course image quality is what it's all about.. but I'm being boxed in and my material labeled as "non HD" over the assertion that it's not true 1920x1080 HD.

As an aside...I took some footage I shot at an Obama rally (under perfect professional lighting, courtesy of CNN) over to a professional post facility here in Austin. They crowded around the monitor and the overall consensus was it produces a better image than the $15K Panasonic P2 camera. Still... I have to concede that my image looks nothing like the razor sharp HD I see on Discovery Channel.... and I saw some behind the scenes as they rolled credits... they aren't packing F900's around the deserts of Morrocco... it was some small, hand-held chassis camera like the EX-1.

I'll check back later to see if anyone can define the EX-1... spring's in the air here in Austin and I'm going out to shoot.
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Old March 8th, 2008, 10:24 AM   #10
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I'm not sure I understand this post?

What am I missing?

Are you asking us if the EX1 produces native 1920x1080P.

Do you own the EX1, or renting?

I believe you would know it uses NATIVE 1920x1080 sensors and produces a progressive image at FULL 1080P. Yes, it only records 4:2:0 to it's internal memory cards, but can offer 4:2:2 10bit via SDI.

If you're not seeing razor sharp image, it's either you, or your camera.
The EX1 played backed on a 1080P set is as razor sharp than anything I've ever seen.

In fact, it's probably to sharp. I now shoot with DETAIL OFF.
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Old March 8th, 2008, 10:27 AM   #11
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Michael, Sony's official view is that there are 3 tiers in their product offering for HD.

HDCAM/SR is high end
XDCAM HD is medium level
HDV is consumer/prosumer

However, early on with XDCAM HD, it was the opinion of most who saw the quality of images, that XDCAM HD is not squarely in the middle, but closer to the top end. The higher data rate removes a lot of the motion artifacts that can plague HDV. It's not the inter-frame compression of long GOP at fault, it's how much compression and how intelligently it's applied that determine the outcome.

I wonder what this stock HD firm will say about the PDW 700 with its 50mb 4:2:2 color space. If they try to call that image less than HD, they are nuts.

Also a reminder, Discovery HD has one of the most rigorous acceptance criteria for HD and they certified XDCAM HD @ 35VBR as acceptable for unlimited content acquisition, whereas they limit HDV to no more than 15% of a given program.

All is not lost though, at some point, you'll have the ability to strap on a portable flash recorder and take the HDSDI feed into a very high quality codec.

-gb-
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Old March 8th, 2008, 10:39 AM   #12
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Greg,
Out of curiosity, did the Discovery Channel acceptance of XDCAM HD also span over to EX @ 35mb/s? If you, or others know?
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Old March 8th, 2008, 11:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Eckstein View Post
Greg,
Out of curiosity, did the Discovery Channel acceptance of XDCAM HD also span over to EX @ 35mb/s? If you, or others know?
From what I understand the EX HQ footage is acceptable for broadcast on Discovery.

I used to shoot on a Z1 and then moved over to the EX1. Night and day difference in image quality. Not just the better compression, but the 1/2 chips make a big difference as well.

If they put EX1 footage into the same class as HDV they are nuts and will loose sales because of undervaluing the footage they represent.

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Old March 8th, 2008, 12:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Eckstein View Post
Discovery Channel acceptance of XDCAM HD...
Please be careful how you phrase this.

There are *no* limitations whatsoever placed upon HDV, etc. by Discovery Channel.

What you guys are talking about pertains only to Discovery HD, which is still a relatively small slice of Discovery Channel's total programming. The restrictions have more to do with sensor size (1/3rd-inch) than format (HDV).
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Old March 8th, 2008, 12:58 PM   #15
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The EX1 at 35mb/s has been approved by Discovery HD at the "Silver" level along with XDCAM HD at 35mb/s (provided an HD lens is used). Silver level means the camera can be used for 100% of the production. HDV is restricted to a maximum of 20% of the total production and even then you must have justification for using it, such as no other way to get the shot.

The refusal to accept long gop codecs is normally from those that don't really understand codecs. HDCAM SR uses a long gop codec. It uses a variant of MPEG 4, yet no one complains that SR is no good!
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