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Taking Care of Business
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Old March 27th, 2006, 05:52 PM   #16
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I couldn't agree with Ash's statements more. I'm not a techy guru at all, I just shoot and edit corporate videos using a Canon XL2. What gets me with all the hype about HD is how many people do watch a stretched 4:3 image just because they want to fill the screen. My buddy went HD, invited me over to watch a football game, and just refused to watch it in 4:3 (the format it was being broadcast in) and it drove me nuts. My mother got an HD set and does the same thing, watches any 4:3 show stetched out. It looks terrible.

I was in Frys and saw a whole bunch of HD sets, and they did have an HD broadcast of a game going. The image quality looked great, that is until the action sped up and large parts of the screen started pixelating.

It seems almost like we're going in two very different directions. On the one hand, we're trying to get everyone to make the switch to higher resolution, but on the other a lot of the video being produced today makes you wonder why bother. I can't believe how many "young guns" out there today are shooting just the worse looking garbage, and then slapping the moniker of "film maker" on themselves. But what is even more surprising is that so many people just don't seem to care. They see all the footage as equal, everything is "awesome".

I still say that a good story, well acted, (or a good doc) well lit, and well shot beats any hand held over-exposed HDV footage of some kid on a skateboard set to the beat of one of Apple's Garage Band sound loops (how many of these do we have to watch?).

Ash is right on the money about future proofing. They used to say that film "future proofed" productions. Tell that to the guys that had to restore "Star Wars", or better yet "Easy Rider". HD is coming, and I'll be the first to admit I'm a hold out with SD, but that's just me. But one thing though, the work flow can be just as convenient for HD as it is for SD. Its just a matter of having the money to afford the decks and high speed computers. The guys at STEAM put on a presentation a NAB last year, and they shot, edited and out put all at full resolution HD using BOXX computers. They didn't "off-line" anything.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 05:59 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
Also, remember CONTENT, not resolution is the ONLY way to "future-proof" anything. I know you didnt mean anything by it but I cant stand that terminology. It is marketing jargon that is meaningless. The XL2 uprezzes very well, quality content shot on the XL2 will be every bit as viable as quality content shot in HD going forward.



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You are correct to a degree. However in the scheme of things what you say is only relevant if you own the equipment. For the projects I have planned I could very easily hire Digibeta. But there is no point. Given the total budget of production there is no reason not to hire a camera like the HDW-750. Not everyone is in the same position. However for the very rare footage that I will be obtaining it would be dumb of me not to shoot it in HD given that I have a choice.

See the thing here is while content may well be king, if I can make that content even better by shooting on the best equipment I can afford it can only improve it.

My current camera shoots a fantastic picture. And for 99.9% of everything I do it does me just fine, and for the moment I don't have a financial reason to change it. SD will be around for a number of years yet as the dominant distribution format. But there will come a time when HD is more normal. It is only a matter of when and not if. With that in mind the rare footage I want to shoot should be in high def because I want to be able to capatalise on it when the time comes. It will be the only footage of its type. So HD in that sense is an absolute requirement for that particular project.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 06:12 PM   #18
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I use HD acquisition on every job that has a budget or reason for such. If someone doesnt NEED HD but has a budget, I use an SDX900 and give them an option for the Varicam at a slightly higher cost. Not every project needs the extra DOF and low light performance that a 2/3" cam provides... just like not every job needs HD... Use the camera that is right for the job and the budget, I live by that motto...



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Old March 27th, 2006, 07:10 PM   #19
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Precisely. So we're singing from the same hymm sheet.
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Old March 28th, 2006, 02:54 AM   #20
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Money is a very important factor. If I had the money right now in the bank to purchase the very best and most expensive HD camera, matched with the very best Fujinon lenses and sound equipment + top class HD editing equipment, screens etc, and pay for the very best of camera crews and sound crews, and helpers...then I'd certainly have it all.

If I were given the opportunity of owning two or three complete H1 systems + HD editing systems at the same price of two complete XL2 systems, then I'd certainly go the H1 route (we wish!).

I am on a limited budget, and the most important criteria is for me to buy the best equipment that I can afford to enable me to produce high quality DV intended for sales this year and for the next few years, via DVD and TV.

A professional DVD produced this year by originally filming on either an XL2 or H1 would be fairly equal in quality. However, with someone that already owns XL1/2 SD lenses & accessories + SD editing equipment etc, they would only need to fork out about £1,500 ($2,000) for an extra XL2 body on Ebay. That same person would need to spend at least £5,000 ($9,000) + many extra £$1,000s to properly up-rate all their editing equipment etc to HD/HDV…just to produce that very same quality DVD that will be on sale in the shops for at least the next five years.
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Old March 28th, 2006, 08:10 AM   #21
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Tony I don't see 5 years as a terribly long time. Is this scenario possible?

2006 - shoot project on XL-H1. Produce + sell SD DVD.
2006 - shoot project on XL2. Produce + sell SD DVD.

2011 - viable market for HD-DVD.
Either
(a) Burn HD DVD master using XL-H1 tapes.
(b) Uprezz XL2 material (IMHO not as good as original HDV tapes)
(c) Discard SD tapes and reshoot in HD.

And remember there is no need to spend money now on a HDV editing computer. If it's an SD project downrezz in camera and edit as normal SD DV. Then get a HDV editing computer when you really need it. All the timecodes, EDLs etc for downrezzed HDV are the same whether you downconvert the HDV or not. So in 2011 you simply re-load your project and tell the computer that this time you want a HD master, not an SD one.

Let me make it clear that I'm not saying you can't continue to get value for money from an XL2, but there is a strong argument for the XL H1 also (shame it's overpriced though!!).

I can only agree that money is an important factor! What I would really like is to win the lottery and just film projects that interest me (and then at a leisurely pace).
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Old March 28th, 2006, 12:42 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Tony Davies-Patrick
A professional DVD produced this year by originally filming on either an XL2 or H1 would be fairly equal in quality.
Some would say the HDV source will look noticeably better even when output to SD DVDs, but it's true you can't deliver the full benefit of shooting in HDV that way. Let's call it a wash as far as this discussion is concerned, but try it for yourself if you want to be sure.

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However, with someone that already owns XL1/2 SD lenses & accessories + SD editing equipment etc, they would only need to fork out about £1,500 ($2,000) for an extra XL2 body on Ebay. That same person would need to spend at least £5,000 ($9,000) + many extra £$1,000s to properly up-rate all their editing equipment etc to HD/HDV…just to produce that very same quality DVD that will be on sale in the shops for at least the next five years.
Most of my recent customers already own HDTVs, so the key question here is if/when they'll also buy HD DVD players. The problem with going the SD route is that you won't ever be able to offer your finished video at true HD quality; you could upsample XL2 footage and that might look okay, but it won't look as clear and sharp as footage from any decent HDV camera. Money aside, it doesn't make much sense to be shooting anything in SD these days knowing that HDTVs are the standard viewing device of the future, so if you value your own work why not start moving toward full HD production? Instead of spending $2000 on an XL2 body you could spend $3000 on a Sony FX1 to get your feet wet and start collecting HD samples, then that will become your "B" camera a couple years from now when HD production becomes inevitable and you buy another HD camera. It might be a bit tricky matching footage from an FX1 and an XL2, but it's doable depending on how picky you are.
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Old March 28th, 2006, 01:47 PM   #23
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I will be making some DVDs this year with someone who has an FX1, so will need to match each others footage. He films in HDV but edits in SD for DVD production, so matching it with the XL2 in 16:9 should be no problem (although not so well with my XL1s body as it only does 4:3).

I'm not at all interested in buying the FX1 (or Z1), as I much prefer the XL cameras, so will more likely buy another XL2 this year, and buy a H1 when I can afford it (or when prices begin to fall, or if Canon ever brings out a body-only package).
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Old March 28th, 2006, 02:41 PM   #24
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Keep in mind, too, the danger of statistics! Sure, more HDTVs are SOLD each year, but that's not the same thing as market penetration. How often do most people replace their TV? When it eventually dies, you go out and buy a new one. If they're selling HDTVs that's what you buy. But there are going to be far more fully functional SD sets fed by a SD DVD player for a long, long, time. What's the lifespan of a CRT television these days? If you're marketing to those folks and not electronic geeks with massive disposable incomes, SD is going to more than fit the bill for a while.

If my PD-150 is run over by a bus tomorrow and dies an untimely death, dang straight I'll probably buy a Z1 or an XL-H1 to replace it. That's not the same as saying I should throw the perfectly good SD cam in the trash can now.
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Old March 28th, 2006, 03:55 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Brian Standing
Keep in mind, too, the danger of statistics! Sure, more HDTVs are SOLD each year, but that's not the same thing as market penetration.
Yep, statistics are a tricky thing. The problem with market penetration figures is that the minority of people who own HDTVs may be largely the same folks who are hiring videographers -- because they're the ones with the money to do so. Like I said, most of my recent customers already own an HDTV, which to me is much more relevant than general HDTV stats.

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If my PD-150 is run over by a bus tomorrow and dies an untimely death, dang straight I'll probably buy a Z1 or an XL-H1 to replace it. That's not the same as saying I should throw the perfectly good SD cam in the trash can now.
No, but you might think about buying an anamorphic lens for it. I shot some test footage recently on a DVX100 with an anamorphic lens, and that looked way better than anything I could do to convert 4:3 SD footage to widescreen output.
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Old March 28th, 2006, 04:08 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
people who own HDTVs may be largely the same folks who are hiring videographers.
Right, exactly my point. I'm trying to sell DVDs of indie docs to a broad audience, you're trying to get someone to pay you to do event videography. SD makes the most sense for my customers, HD makes the most sense for yours. One size does NOT fit all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
No, but you might think about buying an anamorphic lens for it.
An idea I've been considering. Know anyone selling a Century 16:9 anamorph with a Sony bayonet mount at a good price?
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Old March 28th, 2006, 10:18 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Paul Doherty
2006 - shoot project on XL-H1. Produce + sell SD DVD.
2011 - viable market for HD-DVD.
one problem with that scenario is that you've locked yourself into what will be an inferior, if not obsolete, camera, well before the year 2011 arrives... and you haven't benefited financially from it at all.

so you shoot hdv until 2008 or 2009... no doubt a successor to the h1, or better competing cameras, will be out by then, shooting who knows what format.

the only hope you have in recouping your early investment in the h1 is with the evergreen footage you shot in 2006-2008... after that, your footage will have to compete with people who could be shooting the same thing with better cameras.

so while you do have a possible evergreen option, a wedding videographer like kevin has no future income potential that will pay for his early adopter investment in the hdv format... 50% of the people he shot weddings for will get divorced, and the rest of 'em never come back... my neighbor has been a wedding photographer and videographer for over 25 years, and we never see repeat business for the same ceremony... but they do come back when they get remarried ;-)

so the moral of the story is, don't buy it if you can't recoup the full investment right now... unless you really do have a crystal ball that'll guarantee your evergreen footage against all future possibilities.
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Old March 28th, 2006, 10:41 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
Another recent survey predicted HDTV sales in the U.S. this year of approximately 20 million units.
that, um, overly-optomistic figure was downgraded long ago:

"Las Vegas, January 4, 2006 – ...According to sales projections issued yesterday by CEA, HDTV sets will outsell analog sets by 89 percent in 2006, reaching total unit sales of 15.9 million and contributing to over $23 billion in total DTV revenue."
http://www.ce.org/shared_files/pr_at...tv_numbers.doc

there are hundreds of millions of 4:3 tv sets in homes today that are working fine, and they aren't all going to suddenly get thrown into the dumpster.

there is an old saying in the computer business, "software sells hardware"... right now there are zero hd dvd's on the market, but people own millions of sd dvd's... without hd dvd's and hd dvd players, the only reason people are buying hdtv is because of sports, which represents only part of the tv marketplace.

one reason that your projected hdtv sales forecasts had to be downgraded so drastically was because of the impact that the internet is having on the viewing habits of people... right now the most important age demographics are spending more time on the 'net than they are on tv, as you can plainly see by the huge explosion of web sharing sites like youtube.com

ash was 100% correct when he put the emphasis on CONTENT, because that is what will drive traffic to your product... it's all about delivery formats, and those of you like kevin, who can't see beyond the provincial business model of dvd, are in for a rude awakening in the near future.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 06:59 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
...a wedding videographer like kevin has no future income potential that will pay for his early adopter investment in the hdv format...
Oh yea of little faith! I've met wedding videographers who are cleaning up with high-end clients shooting HDV for over a year now, but I haven't been fortunate enough to cash in on that. (My problem, not an HDV one.) I'm happy that my modestly-priced FX1s produce video which is noticeably better than I got from my GL1/GL2 for any type of output, and take great scenic footage which I enjoy watching on my HDTV. Plus I'm learning the ropes for producing in HD and building up my demo reel so I'll be ready when more customers start asking for HD, at which point I hope to recoup my investment by getting business I wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

I support those who feel that current HD cameras aren't a sound business investment for them at this time, but once you have one it's tough to resist the allure of such a compelling improvement in video image quality. If photographers were offered such a sudden leap in resolution they'd be stampeding each other to line up for new equipment, but we're apparently a much more cautious lot. Go figure.

Last edited by Kevin Shaw; March 29th, 2006 at 10:45 AM.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 07:10 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
ash was 100% correct when he put the emphasis on CONTENT, because that is what will drive traffic to your product... it's all about delivery formats, and those of you like kevin, who can't see beyond the provincial business model of dvd, are in for a rude awakening in the near future.
Absolutely agreed that content is the key to successful videography, with HD being a secondary technical consideration. But if roughly 16 million potential customers are expected to buy HDTVs this year alone, I'd call that a significant market potential which easily justifies investing a few thousand dollars in new equipment.

By the way, please spare me the personal slights and unjustified assumptions about what I may or may not see coming. I'm well aware that HD is just one facet of current video trends, with internet and portable video also exploding onto the scene. But that won't change the inevitability of HD acquisition becoming the de facto standard for most professional videography sometime in the next few years. Seriously, if you were paying several thousand dollars today to have someone shoot a video for you, wouldn't you at least consider whether you might want it shot in HD? There's no logical reason not to do so, and thanks to HDV it can be done at a reasonable price.
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