Need some help-HiDef or SD? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old September 16th, 2007, 05:27 PM   #1
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Huntington beach, California
Posts: 6
Need some help-HiDef or SD?

Hello Everybody,

I'm shooting a short next week. I'd just like to know which is better, to shoot it in HiDef or SD. I have a Canon XHA1 and I have FCP studio 2, 2 gb. Is 2 gb enough to shoot hi-def? Is 16.9 better than 4.3?

Thanks and appreciate your help.
Sam Oussama is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 16th, 2007, 07:15 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Marin & Davis, CA, USA
Posts: 418
Both are subjective-- neither is "better".

SD is easier to work with and also probably how you will be distributing (DVD, miniDV, the web [or lower rez], etc.). HD has few practical ways of distribution now, except for the miniDV tape itself to someone else with an HDV camera or to TV or to Film.

HD has more resolution. That's better, sure. It's also a larger file to store on your computer and takes longer to render. Workflow can also be an issue, with conversions between types.
You should be able to handle HD, sure. Maybe it would be a bit sluggish, but shouldn't be too hindering.

16:9 is better for a film look and probably will seem more professional-- to professionals as it looks like film, and to amateurs as it looks "cool".
But if you plan to display in the end on a 4:3 TV, go with 4:3, if you want.


Why are you making this?
Who are you showing?
Where are you displaying it? What format?
How are you distributing? SD? HD capable?
Do you need an incredibly streamlined editing setup?
Do your client(s) have any preference? (Sounds like you are the client in this case.)
Daniel Ross is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 16th, 2007, 07:42 PM   #3
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 4,750
Sometimes it makes sense to shoot 16:9 HD, and do a center crop for 4:3 SD. If you do this, you will need to frame the shot such that nothing important is in the sides (since the sides will get cropped off when you convert to SD).

Or for short films, letterboxing is another valid approach.

2- If you shoot HD, you have some room to re-frame shots as you wish. The extra resolution is also handy sometimes for effects (e.g. image stabilization).

Though you don't necessarily want to go around fixing things in post.
Glenn Chan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 16th, 2007, 11:07 PM   #4
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Huntington beach, California
Posts: 6
Thank you guys for your feedback.

I'm doing a short for myself and it is my first. It's an action comedy for school. And, I'd like to submit it to festivals. Which format, I don't know yet. I'm not thinking about distributing right now. Maybe later. What's better to shoot, 60 I or 24 F? I have no client. It's for myself. What do you mean by streamlined editing setup?
Sam Oussama is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 16th, 2007, 11:32 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Marin & Davis, CA, USA
Posts: 418
"what's better" is again vague. We all have preferences based on experience, but mostly based on goals.

60i is generally bad, though, because it has interlacing. Interlacing is a stupid thing that exists from the old TVs that couldn't display a full frame at a time. It makes special FX terrible, and you need to convert to progressive (deinterlace) anyway. With an action film, this would likely be the case. Shoot progressive.
24? 30? Up to you. 30 will give you more frames and will match a standard TV, as well as fit broadcasts for TV. 24 will be less frames to deal with, slightly choppier, more like the film look, and transfer better to film.

HD will transfer much cleaner to film than SD, and this might be important for festivals. But most festivals by now should have digital projection, I'd assume. You might want to look into that (or maybe someone can give you more info in this thread).

HD will be a big issue to work with in that it will take longer to render, much more space to save (since you'll want to be working with uncompressed as to not lose quality re-rendering), and can even be sluggish at times.

I'd say that SD is faster and easier and in many ways likely ok for your project. However, you can't uprez to HD later if you change your mind. For that reason and since you already have the camera, I'd suggest shooting HD, I think. IF you can deal with a bit more work in the editing process (and more waiting).

Note that 16:9 is a very good idea for festivals.
Daniel Ross is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 17th, 2007, 12:14 AM   #6
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Huntington beach, California
Posts: 6
Thanks again Daniel, i am going to shoot SD for now, HD will take a lot of space and time to render. And i do like the film look of 24 f, 16:9 is definitely the way to go. Hey thanks again for your help.
Sam Oussama is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 17th, 2007, 09:50 AM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Marin & Davis, CA, USA
Posts: 418
That seems like a very reasonable decision, and might be what I'd decide too.
However, just to play Devil's Advocate for a minute, remember that SD will limit you to SD later. So if in 5 years you really wanted an HD copy of the film, you won't have it.
But, for the reasons above, that's really the only downside to not using HD now, considering lack of easy distribution for HD.
Daniel Ross is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 17th, 2007, 10:09 AM   #8
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,488
Sam: I'd encourage you to reconsider your decision to shoot in SD - there are no meaningful reasons to do so and lots of good reasons to shoot in HD. At the very least shoot in HD and then downsample to widescreen DV for the capture/editing process - that way you could come back to the HD source later when you're ready for that. But even better to force yourself to go all HD for this project, so you can start learning how that works. Even if your final output is widescreen SD that should look better coming from an HD timeline than an SD one, since HD gives your encoder more data to work with for producing the final output. And there are lots of ways to distribute HD content now including via an AppleTV, so disregard anyone who says HD distribution isn't practical yet. You have the camera and the software needed to do an HD project, so do it! :-)
Kevin Shaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 17th, 2007, 11:13 AM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Marin & Davis, CA, USA
Posts: 418
Sounds quite reasonable to me. I guess I'd lean toward SD if it meant I didn't have to buy an HD cam, but you already have one. So go for it.

Quote:
so disregard anyone who says HD distribution isn't practical yet.
AppleTV? Ha. Who watches that?
There really are no methods for distribution. How would you show your grandparents? Your brother? Some large audience around the country?

But... having HD for later use is good, or if you want to transfer to film or broadcast on TV ever. Festivals too.
Daniel Ross is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 17th, 2007, 04:44 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 773
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Ross View Post
Sounds quite reasonable to me. I guess I'd lean toward SD if it meant I didn't have to buy an HD cam, but you already have one. So go for it.

AppleTV? Ha. Who watches that?
There really are no methods for distribution. How would you show your grandparents? Your brother? Some large audience around the country?

But... having HD for later use is good, or if you want to transfer to film or broadcast on TV ever. Festivals too.
Indeed. I don't know who will win the format wars - HD-DVD or Blu-ray, but having the raw cut in HD means that you can adapt with the times, instead of limiting yourself to SD now... and forever.
Brian Boyko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 17th, 2007, 09:48 PM   #11
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Huntington beach, California
Posts: 6
Wow guys, I am thinking all over again. I did meet a DP today and he told me the same thing you said Kevin, if you have HD Cam go for it and that FCP studio 2 handles HD very well now. How many gigs do i need for an external Hard drive ? my macbook pro is 2gigs, is that enough for HD?
Sam Oussama is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 17th, 2007, 10:04 PM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: San Francisco, California
Posts: 487
Well, the 2gb you're referring to is probably the machine's RAM, which is just temporary storage. It should be fine for HDV. To really determine your system's specs, click on the blue apple in the upper left hand corner, and click on "About This Mac", and it'll tell you your processor speed and amount of RAM.

Your Macbook Pro's hard drive is most likely at least 160gb. You may want to get an external hard drive of at least 160gb for editing video so you can keep plenty of free space on your laptop's hard drive, but it's not a necessity. You also might get better performance by using an external hard drive, but I'm not an expert when it comes to that. Anyway, your laptop should be good enough to edit HDV.
Chris Harris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 18th, 2007, 11:38 AM   #13
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,488
Ditto what Chris said: the 2GB of RAM in your Macbook Pro should be fine for editing HDV material, and I regularly do HDV edits on a similar PC notebook. As far as external hard drives are concerned, figure about 12 GB per hour of source footage in native HDV format - one large external drive should be adequate unless you plan to shoot a whole lot of footage.
Kevin Shaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 18th, 2007, 11:44 AM   #14
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,488
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Ross View Post
There really are no methods for distribution. How would you show your grandparents? Your brother? Some large audience around the country?
The most practical distribution option at this time is widescreen standard-definition DVDs, which can look very nice coming from HD source material. Another option would be Windows Media or H.264 at 720p resolution distributed via the internet, or the same formats as data files on standard computer-readable DVDs. And based on recent hardware sales figures there are as many as two million households in the U.S. which already have some kind of HD video player, with that figure growing by roughly 100-150K households per month.

SD video is based on a 50-year-old image format which is on its way out for professional purposes. Shoot HD.
Kevin Shaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 18th, 2007, 02:47 PM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Marin & Davis, CA, USA
Posts: 418
DVDs took quite a while to take over from VHS. It'll be a few years.

widescreen SD DVDs look great when shot with anamorphic DV, if the image quality is good.

Sending video at HD over the net is absolutely ridiculous. Most downloads are much smaller resolution than that, and many computers couldn't even play it.

As for the players catching on, cool. But... not yet.

50-year-old format? Like interlacing that's sticking with HD? Heh.

It is old, but it's also standard. It would be great to shoot at 3000p, but that's not really practical yet.

The argument is a strong one-- shoot HD so you'll have HD in the future. Sounds good. But that's the only real convincing reason right now.
Daniel Ross is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:33 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network