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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old January 25th, 2009, 09:07 AM   #61
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Interesting debate here. While I doubt many would argue that HDV is far from the optimal HD format, the decision on which format to choose has to be made in context of the user's entire situation. To say that being tape based is a negative will not always be true. It's a personal preference and I won't be going tapeless until a better and more cost effective method of archiving becomes available.

Perrone's comments on HDV have merit but they reflect a personal point of view that works for him, and I'll agree that from his perspective are the right view from his spot in the world.

I, however, disagree with some if them. Here are his comments and my view.

>> 1. Poor bitrate leading to codec breakup on action.
>> 2. Long GOP structure leading to same problem as #1.
>> 3. No PCM audio reducing audio fidelity.
>> 4. Interframe codec.
1, 2 and 4 are really components of the same issue. It can cause artifacts but not always. And depending upon what you're shooting, not even very often at all. It's not the best you can get but it's very workable for a wide variety of needs. As to item 3, it's a minor issue. If you're really needing optimum audio fidelity, you're not going to record audio to a camera anyway.

>> 5. Poor color structure.
420. Yes 422 would be better and 444 better still but it still can work for a lot of situations.

>> 6. Non-Full Raster recording.
There are many of these non-full raster codecs and formats. By itself, nowhere near a deal breaker.

>> 7. Tape based when the world is moving away from tape.
>> 8. Real time capture required since tape has to be played back.
>> 9. Codec falls apart in post (grading and effects) unless transcode takes place.
>> 10. Incompatibility forces purchase of expensive decks or to wear out camera heads to dump footage.
7, 8 and 10 are traditional down-sides to tape. These neglect tapes upside of easy archiving and great suitability for long-term storage. Successful tape based workflows have been around for nearly half a century. Nothing has caused them to break now. There are just new options available.

As for 9, there are many ways to get avoid this now and there will be more as developers come up with more tools for current and future HD codecs.

While HD capture format is very very important to getting the best looking video, HDV can generate some pretty stunning video quality. To get there, one must know where the pitfalls are and do everything possible to avoid them. That said, content is king. Very few will really care if you shot HDV if you create a compelling piece. I'd be willing to bet my next job that each of us will see at least one piece of video shot in HDV on broadcast/cable/satellite TV in the coming week. And I'm not counting local commercial spots.

IMO, HDV is ready for prime time, if done right.
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Old January 25th, 2009, 09:51 AM   #62
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Good points Tripp. Your last comment is the killer. MiniDV was ready for prime time when shot right.

Again, I use HDV, and am aware of it's shortcomings, but it's still fine for a lot of uses. My real issue with it is not any one thing. It's the amassing of things.

Choose from this list:

1. Non full-raster
2. 4:2:0 color space
3. Compressed audio
4. Low bit rate
5 Long GOP

To me, those are the significant technical failings. Most codecs exhibit one or more of these to varying degrees when you move away from dual-link HD-SDI capture. The further you move down the chain, the harder it is for the codec to stand up.

XDCamEX solves #1, #3, and to some degree #4. DVCProHD solves #2, #3, #4, and #5.

It all comes down to the compromises we are willing to make. If you are shooting for yourself, then all this is moot. You are the only person you need to please. But if you are being paid to shoot, then some of these factors should really be causing some thoughts. And in any case, those looking to get into the game today have options we didn't have 4-5 years ago. Maybe HDV is still the correct choice for that new shooter, but maybe it's not. You say you are waiting for a viable archiving solution. I already have one and wouldn't touch tape again unless mandated. The RED/Viper/SI2K/Phantom guys aren't waiting either. They all have solutions and have moved forward.
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Old January 25th, 2009, 12:02 PM   #63
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Archiving solution?..

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Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
...You say you are waiting for a viable archiving solution. I already have one and wouldn't touch tape again unless mandated...
May I ask you, what is it?..
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Old January 25th, 2009, 12:41 PM   #64
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Just say NO to HDV and use an intermediary codec like cineform. It will resolve a lot of the aforementioned issues. Tape based HDV is the best solution for weddings because of the long record times, low prices and ability to get redundancy with Firestore -- which can be bought for under $700 now. Some of the HDV cameras get excellent picture quality, better than the HVX200 which is often used in indie features, so it's a great choice for event coverage.
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Old January 25th, 2009, 12:55 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by Ilya Spektor View Post
May I ask you, what is it?..
BuRay or other optical. Does everything I need. Reasonably cheap if you actually look at the per GB cost, stable, not subject to magnetic field issues, easy to store. If in 5 years something better comes along, I can move to it. It also gives me faster than realtime transfer which is something tape (in video format) cannot do.

If I had to move beyond optical into storing 2k-4k data, I'd be using LTO like the big boys.
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Old January 25th, 2009, 04:20 PM   #66
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Archiving

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Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
BuRay or other optical. Does everything I need.
This is what's cool about the state of video today. Everyone develops the worflow that functions best for them. Lo those many years ago when I shot my first commercial job there were precious few options. In fact, I wasn't even able to keep a copy of that first project for myself because even VHS was nearly a decade off in the future. Now, like the lyrics from the old Traffic song... do what you like.

I'm staying with tape for the foreseeable future primarily because of it's simplicity, cost and archiving ease. After a tape is captured and it goes into the rack, it's archived. Dead simple and there's no generational loss. Since I can capture tapes on up to three machines at a time, capturing 17 tapes from one job last summer can be done in an evening. Archiving that much video to BD or other media would take as long or longer and would cost more. But that's just me. I'm old and used to tape, going all the way back to the old U-matic.

My point is that there are so many ways to do this stuff that there's a sweet spot for everyone. Find yours and have at it.
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Old January 25th, 2009, 05:19 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by Tripp Woelfel View Post
I'm staying with tape for the foreseeable future primarily because of it's simplicity, cost and archiving ease. After a tape is captured and it goes into the rack, it's archived. Dead simple and there's no generational loss....

...I'm old and used to tape, going all the way back to the old U-matic.
Tripp, do you worry about print-through on these super thin stock miniDV/HDV tapes? Do you retension your tapes at all? Wind them through? Do you have humidity control to make sure mold isn't growing on them? I ask these things because I had to manage that stuff in my REAL job as a server admin with several Terabytes to back up every night. I now do everything to multiple layers of HDD, but that crap was a nightmare. I try to wind through my video archives at least once per year.

The other bugaboo with tape is the trouble of moving forward. Moving that material from U-Matic to Beta, and from Beta to Beta-SP, and from Beta SP to whatever is next. And it all has to be done at real time. This is where optical really shines. DVD players could read my old CDs, BluRay players can read my old DVDs and CDs. And transfers happen at much faster than real time. I am waiting until BluRay gets to about $2 a disk, and then moving all my SD materials off tape and onto optical. Or maybe onto SDHC since it will be dirt cheap also.

But you're right. This stuff is amazing. Who ever thought it would be possible to save an hour of Full Raster HD video on card the size of the end of my finger. And do it for $30 or less. And yet, we still complain!!
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Old January 25th, 2009, 08:53 PM   #68
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Bottom line is there is no perfect archive solution. I use tape because it's easy and cheap. The best solution is, as Perrone says, LTO. But I don't want to spend.

What's the scuttlebutt on these little flash drives Staples sells for $2? Do they last? I never hear anyone talk about using them for archive. People always fight it out between tape, optical, and hdd.
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Old January 25th, 2009, 11:38 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by Brian Luce View Post
...Tape based HDV is the best solution for weddings because of the long record times, low prices and ability to get redundancy with Firestore...
Hi Brian,

I would have agreed with you, until just recently. I have been experimenting with AVCHD. A 16 GB card currently cost about $25-30, with prices continuing to drop. A 16 GB card holds 90 minutes in the highest quality setting. Solid state recording eliminates many of the potential problems of tape, which burned me on a recent wedding. Now that cameras like the Panasonic HMC150 records to SDHC cards in the AVCHD format, HDV may not be the best solution for weddings.
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Old January 25th, 2009, 11:46 PM   #70
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Hi Brian,

I would have agreed with you, until just recently. I have been experimenting with AVCHD. A 16 GB card currently cost about $25-30, with prices continuing to drop.
Good numbers! Can you also back up simultaneously with firestore?
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Old January 25th, 2009, 11:51 PM   #71
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Firestore is a dead solution by most accounts. If you want to back up, you need to find a solution that can accept HDMI input.
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Old January 26th, 2009, 12:47 AM   #72
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Firestore is a dead solution by most accounts. If you want to back up, you need to find a solution that can accept HDMI input.
A lot of people still use them. Still viable and a good deal at $700.
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Old January 26th, 2009, 12:54 AM   #73
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A lot of people still use them. Still viable and a good deal at $700.
Yes, I own one and use it. But it's still a dead end product. Heck the new Macbooks don't even have firewire on them now. HDMI is the way forward in the consumer space and SDI in the pro space.
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Old January 26th, 2009, 02:24 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
Tripp, do you worry about print-through on these super thin stock miniDV/HDV tapes?
Print-through went out with analogue Perrone, however thin your tapes. The beauty of digital is the amazing robustness of the ones and zeros. 0.4 is still read as zero, and a 0.8 is still read as a one.
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Old January 26th, 2009, 02:43 AM   #75
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Print-through went out with analogue Perrone, however thin your tapes. The beauty of digital is the amazing robustness of the ones and zeros. 0.4 is still read as zero, and a 0.8 is still read as a one.
Sweet! I still like the shiny disks though!
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