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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old June 12th, 2005, 01:44 PM   #1
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SD vs HD for weddings

Hi all. I'm fairly new to the community, and I thought I would seek some opinions on this subject. I just invested in upgrading my camera/editing equipment to an XL2, and a dual 3.6 Xeon system from Promax. I use the equipment mostly for personal projects, but I also have a wedding/event bussiness. My editing system is HD/HDV ready, but honestly how long do you think I will get good wedding life out of my XL2 before absolutely having to go HDV. I am going to try to hold out for Canon's HDV Cam.
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Old June 12th, 2005, 05:00 PM   #2
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I think you don't have to worry. People that want a wedding video aren't so very concerned about resolution or HD or SD. They just want a proper video, a nice souvenir.
In that regards, I think it's better to have a good SD cam (and the XL2 is maybe one of the best) then a mediocre HD cam.

So don't worry. Resolution isn't everything, and I think people that want a memory of their wedding are the first to agree.

Unless they want a blowup to make their wedding to a full feature ;-)
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Old June 12th, 2005, 05:07 PM   #3
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Thanks!!!!
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Old June 12th, 2005, 09:29 PM   #4
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Another thing to consider is how will you deliver your HD content to the wedding customer?

The HD DVD/Blu-Ray war is just getting started. While NLE's are all over the HD editing thing, have you heard a lick about DVD authoring in HD? That's gonna have to wait until we have a DVD standard.
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Old June 12th, 2005, 09:36 PM   #5
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That is true...I guess I don't have to worry about it yet...
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Old June 13th, 2005, 12:19 AM   #6
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I recently started my own wedding videography company and from day one I have included both SD and HD versions of the finished features on seperate discs. SD is on a normal DVD, HD is DivX using the HD profile (average HD bitrate is comparable to SD mpeg2 and I limit the HD DivX max bitrate to the Home Theater profile) - playable on any standard DivX player or PC/Mac. I test on a LiteOn, a Philips, a modded Xbox and a HTPC. I considered HD WMV but it wasn't a serious option nor will it be. H.264 on a disc looks interesting based on what you could do with it, but it's also not a serious option (yet).

DivX is actually a perfect means for delivering HD now. Not sure why more people aren't jumping on it... It does have the whole preconception of being the pirated movie format though, maybe that's why people avoid it?

My wedding videography style is a bit different and I try to target the hardcore film/theater/movie aficionados who are generally early adopters of high end TV gear. Definitely a niche at the moment, but it's also good futureproofing for when an eventual HD dvd spec is finally ready.

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Old June 13th, 2005, 07:48 AM   #7
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Patrick: do any of the current DivX players actually output an HD signal, and if so via what kind of connection? And in what ways did you find WMV HD to be unsatisfactory for your purposes? Up until your post, WMV HD is the main solution I've heard of anyone using for HD delivery to clients, with playback on either the Avel Linkplayer2 or on PCs. Plus WMV HD seems to be the most common codec used for distributing short HD samples on the internet, and I haven't seen DivX being used for this purpose. All of which is probably because WMV HD is widely supported now as a standard output and playback option for PCs, whereas DivX support is less widespread.

Lastly, is there any indication that the DivX format might be supported on future blue-laser HD DVD players? Most of the discussion I've heard about this revolves around Windows Media and H.264, with little or no mention of DivX. This suggests that the HD discs you're distributing today may not work on future HD DVD players, whereas there's a possibility that today's WMV HD discs will. Given all of this, what is it that makes DivX useful for you today?
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Old June 13th, 2005, 09:38 AM   #8
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Reel-Streams Andromeda

Just heard about this yesterday, it is a very exciting prospect for current DVX owners, and potentally XL2 owners as myself. For those of you not familiar with what their doing, check out thier site...www.reel-stream.com
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Old June 13th, 2005, 09:43 AM   #9
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I didn't mean to cross post with that last reply, but it does cocern even wedding and event videographers. How about 4:4:4 from your DVX100A or XL2? That is what this company is doing...
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Old June 13th, 2005, 10:14 AM   #10
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The retail DivX players I have both have component out and up to 720p or 1080i signals. The Philips autodetects what the set can do and the LiteOn allows you to select (480i/p, 720p, 1080i, etc). The DivX HD profile uses an average bitrate of 4mbps (same as the Home Theater profile), but the difference is that it has the room to spike up to 20mbps now and then (VBR - 1 sec. max) - which the player can't handle. If you set the upper limit to ~ 9-10mbps (the same limit of the Home Theater profile), you'll have no problem getting a player to playback an HD signal.


Re: WMV.. it's both technical and philosophical. WMV, tho competent for HD (IMO @ higher bitrates than DivX - space is more of a concern) locks you into very limited platforms for playback - namely a Windows PC, possibly the Xbox 360 if the WMV on a DVD rumor is true (which would be great!). There are those wireless players now, but those still require a PC to be able to play back the files.

DivX is a lot more open and can play back on anything that supports it - Macs, PCs, Linux desktops, Home Theater PCs, the slew of DivX players out there (console or portable), highend workstations (Sun, SGI - using VLC, mplayer, etc) - basically, it just works now. Though it doesn't get a lot of coverage here, DivX is actually far more popular than WMV in most places that serve video IMO - partly because it's the downloaded movie format of choice, but also because it's really good at what it does - hiQ small size clips (cgtalk.com, 3dcafe.com come to mind). It's also an fairly easily editable format (though that may be a deterrent for some people); DivX is mainly intended for distribution, but one of my couples (if they are so technically inclined) could take the DivX avi files and reauthor them into their own HD DVD when there's a spec for them (think iDVD HD).

DivX is useful for me because it's available right now and it 'just works' (to borrow Apple's line). It allows me to get an HD product out knowing that it'll work in some way or another for the client (either a player, a home computer, whatever), and even if they don't have the capability to use it now (no HDTV), they'll be able to use it in the future - either by buying what they need to play it, or by converting it into something that works in the future.

Honestly, probably the main reason that I don't use HD WMV is that there's no good way to convert it to something else should it not work either now or in the future. If it doesn't work, all you've got is a useless disc with very important content. The future is looming but is still quite uncertain and speculative - DivX is IMO the best way to ensure you don't get burned one way or another.

(my background is Comp Sci and how I do a lot of my work now stems from that - portability, flexibility, openness, etc)
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Old June 13th, 2005, 10:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian K Jones
I didn't mean to cross post with that last reply, but it does cocern even wedding and event videographers. How about 4:4:4 from your DVX100A or XL2? That is what this company is doing...
I think I saw this a while ago when it was still in development. I remember seeing a bunch of shots of raw 4:4:4 out of a Divx100 - totally AMAZING clarity and unbelievable image - really gave me a perspective into how bad DV25 processes things.

Glad to see they've finally made it feasible!
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Old June 13th, 2005, 12:42 PM   #12
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Peter: can you provide a model number and/or vendor link for a Philips or Liteon DivX player which can read an HD-resolution file and output it via component connections to an HDTV? When I go to the DivX HD web site and follow the link for compatible players, it leads to the same list of models which people are using to play WMV HD files: http://www.divx.com/hardware/browse.php?c=7.

And perhaps I don't know much about DivX support across various platforms, but most video editing software I've used or read about lately seems to have support for WMV encoding and not so much so for DivX. WMV HD (at 720p) will play on computers with the same specs listed as a minimum for DivX HD, and you can be pretty sure that anyone with a recent version of Windows Media Player will have the WMV codec installed -- which means it will "just work" on several tens of millions of PCs. (And, as you mentioned, probably the Xbox2.)

Microsoft has reportedly gone to great lengths to submit WMV as an open codec and get it included in the specifications for upcoming HD DVD players, whereas DivX seems to be concentrating on red-laser recording and playback options. Plus I can't think of any reason a WMV file would be any harder to transcode to some other future format than DivX, so I don't see how there could be any practical difference between the two formats there.

Personally I don't see any functional advantage to using DivX for HD video distribution unless there's some affordable player I haven't heard about yet. With WMV I know I've got widespread support on PCs and more recently on Macs, plus on current "DivX approved HD players," plus probably on blue-laser DVDs. The only real difference I see between WMV and DivX is the bit rates supported, and I wouldn't call it a bad thing that WMV uses higher data rates. I posted a WMV clip at 1080p recently, and someone who downloaded it said it looked good on his 14-foot home theater screen. Works for me...
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Old June 13th, 2005, 03:31 PM   #13
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Maybe we're talking two different things. Most software supports encoding WMV files (Vegas, PPro, Cleaner, etc come to mind). Have you ever tried to open a WMV file in your editor of choice and work on it after the fact (or bring it into After Effects, etc) - for example to maybe convert it to mpeg2 for Video_ts, etc? Maybe it's my long exposure with macs, but MS has made it very hard to do anything with a WMV file once it's encoded - definitely on a Mac, but also my impression is that it's the same on a PC. A divx file is just an avi (or mov) encoded w/ a divx codec. You can do anything with it that you could a standard avi/mov - edit, transcode, etc. It may not be the best format for editing (like HDV w/ m2t), but it's doable. AFAIK, the only way I've been able to frame edit WMV (or even an ASF file)goes back to an older version of VirtualDub - MS did a Cease & Desist on it to get them to remove the functionality - not exactly open. You also don't get generational loss w/ a divx avi as you don't have to reencode to another intermediate format.

To me, until there's a standard, it seems a real disservice to lock someone to a particular platform (like WMV imo). It happens all the time and most people don't care as long as it works, but from a distribution PoV, it means a lot to me to know I'm not locking people in :) - it's that philosophical openness thing I mentioned before (like open source software). My method may be different, but I know that regardless of how things go in the future, the files I put on disc can be used in one way or another now on just about any platform that can read the disc (computer, compatible player, etc), and it's also guaranteed to be future proof regardless of how things resolve with a final spec - even if things end up being incompatible. In my mind, I can't say the same for an HD WMV file (in terms of its guaranteed future proofing).

All of this is all based on hyptheticals. Regardless of how things play out, it's just great that we've got options available to us and we don't need to spend a fortune to be able to use them (as was 'back in the day' with film & video).


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Old June 13th, 2005, 04:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Jenkins
Maybe we're talking two different things. Most software supports encoding WMV files (Vegas, PPro, Cleaner, etc come to mind). Have you ever tried to open a WMV file in your editor of choice and work on it after the fact (or bring it into After Effects, etc) - for example to maybe convert it to mpeg2 for Video_ts, etc? ... A divx file is just an avi (or mov) encoded w/ a divx codec. You can do anything with it that you could a standard avi/mov - edit, transcode, etc. ...You also don't get generational loss w/ a divx avi as you don't have to reencode to another intermediate format.
I'm glad you clarified that, because I wasn't sure if that was part of what you were trying to say or not. This does sound like a benefit for any HD file you may want to edit later, but transcoding shouldn't be an issue one way or the other because there will likely be software which will convert both DivX and WMV HD to future common formats. So in terms of distribution and future-proofing it's arguably a wash between WMV and Divx for now, but if you want to be able to revisit your projects later then DivX is apparently more editable. But if I really wanted to be able to edit an HDV project in the future, my first choice would be to save an HDV copy of the final version.

Out of curiosity, do we know whether H.264 files will be readily editable in FCP or other current editing programs?
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Old June 14th, 2005, 12:15 AM   #15
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The fact is like it or not is that the wedding videographer is doing a disservice to the customer by not shooting in high definition. A wedding video is not an immediately consumable item but it is rather a lifetime heirloom that must be futureproofed. The future may not be now but as soon as the customer buys an hdtv which could be by the end of the year any standard definition product will be obsolete. Just because the customer does not demand high definition does not mean he does not want it and even if he thinks he does not want it in the near future he will be kicking himself for not getting it and buyers remourse will be a big issue. But I suppose my critics who are inherently not futurists and rather resisters of progress consider high definition to be some kind of gimmick or luxury that the world cannot afford. These are the same people that think that space
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