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Old November 16th, 2005, 01:44 PM   #1
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Canon XL-HD for weddings?

I know most people haven't had this camera in their hands yet, but any preliminary thoughts on the Canon XL-HD for use in weddings? B&H is taking orders for it at nine grand a pop. I'm a PD170 man, but I realize that before long I'm going to need to make the jump to HD. I wonder if I ought to shell out the cash for the new XL, or stick with the Sony line. Any thoughts? (By the way, I'm glad they made it black! I hated those white XL's!)
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Old November 16th, 2005, 02:10 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave M. Smith
I know most people haven't had this camera in their hands yet, but any preliminary thoughts on the Canon XL-HD for use in weddings? B&H is taking orders for it at nine grand a pop. I'm a PD170 man, but I realize that before long I'm going to need to make the jump to HD. I wonder if I ought to shell out the cash for the new XL, or stick with the Sony line. Any thoughts? (By the way, I'm glad they made it black! I hated those white XL's!)
Here was my though on this FWIW. I can't deliver any HD product to a customer unless they are going to view it on a PC with WMP9 or WMP10, what bride in her right mind is going to accept this, NONE.

Editing: I edit with a Canopus based system, I would have to spend another 2k to get my system HD ready and even then real time editing is marginal. As well I need to upgrade all my HD's to GIGA MEMORY! It's a huge amount of drive space needed to get the job done and I can't justify that expense.

I know that I'd be shooting in SD most of the time and only in HD from time to time and viewing it on my HD sets, not really worth it.

I went with the XL2 and am about to get a 2nd for my wedding and event business (THE GL2 will be for sale in the coming weeks). In a couple of years when the HD standard DVD is complete, I'll sell my XL2's and upgrade to XLH1 and offer HD to the customers with the caveat that they will need to request a wedding gift of a <Insert brand name here> HD DVD player and HD Tv.

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Old November 16th, 2005, 03:24 PM   #3
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First of all it is indeed possible to deliver High Definition video. JVC sells a deck that supports the playback of high definition video using conventional red laser technology. The deck sells for 350 dollars and should be bundled with the wedding package if you are shooting in high definition.

For ease of editing I recommend the the 720p format shot at 30 frames per secound rather than the 1080i format shot at 60 frames per secound. 720p requires only half of the computer power as does 1080i. Since weddings do not involve a lot of fast action sports 30 frames per secound should be adequate as long as you do not pan the camera too fast.

High Definition wedding videos look so professional compared to standard definition. It also puts the Uncle Arthur's at bay. When Uncle Arthur offers to shoot the wedding for free he will soon back off when he finds out that he will have to buy a high definition video camera.
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Old November 16th, 2005, 04:00 PM   #4
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At $9000 each I would have a tough time justifying it over the $2500-$4000 HDV cameras unless you had a specific need for some of the special features on the Canon.
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Old November 16th, 2005, 04:04 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Tommy James
First of all it is indeed possible to deliver High Definition video. JVC sells a deck that supports the playback of high definition video using conventional red laser technology. The deck sells for 350 dollars and should be bundled with the wedding package if you are shooting in high definition.

For ease of editing I recommend the the 720p format shot at 30 frames per secound rather than the 1080i format shot at 60 frames per secound. 720p requires only half of the computer power as does 1080i. Since weddings do not involve a lot of fast action sports 30 frames per secound should be adequate as long as you do not pan the camera too fast.

High Definition wedding videos look so professional compared to standard definition. It also puts the Uncle Arthur's at bay. When Uncle Arthur offers to shoot the wedding for free he will soon back off when he finds out that he will have to buy a high definition video camera.

Tom,

OK let me turn the tables a little, sell me on the H1.

1. What do I need in horsepower to edit 720x30p
2. How much drive space do I need to be comparable to my current 250g's
3. What DVD Authoring package do I need, I use Sony right now.
4. Will I really need to upgrade my Canopus package? Am I going to get close to realtime with Premier Pro and the HD plug-ins?

Any other suggestions that you have... let me know, I can do an H1 when it comes out and keep it as a 2nd cam to my XL2 and shoot in SD most of the time and HD for special events. My partner is considering the H1 for news shooting knowing that he's going to be shooting in SD the majority of the time, but it puts 2 H1's in our company.

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Old November 16th, 2005, 04:11 PM   #6
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First of all HDV takes up just as much harddrive space as DV if you use a system with native HDV editing such as Avid Liquid and Final Cut Pro.

I do not mean to be rude but to say you are not going to shoot HD weddings because nobody is asking for them is kind of ignorant.

When DV came out brides were not demanding that we shoot digital. They didn't know it was there yet. It was only after many DV pioneers jumped into the format and people started to see how much better it was than analog that everybody wanted digital.

The same will be true with HD.

Shooting HD and down converting will give your clients some of the best SD DVD's they will ever see. Take some of the samples here on the forums and make your own DVD's from them. The detail and quality even at SD is amazing.

Your clients will also be very happy with you when a little bit down the road you can give them (free/charge) a new HD version of their wedding to add to their SD DVD.

Finally HD makes better photo prints than SD ever will.
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Old November 16th, 2005, 05:49 PM   #7
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"First of all HDV takes up just as much harddrive space as DV if you use a system with native HDV editing such as Avid Liquid and Final Cut Pro."

heheh Avid Liquid.. well i guess if u cant beat em, buy em.. roflmao pity the workflow of liquid is so shite...

Actually editing in native M2t format is NOT the best way to go about it.. generation loss and mpg artefacting is totally abhorrent... NX/SP systems are much cleaner, but then u have Edius to contend with... and its not the most user friendly system...

I shoot corp with 2 Z1s, and shoot weddings with 2 DVX100s, i am yet to meet a client wanting their wedding shot in HDV... but if they do , they WILL be charged the extra time it takes to manage this format.
As for 16:9, its all DV..

"I do not mean to be rude but to say you are not going to shoot HD weddings because nobody is asking for them is kind of ignorant."

I beg to differ.. this is called smart business... if u dont have to shoot HD, dont... simple equation...
Not everyone can afford to "upgrade" but as far as i see it, i dont see it as an upgrade, i see it as a different format with not that many added beenfits for weding clients.. especially considering you cant create a DVD with menus and chapters using the format... WM formats work ok, but its still a highliy compressed format, so whats the point?? Then theres teh playback to contend with...
Not everyone has a plasma or LCD and not every clients friends and relatives will have this either..
Remember, its not just the client youre dealing with, but their families too....
If your charging for this extra time, sure go for it.. but if ur not, your a fool...

I also dont see wedding clients forking out 350US to play a digital tape... let alone find other uses for the deck... and I also dont see them buying these decks for their relatives.

Weddings and HD.. not yet.. ive said this before and ill say it again.. until the client can go to the video shop and hire a HD DVD, and watch it on their own player, THATS when ill start to offer HD weddings as a standard product.
Right now theres really no point.. the clients really will not appreciate the work put behind it..
u can trust me on that.. i deal with producers every day and some have jumped to HDV and are wondering why they bothered...

You might be surprised at this next comment, however MOST CLIENTS DONT CARE...
They just want a good video, with some nice closeups, good sound and some nice cutting. They dont give a shit about anything else.. trust me on that, ive been in this game long enough to expereince any and every type of customer you could ever possibly come across and on the forefront, this mentailty is prominant... sure you get afew who are savvy, but u deal with those as they come...

either way, do what u feel will work for your business...
Me, im not going HD as the time and effort i put into this just isnt worth the money.. Ive spent 3 yrs doing this for the public and even with DV, the time required and the energy put forward really does drain one person..
Especialy when u hit 40 odd weddings a year with overly demanding clients who are budget concious...
As for HDV, ill prolly grab a HVX (DVCProHD) and shoot corps and the occasional wedding with it, sell off what i have and jump ship back to stills as a day job coz thats where the money is.. its sad but true.. but for me, less work, less post work, less strain on the family and better pay makes better sense to me.. For ME thats the logical solution so yeah even if i shoot weddings on SD next year (which i already have bookings for) so be it.. but HD is really not needed... not yet anyway...
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Old November 16th, 2005, 07:16 PM   #8
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Well first of all I'm not talking about a digital tape format to deliver HD on but rather A DVD player that is capable of playing high definition video which sells for 350 bucks. Most people I have talked to have been turned off by any kind of digital tape format for the playback of high definition video, what people want is the disc format plain and simple.

As far as the affordability of high definition video indeed in the past when high definition video cameras sold for around 100,000 dollars only the most elite wedding videographers could afford to shoot in this format. But now since high definition video cameras are more affordable it again rasies the issue.

Now we can of course assume that the clients will not pay a dime more for high definition. That may indeed be the market reality. If a client does not care he does not care. Also it may not even be possible to amoratize the total cost of the $350 dollar deck into the wedding package. If your typical fee for shooting standard definition is $1500 dollars you may be able to charge $1650 because you are giving him additional value such as a DVD deck but he may feel ripped off if you charge him the full $1850. So already you are $200 in the hole. But if the client insists on a free deck you are 350 dolars in the hole.

Now let us assume that indeed it does take more time to edit high definition video. So how does one make a profit? The only way to make a profit is to cut corners on the editing. Just throw the footage together if you have to but make sure you don't spend a lot of time on it. Then make a demo disc for showcasing your work (your hack editing job) and apologize to your potential customer that the expense of HD does not allow enough time for fancy editing however at the same time you are showcasing your work on an HD Plasma television. Now you yourself said that Joe Six Pack does not care about HD so why would he care about a hack editing job ? And you remind the bride of how beautiful she will look in HD.
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Old November 16th, 2005, 09:55 PM   #9
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"Then make a demo disc for showcasing your work (your hack editing job) and apologize to your potential customer that the expense of HD does not allow enough time for fancy editing however at the same time you are showcasing your work on an HD Plasma television. Now you yourself said that Joe Six Pack does not care about HD so why would he care about a hack editing job ? And you remind the bride of how beautiful she will look in HD."

See this is where you and i differ...
i REFUSE to hack a job.. simple.. no matter how much im gettin paid for it...
I would rather (and my clients would rather) see a decently presented standard definition video as opposed to something which has been hacked together and rushed simply coz its shot in HDV...
the delivery format isnt the be all and end all.. its whats inside that counts..

In response to...

"Now you yourself said that Joe Six Pack does not care about HD so why would he care about a hack editing job ?"

Format and Editing style are two VERY different things... very VERY different things.... and if anyone here cant see that, then there really is a problem...
Will HD or WMV change the emotive element within a wedding presentation? Will it improve the sound quality? will it giver me a wider scope to explore the possibilities of the tools i am working with?? Will i learn anything i didnt already know? and at the end of the day, when my clients watch their wedding piece, will they trully appreciate the work i put into it??

As for the deck.. well, good luck to those who offer the product to the client and charge for it.. as i can guarantee u that half the people watching this video wont be able to play it back.. simply due to you having to buy a HD WMV player or DiVx player or whatever player not only for the client, but for the clients parents, grandparents and anyone else who may want to watch it.. i dont see a client doing the runs with a player in hand going house to house showing off their wedding video.. ......

What then?? More encoding and hours lost ...

dont get me wrong, HD and HDV will be the way of the future, but for now... no... theres no market viability...

this al comes down to education.. and more importantly appreciation.. once the clients are educated in the "benefits' of HD, then they learn to appreciate the differences,
Hopefully, they then choose to invest in HD playback and display devices.. but until then, u can most likely forget it..
Until then, us as producers have ALOT of work ahead of us when u consider we're the ones producing this played material, which in turn is alot more work to manage and costs time.... Time is money, time is your LIFE... and if you dont see it this way, theres something terribly wrong.
Ive spent too many hours on the ediitng suite cutting and working 16 to 20hrs a day just simply isnt worth my while...
Sure the money is good, but id rather spend time with my son and wife.. .

Anyways... once the client learns to appreciate the work involved in HD, will they realise that the investment they make TO US as producers, is worthwhile TO THEM...

Simply making a bride look pretty in HD can be done in any format, u dont need a HDV camera, i shot a 4 cam wedding where the client specifically requested a HD version for his Media Centre PC. We used 2 z1 and 2 DVX100.. Z1's were then bought down to 720p and the dvx upscaled to 720p, and to be honest, the colour and gradation of the DVX STILL shat on the Z1.. not to mention colour accuracy, lens abherations, exposure accuracy and skin tone... sharpness was obviously softer, but in the end, the results were comparable....
For this i wouldnt charge less than 6500AUD...
and for this reason, id rather upscale to 720p as opposed to downscaling from 1080i to 720p, simply coz the DVX, in my eyes, is a better camera all round..

Alot of work and about 5 days of transcoding and encoding later with 2 machines going hard at it... we were left with a pretty decent looking WMV file, however even with this, they had to copy it to their HDD to play back smoothly...

Whats my point..
Now of the 40 odd wedding clients ive had this year (not to mention the 20 odd corp clients), this was ONE client... and thats prolly coz he sells plasmas and LCD panels for a living...so he knew abit about them

but in the end, he understood that HE was the only one who could watch it in that format....

This client appreciated the work involved and was happy to pay for it. He understood the work required and understood that i would need to sacrifice other work and resources to get his job out..
not all clients are like this...

And that is my other point.. at the ned of the day... if a client is shopping around, and they see HD material which has been cut like rubbish, then see SD material cut like gold... who do u really think theyre going to go to??

Last edited by Peter Jefferson; November 17th, 2005 at 12:03 AM.
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Old November 17th, 2005, 01:48 AM   #10
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I think you missed my point.

I also have no intention of giving anybody a hacked version of their HD wedding right now. I intend on giving only SD DVD's for now. HDV does make better SD DVD's than any current SD camera other than maybe a 2/3" camera.

My whole point however is that for the little extra time involved in editing I can go back 2 years from now and give/sell HD versions to my clients. This is something you will never be able to do by shooting SD. Your videos will forever be stuck at SD. By shooting HDV now you make sure there are options for your clients in the future. Options that will make your clients (and their family and friends) very happy.

Intermediate HD editing methods also have generation loss.

HDV to Cineform = 2nd generation
Cineform back to HDV = 3rd generation

Intermediate codecs also take time to convert and take up more space than Native HDV.

Liquid Edition actually works very well with native HDV and can edit multiple streams in realtime. All color correction and filtering is done on the origional source so everything is always 2nd generation. Even if you stacked 5 filters on top of your video the source file is used.

I do not understand why so many people think HDV costs a lot. I and my friends in the industry have always worked with SD cameras costing well over $10,000.00 each. Actually to my friends HDV isn't good enough because it is too cheap to them and only 1/3" HDV may cost a tiny bit more but it was intended to be a consumer/prosumer format so the cost isn't that bad.

When recording DVD's first came out many of us jumped on board. Many of our clients or some in their families didn't even have a DVD player. Brides were not even asking for DVD because they didn't know it was an option. Still we gave it to them and now it is the standard. Yes we could have just sat back and continued to hand out VHS tapes but look how much happier the clients are because we pushed the quality forward and made it the new standard.

How can a bride request HD if she doesn't even know it is an option? There isn't going to be some magic fairy that will fly down to tell her to ask if you can do HD. I know once we start pitching HD everybody will want to have it

10 years ago we didn't shoot on VHS cameras just because VHS was the best thing to give to our clients. We shot on SVHS or DV.

If HDV editing is an issue many HDV cameras/decks will actually output live from the camera a DV version which you can edit the same as your current SD video. This way you still at least get to keep the raw footage in HD for the future.
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Old November 17th, 2005, 05:35 AM   #11
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i get your point mate, dont get me wrong.. as for liquid, if thats what floats your boat as an NLE, good luck to you...

"I do not understand why so many people think HDV costs a lot"

I agree, HDV DOESNT cost much more than any DV... but HDV costs TIME.. to me thats a cost i cannot incur at this time.. not with my workload...
Its the TIME it takes to process this material.. whether it be using an intermediate format, or a delivery format such as WMV..

im not disputing that HD is where its all heading, im just saying that until there is an actual market for the product then its futile to persue a sale in the format... if your making a considerable difference in your costs, then yeah why not, but in the end, remember that youre setting a precedent for others and for the market value of HD products...
Also note that if you have to use this HD element to compete with your competition, all the competition need to so is upgrade their cameras... and then ur stuck in a rut again with nothing all that different to offer your client (apart from ur own style of course)
See THIS is where the market fell over when Digital became widespread. Producers charged a little less coz their cameras were cheaper, but the workload itself got heavier.. then with the advent of DVD.. youd think it would have increased costs, instead, it lowered costs due to the time saving of VHS and the costs of discs.... but your costs increase with time it takes to transcode... so were still in the same place we were all those years ago but were gettin paid less for it....

now when u consider photographers charge twice if not 3 times as much as video... it makes one wonder why we keep going.. obviously theres money in it, and the love of the art is another major factor, but in the end, we all have bills to pay, and when it comes to photography vs video in the couples eye, 80% of weddings have aprofessional Photog, while 25% of them have a professional Video... to me the odds are stacked against video and the current market trend against pro video is making me rethink my business structure.

Ive been doing this for 11 years, publicly doing weddings for 3 of those coming onto the 4th... .money IS good coz im different, but it doesnt change the fact that i can make more money shooting stills, spend more time with my family as post produciton work is minimal, equipment costs are cheaper, and appreciation for the work in $$ is far more evident. On top of that the stigma of video and the 80's style typical wedding video has really destroyed the way people percieve the product, and even without viewing work, people make judgements prior to even considering the product..
This is where the 80% vs 25% comes into play.. id rather play in 80% of the market as opposed to playing in a 25% playground full of amateurs and cost cutting merchants who undercut you and plagiarise your work...

Video could have easily exceeded photography within the wedding market, but its the merchants who have destroyed it. The product we provide clearly offers more "momento value" than photos ever could... I know photographers who charge minimum 4grand a job... for me to score a job like that in video, im looking at twice as much work in post than what the photographer would be doing.. On top of that, for me to score a job like that is rare, coz the market itself refuses to consider these kind of prices for "just a wedding video" Unfortunately, now its seen as an afterthought to most weddings which is a real shame..
Maybe if we VALUED our products accordingly as opposed to skinning each other, the clients would pay for a decent product akin to the costs of photography. But now, there is a chance to do this with HD.. but it wont happen.. people will be using the HD format as a selling point to go over the guys still using SD... but by the time everyone is shooting HD, this "we shoot in HD so were better" behaviour would have already set a precedent to the public so nothing will really change in the end.... as everyone will be shooting HD... so what will you be left with as a selling point when everyone shoots HD?

I wonder if its going to change the way our products are seen.. or whether we'll just be going around in circles again...
Im betting on the latter... judging from what i have seen and heard so far...
In the end, Like Digital, newbies will be shooting in HD and saying "hey look at us.. " but theyll be charging the same prices as the older fellas shooting SD coz the newbies need to compete with the older folk.. afew of these and theres your precedent..
Id rather not be a part of that mentality...


HD will just be another cost to us as producers as other producers continue to screw the profession into the ground
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Old November 17th, 2005, 07:04 AM   #12
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A couple of points ...

Even if one isn't delivering HD to clients today because of lack of playback equipment in the consumer market, that's going to change dramatically within the next year as the Blu-Ray and DVD-HD battle sorts itself out and decks begin to hit the store shelves. Also don't forget the widespread presence of the Playstation whixh is also a viable HD playback device - Vegas added support for Playstation files in the recent "c" release upgrade.

We are at the transition point right now - the midpoint in the crossfade between a world where SD is the common consumer format and the world to come where HD will rule the roost, sort of like where colour TV was in 1960 (albeit a much faster transition today than then). While there is only a small demand for HD delivery at the moment, one can expect it will be common-place by the time a camera purchased today reaches the end of its economically useful life. IMHO, if one is buying a camera today, one should buy not what your clients and distribution channels are requesting today but in anticipation of what they will be requesting two-three years down the line. Beginning with the release of the first HD DVDs at Blockbuster and HD capable DVD players at places like Circuit City, I'd expect HD to replace SD as the dominant consumer format at about the same rate CDs replaced vinyl and whether we're talking about a 5 kilobuck or a 10 kilobuck camera, that transition will be pretty near complete well before the time you've depreciated your new cam and wear and tear dictates its replacement.

I'm one of those guys coming from the still photo world for whom image quality is paramount. Though I've been shooting since the 1960's, it was only about 2 years ago that the front of my Nikons ever saw a zoom lens due to my belief that they just couldn't deliver as crisp an image as primes. Disregarding the economic issues, even if one is expecting to be delivering strictly SD for the next few years, the on-screen image of a scene shot in HD, captured to an intemediate using a tool such a Cineform, and rendered to an SD for output in post yields a noticably sharper and cleaner image than one gets shooting SD to begin with or even shooting with an HD camera and down-rezzing to SD in the camera as one records or captures into the NLE. So to my thinking, even if one is strictly delivering SD to the client, one is going to deliver signfigantly BETTER SD if you master in HD and convert than you will if you master in SD from the beginning. You picture will simply look better on the screen if you shoot with an XLH1 than it will if you shoot with an XL2, even if both of them are rendered as SD when you deliver it to the client.
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Old November 17th, 2005, 08:49 AM   #13
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noone is doubting the viability of HD in the future, and i agree, HD footage DOES look sharper than SD (notice i only mentioned sharper...) , however on a business perspective, one must lose site as to how much this time to produce HD product costs...

this is my point..

As for Blu Ray... at first it will be available to larger corporations and distribution outlets, but i dont see it being offered to producers for a year or so at least.. reason this is is that with PS3, Sony will do whatever they can to stop the reverse engineering of their units.. once the blue ray burners come out, sony will lose ALOT of sales in software as piracy runs rife... much like PS2 and XBox today... I can tell u know that from inside info that ive recieved, Sony have no plans on releasing BluRay production production to the public for at least 18 months after PS3 is released.. but by then, they may fold under pressure .... who knows..
At the end of the day, its the money we make today which will dictate what we invest in tomorrow.. and if we cant make money in what we do, theres no way were gonna be able to move along with the times..

As for Vegas 6c, well the only sony format i see it supporting now is PSP (MP4) and .264 oh and MXF files from XDCam... who knows, tehre might be a "burn to BluRay option in version 7... but i shudder to think of the pricetag for the burners, let alone the discs themselves.
i remember when blank dvds first came out.. they were $45 each for a single burn and 65 for a rewritable.. and even back then the burners were like 2000 dollars..
I guess what im looking at is the bigger picture across the board.... and how this new format can bnefit what we do...
from what ive seen so far from posts here and elsewhere, as well as those already shooting HDV and downsampling, is that their behaviour and business model has not changed to reflect the integration of the technology.
This is REALLY bad news coz these guys already shooting HDV are the ones open to "set the standard" for the product as their the first ones gettin their feet wet with it...
So if they fark it up... then... well, were all farked...
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Old November 17th, 2005, 09:10 PM   #14
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Well it would be interesting to see if any videographers are actually making money with high definition video for weddings.
Therefore I checked some websites and one videographer in Beverly Hills offers a high definition wedding video package for $5000. The package includes a free high definition DVD player. So not only do they shoot in high definition but they deliver in high definition today for no extra charge. But of course Beverly Hills represents the very high end and it is no indication of what Middle America is willing to pay.
So I checked out the SanFrancisco Bay area and I found a wedding videographer that shoots high definition exclusively. This I found highly unusual because I have been told that high definition video will not sell yet they have been shooting in this format for 18 months and have not gone out of business. On their website they tell the customer that they are not McDonalds so if they want a cheaper video they should go elsewhere. They charge about $2500 for a wedding but they do not offer a free high definition video player. However the SanFrancisco Bay Area is the high tech Silicon Valley and is not indicative of what middle america is willing to pay for a video.
So I think that if you are a heavy commuter man willing to travel to the big Silicon Valley to make your fortune high definition may work for you. I tried to make my fortune in the Silicon Valley years ago but the commute almost killed me. But a wedding videographer does not have to commute every day and can do a lot of his work at home. And remember Silicon Valley customers are very tech savy. I bet a lot of them already own high definition televisions. However the town I live in people will not even pay 1000 dollars for a wedding video. So I guess its the Silicon Valley or bust.
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Old November 18th, 2005, 06:44 AM   #15
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To my thinking, for the wedding, event, corporate markets, one shouldn't scrap a recent SD camera in good condition to move to HD. But the NEXT new camera one buys, whether you're shopping right now or still have some time to go before you need to replace your current camera, should absolutely be HD. As I said before, even if the consumer demand for HD is minimal today, I'd anticipate it will be the dominant consumer format by the time any camera purchased from today onward has reached the end of its economically useful life. One needs to have the hardware in one's toolkit to be able to follow in step with the shifts in demand without having to invest in all the upgrades all at once or risk losing business because one lags behind the curve. And if one is shooting for the indy film markets, direct-to-consumer special interest documentary or instructional markets, or hopes to develop materials for the broadcast I think that reasoning applies in spades. Invest not for what is in demand today but for what WILL be in demand 3 to 5 years into the future.
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