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


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Old March 25th, 2006, 06:26 PM   #16
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ATSC broadcast specifications are based on using MPEG-2 compression. A change from ATSC, for OTA broadcasts, in the US (or anywhere else for that matter) doesn't seem even remotely likely for years and years to come.

There are three compression formats written into the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray specs, and MPEG-2 is one of them. MPEG-2 may not prove to be the most widely used, especially as time goes on, but it would surprise me if MPEG-2 isn't used significantly for encoding the new disks, at least for a few years (any of the three compression formats is quite viable for full length, feature films). HD-DVD players will begin being shipped within weeks. Blu-Ray players aren't far behind.

Shooting HDV is pretty much the only viable method for acquiring HD footage within anything close to the kind of budget most weddings are professionally produced at (whether it's edited as MPEG-2, or using an intermediate codec like Cineform, or via a method such as using a product like Gearshift). Panasonic's P2 technology (to shoot DVCPro-HD) may become competitive, but it isn't really quite yet, and is not even a certainty to, at this point. Nothing else is even on the horizon.

HD content can be delivered currently on red laser disks (standard DVD disks). There are a couple of DVD players currently being sold in the US that can play HD content from red laser disks. DVHS tape is also viable for delivery of HD content (not particularly attractive, but it is viable).

Low light performance of the HDR-FX1 and HVR-Z1U is quite comparable to (or better than) that of many SD miniDV (and DVCAM) cameras currently in widespread usage for professional wedding videography (DVCs, DVXs, GLs and XLs - essentially, all but the PD and VX camera lines, also from Sony).
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Old March 26th, 2006, 01:18 AM   #17
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As we look at transmission going to NAB, bandwidth management is becoming a huge part of our future, says John Wallace, NBC Universal executive VP of television operations and production services. We are interested in exploring MPEG-4 compression for more optimization in our bits for distribution, and that includes the NBC television network as well. A project for 2006-07 is to convert Skypath [NBCs satellite distribution of programs to affiliates] to high-definition MPEG-4. Right now, its MPEG-2.
http://broadcastingcable.com/article...Special+Report

"Sky's HD service will also utilise the advanced compression technology MPEG4. MPEG4 is a more efficient means of compressing the data in a TV picture."
http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/article/ds19617.html

"DISH Network Introduces Nation's Largest Package of HD Channels
ENGLEWOOD, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 16, 2006--EchoStar and its DISH Network(TM) satellite TV service announced today it will launch local high definition TV channels via its satellite TV service to customers in Chicago... To make this possible, DISH Network will begin transmitting newly added HD channels in MPEG4, a signal compression standard developed by MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group). MPEG4 allows DISH Network to maximize the bandwidth available on its satellites and offer the most robust lineup of HD channels in the nation."
http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/060216/20060216005172.html?.v=1

everything you shoot in hdv will have to be re-compressed for distribution, so there is no advantage to using mpeg2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert M Wright
Low light performance of the HDR-FX1 and HVR-Z1U is quite comparable to (or better than) that of many SD miniDV (and DVCAM) cameras currently in widespread usage for professional wedding videography (DVCs, DVXs, GLs and XLs - essentially, all but the PD and VX camera lines, also from Sony).
"The appeal of the FX1 is compelling its high-def and its today. But that high-def comes at a steep price in other ways poor audio connectivity/controls, narrow latitude, weak low-light response, and a video-only look, as well as significant loss of resolution on moving shots, and the dropout issue."
http://www.dvxuser.com/articles/shoot3/

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert M Wright
Nothing else is even on the horizon.
that is not correct... the silicon has already been created for h.264 video acquisition by the ambrella corporation, and the first hi-def mpeg4 video camera is already on the market: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisplay.php?f=115

that camera is but a toy, when compared to what will be here within the next couple of years:

"Ambarella Corp. has a working 17-mm2 packaged system-on-chip that handles H.264 encoding at data rates of 15 Mbits/second and up while consuming just 1 watt."
http://www.videsignline.com/showArti...leId=174919683
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Old March 26th, 2006, 08:54 AM   #18
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Don't hold your breath waiting for Congress to act again, and change the standards for OTA broadcasting. Cable and Satellite will eventually go to delivering content using MPEG-4 compression, but it won't happen overnight.

Currently, if you distribute on standard DVD, you will recompress, unless you shoot with a pretty odd camera (and you'll also go from 4:1:1 to 4:2:0 color sampling, if the source material is DV).

With HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, there actually is the potential to distribute content acquired with an HDV camera, without recompressing (you should be able to simply repackage the MPEG-2 video and audio streams, if desired, and you can stay at 4:2:0).

Frankly, I expect to encode HD-DVD and Blu-Ray disks using MPEG-2, for delivering wedding videos. There are some advantages to doing that, and no downside that I can see (25 or so gigs is plenty of room for very high quality HD MPEG-2 content - even a DL red laser DVD, at a little over 8 gigs, is workable with).

Reading from the same article you quoted, regarding low light performance of the three cameras compared, you might notice that they also state that the FX1 is clearly the more noise free of the cameras compared, when gain is used. They mention less detail in blacks with the FX1. Using black stretch on a Z1 should provide a considerable improvement there.

There are all kinds of things being researched and developed (more than you can shake a stick at - that's always been true, and always will be). Nothing to compete with HDV (and possibly Panasonic's HVX) is on the horizon. There are no inklings of plans for a major company (Sony, Canon, JVC, Panasonic) to release a high definition camera, using another compression codec (like any type of MPEG-4) or even using a different primary recording medium (like SD or CF cards), that would be economical for professional wedding videography, in anything remotely resembling the foreseeable future.
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Old March 26th, 2006, 11:39 AM   #19
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This has been a very interesting and well informed discussion. I am left with one impression:

Wait a bit, things are in flux.

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Old March 26th, 2006, 09:53 PM   #20
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waiting is indeed the smartest thing to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert M Wright
Cable and Satellite will eventually go to delivering content using MPEG-4 compression, but it won't happen overnight.
that is true, but i just proved to you that hd satellite in chicago is currently using mpeg4 to broadcast over the air, directly to consumers... i also proved that nbc television programming will be distributed first via mpeg4, then mpeg2 for the so-called "final mile".

i would suggest that you look into iptv, among other things... there is a community in texas that is currently receiving outstanding picture quality on their tv sets, via mpeg4 iptv... your fixation on fcc mpeg2/ota is but one part of the pie these days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert M Wright
With HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, there actually is the potential to distribute content acquired with an HDV camera, without recompressing (you should be able to simply repackage the MPEG-2 video and audio streams, if desired, and you can stay at 4:2:0).
i did think about that, but i haven't bothered to look at any detailed hd dvd specs to see if it's even possible, because hd dvd is pure vaporware at this point.

how about if you and kevin tell us how many hd dvd's you guys have authored so far? hmm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert M Wright
There are no inklings of plans for a major company (Sony, Canon, JVC, Panasonic) to release a high definition camera, using another compression codec (like any type of MPEG-4) or even using a different primary recording medium (like SD or CF cards), that would be economical for professional wedding videography, in anything remotely resembling the foreseeable future.
obviously, none of those companies have a history of talking about products in the engineering stages, because it would ruin the sales of current products... people would hold off buying current cameras, in favor of what's coming in a year or two.

and believe it or not, there is a definite connection between the current availability of new silicon, and how it will affect products being designed today... i didn't expect you to appreciate the impact of that ambarella h.264 chip.

as for your fx1, eventdv compared it to the xl2: "in low-light tests, the dv camcorder produced a brighter image than the fx1 in both hdv and dv modes, although it does look a bit faded."

as i understand it, the problem with hdv cameras with 1/3" chips is that they use small ccd's for a large frame size(aka higher resolution), so there is essentially less surface area on the ccd's to pick up the light... that's not a fault of the hdv mpeg2, but i think that it will be improved on as better chips become available.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 01:52 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
mpeg2 is already being dumped as a broadcast distribution format all over the world, because h.264 is so much better... take a look at any satellite network, especially in europe; nobody wants to use mpeg2, period.
Okay, distribution will be either MPEG2 or MPEG4...at data rates less than or equal to those used by HDV cameras. If anything, switching to MPEG4 distribution may extend the lifespan of HDV as a recording format, because then HDV will be higher bandwidth than typical delivery solutions and hence offer some overhead for production imperfections.

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claiming that mpeg2 is going to be the primary disc-based hd distribution format is absurd, because there aren't any hd dvd players in the hands of consumers yet... so everything is wide open at this point.
Sorry, make that "a" primary distribution format. Sony has already announced that they and their studio partners will use MPEG2 for the first round of HD movies, in part because that's easier to do effectively for now -- and coincidentally more of a nuisance for bootleggers to duplicate.

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shooting hdv for weddings is a joke at this point in time, because the workflow is so crippled, and there is no delivery format for the resolution that you are shooting at... not to mention the marginal low-light performance you get with hdv, vs. dv.
My workflow for HDV production is essentially identical to working with DV, except I have to use my best computer for full-resolution projects and I have to implement one workaround for making widescreen SD output from an HD timeline in Edius. HD delivery is available now for those customers willing to work with cutting-edge options, and will be mainstream within a few weeks when the Toshiba HD DVD players start shipping. Low-light performance is a bit of a challenge, but with 20-40 watts of on-camera lighting and a little post-production enhancement it's not that big a deal. I've actually reduced the wattage of my on-camera lights since I started shooting HDV.

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i would say don't count on an up-res solution for critical work...
On that much we can agree. I did some tests recently which indicated that true widescreen SD footage can be upsampled tolerably well to 720p resolution, but 4x3 SD converted to widescreen anything looks like crap. Any camera without a proper widescreen sensor or a good anamorphic lens is headed for obsolescence for professional videography purposes. That's the key point to take from this particular discussion: HD/widescreen will take over and 4x3 acquisition is doomed.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 02:03 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
obviously, none of those companies have a history of talking about products in the engineering stages, because it would ruin the sales of current products... people would hold off buying current cameras, in favor of what's coming in a year or two.
There will always be something better coming in the future, but HDV is here now and works admirably well for the price and considering its technical limitations. By the time something better is widely available and supported today's HDV cameras will long since be paid for, and will continue to serve as functional backup cameras for many years after that. Meanwhile, most footage being shot in SD is effectively outdated, and will be useless for your HD demo reels a couple of years from now. (Unless you have a really good widescreen SD camera.) Wake up and smell the coffee folks, HD is a reality today and will only become more so in the future. If you don't feel like investing in HD yet that's probably a prudent business decision, but you need to figure out when and how you're going to make that investment.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 10:00 AM   #23
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All this is true but one thing that keeps getting glossed over is the low light issue.

I have yet to shoot a wedding that did not require a good low light camera. I don't believe in shooting with lights at weddings. I don't want to dive into that discussion, it is just my preference and the preference of my clients. That said, HDV is effectively ruled out for everything except outdoor deals. For now.

I expect a HDV camera with low light capabilities similar to a PD-150 soon. Most likely sooner than any viable true HD solutions. It was put forth that the SD guys need to figure out when they are going to make the move and I suggest this is the point for me: When a low light HDV solution is available.

Everybody has different requirements and if you shoot with lots of lights then HDV may be the way to go right now.

By the way, did you see the press release about the SHD format? Super High Definition. They say it will be replacing HD soon. Any takers??

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Old March 27th, 2006, 11:01 AM   #24
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i have to agree to diasgree mike, some of your comments made me want to reply with a myriad of technical jargon but its almost 4am and i need sleep :)

one thing however is that until a format is STANDARDISED all were going to see is a mish mash of formats vying over each other. In the end it will cause more confusion for our clients and more work on our part to educate these said clients. Not to mention the fact that we still need to sell these formats to said client.

As for 4:3 acquisition, i tend to agree, mostly... but there are many solutions out there which handles the 4:3 to 16:9 issue so IMO its a non issue. I wouldnt go out spreading fear of the almighty widescreen, but then again, there are clients out there who have no idea.. as an example, a client wanted her wedding in widescreen, BUT when she viewed the widescreen footage she noticed the black bars on top and bottom (she was watching a 4;3 tv) You and I and most peopel out there know that this is normal. To her though, she thought it was a defect.. so 1hr later after going over the reasons why its the way it is, she wanted it 4:3
Each to their own, but in the end, its up to the client as to which way we as producers should be heading.

I honestly dont think Low Light performance will dictate the evolution across to HD.. far from it, even in DV standards most 1/3rd cameras find it hard to acquire GOOD footage in low lit environments. In this case you mentioned you dont like to use light, and if that works for you, great. I on the other hand, use indeirect lights and usually nothgn over 35-50w for dancfloor use. If im shooting with teh Z1, i change the globes to 50 and 100w. The difference a little light makes is very noticable to colour, gradation, and contrast (as wellas focus "appearing" sharper due to said colour reproductions) and like photographer, without light u have no picture.
Its a true fact that even in low light, what u might get without using a light, u might lose in detail.
IMO that detail is too priceless to sacrifice. But thats me and my opinions differ to most and i accept that. I also respect peoples choices about lighting as many times people say they dont want light, but to me, image quality is more important and i would recommend a light to any professional. This of course is if theyre using a 1/3rd CCD camera.
Larger CCD units can obviously get away with this

Either way, teh point im trying to make is that from where i sit as a distributor, low light performance IS NOT going to be the turning point of the industry. Low Light cameras MAY dictate the way HD acquisition evolves... but it wont be the turning point for SD shooters to jump onto the HD wagon..

Delivery formats, delivery media, NLE support, DVD Authoring support, cost of post production, and more importantly, education will dictate how this format is absorbed within the industry THEN absorbed to the general public
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Old March 27th, 2006, 11:02 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Cook
I have yet to shoot a wedding that did not require a good low light camera. I don't believe in shooting with lights at weddings. I don't want to dive into that discussion, it is just my preference and the preference of my clients. That said, HDV is effectively ruled out for everything except outdoor deals.
HDV works fine in reasonable indoor lighting if you know how to use it. The Sony HDV cameras are definitely not as sensitive as some of the best SD cameras and that can be a challenge for wedding work, but you could shoot HDV when the lights are on and then switch to your best SD camera when the lights are off. I suppose most of us shooting HDV at weddings are used to using a light at the reception anyway, so that's not a problem for us. I've tested the FX1 to be one stop less sensitive than my GL2 in low light but with cleaner footage, so I can make up some of the difference in post.

Quote:
I expect a HDV camera with low light capabilities similar to a PD-150 soon. Most likely sooner than any viable true HD solutions.
Yet again please note that HDV is as much "true HD" as most other HD recording solutions, and the Canon XLH1 offers a full uncompressed HD output for those who want that. The first camera to meet your low-light needs will probably be the Sony XDCAM HD, with a retail price around $17K plus lens when it's released sometime in the next few weeks. For those of us who don't have $20K to spare for a wedding camera, see note above about options for low-light HD recording.

Quote:
By the way, did you see the press release about the SHD format? Super High Definition. They say it will be replacing HD soon. Any takers??
Not gonna happen for event videography for at least the next few decades. We're just now getting to the point where we can shoot and deliver 720p or 1080i resolution to customers with (mostly) 720p HDTVs, and it will be a long time before either we or customers have maxed out the potential of 1080p. Besides, 720p may turn out to be "about right" for wedding work because it's enough more detail than SD to be visually satisfying, but doesn't reveal every last blemish as much as SHD would do. Even at 720p we've got customers worrying about how they'll look on video, which is absurd because that's a small fraction of the resolution that their photographers are using. But that's the way people think, so even 1080p is likely to be a tough sell unless future generations want more realism.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 02:57 PM   #26
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It's pretty difficult for me to imagine that televisions with greater than 1080p resolution are going to become even akin to commonplace, in living rooms across the country (or elsewhere in the world for that matter, aside perhaps possibly in Japan), for many years to come (think decades). Greater than 1080p video image acquisition is unlikely to become economical for all but ultrahigh end professional wedding video acquisition for quite awhile either. We'll probably see actual resolution of HDV cameras gradually shift closer to (and exceed a little) that of the Canon H1, but the actual realized resolution of cameras, such as the A1, FX1, Z1, HD100U and HVX200, are certainly reasonable (noticeably sharper, to anyone who isn't all but legally blind, than the sharpest SD), into and at least somewhat beyond the foreseeable future.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 03:25 PM   #27
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Jeez you guys, SHD was a joke. You guys need a hobby.....
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Old March 27th, 2006, 04:00 PM   #28
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The sad thing is that it's not a joke, and some of us would probably love to have an "8K" video camera:

http://www.studiodaily.com/filmandvi...ssue/6159.html
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Old March 27th, 2006, 07:44 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
If anything, switching to MPEG4 distribution may extend the lifespan of HDV.
lol... as mpeg4 continues to take over distribution, the popularity of the format will solidify it's use as an acquistion format, shortening whatever minimal lifespan hdv gets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
Sorry, make that "a" primary distribution format. Sony has already announced that they and their studio partners will use MPEG2 for the first round of HD movies, in part because that's easier to do effectively for now -- and coincidentally more of a nuisance for bootleggers to duplicate.
that is complete rubbish... mpeg2 dvd's have been copied(aka "bootlegged") since dvd's first came out, it's the most widely copied format in the world... there are hundreds of software programs out there right now that can copy mpeg2.

as for distribution, sony owns a bunch of mpeg patents, which is why they backed a lossy, inefficient mpeg2 format like hdv in the first place.

whether sony uses mpeg2 for it's movie distribution is completely irrelevant to this wedding forum anyway... if anything, people will not use it, because they can get a lot more footage onto a dvd with superior codecs like vc-1 and h.264.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
HD/widescreen will take over and 4x3 acquisition is doomed.
that's not relevant to this discussion... we are debating the use of hdv cameras here and now, not years down the road.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 08:12 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
By the time something better is widely available and supported today's HDV cameras will long since be paid for.
you don't have the slightest idea what cameras are in the engineering pipeline, so spare us the ranting.

i have noticed that you are attempting to discount the importance of low-light performance in shooting weddings... i hope that any video newbies reading this thread will know better.

many wedding ceremonies, in particular, take place in a sanctuary that does NOT allow additional lighting... so the low-light performance of the camera is mission-critical in getting a decent picture.
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