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


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Old March 22nd, 2006, 12:15 PM   #1
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SD vs HD: Tables have turned

For those of us not willing to upgrade our equipment/software/workflow to HD there seems to be a new alternative. Red Giant (makers of Magic Bullet) have released a new product called InstantHD. This up-rezzes SD video to several flavors of HD. And from the examples it seems to do an amazing job. Here's a link for those interested: http://www.redgiantsoftware.com/instanthd.html .

If the results do prove favorable (and I'll be trying this out as soon as work is over) this could be an incredibly low cost alternative to upgrading to HDV. The plugin only costs $99 and will uprez SD all the way up to 1080p. One thing to keep in mind is that this only works with progressive footage. So you'll either have to deinterlace your footage before you uprez or shoot progressive. I already do shoot progressive with my DVX100A, so this kind of plugin could really change things up. If a delivery method for HD is available and becomes widespread soon, this may be a good alternative to getting all new equipment. I do think that HD is the future (not trying to fight that) but personally I want something beyond HDV before I commit to it.

I'd love to hear other comments on this, especially from those using HDV.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 12:23 PM   #2
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Curious,

Does it uprez EACH FRAME or does it do a compression with GOP's?

I too believe that HD is the ultimatte end product. But I'm not yet convinced that HDV isn't a transitional format. WHen all is said and done, I'll bet that HDV as a format won't have a lifespan as long as DV does/did. SO this might be the way to go as we watch and wait for the following developments.

!) TRUE HD uncompressed cheap storage solutions. (Watching the 3d media closely) The winner will probably be some form of tapeless storage.

2) RED Camera (Counting on Jim to shake things up completely) Variable framerates, 35mm sensor, choose your codec... yeah sounds great.

We know Red is coming soon, and I think the storage solution is less than two years away. SO if my gut instinct is right, and the R&D curve holds... I'm guessing everyone will be shooting/editing a form of HD uncompressed by 2008/9.

My xl2 meanwhile, is churning out great pix, and has paid for itself.

Still, If a BODY ONLY version of the H1 were available, I'd consider buying that now. I'd use my 16x manual lens, and the fu-1000 viewfinder on it.

Just my ruminations as I plan to head off on a LONG project and shoot. I'll be off board for the next two to three months.

C-ya.

(Bummer I see on the link that they don't support Avid. Too bad.)
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 12:34 PM   #3
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I did a test with the FCP version, and it looked no different to uprez in FCP without the plugin. And the workflow was terrible.

On the Red Giant website there's no pictures showing how it's better than other methods - why?

Graeme
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 02:43 PM   #4
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Graeme,

Do you have any comparison shots we could look at? I don't use FCP (PC User) but it would be interesting to see them side by side. From my understanding this is a relatively new product. Maybe they will have comparisons later? I know they have comparisons against other products on their Magic Bullet pages.

Also, if uprezzing has been around for a while does anyone use it? Obviously the resolution isn't as good as native HD. But what other downfalls are there to doing this?
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 02:55 PM   #5
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No, I just used some progressive footage and it looked the same as FCP's scaling (best) in FCP5.

Graeme
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 03:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez
WHen all is said and done, I'll bet that HDV as a format won't have a lifespan as long as DV does/did.
If I was a gambling man I'd probably take you up on that bet. DV hasn't been in widespread use for ten years yet and is essentially obsolete as we head into the HD future, whereas HDV will continue to be useful until current standard HD formats are replaced by even higher resolutions. It took ~50 years for SD to be replaced by 2K HD, so if it takes half that time to move from 2K to 4K then HDV is good for the next 25 years. Keep in mind that MPEG2 at HDV data rates will be the primary broadcast and disc-based HD distribution format for at least the next few years, so HDV is a useful fit for that.

We could soon see a move toward MPEG4-based recording and distribution at bit rates somewhat lower than HDV, using the internet and flash-based memory for distribution. But HDV fits well into that because then it becomes the "high bandwidth" acquisition solution for low-bandwidth output, with higher bandwidth recording only needed in more demanding situations. If people like MPEG4 recording better than MPEG2 recording then maybe HDV becomes a transitional format, but it won't cease to be useful for quite some time after that. (DV may still be in use then too, but will be considered a nostalgic oddity.)
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 04:00 PM   #7
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Fair enough, but all other HDV arguments aside, does anybody uprez their footage now? My "lens" on the situation is this. I live in an SD world. The local market doesn't demand HD yet. I work mainly in event videography. Weddings, family gatherings, community events. This Friday I am filming the flag ceremony at the beginning of a Grizzlies hockey game. Nobody asks for HD here. But as delivery options become more mainstream (I mean HD-DVD and BluRay) I think that someone, sometime may want it. As I don't want to upgrade all of my equipment, would it make sense to use a product like this to up-rez my footage to HD for those few times when it is needed? I'd love to hear a straight answer to this question, not another attempt to baptize me into the HDV ranks. No offense intended to HDV users. HDV is fine and I'm glad that it's out there. But I'm just trying to determine if this is a useful tool for rare occasions or not.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 04:40 PM   #8
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KEVIN WROTE - "DV hasn't been in widespread use for ten years yet and is essentially obsolete as we head into the HD future"

OBSOLETE is a tricky word. That's why I never use it.

Perhaps I should have said "Capture format" in terms of lifespan... In point of fact, most media already captured, that is of any value will continue to 'exist' and be relative for the forseeable future. Especially with technology making it possible to uprez and 'clean up' old footage.

While working on a documentary, the only footage I had of a particular piece was in VHS. Now then, VHS is not an 'obsolete' format... plenty of tapes left on shelves, plenty of cheap players still available... but as a capture format, especially in terms of cameras, one can effectively say it is 'obsolete'. (As I take YOUR meaning of the word Kevin.) Very very difficult to find a VHS camcorder being manufactured today. Hi-8 and Digital 8 are fast dissapearing to.

As to claiming DV is 'obsolete', I think that's premature. New DV cameras are still being manufactured and sold. For the sake of arguement, lets not hang the obsolete sign out untill the cameras and decks are no longer being made.

In that respect, I still maintain that the 'working' lifespan of HDV as a capture format will be shorter than that of DV. In fact, I don't think it will be a capture format in ten years... say 2016. Will you still be using tapes that were captured in HDV? Sure. I transposed tapes in VHS, Betamax U-Matic and even SUPER 8 footage as needed. Like I said, the final delivery will be some form of High Definition... but HDV as a capture format will be relatively short lived. I think the technological advances moving us towards HD are exponentially growing.

Just my opinion.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 05:04 PM   #9
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Mike: proselytization aside, I haven't seen any SD up-rezzing solution at any price which makes upsampled SD look like anything but upsampled SD. You can't create detail where none exists in the source image (contrary to what Hollywood would have us believe), and if this did work we wouldn't need HD cameras in the first place. Plus HDTVs are supposed to upsample SD footage reasonably well anyway, so there's little point in spending time doing it upfront.

One thing which might be useful is that SD content delivered at HD resolution using a bit rate higher than that of traditional DVDs should look a little better than those DVDs. Plus if you can start shooting in widescreen mode using an anamorphic lens or a true widescreen SD camera, that will give you a leg up for HD output versus shooting 4x3 SD. In fact the 4x3 versus widescreen issue may be as significant as the change in resolution, because the change in aspect ratio makes converting SD footage that much harder.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 05:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez
In that respect, I still maintain that the 'working' lifespan of HDV as a capture format will be shorter than that of DV. In fact, I don't think it will be a capture format in ten years... say 2016.
I suppose I see your point, but what I'm saying is that today's HDV cameras will still be useful production tools in ten years when HD acquisition has become a de facto requirement of professional videography. They may be relegated to "B roll" status or otherwise marginalized, but they'll still be usable until they cost too much to maintain and/or miniDV tapes are no longer widely available. Plus if blue-laser DVD players catch on and become as ubiquitous as red-laser players are today, then distribution of HD content in MPEG2 format will be a widespread option for at least a decade from now. If HDV does get sidelined, it won't be by higher-end solutions but by MPEG4-based video cameras, probably using even lower recording bit rates.
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 02:00 PM   #11
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I'd almost bet good money, that 3-5 years from now, most professional wedding videos will be shot in HDV (more than 50%), and a significant number even delivered in HDV (essentially), on HD-DVDs or Blu-Ray disks. I'd be pretty surprised if my FX1 becomes obsolete before wearing out. I expect the FX1 and Z1 to become workhorses of the industry, much like VX2100s and PD170s are now.
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 06:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Oveson
For those of us not willing to upgrade our equipment/software/workflow to HD there seems to be a new alternative. Red Giant (makers of Magic Bullet) have released a new product called InstantHD. This up-rezzes SD video to several flavors of HD. And from the examples it seems to do an amazing job. Here's a link for those interested: http://www.redgiantsoftware.com/instanthd.html .

If the results do prove favorable (and I'll be trying this out as soon as work is over) this could be an incredibly low cost alternative to upgrading to HDV. The plugin only costs $99 and will uprez SD all the way up to 1080p. One thing to keep in mind is that this only works with progressive footage. So you'll either have to deinterlace your footage before you uprez or shoot progressive. I already do shoot progressive with my DVX100A, so this kind of plugin could really change things up. If a delivery method for HD is available and becomes widespread soon, this may be a good alternative to getting all new equipment. I do think that HD is the future (not trying to fight that) but personally I want something beyond HDV before I commit to it.

I'd love to hear other comments on this, especially from those using HDV.
or u could just use Vegas, throw down ur SD 4:3 footage on a HDV timeline, let it do all the scaling for you, all u need to do is reframe your shot if u want to... and then u can render faster than realtime to Cineform.. or even straight to M2t.. or H.264 or whatever..

I do this all the time, but i only scale up to 1280x720 from PAL 720x576 using DVX100a's as the source. Wrks a treat and not as "soft" as most people think.. if it is soft, just run a sharpening filter. The different aspect (from DV to square) will usually help clean this up anyway..
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 08:43 PM   #13
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Ok, I'm a Vegas user and I think that's a fair idea. But how about the aliasing? Does Vegas do much for smoothing those harsh DV edges? I guess I should run some tests myself. I haven't tried that yet, but I suppose I shall. Thanks for the idea.
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Old March 25th, 2006, 03:13 AM   #14
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mike, the fact that he aspect ratio is ALSO interpolated cleans these jadggies quite nicely.. from DV rectangular, to the square pixel aspect of HD, the upscale is surprisingly clean... very clean in fact..

just throw some DV footage in a 720p HDV project.. youll see what im talking about.. jsut make sure youve got it set to interpolate fields, not blend.. also prefereably your seource material is native Progressive (higher res) but u can always convert interlaced footage to progressive, althoug it wil be ever so slightly softer... which could be a bonus actually...
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Old March 25th, 2006, 03:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
Keep in mind that MPEG2 at HDV data rates will be the primary broadcast and disc-based HD distribution format for at least the next few years, so HDV is a useful fit for that.
there is so much mis-information in your posts that it's almost too much to address... but starting with the above, 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.

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.

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.

mike, based on my years of codec rendering experience, i would say don't count on an up-res solution for critical work... just keep shooting dv, until there is an actual delivery format for hd product.
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