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


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Old January 7th, 2007, 02:57 PM   #1
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HD or SD?

I have a question to pose to the group. Is HD going to fly or not? I have talked to some local high end stores here and their impression is that it won't be a war between HDDVD or Bluray, both will disappear. Over the last 6 months HDDVD hasn't been nearly as impressive in sales as anticipated. It would appear that consumers are more than happy with 480p regular dvd's. Are consumers knocking down your doors screaming for HD wedding videos or don't care unless you sell it to them? What is the general consensus from you who are producing HD and those who aren't.

Thanks
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Old January 7th, 2007, 03:23 PM   #2
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Well, I think we are going to see HD take over eventually... but it is going to be a long and slow journey. I would not be at all surprised if it were another ten years before the majority of consumers have HDTV, but I don't think people are going to be rushing out to replace their current television with HDTVs anytime soon just because they want HD.

However, televisions, like everything else, will eventually break down and need to be replaced. Going to an electronics or a department store and looking at the televisions there really isn't that many SDTV's left on the shelves, and the price of the HDTVs keep getting lower and lower.

I do think, however, it is a little early to start doing wedding videos in HD. Here is why-

-The vast majority of consumers still have HDTV's.

-Even those who have HDTV's, very few have any way to play HD content on them, most only have a DVD player connected with is an SD format.

-HD cameras have worse low light performance than HD cameras, this is a result of smaller pixels on the same sized chip.

-HD cameras are more difficult to focus, and less forgiving while shooting.

-You pay a premium for shooting with a camera that allows HD. For example, for around $5,500 you can get the JVC HD110U camera with 1/3 inch chips in it. For less than $5,000 though you can get a sony DSR 250 (a full sized eng camcorder) or for just $500 you can get the JVC DV5100, a full sized eng camera that features 1/2 inch chips (this willl give you way better low light performance and highlight handling.

Although I do beleive HD will take over eventually, I think it is still along ways away. And I deffinately do not think that, until a format is decided on (HD-DVD, blue ray, or something else) that customers are going to want their video delivered on anything besides a DVD (except for the occasional couple who wants VHS).
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Old January 7th, 2007, 07:06 PM   #3
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Most of my recent wedding video customers already own HDTVs, but only a few so far have expressed interest in HD delivery. What may turn out to be more significant here is the shift from 4:3 to 16:9 displays, which presents a challenge for us as videographers. If you shoot and deliver 4:3 SD video to customers with HDTVs they'll probably watch it in widescreen "stretch" mode, which isn't particularly flattering for brides. If you shoot 4:3 SD and crop it to widescreen SD for delivery that isn't likely to look very good on large HDTVs, which can reveal the technical limitations of using this approach. So even before HD delivery becomes commonplace there's a benefit to shooting HD and delivering downsampled widescreen SD, with full HD delivery an option for those customers willing to pay for it.

The low-light issue Adam mentioned is a concern with current HD cameras, but not much more so than some widely used DV cameras. With a little tweaking in post I can get by in most situations using my Sony FX1s, and many others are shooting weddings successfully using this and other low-cost HD cameras. Same goes for focusing issues, but if you do most of your focusing manually you'll need to get really good at that for doing HD projects.

The bottom line is that most couples don't care about HD yet, so it's up to you how to deal with the looming widescreen/HD transition. The 50-year-old SDTV format is on its way out for professional purposes, but it looks like it will be a slow fade rather than a quick death.
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Old January 7th, 2007, 07:55 PM   #4
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I guess that is what i am getting at. Is it wise to invest in these cameras now or wait until they have been perfected for low light situations. So far I have not been asked at all about HD and there are two companies locally that have made the switch. I worry about keeping up with the Jones' so to speak and maybe being out of the loop and losing business because of it. Are most of you going to wait or are you preparing now. I know Glen has invested in a mac and final cut pro hd, but it looks like Mark and Trisha are still sticking to SD for delivery.
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Old January 7th, 2007, 08:59 PM   #5
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That all depends what you consider important and what your clients are likely to want and be willing to pay for. If you're getting the business you want shooting SD and no one's asking you about HD then you can just keep going as is for a while longer, but start thinking about what you would do if someone did ask for HD. If you live near a good camera rental shop you might consider that as an option for your first few HD projects, and start gradually acquiring editing equipment which is HD capable. On the other hand, if you're thinking of switching to HD anyway then now might be a good time to sell your SD cameras while they're still worth something, which is what I did last year. There's no simple answer to your question other than to "be prepared" for what's coming, and make sensible purchasing decisions based on your equipment budget and business plan.
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Old January 7th, 2007, 09:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
The bottom line is that most couples don't care about HD yet, so it's up to you how to deal with the looming widescreen/HD transition. The 50-year-old SDTV format is on its way out for professional purposes, but it looks like it will be a slow fade rather than a quick death.
I agree even though the parents may offer to pay for a HD wedding, the majority of todays young newly weds don't have HDTV and would probaby want to put those funds into something else for the house.
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Old January 7th, 2007, 09:30 PM   #7
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video is not "That important"
its always at the end of the to do list...

with that in mind, my priorities with regard to HD delivery have changed, bneing that i wont bother with it until dual format playes are available. Its obvios there will be 2 formats and noone will win, Both are licensed through massive corporations and many studios have now signed up for both.
The onus here then is to determine whether or not you offer HD as a deliverable option.
Fair enough many people now cant take advantage of it, but its futureproof and despite teh weakness of HDV, its what we have.. until seomthing better comes along..

Like i said, im not bothering to deliver HD until a client has teh means to watch it.. (such as M2t on PS3) so im not even going to bother with it, as its more hassle than its worth.

The problem we now face is that there WILL be people out there offering this before many others.. and in doing so, tehy will be setting a precedent to price and quality. Problem with that though is that many of these people are doign it simply becuase they want to undercut everyone.. irrespective of teh quaity or cost... they just "want the job" and will offer the world to the potential client.
What we need to do is decipher how much more value HD has to our current offerings and adjust our prices accodingly

Irrepsective of what camera u use.. low light performance etc etc dont mean shit if u cant sell the goods in the first place.

Forget formats.. firstly worry about quality product, shooting, editing, composition, colour, style, sound.. people will book you no matter what you use.. hell ive sold packages by merely sending 128k WMV web clips shot with an old MX500, so its not the image quality or format or whatever.... these re afterthoughts.. the first thing people want to see is the work.. without that, they wont even bother going into detail..
"so what if u provide HD.. so does the next guy.. "
And theat my friends is how clients think..

Its not the tools, its how u use them..
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Old January 8th, 2007, 08:44 PM   #8
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My few clients have been very interested in HDV. Clients now have a viable means of playing HD material with a PS3 system and regardless if the my client owns an HDTV set at this point, they will within the next 5 years so they want HDV for their videos.

It hasn't been a selling point for me per say but my clients appreciate the material being shot in HD. They know that it will pay to capture the better footage now and watch it later. I provide each client with one master blue-ray disc that's compatible with a PS3 system.

Low light -- On-Camera Lighting

I really don't want to start another thread with this, but if you use on camera lighting you can handle most low light situations. I didn't say all, and I understand why lots of people don't want to use a light, but a 20-40watt diffused light system will feed the pixels with plenty of light for the main subject. We all just need to wait until the technology can catch up and provide both high resolution and low-light capabilities in an HDV camera. Until then, use a light.

I don't think you can go wrong either way this year with SD or HD. SD is more widespread, but HDV is a great investment. The blue-ray, hddvds are going to take off in the next couple years and having a camera ready for it is a good investment. Plus the HDV cams can still shoot SD and native 16:9.

The PS3 is going to change the landscape like the PS2 did with dvds years ago. Just wait, let the stand alone players come out, the prices will drop, and people will be asking for HD wedding videos.

Also, Peter said it true: Regardless of the format, people don't book you because of what you shoot with, they book you for how you shoot and edit.

Ben
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