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-   -   SD Verses HD/HDV for present/future TV & DVD sales (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/taking-care-business/63691-sd-verses-hd-hdv-present-future-tv-dvd-sales.html)

Tony Davies-Patrick March 26th, 2006 03:59 AM

SD Verses HD/HDV for present/future TV & DVD sales
 
I've just been having a long discussion with one of Europe’s biggest sellers of DVDs, and asked about SD 4:3, 16:9 and HD production/sales. The simple answer was that they still make and sell more 4:3 than wide 16:9 (although 16:9 is slowly growing), and even more interesting is that they have, as yet, no intention whatsoever of producing HD format in the near future, and cannot see it happening at all for a long time to come. They say that this year’s sales of their SD DVD sports line (golf/football/fishing etc) are at a phenomenal level in UK and across Europe.

The fact that I am in talks with the same company for future production of my own DV films in DVD format has put my mind at rest, and I can remain confident in remaining with high-end SD cams (with their efficient and easier editing workflow) for a long while yet.

The only other factor that may push me earlier towards HD/HDV format equipment (and in my case it is more likely to be the XL-H1) is the possible screening of some of my future work for TV programs such as Sky & Discovery; but, and it is a big but - even though some of my colleagues in the field already have moved to HDV format - and ALL of them are still down-converting their footage to SD anyway - it is still a fact that hundreds of Discovery channel programs originally made in both SD & HD are still being converted on to normal SD DVD discs and sold throughout the world in millions.

Richard Alvarez March 26th, 2006 08:09 AM

Tony

Yourdiscovery doesn't surprise me at all. I keep saying that HD will be universal, EVENTUALLY, but that HDV will probably be a transitional format, whose lifespan will be shorter than DV. (To be sure, every format is 'transitional' sooner or later... I just think that HDV is short lived).

Kevin Shaw March 26th, 2006 10:43 AM

On the other hand, widescreen HDTVs are clearly selling in volume in many areas, and delivering optimal quality for those calls for at least offering proper widescreen SD DVDs. I did some tests recently which confirmed what I'd already suspected from earlier experiments: converting 4x3 SD video to widescreen output doesn't work well, and using the pseudo-widescreen mode of cameras like the Canon GL1/GL2 isn't much better. Surprisingly, true widescreen SD footage (using an anamorphic lens) converted reasonably well to 4x3 SD output, much better than the opposite aspect ratio conversion.

So my conclusion is that the least any of us should be doing if you care about customers with HDTVs (and the longetivity of your work) is to start shooting widescreen SD, and preferably shoot HD even for SD delivery. If you have high-end SD cameras with widescreen sensors or anamorphic lenses you may be okay for a while longer yet; if you're shooting 4x3 SD it's time now to start thinking about migrating to something else. Shooting 4x3 SD is a poor choice as we head into the HD era.

P.S. HDV may be a 'transitional format' which is only widely used for another 5 years or so, but it's a good one for this point in time at the right price.

Matt Harvey March 26th, 2006 01:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tony Davies-Patrick
I've just been having a long discussion with one of Europe’s biggest sellers of DVDs, and asked about SD 4:3, 16:9 and HD production/sales. The simple answer was that they still make and sell more 4:3 than wide 16:9 (although 16:9 is slowly growing), and even more interesting is that they have, as yet, no intention whatsoever of producing HD format in the near future, and cannot see it happening at all for a long time to come. They say that this year’s sales of their SD DVD sports line (golf/football/fishing etc) are at a phenomenal level in UK and across Europe.

The fact that I am in talks with the same company for future production of my own DV films in DVD format has put my mind at rest, and I can remain confident in remaining with high-end SD cams (with their efficient and easier editing workflow) for a long while yet.

The only other factor that may push me earlier towards HD/HDV format equipment (and in my case it is more likely to be the XL-H1) is the possible screening of some of my future work for TV programs such as Sky & Discovery; but, and it is a big but - even though some of my colleagues in the field already have moved to HDV format - and ALL of them are still down-converting their footage to SD anyway - it is still a fact that hundreds of Discovery channel programs originally made in both SD & HD are still being converted on to normal SD DVD discs and sold throughout the world in millions.

Considering the pretty much complete lack of HD sources in the UK/EU this doesn't surprise me at all. I also know very very few people with a HD capable tele. I'm much more interested in widescreen and when my xl1 gives up, I'll be going for an xl2, unless HDV gets a lot cheaper... specially as you can't buy anything except for widescreen teles in the UK these days.

Maybe in two or threes years, I'll look again but for now, SD wide screen rules :D

Simon Wyndham March 26th, 2006 03:08 PM

Absolutely.

On a high end 16:9 SD camera, played through a high bitrate DVD, in progressive scan, on a progressive scan 16:9 television the quality can be amazing. Very often high def will not gain much. Really it won't. Not from most normal viewing distances and screen sizes at any rate.

Of course, high def on a larger screen size at an optimum distance can be amazing. But I cannot foresee high def being a dominant delivery format for a number of years yet. I have one project which I want to shoot in high def purely because the footage will be rare and it might be the last time the interviewees can give interviews. But for most projects 16:9 SD is a very good format to use, and has a certain amount of future proofness depending on how critical things are for the future.

Jeff Donald March 26th, 2006 04:22 PM

The penetration of HD/HDV is very regional. Here in Florida the sales of HDTV's are dominating the sales of 4:3 SD sets. Most of my neighbors have HDTV's. The hardware always has to lead the software, so your finding in the UK are not that surprising. Most students I had are only looking at HDV cameras. This reminds me of the change from analog to digital. There will always be those that cling to the past.

Simon Wyndham March 26th, 2006 04:27 PM

The situation in the UK is very different because 16:9 digital broadcasting has been around for a while. Even on 4:3 analogue broadcasts all programmes are now shown in 14:9 as a compromise, while being simulcast in full 16:9 for digital. That combined with the higher res of PAL compared to NTSC means that there isn't so much of fuss over HD here even though pretty much all our electonics stores have really good HD demos running.

Ash Greyson March 26th, 2006 05:30 PM

Just as there are those that hang on to the past, there are those who ignorantly proclaim the premature death of current technology. Since 2000 the pundits have claimed SD was dead and that it would be the year of HD. I think tape has been dead for about 3 years as well.

Remember, quality does not drive sales or force technology. Price and convenience will drive sales in the mass market. DVDs usurped VHS not because of quality, but because of convenience to all... the end user, the manufacturer, distibutor, etc. Also remember that DVD did not take off en masse until it was the same price as VHS making it a no brainer for average Joe consumer. The quality difference was a nice upgrade, enjoyed by all.

In the area of audio, quality lost out to convenience. Super Audio CD and DVD-Audio are both far superior to CD but failed miserably in the mass market while MP3 and other compressed formats that are WORSE than CD quality are flourishing based solely on convenience and quality deemed "good enough."

HD will eventually happen but when and ONLY when it is the exact same price as SD is now. Does it look better than analog super-compressed SD? Yes but the average HDTV (over $1100) is still 3 to 4 times the cost of the average SDTV. Right now it is like saying that the Ford Focus is dead because the new Hummer is so much nicer.

Lastly, HDTV sales are picking up but a recent study by an HD pundit revealed that half of people who own an HDTV have never seen a single frame of HD on it... they are still watching 4:3 SD stretched. Shockingly, 2/3rds of those people actually THOUGHT they WERE watching HDTV.

Before anyone accuses me of hanging on to the past... I currently own 4 HDTVs and frequently shootin on Varicam, XLH and HVX. Before switching to USC film school I was a marketing and business major...




ash =o)

Dan Euritt March 26th, 2006 08:53 PM

"While 90% of all Americans have heard of high definition television (HDTV), only 47% say they know anything substantial about it, and just 15% say they are somewhat or very likely to get HDTV—all reflecting basically unchanged levels over the past year, according to the latest research from Ipsos Insight, the global market research firm."
http://www.rtoonline.com/content/Art...ness012006.asp

Paul Doherty March 27th, 2006 03:58 AM

This seems to be a case of why choose the XL2 over XL H1. The only real reason I can think of is cost - the XL2 is significantly cheaper.

However if you get the XL H1 you can shoot in HD, downconvert in camera and edit in SD for output as an SD DVD. You then have the HD tapes sat there for future use - and if you're working professionally I think that is an option worth paying for.

If the XL H1 lasts you 3 years then the premium you're paying over the XL2 works out at about £1000 per year.

I've got stacks of Hi8 (wildlife) tapes which are basically useless now because it is an obsolete, inferior format. If someone came up with software which would magically upgrade them to XL H1 quality, then I would pay more than £1000 a year for that.

Every time I see those Hi8 tapes I think of the time and travel costs involved and think that it's a good idea to shoot on the best quality equipment which your budget will allow.

If you're only shooting for the here and now your philosophy might be different, but wildlife material isn't subject to the vagaries of fashion and retains its interest.

Simon Wyndham March 27th, 2006 04:30 AM

Alternatively, if you do video for a living, keep the camera that you have until HD actually becomes financially viable, and then upgrade. If you have a project that needs future proofing in HD, hire. Much cheaper, and makes more business sense.

Paul Doherty March 27th, 2006 08:29 AM

Simon, I suspect the difference in our takes on this reflects the fact that you are normally using more expensive cameras, whereas I've always been in the XL1, FX1, XL-H1 field.

What you suggest is fine if:-
1. There are only a limited number of hires (obviously if you're hiring frequently it's cheaper to buy).
2. You can accurately predict what will be required in HD in the future.

I shoot wildlife and it's impossible to predict when the great filming opportunities will occur. Some seemingly mundane days have suddenly produced an unrepeatable event.

Potentially all the stuff I shoot could be used in a HD product at some stage in the future (and surely that must apply to quite a few people). Predicting which are the key HD shots is impossible (if I was that good at seeing the future I would go play the stock market!).

If the market is happy with your SD product at the moment, then theres a good chance they will want a copy of that in HD at some stage in the future.

I'm not wishing the demise of SD, but when that HD moment does arrive then I want to have some sort of library, rather than be looking to uprez SD material.

If I had a good 16:9 SD camera I might well stick with it, but if I was getting a new machine I would look for the better future proofing of a HD one. Certainly if you're shooting in SD 4:3 then you need to think about changing.

That's how it looks to me, but I'd certainly be interested in your comments, we all have blind spots and maybe there are some serious flaws in my logic.

Simon Wyndham March 27th, 2006 09:11 AM

Quote:

Potentially all the stuff I shoot could be used in a HD product at some stage in the future (and surely that must apply to quite a few people). Predicting which are the key HD shots is impossible (if I was that good at seeing the future I would go play the stock market!).
Thats what I mean by waiting until it is financially viable.

Financially viable doesn't just mean the expense of the equipment, but also the value of the footage that you are capturing. For wildlife shooting on at least HD video these days is a must IMHO because events can be rare. So purchasing such a camera is a sensible thing to do.

One of my own projects will involve shooting some rare footage with people who very rarely appear on camera, and who might not be around for very many years longer. So for that project I will be ensuring that I shoot it in high def. However it is doubtful that I will purchase a camera for it unless the rental means that I might as well have bought the equipment anyway.

For example if I only needed an XDCAM HD for 2-3 days and it was going to be a one off project that needs to be in HD then I would sensibly rent it.

Ash Greyson March 27th, 2006 05:15 PM

Also, remember CONTENT, not resolution is the ONLY way to "future-proof" anything. I know you didnt mean anything by it but I cant stand that terminology. It is marketing jargon that is meaningless. The XL2 uprezzes very well, quality content shot on the XL2 will be every bit as viable as quality content shot in HD going forward.



ash =o)

Kevin Shaw March 27th, 2006 05:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
"While 90% of all Americans have heard of high definition television (HDTV), only 47% say they know anything substantial about it, and just 15% say they are somewhat or very likely to get HDTV—all reflecting basically unchanged levels over the past year, according to the latest research from Ipsos Insight, the global market research firm."

Another recent survey predicted HDTV sales in the U.S. this year of approximately 20 million units, with a surprisingly large percentage of households having HDTVs by the end of this year. (I don't remember the number, but it was big.) Also remember that nationwide statistics can be misleading given that people who can afford to hire a videographer are also likely to be the same folks who are buying HDTVs. It's rare now that I have a customer who doesn't own at least one HDTV, and these are just average video customers for my area.

By the way, I checked the Costco web site today and noticed that they've basically stopped selling traditional SD TVs. The WalMart web site lists over 40 HDTV models starting at $298 and going up to $7688. WalMart!

--------

As far as content is concerned, it's a given that that's a critical aspect of any decent video project. And while true widescreen SD footage from an XL2 will be viable longer than 4x3 SD footage, it's obviously not 'every bit as viable' as content shot in HD. If that were true, there would be no practical reason for anyone to have invented HD cameras.

Cal Johnson March 27th, 2006 05:52 PM

I couldn't agree with Ash's statements more. I'm not a techy guru at all, I just shoot and edit corporate videos using a Canon XL2. What gets me with all the hype about HD is how many people do watch a stretched 4:3 image just because they want to fill the screen. My buddy went HD, invited me over to watch a football game, and just refused to watch it in 4:3 (the format it was being broadcast in) and it drove me nuts. My mother got an HD set and does the same thing, watches any 4:3 show stetched out. It looks terrible.

I was in Frys and saw a whole bunch of HD sets, and they did have an HD broadcast of a game going. The image quality looked great, that is until the action sped up and large parts of the screen started pixelating.

It seems almost like we're going in two very different directions. On the one hand, we're trying to get everyone to make the switch to higher resolution, but on the other a lot of the video being produced today makes you wonder why bother. I can't believe how many "young guns" out there today are shooting just the worse looking garbage, and then slapping the moniker of "film maker" on themselves. But what is even more surprising is that so many people just don't seem to care. They see all the footage as equal, everything is "awesome".

I still say that a good story, well acted, (or a good doc) well lit, and well shot beats any hand held over-exposed HDV footage of some kid on a skateboard set to the beat of one of Apple's Garage Band sound loops (how many of these do we have to watch?).

Ash is right on the money about future proofing. They used to say that film "future proofed" productions. Tell that to the guys that had to restore "Star Wars", or better yet "Easy Rider". HD is coming, and I'll be the first to admit I'm a hold out with SD, but that's just me. But one thing though, the work flow can be just as convenient for HD as it is for SD. Its just a matter of having the money to afford the decks and high speed computers. The guys at STEAM put on a presentation a NAB last year, and they shot, edited and out put all at full resolution HD using BOXX computers. They didn't "off-line" anything.

Simon Wyndham March 27th, 2006 05:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
Also, remember CONTENT, not resolution is the ONLY way to "future-proof" anything. I know you didnt mean anything by it but I cant stand that terminology. It is marketing jargon that is meaningless. The XL2 uprezzes very well, quality content shot on the XL2 will be every bit as viable as quality content shot in HD going forward.



ash =o)

You are correct to a degree. However in the scheme of things what you say is only relevant if you own the equipment. For the projects I have planned I could very easily hire Digibeta. But there is no point. Given the total budget of production there is no reason not to hire a camera like the HDW-750. Not everyone is in the same position. However for the very rare footage that I will be obtaining it would be dumb of me not to shoot it in HD given that I have a choice.

See the thing here is while content may well be king, if I can make that content even better by shooting on the best equipment I can afford it can only improve it.

My current camera shoots a fantastic picture. And for 99.9% of everything I do it does me just fine, and for the moment I don't have a financial reason to change it. SD will be around for a number of years yet as the dominant distribution format. But there will come a time when HD is more normal. It is only a matter of when and not if. With that in mind the rare footage I want to shoot should be in high def because I want to be able to capatalise on it when the time comes. It will be the only footage of its type. So HD in that sense is an absolute requirement for that particular project.

Ash Greyson March 27th, 2006 06:12 PM

I use HD acquisition on every job that has a budget or reason for such. If someone doesnt NEED HD but has a budget, I use an SDX900 and give them an option for the Varicam at a slightly higher cost. Not every project needs the extra DOF and low light performance that a 2/3" cam provides... just like not every job needs HD... Use the camera that is right for the job and the budget, I live by that motto...



ash =o)

Simon Wyndham March 27th, 2006 07:10 PM

Precisely. So we're singing from the same hymm sheet.

Tony Davies-Patrick March 28th, 2006 02:54 AM

Money is a very important factor. If I had the money right now in the bank to purchase the very best and most expensive HD camera, matched with the very best Fujinon lenses and sound equipment + top class HD editing equipment, screens etc, and pay for the very best of camera crews and sound crews, and helpers...then I'd certainly have it all.

If I were given the opportunity of owning two or three complete H1 systems + HD editing systems at the same price of two complete XL2 systems, then I'd certainly go the H1 route (we wish!).

I am on a limited budget, and the most important criteria is for me to buy the best equipment that I can afford to enable me to produce high quality DV intended for sales this year and for the next few years, via DVD and TV.

A professional DVD produced this year by originally filming on either an XL2 or H1 would be fairly equal in quality. However, with someone that already owns XL1/2 SD lenses & accessories + SD editing equipment etc, they would only need to fork out about £1,500 ($2,000) for an extra XL2 body on Ebay. That same person would need to spend at least £5,000 ($9,000) + many extra £$1,000s to properly up-rate all their editing equipment etc to HD/HDV…just to produce that very same quality DVD that will be on sale in the shops for at least the next five years.

Paul Doherty March 28th, 2006 08:10 AM

Tony I don't see 5 years as a terribly long time. Is this scenario possible?

2006 - shoot project on XL-H1. Produce + sell SD DVD.
2006 - shoot project on XL2. Produce + sell SD DVD.

2011 - viable market for HD-DVD.
Either
(a) Burn HD DVD master using XL-H1 tapes.
(b) Uprezz XL2 material (IMHO not as good as original HDV tapes)
(c) Discard SD tapes and reshoot in HD.

And remember there is no need to spend money now on a HDV editing computer. If it's an SD project downrezz in camera and edit as normal SD DV. Then get a HDV editing computer when you really need it. All the timecodes, EDLs etc for downrezzed HDV are the same whether you downconvert the HDV or not. So in 2011 you simply re-load your project and tell the computer that this time you want a HD master, not an SD one.

Let me make it clear that I'm not saying you can't continue to get value for money from an XL2, but there is a strong argument for the XL H1 also (shame it's overpriced though!!).

I can only agree that money is an important factor! What I would really like is to win the lottery and just film projects that interest me (and then at a leisurely pace).

Kevin Shaw March 28th, 2006 12:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tony Davies-Patrick
A professional DVD produced this year by originally filming on either an XL2 or H1 would be fairly equal in quality.

Some would say the HDV source will look noticeably better even when output to SD DVDs, but it's true you can't deliver the full benefit of shooting in HDV that way. Let's call it a wash as far as this discussion is concerned, but try it for yourself if you want to be sure.

Quote:

However, with someone that already owns XL1/2 SD lenses & accessories + SD editing equipment etc, they would only need to fork out about £1,500 ($2,000) for an extra XL2 body on Ebay. That same person would need to spend at least £5,000 ($9,000) + many extra £$1,000s to properly up-rate all their editing equipment etc to HD/HDV…just to produce that very same quality DVD that will be on sale in the shops for at least the next five years.
Most of my recent customers already own HDTVs, so the key question here is if/when they'll also buy HD DVD players. The problem with going the SD route is that you won't ever be able to offer your finished video at true HD quality; you could upsample XL2 footage and that might look okay, but it won't look as clear and sharp as footage from any decent HDV camera. Money aside, it doesn't make much sense to be shooting anything in SD these days knowing that HDTVs are the standard viewing device of the future, so if you value your own work why not start moving toward full HD production? Instead of spending $2000 on an XL2 body you could spend $3000 on a Sony FX1 to get your feet wet and start collecting HD samples, then that will become your "B" camera a couple years from now when HD production becomes inevitable and you buy another HD camera. It might be a bit tricky matching footage from an FX1 and an XL2, but it's doable depending on how picky you are.

Tony Davies-Patrick March 28th, 2006 01:47 PM

I will be making some DVDs this year with someone who has an FX1, so will need to match each others footage. He films in HDV but edits in SD for DVD production, so matching it with the XL2 in 16:9 should be no problem (although not so well with my XL1s body as it only does 4:3).

I'm not at all interested in buying the FX1 (or Z1), as I much prefer the XL cameras, so will more likely buy another XL2 this year, and buy a H1 when I can afford it (or when prices begin to fall, or if Canon ever brings out a body-only package).

Brian Standing March 28th, 2006 02:41 PM

Keep in mind, too, the danger of statistics! Sure, more HDTVs are SOLD each year, but that's not the same thing as market penetration. How often do most people replace their TV? When it eventually dies, you go out and buy a new one. If they're selling HDTVs that's what you buy. But there are going to be far more fully functional SD sets fed by a SD DVD player for a long, long, time. What's the lifespan of a CRT television these days? If you're marketing to those folks and not electronic geeks with massive disposable incomes, SD is going to more than fit the bill for a while.

If my PD-150 is run over by a bus tomorrow and dies an untimely death, dang straight I'll probably buy a Z1 or an XL-H1 to replace it. That's not the same as saying I should throw the perfectly good SD cam in the trash can now.

Kevin Shaw March 28th, 2006 03:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brian Standing
Keep in mind, too, the danger of statistics! Sure, more HDTVs are SOLD each year, but that's not the same thing as market penetration.

Yep, statistics are a tricky thing. The problem with market penetration figures is that the minority of people who own HDTVs may be largely the same folks who are hiring videographers -- because they're the ones with the money to do so. Like I said, most of my recent customers already own an HDTV, which to me is much more relevant than general HDTV stats.

Quote:

If my PD-150 is run over by a bus tomorrow and dies an untimely death, dang straight I'll probably buy a Z1 or an XL-H1 to replace it. That's not the same as saying I should throw the perfectly good SD cam in the trash can now.
No, but you might think about buying an anamorphic lens for it. I shot some test footage recently on a DVX100 with an anamorphic lens, and that looked way better than anything I could do to convert 4:3 SD footage to widescreen output.

Brian Standing March 28th, 2006 04:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
people who own HDTVs may be largely the same folks who are hiring videographers.

Right, exactly my point. I'm trying to sell DVDs of indie docs to a broad audience, you're trying to get someone to pay you to do event videography. SD makes the most sense for my customers, HD makes the most sense for yours. One size does NOT fit all.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
No, but you might think about buying an anamorphic lens for it.

An idea I've been considering. Know anyone selling a Century 16:9 anamorph with a Sony bayonet mount at a good price?

Dan Euritt March 28th, 2006 10:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul Doherty
2006 - shoot project on XL-H1. Produce + sell SD DVD.
2011 - viable market for HD-DVD.

one problem with that scenario is that you've locked yourself into what will be an inferior, if not obsolete, camera, well before the year 2011 arrives... and you haven't benefited financially from it at all.

so you shoot hdv until 2008 or 2009... no doubt a successor to the h1, or better competing cameras, will be out by then, shooting who knows what format.

the only hope you have in recouping your early investment in the h1 is with the evergreen footage you shot in 2006-2008... after that, your footage will have to compete with people who could be shooting the same thing with better cameras.

so while you do have a possible evergreen option, a wedding videographer like kevin has no future income potential that will pay for his early adopter investment in the hdv format... 50% of the people he shot weddings for will get divorced, and the rest of 'em never come back... my neighbor has been a wedding photographer and videographer for over 25 years, and we never see repeat business for the same ceremony... but they do come back when they get remarried ;-)

so the moral of the story is, don't buy it if you can't recoup the full investment right now... unless you really do have a crystal ball that'll guarantee your evergreen footage against all future possibilities.

Dan Euritt March 28th, 2006 10:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
Another recent survey predicted HDTV sales in the U.S. this year of approximately 20 million units.

that, um, overly-optomistic figure was downgraded long ago:

"Las Vegas, January 4, 2006 – ...According to sales projections issued yesterday by CEA, HDTV sets will outsell analog sets by 89 percent in 2006, reaching total unit sales of 15.9 million and contributing to over $23 billion in total DTV revenue."
http://www.ce.org/shared_files/pr_at...tv_numbers.doc

there are hundreds of millions of 4:3 tv sets in homes today that are working fine, and they aren't all going to suddenly get thrown into the dumpster.

there is an old saying in the computer business, "software sells hardware"... right now there are zero hd dvd's on the market, but people own millions of sd dvd's... without hd dvd's and hd dvd players, the only reason people are buying hdtv is because of sports, which represents only part of the tv marketplace.

one reason that your projected hdtv sales forecasts had to be downgraded so drastically was because of the impact that the internet is having on the viewing habits of people... right now the most important age demographics are spending more time on the 'net than they are on tv, as you can plainly see by the huge explosion of web sharing sites like youtube.com

ash was 100% correct when he put the emphasis on CONTENT, because that is what will drive traffic to your product... it's all about delivery formats, and those of you like kevin, who can't see beyond the provincial business model of dvd, are in for a rude awakening in the near future.

Kevin Shaw March 29th, 2006 06:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
...a wedding videographer like kevin has no future income potential that will pay for his early adopter investment in the hdv format...

Oh yea of little faith! I've met wedding videographers who are cleaning up with high-end clients shooting HDV for over a year now, but I haven't been fortunate enough to cash in on that. (My problem, not an HDV one.) I'm happy that my modestly-priced FX1s produce video which is noticeably better than I got from my GL1/GL2 for any type of output, and take great scenic footage which I enjoy watching on my HDTV. Plus I'm learning the ropes for producing in HD and building up my demo reel so I'll be ready when more customers start asking for HD, at which point I hope to recoup my investment by getting business I wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

I support those who feel that current HD cameras aren't a sound business investment for them at this time, but once you have one it's tough to resist the allure of such a compelling improvement in video image quality. If photographers were offered such a sudden leap in resolution they'd be stampeding each other to line up for new equipment, but we're apparently a much more cautious lot. Go figure.

Kevin Shaw March 29th, 2006 07:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
ash was 100% correct when he put the emphasis on CONTENT, because that is what will drive traffic to your product... it's all about delivery formats, and those of you like kevin, who can't see beyond the provincial business model of dvd, are in for a rude awakening in the near future.

Absolutely agreed that content is the key to successful videography, with HD being a secondary technical consideration. But if roughly 16 million potential customers are expected to buy HDTVs this year alone, I'd call that a significant market potential which easily justifies investing a few thousand dollars in new equipment.

By the way, please spare me the personal slights and unjustified assumptions about what I may or may not see coming. I'm well aware that HD is just one facet of current video trends, with internet and portable video also exploding onto the scene. But that won't change the inevitability of HD acquisition becoming the de facto standard for most professional videography sometime in the next few years. Seriously, if you were paying several thousand dollars today to have someone shoot a video for you, wouldn't you at least consider whether you might want it shot in HD? There's no logical reason not to do so, and thanks to HDV it can be done at a reasonable price.

Kevin Shaw March 29th, 2006 07:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brian Standing
I'm trying to sell DVDs of indie docs to a broad audience, you're trying to get someone to pay you to do event videography. SD makes the most sense for my customers, HD makes the most sense for yours. One size does NOT fit all.

Fair enough as far as statistics are concered, but keep in mind that SD and HD are not mutually exclusive formats. You can easily output SD from HD source today and keep the HD version on hand in case anyone ever wants that, so why limit yourself to the SD option? (Other than the cost of equipment.)

Tony Davies-Patrick March 29th, 2006 09:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
(Other than the cost of equipment.)

...Precisely.

Brian Standing March 29th, 2006 11:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
You can easily output SD from HD source today and keep the HD version on hand in case anyone ever wants that, so why limit yourself to the SD option? (Other than the cost of equipment.)

As I said before, if I were in the market for a new camera, I wouldn't consider anything that didn't have HD AND SD capability, for exactly the reasons you mention above. However, since my current camera meets my needs and works fine, the question is really when to make the jump into HD.

To do HD well, the cost of the equipment is nothing to sneeze at. If I want to maintain my current SD workflow but produce an HD-resolution product, I need to not only buy a new camera, but a new deck, a new dual-core editing workstation, and an HD-resolution monitor. Even if I go with the cheapest decent HDV option, that's still pushing $10,000.

I'm probably going to also need new extra batteries, battery charger, a wide-angle adaptor and a carrying case. It's quite possible I may also need to get a portable digital audio recorder to make up for the loss in audio quality of HDV, additional lights to make up for the lower light sensitivity, and a portable HD monitor to provide accurate focus. That could easily add up to another $10,000, or more.

So, after spending $20,000+ on a complete HD setup (to say nothing of learning new equipment and workflow), I'm still going to be delivering a Standard Definition DVD to the customer -- something I can do now, quite well. That strikes me as kind of silly. For folks who are catering to a niche market who can afford HD-everything, by all means, jump into HD with both feet. For folks like me, it makes more sense to let the Blu-Ray / HD-DVD / H.264 WMV delivery format issue get settled, let those kind of decks get some percentage of market penetration and then look at upgrading to HD.

By that time, the second-generation HD prosumer cameras will be out, with
more and better features, bug fixes, and probably at a lower price. I'm not entirely sure those cameras will still be HDV, either. They might just as easily be a ported professional HD codec. Or maybe, by then, everyone will be watching 320x240 video on their cel phones, HDTVs will be gathering dust at Best Buy, and the whole argument will be moot. ;-)

When I made the move from analog video to DV, that choice worked well for me for 15 years and counting. I expect to get a similar length of service when I go (and I eventually will) with HD.

Paul Doherty March 29th, 2006 01:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
one problem with that scenario is that you've locked yourself into what will be an inferior, if not obsolete, camera, well before the year 2011 arrives... and you haven't benefited financially from it at all.

so you shoot hdv until 2008 or 2009... no doubt a successor to the h1, or better competing cameras, will be out by then, shooting who knows what format.

Dan I shoot wildlife and I'm looking to build up a library, so if HD DVD becomes viable in our guesstimate year of 2011 then I will have 5 years of footage to work with - a much better option than only having 2 years.

I don't see myself as locked in to the H1. If I get 3 years use out of it that will be fine, anything extra will be a bonus. Sure better cameras will come along and I'll weigh up their costs and benefits, but my battleground is a sub $10,000 camera with interchangeable lenses and they are not common.

Kevin Shaw March 29th, 2006 01:47 PM

Brian: your assessment is mostly logical but leaves out a few key points.

(1) Shooting in SD essentially forces you to decide up front whether to produce widescreen or 4x3 output, with limited ability to convert to the other ratio while maintaining decent quality. So most videographers are still defaulting to 4x3 ratio because they figure that's the safest thing to do, but it's the worst choice if you want footage which will look good on HDTVs. Shooting in HD solves this problem nicely now for all customers for both SD and HD delivery, in a way inherently better than you can do with any SD camera.

(2) If you know you plan to upgrade to HD and you know it's going to cost real money, does it make more sense to wait until the last possible moment to start buying new gear and then do that all at once, or maybe get started sooner and do it gradually? Granted you'll get better gear the longer you wait, but that will always be true so at some point you just have to take the leap and get started. I've noticed several videographers buying the least expensive HDV cameras for their own personal use and to get some early HD experience, and those same cameras will still be useful as "B" cams well into the future when HD acquisition is required for most projects.

(3) As several of us have noted, you can't build up HD sample material if you don't have an HD camera. You also can't come back in time and shoot today's events in HD for future viewing pleasure unless you have a retrofitted De Lorean with a time flux capacitor and a 1.21 Jigawatt power source. :-)

(4) Some of your customers and competitors are already buying inexpensive HD cameras, so it's going to get harder and harder to justify not offering some sort of HD option. If you set a price for an HD upgrade and no one wants to pay it you're off the hook, but at least offer customers a choice!

(5) You can't learn the ins and outs of HD production if you don't do it. When the day comes that someone really wants to pay you something to shoot in HD, will you be ready?

Simon Wyndham March 29th, 2006 01:53 PM

Quote:

(1) Shooting in SD essentially forces you to decide up front whether to produce widescreen or 4x3 output, with limited ability to convert to the other ratio while maintaining decent quality.
Nothing of the sort. It is extremely easy to make a 4:3 output out of 16:9 without seeing or losing quality. I doubt anyone here would be able to see a loss if I made a 4:3 crop for 4:3 output to DVD in Vegas. You'd have to magnify it in Photoshop to see.

Brian Standing March 29th, 2006 03:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
Brian: your assessment is mostly logical but leaves out a few key points.
(2) If you know you plan to upgrade to HD and you know it's going to cost real money, does it make more sense to wait until the last possible moment to start buying new gear and then do that all at once, or maybe get started sooner and do it gradually?

Sure, gradual makes sense, but I don't necessarily have to start with the camera. I could (and very well may) spend my first money on upgrading my workstation, getting an HD monitor, finding a dual-system audio solution that will work with HD and making sure all my other production and post-production gear is HD-ready. All of these things will continue to work with any HD format, and will help me in a SD environment, too. Since I don't shoot a lot of library footage, I can rent an HD camera as projects come up, and be ready to edit and work with the footage. Meanwhile, I'm not locked in to a particular brand or flavor of HD camera, and I can try them out at my leisure and wait for one that really knocks my socks off.

Kevin Shaw March 30th, 2006 08:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Wyndham
It is extremely easy to make a 4:3 output out of 16:9 without seeing or losing quality.

To some extent I'd agree with this statement, which makes it even more ironic that most of us are still shooting 4x3 SD instead of at least shooting widescreen. If we could just convince ourselves and our customers to accept widescreen SD as the new baseline standard, we'd be doing the future a favor.

Kevin Shaw March 30th, 2006 08:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brian Standing
Meanwhile, I'm not locked in to a particular brand or flavor of HD camera, and I can try them out at my leisure and wait for one that really knocks my socks off.

A fair statement, but it's amusing how often the term "locked in" gets used lately in discussing this topic. As if buying one type of camera today somehow precludes you from buying anything else in the future -- is there some secret illuminati which checks and enforces this? :-)

Brian Standing March 30th, 2006 09:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
A fair statement, but it's amusing how often the term "locked in" gets used lately in discussing this topic. As if buying one type of camera today somehow precludes you from buying anything else in the future -- is there some secret illuminati which checks and enforces this? :-)

For many of us, especially those of us who are doing independent moviemaking on our own projects rather than work for hire, a camera represents a significant investment. It is not a purchase we can afford to take lightly. I rarely have enough money in the bank to replace my camera, so when I do, I had best make sure I choose one that will serve me well for some time. In addition, many accessories, such as batteries, cases, lens adaptors, etc. are peculiar to a particular brand or model of camera, adding to the expense. I can't put Canon batteries on a Sony. This is what I mean when I say "locked in."

I wish I had the money to buy a new camera every year, but I don't.


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