HDV-format cam good enough for me? (ie XH A1)

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Reach, May 30, 2007.

  1. Reach macrumors 6502a

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    Norway
    #1
    Hello,

    I am in the process of finding a camera-upgrade, as I use Final Cut Studio quite a lot, and the work I do requries me to get something better than the NV-GS300 (Panasonic), that I have managed to get along with until now.

    I do some multimedia work, mainly for DVD's, web etc, but I will also try to sell advertising for local TV etc.

    Anyway, I was halfway determined that the XH A1 would be the best choice for me, until I talked to the salesperson that was totally anti-HDV. Which leads me to my question; Is HDV THAT bad? I know it's compressed and all, but will it be that difficult for me to do simple greenscreen things, color-correction etc?

    I'm just wondering, because an HVX200 is kind of above my price-range for now, but I don't want to buy an XH A1 if the quality of footage I get is no good for postprocessing..

    Any ideas? Are there any real alternatives for the XH A1 in a comparable pricerange for my use? Noen that is not HDV that I have found, is that correct..?
     
  2. Kid Red macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2001
    #2
    From what I've read HDV is the better format compared to AVCHD because it has a lower compression ratio. camcorderinfo.com had a write up and concluded Sony's format was worse and HDV produced the better PQ.

    Also believe half of what sales people say, especially if he touted Sony's format.

     
  3. Reach thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    He basically told me anything below DVCPRO HD was no good.. Which left me with no options in my pricerange.. hehe

    Another thing; IF I went for a XH A1 regardless of HDV's shortcomings, should I simply capture all and convert it straight to ProRes etc with Compressor before working with it? I don't think I'll be able to afford a IoHD or the like that does this in real-time, so post-conversion will be my thing, anyone know what kind of time it would take for example converting 1 hour of HDV to ProRes in Compressor with a Dual 2,5ghz G5? Very thankful for any help!
     
  4. pdpfilms macrumors 68020

    pdpfilms

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    #4
    I suggest you take a look over here:

    http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=97207

    It addresses in detail the so called "issues" of HDV (which appear to be almost negligible) and compares the A1 to the HVX.


    One thing to keep in mind is that not only does the HVX cost twice the A1, you're going to have to also shell out bigtime for P2 cards. In addition, the P2 format can be very limiting, preventing lots of run and gun fiming in remote locations (unless of course you bring a laptop and a few terabytes of storage wherever you go.) All in all, to achieve similar workflows the HVX requires at least 3 times the funding... all so that your green screened edges look a little cleaner. It's your call.
     
  5. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    #5
    I think he was just trying to sell you the more expensive camera.
     
  6. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #6
    Yeah, I wouldn't worry about it. Like pdpfilms said, when looking at under 10k it's the camera not the codec that is the limiting factor so they all deliver similar results. They all have pro's and con's but overall not a single camera stands out above, or below, the rest.

    I would suggest thinking about getting the Black Magic Intensity card as it will allow you to capture the HDV tape as DVCPro HD on the fly in real time. ProRes is better, but you'd have to transcode everything in software.

    Here is a Link talking about some basic ProRes stuff.


    Lethal
     
  7. Reach thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Thank you both, interesting reads, and I guess the XH A1 is still on the table. Considering there is no great alternative, that's a great thing.

    Well, the only alternative is for me to wait for P2-cards and DVCPRO HD-cameras to get a little cheaper. Is that something people see coming?
     
  8. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #8
    They'll get cheaper as time goes on (they are already much cheaper than when the camera first launched), but you still have to decide how you'll make back-ups and/or archival copies of your footage since you don't have a tape to put on a shelf.

    An "IT" workflow is still a pretty new thing in the industry and you have to decide if you want to help be a trailblazer or just hang back and stick to the tried and true methods.


    Lethal
     
  9. Reach thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Thanks again, the HVX is financially out of the question, so I have more or less decided on the XH A1 for now. I quite like having the tapes for backup anyway. I wish they could increase the capacity and transfer-rate of tapes, but I guess that won't happen, as all the evolution I've heard about so far is going over to memory-cards etc.

    Anyway, HDV will do for me now, I might just get an IoHD-box when that comes out, if I get enough video-work to justify it, for now I'll just use compressor to make ProRes after capturing I guess. At least I have three pretty new macs standing around, so as far as I have understood, I'll be able to make a cluster of it, and that should save me some time in transcoding or whatever you guys call it. :)
     
  10. Rod Rod macrumors 68020

    Rod Rod

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    #10
    If it were my time and money I wouldn't transcode captured HDV (whether from tape or on hard drive) to ProRes.

    A couple of weeks ago a Mac using buddy called me up and told me of an incredible functionality he found in Graphic Converter. He said he could take a 400k JPG and make it into a 3MB TIFF. I had to explain to him that he's not gaining any quality by doing so; whatever was lost in compression is gone forever.

    It would be worthwhile to test if there's any difference between an HDV to ProRes chroma key and an all HDV chroma key.
     
  11. Reach thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Of course, I know that I won't gain whatever was lost in the HDV-compression, but I was under the impression that HDV was not a good format for editing, be that in FCP, Motion or Color. By converting I figured I'd get proper timecode, all the frames, instead of group of frames etc.
     
  12. Rod Rod macrumors 68020

    Rod Rod

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    #12
    HDV's timecode and frames are identical to any other format for editing. The GOP thing is invisible to the user. The only time that can potentially become an issue is printing to tape, which takes a long time. However, I'd bet that the amount of time it takes to print to tape HDV (after editing) would be way less than transcoding all the raw video before editing.

    I get realtime playback / no rendering with the 3-way color corrector filter on HDV material using a lowly 1.83 Core Duo MacBook Pro.
     
  13. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #13
    Although I hate editing HDV w/a passion (too many problems using it w/the workflow I have at work) I'd agree w/Rod Rod that ProRes would most likely be over kill for your situation. ProRes is basically designed to give you the quality of uncompressed HD at the storage size of uncompressed SD. That means it'll be significantly bigger than HDV and may even require you to invest in a faster storage solution. Although DVCPro HD wasn't meant to be an intermediate codec it performs that role good enough to be used by people doing HD work for b'cast in the US so I'm sure it'll be good enough for the work you do as well. So that's my suggestion. The file sizes are bigger than HDV, but you'll get more RT streams/effects, faster render times, and less image degradation when doing color correction, effects, etc.,.


    Lethal
     
  14. Reach thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    I see, thanks both! I guess I'll have to check these different codecs a little more. As of now I only work in DV straight from tape, so that's all I know. :) And the quality of DVCPro HD will be fine yes, it's only the workflow-issues that makes me not want to stay in HD througout the editing/post-process.
    As I have a decent 3CCD-camcorder from before, I might just stay in SD in the project where that will suffice too, as I see the XH A1 as a great SD-camera for my needs, with the possiblity of doing some HD too, allthough I have understood that most tv-stations etc won't accept projects shot in HDV right?
     
  15. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #15
    It depends on your location and the station. Most, if not all, of the major stations in the US want HD content delivered on HDCAM or D5. I've heard some European b'casters will accept DVCPro HD.


    Lethal
     
  16. Peel macrumors 6502a

    Peel

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    Seattle
    #16
    I just re-read Apple's ProRes 422 white paper, and I see that you can set FCP6 to render effects in ProRes 422 even if the source is HDV:

    This sounds like you get the best of both worlds - native editing of your source material, and less generational degredation for rendered effects.
     
  17. Rod Rod macrumors 68020

    Rod Rod

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