Which would give better results?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by murali1404, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. murali1404 macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2007
    I use the MacBook with iMovie HD 06. Which would give the best quality 'DVD' out of the Canon HV20, Panasonic GS500 and the Sony HDR-HC7. Ie. does recording in HD and then making a normal DVD give better results than the best SD cameras?
  2. Multimedia macrumors 603


    Jul 27, 2001
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    SD Mastering Is DEAD. Only Shoot In HDV Minimum

    Most definitely. You can see examples of my HC7 mp4 encodes in Flash video here.

    No way would they look anywhere near as good if they had been shot in SD. Plus why would you want to shoot in 4x3 anymore in the first place. Shooting in 16x9 all the time is a must do to conform with the future as well as the HD present.

    Same holds true for DVD masters. Start sharper will look sharper even though they net SD.
  3. murali1404 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2007
    What does 16:9 have to do with standard definition. I thought the resolution is independent of the size ratio. Why would the picture quality of the HD when copied to a normal DVD be better than the quality of the best SD cameras? Surely the resolution is the same?
  4. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    Hell no. Footage from a Panasonic DVX-100 or a Canon XL2 is going to look way better on a DVD than footage from a ****** consumer camcorder. The 3CCDs are going to deliver much better picture quality and color depth. Some of the newer SD cameras even have native 16:9 CCDs so you can get an anamorphic 16:9 picture and it will look much better on DVD.

    If you want good quality for DVDs and have a budget of around $1000 (the price of those cheap ass HDV cameras), try to get a used Canon GL1 or something. It will deliver a much better SD picture.

    HDV is a crap codec and isn't considered HD by any real production companies. It has too many artifacts and lacks color depth. If you want to shoot decent HD, the cheapest option you're going to get is an HVX200 shooting DVCPRO HD on P2 cards. Using a $1000 consumer HDV camera isn't going to deliver.

    As you can see in those videos you posted, the color is bland and washed out (partly because of user error, partly because of not having good control over exposure on consumer cameras, and partly because the 1 cmos can't live up to 3CCDs.)

    No way they wouldn't look that good if they were shot on SD? You're right. They'd look better. The colors would be much more vibrant and you'd have less artifacts.

    Also, you really should get tripod for those videos. The shakeyness and fast pans/zooms make it look REALLY amateur.
  5. marioman38 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Elk Grove, CA
    Agree with multimedia, i was stuck on HC7 vs HV20, i got the HV20, as the main advantage of the HC7 is Lanc, and I have no Lanc devices, plus the HV20 was cheaper and had 24p, a feature i thought i'd never use, but i do all the time now. The HV20 also has superior low light (most likly do to it's 24p mode)

    Bottom line, get the HV20, unless you need Lanc.

    Yes, but the MPEG2 encode can be more efficiant with HDV, as there is more information there to begin with.

    SD is gone, I greatly considered the Sony VX2100 before finally choosing the HV20 after realising this allows me to be more future proof. Plus you will always have the HD video archived to tape if you ever got a bluray burner etc. in the future, at least you know you'll have that option.
  6. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    HDV and DV have the same bitrate (25mb/s) so there's not really any more information to work with. You may have more resolution, but you're losing color information. You also get more artifacts with HDV because it's not a very good codec.

    Bottom line, if you want a much better SD picture, get a SD 3CCD camcorder. HDV isn't going to give you as good of a picture. You're getting less color info from the 1 cmos in the HV20/HC7 than the 3 ccds, plus HDV sucks at storing it.

    There's a reason why no real professional production companies use HDV.

    The HV20 isn't a bad camcorder if you're a consumer and you want edit your home videos in imovie to watch your kids on your HDTV. But if you're serious about production without a $25,000+ budget (for everything you need for a DVCPRO HD system, the cheapest decent HD system available, with blu-ray or hd-dvd delivery), SD is your best option for getting the best picture on a DVD.
  7. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    Exactly. If you want the best quality SD picture spend the money on a dedicated SD camera.

    HDV provides higher resolution at the cost of reduced image quality. Not something that you want if you are looking for the best possible DVD quality.

    Actually there is less information available. You are attempting to store a higher resolution image in the same amount of space as DV. This means that in order to do so the image needs to compressed to an even greater degree losing out on detail and colour information.
  8. janey macrumors 603


    Dec 20, 2002
    sunny los angeles
    I don't know about that, because that doesn't look that spectacular to begin with. Some of my home videos look better. Were they edited with iMovie? :confused:
  9. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    Depends. If you started with a decent SD camcorder then yes they probably would look better.

    In that case you definitely want an SD camcorder as it will produce the sharper image.

    Don't forget that the more expensive SD camcorders will produce much better SD videos than the equivalent priced HDV camcorder if it filmed in HD and was down converted to SD.

    All the above is assuming that you are using the HDV codec. If you are using something like DVCProHD then everything changes.
  10. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    All other things being equal and optimal, yes.

    A very basic way to look at it is when you manipulate your footage, and especially compress it for delivery, you are degrading the quality. If you want to make an SD DVD starting w/HD could give you much more room to degrade your footage before it stats looking bad than if you had started w/an SD source.

    For example, let's say you took a comparable HD camera (1920x1080) and an SD camera (720x480) into a national park to shoot some bears (w/your final output going to SD DVD). On the HD footage of bears you could zoom in a couple hundred percent before you started to degrade the footage enough to be noticeable in SD, but on your SD footage you probably couldn't zoom in more than 10% before the degradation stated to become noticeable.

    You need to layoff the FUD a bit. When talking about sub 10k cameras the camera itself, not the recorded format, is largely the limiting factor. All of the prosumer cameras in that price range perform w/in an arms reach of each other. Each one is compromised in one way or another and no camera system is way out in front or lagging way behind. The HV20 has really taken off w/35mm adaptor indie crowded 'cause of it's small size, low price, and the surprisingly good sensor Canon put into it and if you watched Flags of Our Fathers there were some Z1U's used in the scene where the Marines stormed the beach.

    How about 'cause they are in the market for a sub10k camera system and the HVX200 doesn't meet their workflow requirements?

    So the reason most commercials and many TV shows are shot on film, even though the final destination is SDTV is what again... ;)

    This is a flawed argument. For example, ProRes delivers on-line quality, compressed HD at uncompressed SD file sizes. Not that HDV is anywhere as clean as ProRes, but more compression doesn't necessarily mean less quality.

    Which brings me back to what I first said about "all other things being equal and optimal." There are a lot of things in play into the image quality of video (a large part of it is the person behind the camera). You can't cherry pick one aspect of a video workflow and declare that "workflow A" is better than "workflow B" because of that one piece of information taken out of context. It would be like saying Computer A is faster than Computer B because Computer A has more a CPU w/a higher clock speed. Well, that may or may not be true but you can't make that decision until you take into consideration the rest of the hardware specs on the two machines.

  11. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    That's true and I probably generalized professional production companies too much. But I've read before that places like BBC are never going to accept anything shot on HDV. But most of the stuff they do is on film or formats like HDCAM or something anyways.. It all depends on the budget.

    Well film is all uncompressed and offers the best possible quality. But that's way out of budget for ordinary people.

    If you're looking to get the best picture for SD DVDs and you have a budget of around 1500 bucks (which is what the OP seems to want), you're either going to go with a consumer HDV cam like the HV20 or HC7, or a "prosumer" SD 3CCD camera like a GL1, you're probably going to get better results out of the GL1 because of the 3CCDs.

    In the end, however, it matters much more on the skill of the videographer than the equipment he's using. You could have the best camera but if you don't know what you're doing, you'll end up with shakey footage with quick amateur zooms/pans, washed out backgrounds, and bad audio (kind of like the video multimedia linked to).
  12. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    I think you are getting out of the price range of the argument I was making. If you spent £2000 on an SD camcorder and £2000 on an HDV camcorder with the intention of outputting to standard DVD then the SD camcorder would yield better results (operator the same) in general.

    That is a very good point. I guess I should have been clearer. HDV employs a form of compression which is no where near as good as ProRes 422. It is very lossy in terms of quality in comparison.

    I guess what I was getting at is that HDV uses an inferior form of compression compared to other codecs.

    Edit :

    I seem to remember reading somewhere that the Discovery channel accepts footage from an XDCAM for the entire length of the documentary (I think it was over at DVusers or something). Which is a comparatively cheap alternative to HDCAM and the like.

    Edit : Ah yes http://www.dvuser.co.uk/content.php?CID=144

    Nice jab in the ribs there :).
  13. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    For what it's worth Discovery HD treats cameras like the Z1U and HVX200 the same (not more than 15% of footage in program can come from them), AFAIK.

    Some of the comparisons you and Cromulent were making were based on cameras way out of the OPs price range too.

    The only thing I think the GL1 would have an edge on is low light sensitivity because of its lower pixel density.


    All compressions are compromises.

    Given comparable cameras the MPEG2-GOP encoding used in HDV and XDCAM HD can produce images comparable to DVCPro HD in all but extreme conditions at a a fraction of the bit rate. DVCPro HD uses intraframe compression, but it cuts down on the frame size (960x720 instead of 1280x720 and 1280x1080 instead of 1920x1080) in order to get the data rate down. HDV1 (like JVC uses) is full raster (1280x720), HDV2 (like Sony and Canon use) is 1440x1080, and XDCAM HD can be full raster or 1440x1080 just depending on the settings. DVCPro HD has twice the color sampling compared to the GOP codecs (w/the exception of the XDCAM 50mbit version) but that's twice the sampling of fewer pixels so the advantage isn't as big as it would seem.

    The biggest "gotcha" comes in post where the GOP schemes require much more CPU power to work with. In post is where I really don't like HDV.

    Like everything else it all comes down to what is "good enough" for your situation. For some people "good enough" is HDV, for others it may not be.
    For some people an iMac is good enough while others need a Mac Pro.

    Besides codecs/cameras you have to look at the pro's and con's of memory card vs. tape vs. XDCAM disc workflow.

    HDV is the MiniDV of the HD world. Inexpensive, good enough for most, and looked down on those w/more expensive toys.

    In the end, like zioxide said, whether or not you record compelling images is much more dependent on the operate than the equipment used.

  14. jettoblack macrumors member

    Nov 1, 2006
    It's true that if you're shooting a big budget series for sale to a major network, you should try to minimize your use of HDV. But those same rules generally also restrict your use of HVX200 and similar "prosumer" cam footage. It's not like CNN is going to say "You have the only known footage of that <major world event>? I'll give you one million dollars for it! Wait... its in HDV?!?! Nevermind!" :p

    I can pretty much guarantee that, handling and workflow issues aside, the OP would be far better off with a prosumer HDV camera than an old SD camera. The XL1/GL1 aren't even very sharp as DV cameras, let alone compared to HDV. (XL2/GL2 are much better)

    Keep in mind that DV (in NTSC land) is 4:1:1, but DVD is 4:2:0. If you go from DV to DVD, you end up with a chroma res of 180x240 (4:1:0) which is really bad. From HDV (1080i) your chroma res is 720x540, which is better than the HVX200 in 720p (480x720) and certainly plenty enough for DVD.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that the HVX200 only has 960x540 CCDs, and when recording 720/24pN (the most common format for cine-look shooters), you're only using 40mbps of the 100mbps DVCPRO-HD codec. All else being equal, you'd have a hard time trying to convince me that a 960x540 sensor, 40mbps intraframe codec is all that much better than a true 1440x1080 sensor recording to a vastly more efficient 25mbps interframe codec.
  15. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2006
    Southern California
    If you're editing on a Macbook & editing on iMovie, I doubt you want to spend more than a G on a camera. I assume you're not putting out to broadcast, so the color won't even matter for the most part.

    HDV is fine for what you do. It's better than what most people say. If you're on a budget or need to capture footage for longer than a few hours, it's the cheapest and quickest way to do it.

    Editing/rendering/encoding is a different story. Expect long encoding times (roughly 3-7x the length of real time) depending on your processor speed.

    I would recommend capturing and editing in SD until you have a delivery method for HD. It'll be SO much easier on your processors! Your Macbook will not be happy with you encoding HD. Can it do it? Yes. Will it take forever? Yes. Start with SD and edit SD until you have a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD burner.

    Although I LOVE the P2 workflow, do some research before going that route. Trying to capture your kid's 2 hour school play isn't going to happen in HD. For shorter events/captures... it rocks!

    In my experience, down-converting from HD to SD does provide sharper images than SD to start with. But I am limited in my knowledge and ability in both the shooting and the editing. It won't be worth the time for you to do so however, but try it if you'd like.

    I have an HV20 sitting in front of my right now. It takes great images in good lighting and bad images in poor lighting. Just like every other single chip consumer camera. (I don't have experience with the other cameras)
    It does it's job if I do mine.

    1. organize and label your tape BEFORE you shoot
    2. make sure you subject is well lit with few shadows in the background
    3. spend a bit more and get an external mic for it (RODE Videomic for exammple). I don't have one, but it should suit your needs well. AUDIO IS SO IMPORTANT!!! get the mic close to the subject if you can (but out of the shot)
    4. use a tripod, NO handheld... keep the shot wide and take it easy on the zoom
  16. murali1404 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2007
    What is the best SD compact camcorder you would recommend that is compatible with iMovie./Mac. A lot of good SD cameras seem not to be detected with iMovie (eg. Pan GS500, Sony DCR-HC96)

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