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anyone on fxhome forums is making the move to HD ?

Posted: Fri, 15th Jul 2005, 2:15pm

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jotoki

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I guess this is aimed at the guys with higher budgets on here but i was wondering how many people on here have or are making the migration to HD (High Definition). I know a lot of comercial stuff in the USA is now shot in HD and the BBC here is progressing to HD over the next few years but are any of us indie guys taking the plunge ? I guess with things like the sony FX1 and the forthcoming HC1 more of us might be taking the plunge. If anyone has was it worth the outlay
Posted: Fri, 15th Jul 2005, 2:54pm

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Pooky

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Not worth it yet for many reasons for amateurs.
Posted: Fri, 15th Jul 2005, 3:01pm

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jotoki

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well perhaps you could elaborate on those reasons pooky. The consumer level units from sony i mention are not really any more expensive than their SD equivalents and they record in both HD and SD plus they can down sample HD to SD allowing you to capture in HD, edit in SD for now and then redo the edit using and EDL in HD later so long as you keep the original tapes. So what are these reasons, i'm interested as i'm thinking of taking the plunge myself but it is costly
Posted: Fri, 15th Jul 2005, 3:09pm

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Mellifluous

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I'd take the plunge now if I had a bit more confidence in the current wave of technology. But like all new formats, some of the cams aren't perfect. I'd wait a bit longer for some better, upgraded models to come along, probably about 6 months.
Posted: Fri, 15th Jul 2005, 3:54pm

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JohnCarter

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I have worked with HDV and I don't recommend it for many reasons, the least of which is that it is useless for keying and the sound is compressed. Remember you have uncompressed, 48 kHz 16 bit sound on miniDV! I had the opportunity to use HDV for my latest feature,Pain Killer and I shot DV instead. Other SERIOUS disadvantages appear in editing:

Native HDV Editing Drawbacks

A common misconception is that HDV is just a high definition version of the mini-DV format. However, the two formats are so different that about the only thing they have in common are the letters D and V. While DV or DVC Pro are very easy for the computer to edit, HDV in its native form is extremely difficult for the computer to handle. Many native HDV software and hardware based editing solutions claim to have better quality than non-native solutions. However, even a simple cut in a native HDV editing system will cause some kind of change to the video. This means that new video has to be generated which taxes your computer's CPU. More complicated things such as color correction, titles, and resizing video frames will cause all of the affected video to be re-generated. Therefore, in many situations, native HDV editing offers little or no advantage because so much new video needs to be created.

Another problem for native HDV is that HDV and DVD use the same video encoding scheme, and therefore have many of the same limitations. There are many types of scenes that HDV doesn't handle well. If you've ever watched a slow fade to black on a DVD, you may have noticed that the picture breaks up into squares. This happens because the video encoder has hit the limit on how much video it can compress. When this happens, it leaves ugly squares scattered all over the video frame. Editing in native HDV, forces these limitations on you. It will affect the quality of the effects and transitions that you put in your video.

I am personally waiting for the P2 to come out. Real HD, although compressed using DVCPro - which makes it easy to handle with Firewire and Final Cut Pro. I think that is more the future than HDV will ever be.

Last edited Fri, 15th Jul 2005, 4:30pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Fri, 15th Jul 2005, 4:19pm

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Joshua Davies

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I met with Panasonic Broadcast UK yesterday for the low down on the new HD cameras they are bringing out at the end of the year.

HDV has always seemed like a terrible format to me because of its low(ish) quality and high compression. Also storing on tape just doesn't seem to be the right way forward for high resolution video.

I can give you more details at some point (I have the preview press release and catalogue for the HD camera in question) but the basic message is that its real professional HD (DVCPRO/50/100HD) in a highend consumer camera with low end consumer coming. Stored on the fantastic P2 card (I had a look at the insides of the 4GB card) its just stunning and the savings on tape stock appear to be huge. You can also copy the data on to your machine far faster than realtime. Don't even get me started about 60fps full progressive 720P!

I've been invited to test the first working prototype in a couple of months time at a trade show. Its already clear from the information I've been given that HDV doesn't stand a chance against what Panasonic is planning - its a totally different level.

Its all good news and I expect HDV will be history before too long.
Posted: Mon, 18th Jul 2005, 7:39am

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jotoki

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well the panasonic stuff does sound interesting, I assume this means the P2 cards are to become more readily available and cheaper. If you cant buy them on the high street now jump in quality is gonna tempt any consumer, just look at betamax vs VHS. I'll therefore reserve judgement on the predicted demise of HDV and see if panansonic can deliver on it's own hype at the actual price points it claims. I've heard it all before and been dissapointed.
Posted: Mon, 18th Jul 2005, 8:02am

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Joshua Davies

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You won't need to buy multiple P2 cards, they are not like tapes. They are solid state memory, meaning you can record to anywhere on the card at any point.

You can delete shots you don't want from earlier on the tape and it'll automatically record to these points and just fill the card up - no wasted space.

Also you can re-record on to the card as many times as you want (unlike tapes which suffer very quickly if reused). Then simply plug the P2 in to you computer and copy the data as quickly as your harddrive can take it, not slow realtime playback rubbish like DV/HDV. Its just like a super huge, super fast version of the cards which digital still cameras use.

Being solid state means that camera has hardly any moving parts to go wrong (which is fantastic) and you can also be fairly agressive with your camera movements.

P.S. Its not really like comparing betamax with VHS - its DV/HDV compared to real HD because thats what the Panasonic does - the difference is HUGE. What you film on the Panasonic could be printed to film and people and displayed in a cinema wouldn't know it wasn't a professional film camera.
Posted: Mon, 18th Jul 2005, 12:27pm

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Sollthar

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I guess I'm the only one then who likes the FX1 then. smile

I switched cameras, sold my old one and got an FX1 for about 3'000 $ and I surely don't regret it.
The problems mentioned are true, the format has it's drawbacks, but as a whole, I personally wouldn't switch back to DV. The lens of the cam is great, I like the handling, the imagine quality is better then most DV cams I have seen yet (including the xl1) and the higher resolution helps loads, even if you put your work out in DV resolution.

Surely, the new cam by Panasonic will be better. They always are. Whatever you buy, there'll be something better out within less then half a year. I personally really like the cam and look forward to using it on NightCast.

(strangely, I have never had such good results with keying something as I had with the FX1... Maybe people are doing something wrong then...)
Posted: Mon, 18th Jul 2005, 12:52pm

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jotoki

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yeah i know what p2 cards are schwar, my point was that quality doesn't always lead to consumer take up.

The VHS v Betamax thing was reffering to the better format not making it because it was not properly supported where it counts and where consumers wanted it. Hence it failed. I have have no doubt the you will need to buy more than one p2 card since they don't have an infinite capacity and not every situation allows for time to delete to make space. They'll have to be at a price the consumer can afford or they wont buy the cameras. As we all know then profit isn't in the hardwear these days the markets are so competative, the profit is in the consumables. What panasonic is trying to do is great, I hope the'll pull it off. I just won't make a judgment on it's success and the demise of HDV till i see it. By the time panasonic gets its products to the market Sony will have had HDV units out there for some time so the format will be well established. I'm not saying the pana stuff wont be great or that it wont be successful. Just think you're jumping the gun on the demise of HDV thing. I personally haven't see any bad reviews of HDV just yet and you have to look at the comparison to SD not to an as yet unavailable Pana system to see how the consumer will view it. It's here, it's now and it's miles better than SD. It's not gonna go away that easily I dont think, but time will tell.

Solthar makes a very good point, there is always something new and better round the corner, just transfer HDV format to a solid state memory system and you negate much of the panasonic advantage. Maybe not in quality but how many consumers want to print to film.

When is the pana stuff due, do we know ?
Posted: Mon, 18th Jul 2005, 3:56pm

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Joshua Davies

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The problem is that HDV isn't doing well at all - its not selling well and its not getting great reviews.

The high compression makes the format useless for professional applications as if the tape suffers a drop out you kiss good bye to many seconds of footage. Its also terrible to edit with meaning you have to convert the footage and suffer even more quality loss.

HDV is therefore not miles better than current SD/DV systems (and this isn't the only reason). To support multiple framerates current HDV cameras from Sony employ the worst interpolated frame conversion I've ever seen - there are quite a few bad reviews of the HDV cameras I've seen on the web.

Panasonic on the other hand are moving camera design forward, removing the limitations in quality and design of previous cameras. Sure a P2 card will be lots of money, but you can fill much more of the card with useful data because its random access (the camera can take 2 so you can download one on to a portable drive/laptop/desktop and continue to record). With and HDV camera you should never use the tape more than once if you want to keep dropout to a minimum - the costs soon add up and its far less practical and vastly worse quality. The difference between HD and HDV is easily as big as the difference between DV and HDV.

Sure we might not all want to print to film, but we also don't want to buy in to a failing old technology when at the end of this year the future of film making will arrive along with true multiple quality settings (DVCPRO 25/50/100) and multiple frame rates. Sure it might take another year for the consumer end solid state cameras to arrive, but there will still be many people without HD resolution TVs by then.

I was really interested in HDV when it came out but it really isn't the way forward, its like Digital 8 to me, only worse. I'll let you know more when I sample the Panasonic in a month or so. I hope we'll be getting our hands on a couple for testing here at FXhome early next year as well. I might even be inspired to make a film!
Posted: Mon, 18th Jul 2005, 4:07pm

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padawanNick

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I'm working on two HD shorts now and a third starts up next month. In each case, they are shot on rented Sony CineAlta F900 cameras. The image isn't entirely uncompressed like the F950's used for ROTS, but it's still AMAZING compared to DV or HDV.

If you've got a project with lots of promise (and/or finacial backing) these are worth considering as rentals. Most US cities have rental houses where you can get these for a weekend (with some supporting gear) for under $3k.

In the meantime, I'm pretty happy with my little GL2 for personal projects. I just can't see pouring a ton of money into buying a first generation technology that has some kinks to be worked out. I'd rather continue saving and watching for now.
Posted: Mon, 18th Jul 2005, 4:11pm

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Joshua Davies

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For the cost of 2 weekends with the camera you are talking about you could have your own Panasonic HD camera come christmas.
Posted: Mon, 18th Jul 2005, 5:26pm

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padawanNick

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I'll be watching for it. smile
The best thing about rentals is that it's usually someone else that's paying. biggrin
Posted: Tue, 19th Jul 2005, 8:13am

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jotoki

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Well as i said all this remains to be seen. I've seen all the doom n gloom theories about tape dropouts losing 30 seconds of video n such, I've also seen in numerous independant places that this is highly exagerated and in fact rarely happens in practice. Also not using a tape more than once is nothng new really. Even SD can suffer from problems with multiple tape use. These solid state units are all very well but if they cost more than an HDV camcorder each for an incredibly limited recording time (current position I know higher capacities are on the way but at what cost) then who bar well financed pros will buy them ? With the prices on HD screens set to drop significantly over the coming months there will be a much higher take up of HD in general, plus new HD broadcast services coming along in the UK next year the market penetration of HD is gonna increase pretty quickly fairly soon. I just dont see how panasonic can possibly reduce the price of the P2 system to meet consumer demand. Most of the guys on here use consumer camcordrs for their filming because of budget contraints. I've seen the mock up of the Panasonic "Prosumer" HD unit. But thats all it is, mock up. P2 has big advantages sure but it's price will kill it in the consumer market so they'll have to reduce the price or come up with something else. Mean time I've seen a lot of comments on various forums that contradict claims of poor quality and low take up. The FX1 is being picked up by a lot of users who seem universally happy with it. I haven't researched the Z1 coz thats outside my budget so dont know if that one is as good and the HC1 is brand new and I've seen only one review of that so far which was once again very positive. So I do hope panasonic can live up to this hype coz that would be fantastic. But till I see evidence of the technology actauly being affordable I'm unconvinced.

Out of interest what route were panasonic recomending for archiving ? since there is no tape and reusability is a big seeling point of their system i'd be interested to know what they recommend as the archive medium for the p2 system
Posted: Tue, 19th Jul 2005, 8:29am

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Joshua Davies

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Memory is still getting cheaper all the time (as long as its mass produced). I can see Panasonic consumer cameras with 20GB+ of internal solid state memory within a couple of years. I've seen footage off all the current HDV cameras on the market and its not that great (compared to HD).

The internet reviews I've read on the HDV cameras have been a mixed bag but most of the ones I've read in printed magazines seem to dislike the cameras and recommend current MiniDV cameras instead.

As you can transport the data off the P2 cameras so quickly I would just store backups on harddrives or DVDs, thats safer than MiniDV anyway and much quicker should you need to get to old footage.
Posted: Tue, 19th Jul 2005, 8:46am

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jotoki

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I guess we must be reading different magazines is all I can say to that really.

Sure memory prices have been falling but it's a matter of timing. HDV is here and affordable. It remains to be seen if panasonic can achieve a price drop coupled with keeping the superior picture performance. Yes I agree the potential for the panasonic system is totally amazing but when will we actually see it at a genuinely affordable price is my point. I;m not spending £2000 plus on a camera unless it can record great footage and not gonna run out of capacity just when I need it. With HDV I can drop in another £5 tape. What do I do with the panasonic system ? is it either plug in another $1000 card or archive off to an expensive off camera disk ? How will the panasonic system work in this situation ?
Posted: Tue, 19th Jul 2005, 12:44pm

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JohnCarter

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There is another solution to go ahead with the P2, which I am contemplating. There are small, rugged high capacity hard drives made for working in the field, with raid 3 redundancy that can be worn on a belt and connected via firewire to the camera for recording, all that for under a thousand dollars. I think that until the capacity and price of the P2 memory stick gets reasonable, that is a really neat alternative worth seriously considering.

I worked with HDV and it just plain sucks. DV is indeed better for now.

Last edited Tue, 19th Jul 2005, 3:14pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 19th Jul 2005, 12:50pm

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jotoki

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yeah still a lot of money and complication for joe public though
Posted: Sun, 24th Jul 2005, 11:04pm

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SlothPaladin

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I have a question about Hi-Def. As a stop motion animator I use a digital still cam to record my video, it takes 1360x1024 uncompressed Tiffs. Thus alowing for very sexy quality. I was wondering what the resolution of Hi-Def is and the aspect ratio. It would be nice if I had the ability to convert to Hi-Def on a whim. Camera cost me $150 and is worth every penny.
Posted: Mon, 25th Jul 2005, 12:04am

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ragnar

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Schwar,

Can you tell us anything about the new Panasonic's color capture. Is it 4:2:2? If so, I would think that getting a filmic look would be a bit easier, and green/blue screening would be less clunky. Also, I need a quick lesson if you don't mind. Could you quantify for me the difference in color latitude between, say, the new Panasonic HD cam and a typical 35mm film camera.
Posted: Mon, 25th Jul 2005, 3:37am

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voiceoverwizard

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SlothPaladin wrote:

I have a question about Hi-Def. As a stop motion animator I use a digital still cam to record my video, it takes 1360x1024 uncompressed Tiffs. Thus alowing for very sexy quality. I was wondering what the resolution of Hi-Def is and the aspect ratio. It would be nice if I had the ability to convert to Hi-Def on a whim. Camera cost me $150 and is worth every penny.
Well there are several definitions of High Definition as far as resolution goes here in the US they call standard TV resolution which is progressive scan HD 420p, then there is a better version 720i(better resolution but still 30 FPS interlaced), then 720P(progressive scan)which is what the good stations here broadcast and is some times 4:3 and sometimes 16:9, sometimes they actually have both ratio's in the same broadcast usually sporting events. I have a HDTV 65" and subscribe to direct TV HD programing it looks impressive. Then finally there is the super sweet 1080i which is 1080x1920 in 16:9 aspect ratio but is not widely used. In fact the only place I have seen it used was a presentation made by Anheuser Busch(read endless budget) with their own projection TV, it looked awesome. I have not yet heard of 1080p I suppose because the resolution is so taxing on the hardware that there aren't enough resources left for the frame rate, I don't know.

By the way is a P2 card the same as Compact Flash(CF) card? My digital camera uses CF card and I have recently purchased a 1GB card for a little under $100.
Posted: Mon, 25th Jul 2005, 7:34am

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jotoki

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P2 is nothing like compact flash, hence they call it P2 and not compact flash. It's a proprietary format developed by panasonic and currently costing (after a search of the web for prices) over $1000 for 4Gb. Their cams can take 5 or 6 of these cards but a single card can only record something like 9 mins at full resolution and quality. I'm sure there will be increases in capacity coupled with improvements in compression in the pipeline but it's hard to see P2 as it is making it into consumer hardware. I expect it will be then any consumer solid state systems will have to use another cheaper technology with P2 reserved for high end professional kit, but we shall see
Posted: Mon, 25th Jul 2005, 7:59am

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Joshua Davies

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Rating: +1

P2 is a lot like compact flash and other memory cards, basically its 4 x 1GB or 4 x 2GB SD cards with a CPU chucking the data about with a PC Card interface - you could plug it in to most laptops made over the last 5 years already.

As 1GB SD cards are already getting down to $60 now they say by next year the 8GB P2 (of which the low end camera can fit 2) will be getting down to $250-350 which is hardly anything and with the introduction of 16GB and 32GB cards it'll drop much more.

Sure having just 16GB of P2 might be a little limiting if you don't have a computer to move the data on to. At DVCPRO 50 doing HD (not full quality but still TWICE the bandwidth of HDV) you're only going to get 43mins. But you could remove 1 card and copy it on to a portable HD or a computer in a matter of a couple of mins while you keep recording. If you went for full DVCPRO 100 you would probably be swapping cards quite a bit although because its random access you can just delete shots and use any spare space. I can't remember ever getting even 20mins of useful footage on a single MiniDV tape anyway - I would probably say that 40mins of P2 is like several normal tapes just because you can record anywhere and delete shots easily.

Much of the cost of the P2 system is because you can change the cards over so I expect future consumer cameras will just have 16-32GB of SD memory built in. Thats 43-86 mins at DVCPRO 50, or you could just use standard DVCPRO 25 and double that for your SD recordings.

P.S. There is 1080P, its what Star Wars was filmed in.
720i = 1280 x 720 (interlaced)
720P = 1280 x 720 (progressive)
1080i = 1920 x 1080 (interlaced) by the way as you always state the width first.
Posted: Thu, 28th Jul 2005, 8:49am

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jotoki

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well lets hope the prices do come down. It would be pretty good to get that type of kit. I still think 250 is a lot to pay from the consumer point of view and outside the budget of many on here but for the pro thats a more reasonable price than where they sit currently for sure. I guess it just depends what area of the market you're coming from as to whether the cost is justifyable to the individual. Until they can get good quality video with interchangable media at the price of current miniDV kit we wont see the end of tape. It will happen just not yet. There's a long way to go. it may even be that the new HD DVD's will fill the void with HD DVD cams for the consumer. Depends if the two camps can agree a format I guess but at least they are trying. Intersting times indeed.