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High-Def. Question

Posted: Tue, 18th Sep 2007, 3:56am

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King of Blades

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Alright, I've been lead to believe that if you do not own a HD drive on your computer, video edited on it cannot be exported as HD. Now, there's another source that informed me that it isn't necessary to own said drive.

I'm done with trying to decide who is or isnt right; what are the prerequisites for a computer to handle High-Definition video?
Posted: Tue, 18th Sep 2007, 4:25am

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Serpent

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You need a monitor that can handle the resolution (editing video footage that is bigger than all of your monitors is silly.) You need a fast processor. You need a decent video card (graphics card, GPU, all synonymous). You need enough hard drive space and a fast enough hard drive to handle editing HD/HDV and capturing it. You need a firewire port on your computer. You need an NLE that can natively edit HD/HDV. You need enough hard drive space to handle all the video.

There is no set system that is the minimum. You could probably edit HD/HDV on a junker, just really really slowly and inefficiently. I don't know where you got HD drive from, but I have never heard of that in my life. The acronym HDD means "hard disk drive," maybe that's what you saw? A lot of consumer cameras are recording onto built in hard drives, but that has nothing to do with your computer.

If you want to find out if your computer can handle HDV, you need to ask people who have your same setup really, or try it out for yourself. Again, there is no minimum requirement really, you just have to have the right stuff for the job. Now I am sure there are video cards that simply can't handle HDV, but if you buy what is considered a modern medium-high end system, it should be able to handle HDV. Post your specs and maybe someone can help you out more specifically.
Posted: Tue, 18th Sep 2007, 4:54am

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King of Blades

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Thanks for the quick reply, Serpent. I suppose I got "HD drive" from these "helpful" people at various sites...

But anyway:

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Manufacturer/Model: Hewlett-Packard; HP Pavilion dv9000t

OS: Windows Vista Ultimate (64-bit)

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo T5200 1.60GHz

RAM: 1020 MB

Hard Drive: 120GB

Graphics Card: nVidia GeForce Go 7600

Basically we're dealing with a "modern" notebook computer here... I've got some external hard drives as well, so space won't be a problem. I believe that my graphics card is quite suitable, along with my proc., though, there's always the problem with Windows Vista...
Posted: Tue, 18th Sep 2007, 10:07am

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SlothPaladin

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Most people say that you need a raid0 array (2+ hard drives connected to a raid card and read as one HDD to cut down on the read/write time dramatically) to edit high definition. 120 Gigs is WAY to small, I had to go buy a new 320GB drive (in addition to a 300GB and 80GB drive) today and I'm just working with standard def stuff. If your planning anything big I would look into a 1+ terabyte raid0 setup. I'm going to buy the base componits for a high def editing system, which you can see right here but it does not include the raid card or the hard drives for that array. I'm also going to add 4GB of ram to that, but I don't buy ram from Newegg, you will want at LEAST 2GB or ram for your high def needs, also Adobe clams you need dual 2.8GHz processors for HD

While I have edited 720p 4:4:4 video on my current system (worse then yours) it was not fun and I could not even watch the compressed footage back in real time (you can see the high def stuff I did here) HOWEVER, I do most of my editing in the storyboarding phase and if you are not an animator that is NOT going to work that well for you.

If you only have enough money to afford a high def camera and not a computer or the hardware to deal with it I suggest you buy a nice DV camera and get a few lights and C-Stands with the left over cash, a well lit DV film will look better then a poorly lit high def film. Or if you have the lights invest in a quality sound setup, that should give your videos that 'professional touch'
Posted: Tue, 18th Sep 2007, 8:43pm

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Merrick

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You couldn't even watch the compressed version! Usually it's good to go uncompressed when you can. Just imagine the size of that file. biggrin It isn't even possible to put HD on a regular DVD yet, is it?
Posted: Tue, 18th Sep 2007, 8:58pm

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pdrg

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Merrick World wrote:

You couldn't even watch the compressed version! Usually it's good to go uncompressed when you can. Just imagine the size of that file. biggrin It isn't even possible to put HD on a regular DVD yet, is it?
You'll never be able to put HD onto a regular DVD, the standard doesn't support it, that's why the HDDVD and BluRay formats were invented.

As for uncompressed HD - well my uncompressed 1080p works out to 6 Meg a frame, so that's 150MB per second (megabytes, not megabits - 8x bigger), so unless you can get the data off your drive at over 1200 megabits/sec, you can't play back uncompressed HD video. Firewire goes upto 800, USB2 upto 480, so you'd need eSATA 2 (or whatever they call it), even if the rest of your system could handle it.

And I'm also of the unpopular school of shoot good SD over crap HD - HD really pushes up your post costs (or is so compressed you introduce different problems) too, as you're discovering!
Posted: Tue, 18th Sep 2007, 9:36pm

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Lior

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You need a fast pc. Most important you need a large hardrive. and also a good monitoring system such as black magic's sdi cards and hdlink. for good monitoring I would only use sdi. hdmi is the consumers version of sdi. You will not get any good monitoring with hdmi. if you want cheaper monitoring get intensity pro. To jump to hd is not just buying a camera it upgrading your entire production. I spent over 15,000 on lighting hvx200 and so on. I now am going to purchase a hpx500. HD is also horible in lowlight. much worse then SD. Also right now the most you will get is 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 there is no uncompressed HD. Unless ofcorse you get the hydra mod that will soon come out. Then you will be able to acheieve true uncompressed HD at 4:4:4. as for software make sure u get raylight. There are more ; but I found it realy useful.
Posted: Tue, 18th Sep 2007, 10:25pm

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King of Blades

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Thanks for all of the replies! I really appreciate it!
Posted: Tue, 18th Sep 2007, 11:02pm

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Tim L

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King of Blades wrote:

Alright, I've been lead to believe that if you do not own a HD drive on your computer, video edited on it cannot be exported as HD. Now, there's another source that informed me that it isn't necessary to own said drive.
I have never worked with HD, but based on various message boards I follow, here are some comments:

- If you are talking about HDV video, and your editing program can edit it natively as HDV files, then disk space is no worse than working with DV. Both are roughly 13 GB per hour of video.

- However, working natively with HDV means the processor has a lot more work to do. Slow previewing in your editor would be more likely related to the processor having to decompress the HDV on the fly rather than a limitation of disk throughput.

- You can take the "decompressing" load off your processor by converting the HDV (MPEG2) file to a less compressed format like a Cineform intermediate file. This reduces load on the processor, but increases the file sizes and the necessary disk throughput.

- The more "pro" the format, the bigger the filesize and the greater the need for fast disk i/o. However, HDV is a bit lighter than the pro formats, and probably less demanding.

- You don't necessarily need an HD drive -- i.e. HD DVD or BluRay burner -- on your system to edit and view HD content. There are plenty of people burning short sections of HD content (maybe 20-30 minutes?) on regular DVD-R's for viewing in high def via a PlayStation 3 or (I think) by some HD DVD players that support this? I know I've read about this, but I don't recall the details...

- Regular DVD's played in regular DVD set-top players do not have any provisions for High Def content.

Again, let me finish by repeating: I've never done *any* of this myself, so take my comments with that in mind.

Tim L
Posted: Tue, 18th Sep 2007, 11:09pm

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BlueSmudge

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Use HDV so you dont have to deal with all the expensive equipement of full uncompressed HD. Its got the same file sizes as DV, but the resolution of HD. 1080i.

Also you dont need an HD monitor. I edit my footage and my screen cant display it fullscreen, but that doesnt matter since its usually just in a window in your NLE, you only watch it full screen once its done (or on an external monitor while your editing like I do).

I have a 1.83Ghz Core Duo with an 80GB 5400rpm HD. Thats pretty bad. Your computer should be nearly the same speed since its a Core 2 Duo so I dont think you will have a problem. Playback times for me are instant and in realtime. Havn't dropped a frame yet. YOu could allways buy some more RAM to help ensure this. I have 2GB.

THe only difference between editing HDV and DV is longer render times, and having to convert for DVD. Just make sure you have a NLE that supports it. Final Cut Pro does an amazing job making it feel like a normal DV workflow. Other than that, you just get the great advantages of the huge resolution. Like reframing shots or steadying the footage since you have the resolution to spare. I like HDV more than DV because DV footage allways felt gross scaled up on a computer monitor, and is even worse on an HD TV it seems like. Plus HDV footage scaled down still gives you absolutely amazing DV resolution footage.

And no, you dont need a HD drive like a HDDVD or BlueRay burner to edit HD. You can either put it on a normal DVD at normal resolution, or put it on the internet at any definition you want. Then in the future, get an HDDVD or BlueRay burner once they come down in price and one of them wins.

Dont bother with full HD right now. The hardware is too expensive. HDV is a great alternative. Sure its not 1080p, but you can shoot 24p like a DVX on both sony and canon models.
Posted: Wed, 19th Sep 2007, 1:58am

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xanetia

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I agree wih bluesmudge, I have a Hi-Def video camera, I found it works brilliantly with my iMac, and at the end I just run it down to normal resoloution (from 1080i) as I dont have a HDDVD burner. It would take a HD TV and HDDVD/blueray player before I got a HDDVD/Blueray burner.
Posted: Wed, 19th Sep 2007, 1:04pm

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Merrick

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pdrg wrote:

And I'm also of the unpopular school of shoot good SD over crap HD - HD really pushes up your post costs (or is so compressed you introduce different problems) too, as you're discovering!
I agree exept for one thing; what happens to our $2000 awesome SD cam when HD takes over the world? This is a terrible time to be an ultra low budget filmmaker. sad Any more opinions on HDV vs uncompressed DV?
Posted: Wed, 19th Sep 2007, 9:54pm

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pdrg

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Merrick World wrote:

what happens to our $2000 awesome SD cam when HD takes over the world?
I give you $100 for it and we're both happy wink

But seeing as hiring a digibeta is still at least 3x the price of hiring HDV kit, I don't think you should fret too much yet wink
Posted: Wed, 19th Sep 2007, 10:10pm

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SlothPaladin

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SD looks pretty bad on most SD setups when you compare it to SD on a high def setup. So when everyone has a big screen TV and a modern DVD player (which will play the old DVDs too) your SD movies will look better then before.

You need to ask yourself what is YOUR goal as a film maker. Do you want to make good movies and improve your skills as a film maker? Maybe get a nice demo reel together? Because you can do both on a DV camera. If your goal is to shoot a feature next year which gets theatrical distribution fantasizing about pipe dream. You are acting like High Def is the Y2K scare for cameras, chances are if you spend the rest of your life making movies you will keep getting new cameras every 5 to 10 years. HDV is not a very good film making format, if you want to jump into real high def film making you will need a nice camera and a computer that is ready to handle a TON of data. If your not paying your cast or crew and most likely won't get any kind of distribution shooting HD or SD does not matter that much.
Posted: Thu, 20th Sep 2007, 2:59am

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BlueSmudge

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SlothPaladin wrote:

HDV is not a very good film making format, if you want to jump into real high def film making you will need a nice camera and a computer that is ready to handle a TON of data. If your not paying your cast or crew and most likely won't get any kind of distribution shooting HD or SD does not matter that much.
Do you own an HDV camera? Where are the facts in that statement. I'm amazed at how good HDV looks. And like I said, it doesnt take much of a computer to edit it, and the workflow only changes when doing special effects.

I could see that if you are only spend $500 on a camera, there is no point to HD, but if you are already throwing down at least $1000, the few hundred extra will be completely worth it once you see the flexibility and image quality of HD. I hate to see DV become obsolete, but even if HD isnt standard yet, you are future proofing your movies, and they just look better. I've only had my XH-A1 for 3 weeks but looking at my old movies, even ones shot with a DVX, they just don't compare. As long as you get a half decent HDV camera, the footage will wow you.

I recomend to everyone that you wait an extra month or two, or whatever to save up some more money so that you don't have to replace your camera in another 3-5 years. What people used to spend to buy a 27" tube TV can now buy a 42" rear projection HDTV. And once they do that they will want an HDDVD or Bluray player. Sure it might take 10 years, but as people slowly go to replace old technology HD will become more and more common. It is a terrible time to be an indipendant filmmaker with this choice to make, but in my opinion, HD (By way of HDV for now) is the way to go. P2 cards and alike are also great if you have the money, but the added costs outweight the benefits right now. At least for me. Especially when you compare images.
Posted: Thu, 20th Sep 2007, 3:34am

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King of Blades

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BlueSmudge wrote:

Do you own an HDV camera? Where are the facts in that statement. I'm amazed at how good HDV looks.
I don't think SlothPaladin is saying that HDV has horrible video quality, but that it's not the best format to work with; although Fxhome products support HDV, and unless I miss my guess, many NLEs probably do not.
Posted: Thu, 20th Sep 2007, 6:48am

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SlothPaladin

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I'm not saying HDV looks bad or is horrable quality, however it is a very compressed format, so if you take HDV footage and modify it and save it as an HDV file you will loose quality becouse you are recompressing a compressed file, if you plan on grading or effects this is bad. The DV format is far less compressed and will not suffer from the same kind of quality loss from this kind of modification, which means it's better for film makers.

I don't own a HDV camera becouse I'm an animator and can shoot 1080p 4:4:4 on a $500 still camera so I don't have the real world experience with an HDV cam. The primary point of my post was to point out the advantages of SD. After shooting stuff in 720p 4:4:4 I reverted to SD (although I was still shooting in 4:4:4 color) becouse for what I was doing HD was a waist of my time and hard drive space, on top of that I had recived no benefits from it. I saw The Haiku Mence twice in theaters projected from a DVD and it looked wonderful even though it had been mastered in SD.
Posted: Thu, 20th Sep 2007, 12:47pm

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Merrick

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pdrg wrote:

I give you $100 for it and we're both happy
No we're not. smile

King of Blades wrote:

although Fxhome products support HDV, and unless I miss my guess, many NLEs probably do not.
Many do, actually.

BlueSmudge wrote:

I could see that if you are only spend $500 on a camera, there is no point to HD, but if you are already throwing down at least $1000, the few hundred extra will be completely worth it
I agree.

SlothPaladin wrote:

if you take HDV footage and modify it and save it as an HDV file you will loose quality becouse you are recompressing a compressed file, if you plan on grading or effects this is bad. The DV format is far less compressed and will not suffer from the same kind of quality loss from this kind of modification, which means it's better for film makers.
I also agree.

I'm starting to lean towards buying an HD cam and, for the time, downgrading the footage to SD for editing. Sound good to everyone?
Posted: Thu, 20th Sep 2007, 1:33pm

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Arktic

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I'm starting to lean towards buying an HD cam and, for the time, downgrading the footage to SD for editing. Sound good to everyone?
No, it sounds like a very silly idea.

If you're going to go to the effort and expense of getting a HD camera and a HD capable system, why on earth would you then downres the footage?

Most decent NLEs use an intermediary codec for the editing process, which makes home NLEs more aligned with the professional online/offline edit/consolidation process. Read up about how intermediary codecs (and the other complications) of HD editing work before you decide to invest in an HD camera.

But whatever you do, don't downres! What's the point? If you're just going to edit at SD, buy an SD camera and send me the money you would otherwise be wasting! wink

It is a terrible time to be an indipendant filmmaker
Yes, I agree totally - it was MUCH better in the days when all the technology was completley unnatainable for the average man, and when 90% of the people on this forum would have been totally unable to take up this hobby, and even if they *could* afford it, the processes involved were so complicated that making anything half-decent was so time consuming that very few actually would bother.

Or, infact, no I don't agree. I think it's a really exciting time of fantastic opportunity.

Arktic.
Posted: Thu, 20th Sep 2007, 3:49pm

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Merrick

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Arktic wrote:

I think it's a really exciting time of fantastic opportunity.
Your right. What I meant was something more like 'It's a bad time to be buying a camera'

The reason I was going to downgrade was because It doesn't seem like my systm can handle HD and I don't want to be replacing cameras in just a few years.

I'll look into intermediary codecs for HD.
Posted: Thu, 20th Sep 2007, 4:42pm

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pdrg

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Just for the record, if you have a choice of intermediate codec, try DNxHD - I think it's a freely published standard, is very powerful, etc.
Posted: Thu, 20th Sep 2007, 9:48pm

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Merrick

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Thanks. smile
Posted: Fri, 21st Sep 2007, 5:24am

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BlueSmudge

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I'm not sure how the intermediate codec thing works, but I think its mainly used for full HD. Most popular NLE support native HDV (which is what you are considering vs DV right?). In that case you would only need to move to an intermediate codec like DNxHD or ProRes for effects shots to make render times more realistic. If you plan on doing mostly special effects stuff, then you might want to just go with DV.

I personally think its worth the extra time because I don't use too many effects, but that might not be how you work. If every shot had a lightsaber duel, a gunfight, or explosions, I think that it would take forever on a low powered system.

I also just want to back up my claim that the HDV workflow is nearly the same as DV. I have a movie in the cinema right now that was shot and edited on a Friday after school, and it was my first experience with the camera and editing HDV.

You need to figure out what you are going to use your camera most for right now, and buy one that meets all your needs, and maybe the needs you expect to have (like manual controls?). I also agree its a great time to be a filmmaker, but a bad time to be picking out a camera. I had a real hard time.
Posted: Sun, 23rd Sep 2007, 1:27am

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Merrick

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Some of what I do will be very effects packed, but then again, the rest is just plain old dialouge. And yes, I was comparing HDV vs uncompressed DV.
Posted: Sun, 23rd Sep 2007, 9:27pm

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BlueSmudge

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Remember to consider that most HDV cameras can also record plain old DV. If you know you are only doing web distribution, or are doing tons of effects in one movie, you could just shoot it in DV if you choose too.

For example, this weekend I'm shooting a wedding with two cameras. The other camera is DV, so I'm not going to bother shooting High Definition with my HDV camera. I also know the client doesn't care about High Def. Some do though.

Do you, your parents, or your friends own a HD TV? You should watch some HD programming to see the difference and decide if you want to be a part of it.
Posted: Sun, 23rd Sep 2007, 11:26pm

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Merrick

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I know a couple of people who own an HDTV. More will soon, though. I'm hoping to borrow or rent a cam and wait out this whole issue without loosing too much money.
Posted: Sat, 29th Sep 2007, 7:29pm

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CurtinParloe

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Arktic wrote:

I'm starting to lean towards buying an HD cam and, for the time, downgrading the footage to SD for editing. Sound good to everyone?
No, it sounds like a very silly idea.

If you're going to go to the effort and expense of getting a HD camera and a HD capable system, why on earth would you then downres the footage?

Most decent NLEs use an intermediary codec for the editing process, which makes home NLEs more aligned with the professional online/offline edit/consolidation process. Read up about how intermediary codecs (and the other complications) of HD editing work before you decide to invest in an HD camera.

But whatever you do, don't downres! What's the point? If you're just going to edit at SD, buy an SD camera and send me the money you would otherwise be wasting! wink
Actually, downgraded HDV looks better than plain old SD. Surprisingly better.

SlothPaladin wrote:

SD looks pretty bad on most SD setups when you compare it to SD on a high def setup. So when everyone has a big screen TV and a modern DVD player (which will play the old DVDs too) your SD movies will look better then before.
Erm... as SlothPaladin said. biggrin

It's a case of the HD camera needing to capture that much more information, when it's compressed back to SD by the camera, it's doing so with a much better image to begin with.

When it comes to editing HDV, it's a nightmare. Not only do you have the increased strain on the editing machine, but you have the dip in quality from the codec.

Incidentally, if you want a tape backup of the finished film, you have to transcode it, which results in another dip in quality.

I'm editing a feature film shot on HDV at the moment, and I'm working on the SD downres in order to be able to do anything. That said, once I have the final EDL I'll be able to give it and the HDV tapes to a facilities house, and they can worry about the quality issues.