BillyBoy wrote on 2/4/2005, 9:30 AM
Let me jump in... All the talk about HD cameras seems premature for one very simple reason. Next to nobody is going to see it at its potential.

Your typical consumer HDTV which supposedly would be one method how people would view HD footage not surprisingly, really doesn't and can not display a TRUE 1080i HD signal (there aren't enough pixels in the screen) which means WITHOUT using some scheme like either line doubling or line interpolation or some type of rescaling no consumer would see "real HD" quality.

The trade organization (the Consumer Electronics Association or CEA that sponsors the Consumer Electronics Show have issued defactor "standards" for HDTV manufacters which are:

720p/1080i or higher with a aspect ratio of 16:9. That's it!

Get it? That's all that's necessary to call a TV HD.

That means there doesn't have to be FIXED PIXELS equalling 1920 x 1080 in your LCD or Plasma screen, oh no... it simply means SCAN LINES. The bottom line is your typical HD capable Plasma TV (because of how many tops out at 752 lines resolution, fall far short of the necessary 1080, and no surprise, many broadcasters aren't broadcasting at full 1080 either.

What does it mean? Simply that making a wide screen HD TV display with native resolution of 1920x1080 to get the "full" detail possible from a1081 signal natively is extremely difficult and accordingly VERY expensive and not a reality for larger size displays.

So before running out to buy a HD camera, ask yourself, who benefits execept the owner of such a camera stroking his ego having the latest toy. Until sometime down the road where high definition DVD players and true native 1920x1080 displays are common place, who's kidding who?

So tell me...WHY are you buying HD cameras now?
Coursedesign wrote on 2/4/2005, 9:58 AM

Beautifully put!

HDV has some known limitations due to compression.

DVCPROHD (100Mbps) has some known limitations due to compression.

Ditto for HDCAM (143 Mbps).

Only HDCAM SR (1.5Gbps) doesn't have any limitations due to compression. This is of course a non-camcorder tape format used with several different cameras.

In the end, if broadcast, it will be compressed further. The 19.3 Mbps rate for a HD channel is VERY rarely used for one piece of HD content. Typically it gets sliced into 2-4 SD channels and the HD content gets what's left over (I think the lowball record is about 7 Mbps).

There are some weaknesses in the HDV format that must be understood in order to get the best footage possible.

Surprise! This is no different from DV25, which also has all kinds of weaknesses that take some skill (or luck!) to get around.

Even people who are working in DVCPROHD tell me there are issues that trip them up in post.

So, for less than 5 grand, just hold your nose and live with what you get. It still looks damn good, and many (but not all) customers will pay more for it.
Coursedesign wrote on 2/4/2005, 10:17 AM

What about MPEG-4 in one of its many versions for HD? According to Broadcast Engineering (Magazine), MPEG-4 is about twice as effective as MPEG-2 for SD content and about three times as effective for HD content (meaning MPEG-4 at one third of the bandwidth will give the same quality compared to MPEG-2).

Would wavelet compression be even more effective for HD?

BTW, I watch HD over the air (in Los Angeles), with a recent Samsung tuner with a pure digital DVI connection to my projector. With that connection, HD looks absolutely stunning, especially NBC, ABC and two of the three PBS stations broadcasting in HD.

Don't forget OTA HD, it's free and the quality is better than any cable or satellite. The all-digital connection also does make a difference, even compared to good component video cables. I have a full city view at home, so I get good reception with just a set-top antenna (Gemini ZHDTV1, $19.99 at, this is the only good one among several I tried).
FrigidNDEditing wrote on 2/4/2005, 10:33 AM
I completely agree with many of these posts - especially the last two (three if you include mine ;-) ) (EDIT - this was written before the one just above mine was entered)

You can record an SD signal in many ways, including DV, DVCAM, DVCPRO50, Digital Betacam, BetaSP, VHS, DVD, D-1, D-2, 8mm, Hi-8, S-VHS, and LaserDisc. All of these formats record standard-definition video. - That is almost exactly what I was going to say.

Spot - I would say that someone who says that (HDV isn't HD) should be asked if VHS is SD, if DV25 is SD, if BETACAM SP is SD, or if DIGIBETA is SD. Just because they're a wide variety of formats doesn't change the FACT that they are all SD - plain and simple. Some would not shoot with them, or even dream of using them, but they are still SD.

HDV, HDCAM, DVCPROHD - all HD recording formats. If the said that HDV is not true HD would they say that only DIGIBETA or BETACAM or "true" SD? - They would be laughed out of the business. What they're saying is absurd and I laughed when I saw it. Never the less I do realize that HDV may not be the same quality as HDCAM or DVCPRO HD in terms of compression depending on what you're shooting. IMHO, if the top cam from JAG shoots with it and combines it with an F900 and film, it may not start out as good as them, but it would seem that with the right work, it can end out close enough to them to make it a VERY good tool.

B_JM wrote on 2/4/2005, 10:36 AM
more effective compression - yes ..

but i think that that the purpose is to remain as close to lossless as possible for editing purposes - using mpeg4 variants (even 10 (AVC) is not really conclusive to a good editing medium ... at the profiles we have today anyway (caped at about 10000 bit rate) , look at what is thrown out for mpeg4 and you will see that re-rendering it or generation loss is not so good ..

the best mpeg4 codecs though are an excellent delivery medium though . perhaps with some further profiles and less color compression - mpeg4 would also work in this application .. this is certainly possible - but since i suspect sony started work on HDV several years ago - a lot of the advances in mpeg4 (264 took like 7 years or something to get ratified) were not available to them and they had to decide on a storage medium back then . since sony jumped already on the mpeg2 bandwagon with IMX , they prob. used some of this technology in HDV (i'm only guessing) ....

It (mpeg2) is also cost effective .. The Quvis (QuBit) wavelet codec is awesome, but the lic for this is also VERY expensive .. A custom mjpeg codec i use is $300 per lic at a reduced cost for multiple lic's .... Use of the mpeg2 costs what ? maybe $2- $4 at the rate i'm sure sony gets (another guess) ..

There are other choices also - but compatibility and control of the technology and the time factor of when it was developed all come in to play ... VP6 is another one which i know sony works with for use in bluray as an option ... its very good also , but is there hardware encoders like mpeg2 that they would not have to develop ..

to keep costs down for HDV , im sure all these factors came into play (including developing a new tape which could kill it and would have added to development costs greatly)

BrianStanding wrote on 2/4/2005, 11:48 AM
I don't claim to have the technical knowledge others do, but this reminds me of the "Beta-SP vs. DV" debate when DV first came out.

A lot of broadcasters claimed that DV wasn't up to Broadcast spec and refused to take any content that originated on DV. The solution? A lot of us made analog dubs to Beta-SP from our DV tapes and conveniently "forgot" to tell the broadcaster that they weren't shot on $100,000 Beta-SP camcorders. As long as they scoped out O.K., no one was ever the wiser.

If you dub a well-shot HDV master to HDCAM, will anyone be able to tell?
mdopp wrote on 2/4/2005, 12:47 PM
I live in Germany and we don't (yet) have HD-television here.
I remember about a year ago when a magazin was carrying a DVD with a couple of HD-trailers. I was simply blown away by the quality.
When Sony announed their HDR-FX1 I got very excitet. I went to the Photokina in Colone just to take a close look and see for myself. I couldn't help staring at Sony's large size monitors and couldn't believe this footage was actually shot by that relatively cheap camcorder.

So - what is "HD" ?
I'd say it is HD, if it gives you that "WOW" feeling.

And that's sure what HDV does. I went buying the camera shortly after it became available.

I have a couple of those WMV-HD IMAX movies and frankly they have a quality that seems to be far beyond what the HDR-FX1 can deliver.
But come on - who cares ? Their cameras cost maybe a 100 times more so they really should be better.
Does that make HDV any less impressive or any less HD ?
Certainly not.

What has annoyed me (and probably many other people as well) is the nonsense you can read on other forums about HDV. People compare framegrabs without proper color correction and tell you the colors are wrong. I've seen a post where someone said he found MPEG-artifacts as worse as in low-bandwidth internet-streams. That's ridiculous. From what I can tell HDV actually produces *less* artifacts than DV (and I did a lot of frame grabs). The same "tester" complained he couldn't see a difference on his 8" SD-production monitor between HDV and DV. Are these people nuts ?

But back to your question. Is HDV true HD ? There is no doubt in my mind.

VegasVidKid wrote on 2/4/2005, 1:17 PM
I would have to say that the answer is "yes".

But just for fun...
Is film HD?
Is analog HD?
Is tape HD?
Is a CD hi-fidelity?
"Alexander" was well photographed and had great picture quality, too. Still a bomb when watching in 1080i on Hi-def monitor.
"Citizen Kane" was shot in black and white and 4:3. Pretty good flick. :)
farss wrote on 2/4/2005, 1:22 PM
Because with a HDV camera we can deliver superior SD content, for the money we can produce 16:9 4:2:2 SD that blows anything at that price point out of the water.
John_Cline wrote on 2/4/2005, 2:26 PM
I just stumbled across the "RightMark™ Video Analyzer" which allows an objective evaluation of camera's video channel, including its lens, matrix/matrices, ADC, video processor, and a comparison with the "ideal" video channel. Video Analyzer plots a Modulation Transfer Function graph (MTF), the objective in-depth image quality characteristic.

Perhaps we can use this tool on the FX1, Z1 and some higher end HD cameras and have an actual objective answer to Spot's question.

Here's the link:

RightMark™ Video Analyzer software

Coursedesign wrote on 2/4/2005, 2:49 PM

If you think "objective answer" means "right answer", you are missing the human element.

At the HD Fest "Film Festival" at L.A. Film School recently, we were treated to a half dozen HD "films" shot with a camera that I know has a higher MTF than the camera used for the other half dozen "films". The projection was in very high quality HD digital, no celluloid.

My preference for best look for drama were 6-0 for the camera that has the lower MTF curve.

MTF is useful for a lot of things, but in video there are many other factors.
If you want to show still life in a studio, absolutely MTF will let you pick the best gear. Even outside the studio, if you like the "video" look.

For whatever reasons, humans tend to prefer an alternate reality though.

People are paying a lot of money to shoot 24p, even though this is obviously a less accurate depiction of reality when any movement is involved.

People like the S-curve of film emulsions, even though it is not as accurate as the straight transfer curve of video.

The &*$%%$ humans are so unpredictable, and ungrateful when you give them real, objective quality!


DigVid wrote on 2/4/2005, 2:56 PM
John_Cline wrote on 2/4/2005, 3:18 PM
I'm not discounting the human element at all. Note I said "an answer" not "the answer."

As with any technology, it's what humans do with it that makes it interesting, compelling and exciting. Give a Z1 to someone who knows what they're doing and I suspect the results will be outstanding.... and HD

Spot|DSE wrote on 2/4/2005, 4:28 PM
Many may feel "True HD" should be a noninterlaced format like 1080p (similar to film). If that's the case, then HDV is not "True HD"...

Now THAT particular argument has got to be one of the most odd arguments or comments I've seen yet. First time 1080p has come into the discussion on any forum. No one broadcasts 1080p, not very many displays are 1080p, and nothing is deliverable in a standard of 1080p, but there are lots of hi-def everythings out there. Heck, even Walmart is selling "High Def Kodak film" whatever that means. But the 1080p hasn't come up.
Keep em coming gang, between all the forums there are all sorts of responses ranging from informative to hostile parroting. Kinda fun. I've got an Excel sheet going so I can tabulate the results at the end of the day.
BillyBoy wrote on 2/4/2005, 4:30 PM
While some form of HD is the future regardless how "good" the camera work, you still need to tell a compelling story.

Just to throw out a couple well known examples "Citizen Kane" and "Its a Wonderful Life" both black and white classics at 4/3 would trump any ho-hum also ran wide format movie created in HD because they were extremely well written, well directed and well acted.

I must admit when I first got my big screen plasma several weeks ago, I would stop on any HD channel and frequently watch if it was broadcasting a true HD picture. Not anymore. Now I'm back to deciding what to watch based on CONTENT. Part of the human element is being dalzed seeing something new, then we quickly get jaded and come to our senses.
FrigidNDEditing wrote on 2/4/2005, 5:22 PM
"First time 1080p has come into the discussion on any forum

You must have missed some here because I've seen them before this.

Spot|DSE wrote on 2/4/2005, 5:23 PM
I meant it hadn't come up as an argument about HD standards.
FrigidNDEditing wrote on 2/4/2005, 5:25 PM

mhbstevens wrote on 2/4/2005, 5:40 PM
This subject is emotional because a bunch of amateurs and some semi-pros have noticed the great divide between the Hollywood studios and home movie makers has been srunk by the convergence of technologys (to digital video) and the amateurs ability to cut and edit on a par with the pros. No one wants a new artificial divide to be born and differing HD standards and differing aspect ratios could well be that.

I would be unhappy at any non-standardisation between HDV and HD. One standard for one art!

Coursedesign wrote on 2/4/2005, 6:14 PM
1080p is the internal U.S. distribution format to TV networks, according to the HD Forum.

Probably chosen because nobody uses it, so it is equally fair/unfair to 1080i and 720p producers.

Some years from now, I think it's going to be pretty hot.
Cheno wrote on 2/4/2005, 6:23 PM
If it looks like HD and smells like HD and tastes like HD.... it must be HD.

Maybe we ought to get "HDV" and" HD" in the locker room and have them both drop their pants. My guess is they'd both be holding their heads high.

I'd be curious, Spot to see, names withheld of course, some of the correspondence you've had with anti-HDV proponents. Like any technology in its infancy, there's always the skeptic. I remember shooting an interview with Joe Weider (the bodybuilding pioneer) in early 1998 right after the XL1 had come out. I had it out with a Canadian crew doing a doc on Weider. Here they had their trusty Beta SP camera, the director, sound mixer and boom operator. All professional, right? And yet I was there with a boom operator and the mini-dv cam. They scoffed at the fact that I mentioned the quality would be nearly identical but yet they didn't dare test me on it.

I agree with alot of what has been said here on this thread. We've got some very, very experienced people posting their thoughts and opinions. I for one am grateful that the discussion can be had in a relatively calm manner of course there's always the skeptics...

Delivery will be the biggest issue. How many people can truly take delivery of HD content? It's still very limited. I, however am excited that we now have a better method of aquiring and archiving our content.

riredale wrote on 2/4/2005, 6:43 PM
I'm coming late to this thread, but anyway:

The original spec said HDTV was

(1) doubled vertical resolution
(2) doubled horizontal resolution
(3) wide screen
(4) digital multichannel audio

HDV meets every spec except (2), but then 720p won't necessarily meet (1) or (2), and people call THAT HDTV.

So, from a casual viewpoint, yeah, HDV is HDTV.

Here's another test:

Put up three monitors, one showing clean NTSC, one showing clean HDV, and one showing 1080x1920 HDTV. I'd bet that most people will see the HDV as being very close to the "pure" HD image, and much different from the NTSC image.
B_JM wrote on 2/4/2005, 7:04 PM
Spot - i've mentioned 1080p30 several times on several forums (including here and at DMN) ,.

It is common forrmat we used (and many others) and there is speciic playback hardware for it and 48p (not very common) also ..

the resolution in many case is even higher than the 1080p standard ...

working with 70mm @ 30-60fps , digital HD(ish) playback suffers greatly if we used 24p when systems are switched over to video playback from film ..

Pretty well ALL themed entertainement media is created and rendered out at a min. of 30fps progressive -- and this from a number of companies all over the world ..

mhbstevens wrote on 2/4/2005, 7:11 PM
Here are the words Riredale uses to describe HDV's relation to HDTV:

"except" - "casual" - "close" - "different"

It's like telling the cop you "nearly" stoped at the stop-sign. I don't like being second-best when it's just not necessary!