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Digibeta vs. DVCPro HD


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#1 Dan Goulder

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 07:36 PM

Is the DVCPro HD format superior in every respect (color, sharpness, depth, etc.) to Digibeta for offline film editing, or are there any aspects of image quality that are still superior in the Digibeta format? Since DVCPro HD has a lower data rate than Digibeta, with higher compression, is there some sort of tradeoff? Are the quality differences subtle, or pronounced? Although this is for offline editing, I would like the image quality to be as high as possible, excluding uncompressed HD. Thanks.
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 11:28 PM

Well, DVCPRO HD is HD, and Digibeta is standard def, so I'd say there is a big difference in quality!

Unless I've missed something -- can DVCPRO HD support a standard def signal, but at 100Mb/sec.?

I recently completed a project shot with DVCPRO50, and edited at its full bandwidth. For standard def, this was more than adequate for offline and made a great looking standard def master.
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#3 Tim J Durham

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 01:47 AM

I recently completed a project shot with DVCPRO50, and edited at its full bandwidth. For standard def, this was more than adequate for offline and made a great looking standard def master.

Michael,
Did you record via SDI to an external deck? Did you find it to be a pain or worth the trouble?

I'm gonna be doing a short with the SDX900 and I was considering recording that way, but I have a hard time telling the difference on a 14" monitor. I spose it may be more evident in a film-out but I don't see that happening.
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#4 Michael Nash

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 06:48 PM

Michael,
Did you record via SDI to an external deck? Did you find it to be a pain or worth the trouble?


No, I shot on regular DVCPRO tapes in camera (it's the same tape format, it just runs double speed to hold 50Mb/sec.). The producer rented a Panasonic SD-930 deck and used Firewire 400 to import the footage into his Mac G5. No problems.

When I said "full bandwidth" I just meant that we imported the full 50Mb video that was on tape, rather than trying to convert it to DV25 for offlining. It just took a lot more storage for all the footage than it would have at 25Mb/sec.

Whatever compression I saw on the DVD output I attributed to the MPEG compression used to make the DVD. When I viewed playback in the field I didn't see any of those compression artifacts. Really, DVCPRO50 is a great format and I can't say enough good things about the SDX-900 as a camera.
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#5 Tim J Durham

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 09:17 PM

No, I shot on regular DVCPRO tapes in camera (it's the same tape format, it just runs double speed to hold 50Mb/sec.). The producer rented a Panasonic SD-930 deck and used Firewire 400 to import the footage into his Mac G5. No problems.

When I said "full bandwidth" I just meant that we imported the full 50Mb video that was on tape, rather than trying to convert it to DV25 for offlining. It just took a lot more storage for all the footage than it would have at 25Mb/sec.

I've never used it in DV25 mode. The tape stock is not expensive so...

I'm actually coming out there (LA) in the next couple weeks to edit. My partner has wangled some free Avid time. Where out there do you rent the SD-930? Do they also rent the SD-93? The SD-93 I can put on my credit card as opposed to having to get insurancized.

Thanks.
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#6 Michael Nash

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 10:40 PM

I've never used it in DV25 mode. The tape stock is not expensive so...

I'm actually coming out there (LA) in the next couple weeks to edit. My partner has wangled some free Avid time. Where out there do you rent the SD-930? Do they also rent the SD-93? The SD-93 I can put on my credit card as opposed to having to get insurancized.

Thanks.


We rented the camera and deck from Moviola in Hollywood, but I'm sure there are may other rental houses that have the decks as well. Check out the major video rental places: Bexel, Plus 8, Wexler, BVR, Abel Cine, Birns and Sawyer and others.
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#7 Dan Goulder

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 11:27 PM

Is the DVCPro HD format superior in every respect (color, sharpness, depth, etc.) to Digibeta for offline film editing, or are there any aspects of image quality that are still superior in the Digibeta format? Since DVCPro HD has a lower data rate than Digibeta, with higher compression, is there some sort of tradeoff? Are the quality differences subtle, or pronounced? Although this is for offline editing, I would like the image quality to be as high as possible, excluding uncompressed HD. Thanks.


Although this thread seemed to get off topic, it's now almost two weeks later, and the HD system is up and running. I'll answer my own post by saying that after viewing the same 35mm footage in HD, I'll NEVER go back to SD for offline or online. So, please disregard my original post.
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#8 Michael Nash

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 07:05 PM

Although this thread seemed to get off topic, it's now almost two weeks later, and the HD system is up and running. I'll answer my own post by saying that after viewing the same 35mm footage in HD, I'll NEVER go back to SD for offline or online.


Well, it only got off topic because you haven't responded until now! ;) I'm glad you found a system that works for you. What HD format did you end up using? DVCPRO HD at 720 lines? And is your output going to be viewed in HD or blown up to film?

I'm sure you noticed a huge difference between HD and SD! The biggest advantage to SD as an offline format is of course the reduced storage needed for the media when using an NLE. Sometimes high quality SD is more than adequate for offline, even though it obviously doesn't show you as much info as a final HD cut.

The problem usually comes when there's too big a quality difference between the offline format and the final output format. For example, a highly compressed low-res Avid offline viewed in a small window on a computer monitor does not reflect the detail, scale or pace of the final image projected on a 40' screen. But a higher quality SD image (like DVCPRO50 or digibeta) viewed on a decent-sized screen should be more than adequate to make major editing decisions for offline. Even DI color correction is often done via 1k "proxy" files, which obviously shows less information than the 2K output.

That said, there's certainly a beauty to offlining in your final output format; all the guesswork and approximation is removed and you can get to your final online just that much quicker.
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#9 Dan Goulder

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 12:28 PM

Well, it only got off topic because you haven't responded until now! ;) I'm glad you found a system that works for you. What HD format did you end up using? DVCPRO HD at 720 lines? And is your output going to be viewed in HD or blown up to film?

I'm sure you noticed a huge difference between HD and SD! The biggest advantage to SD as an offline format is of course the reduced storage needed for the media when using an NLE. Sometimes high quality SD is more than adequate for offline, even though it obviously doesn't show you as much info as a final HD cut.


The original material is 35mm Techniscope transferred to HDCAM SR for online and filmout. The offline files are DVCPro HD 720p playing back off a single external firewire drive (also works with compressed 1080p). Monitoring is done directly off the Mac G5 DVI out to the DVI input on a 50" HDTV. Voila!
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