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HVX and "poor man's closeup"


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#1 Ed Messina

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 05:28 PM

I am new to this forum, looks like a good one. Here is the deal: I produce/direct medical educational interactive videos for the web, with the occas broadcast standard def documentary. For the last few yrs, our internet workflow has been with the DVX100a at 24p, editing in Vegas or PremierePro and converting to Flash for the web. Our scripting makes liberal use of cover shots in MS,CU,MCU, ECU, etc. We often have to change shots during editing, since our web software combines the shots according to the viewer and it is hard to predict until the end of the editing process. This is quite foreign compared to the approach we used in my 16mm days. We currently shoot lots of cover to keep the editor from decompensating.

I am thinking that we could speed up our process if we took all our shots as longshots and medium shots at 720p and converted them in the NLE to tighter shots when we needed, since we downrez the images anyway, when we convert to Flash. We can almost get away with it in standard def, like pushing a CU to ECU. I wonder if using the HD format would be a better workflow where the editor could "call the shots" in situations where the script did not anticipate a shot but we could tighten it in the editor. As far as background, just about all of our work is shot in greenscreen anyway, so we can accomodate "depth of field" in the editing room.

Any thoughts?

Ed Messina
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#2 David Gottlieb

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 07:02 PM

I am thinking that we could speed up our process if we took all our shots as longshots and medium shots at 720p and converted them in the NLE to tighter shots when we needed, since we downrez the images anyway, when we convert to Flash. We can almost get away with it in standard def, like pushing a CU to ECU. I wonder if using the HD format would be a better workflow where the editor could "call the shots" in situations where the script did not anticipate a shot but we could tighten it in the editor.


This can be done easily - just had a partial HD shoot simply so the editor could zoom in up to (approximately) a third of the image and not lose standard def quality since its a DVD (that was in 1080 though). It definitely gives some flexibility but you also lose some due to the acquisition of true HD footage which is regulated to Hard-drive direct capture, P2 cards, or Firestore. The hard drive space requirements also jump up. However, editing DVCPRO-HD in either 720 or 1080 is relatively easy on any computer as opposed to long-GOP solutions e.g. HDV. It can solve some of your problems but remember it would only allow jump cuts to be made if you only use 1 camera. But it can be done. Some people even shoot at 1080 just so they can crop any shakiness out to a 720 master. The decision is yours - it may save you a lot of hassle, but remember that especially with CUs in HD the focus has to be spot-on and any mistake will only be amplified by magnification. Good luck, hope this helps!
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#3 Ed Messina

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 11:08 PM

This can be done easily - just had a partial HD shoot simply so the editor could zoom in up to (approximately) a third of the image and not lose standard def quality since its a DVD (that was in 1080 though). It definitely gives some flexibility but you also lose some due to the acquisition of true HD footage which is regulated to Hard-drive direct capture, P2 cards, or Firestore. The hard drive space requirements also jump up. However, editing DVCPRO-HD in either 720 or 1080 is relatively easy on any computer as opposed to long-GOP solutions e.g. HDV. It can solve some of your problems but remember it would only allow jump cuts to be made if you only use 1 camera. But it can be done. Some people even shoot at 1080 just so they can crop any shakiness out to a 720 master. The decision is yours - it may save you a lot of hassle, but remember that especially with CUs in HD the focus has to be spot-on and any mistake will only be amplified by magnification. Good luck, hope this helps!


David, that is helpful. So, if we use the HVX in the DVCPRO-HD mode with direct P2 or hard drive capture ( we use G-Raids) we should be able to zoom in to about 1/3 of the image size if it were standard def, I would imagine we can go in even tighter if the images are going to the smaller Flash format. In view of the size of the CCD, is there really any benefit to using 1080 versus 720? We always shoot in progressive because we do almost every shot in front of a greenscreen.

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#4 sibte hassan

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 01:27 AM

720 vs 1080
720 is 960 x 720 with 1.33 pixel aspect ratio which makes it 1280 x 720. On the other hand 1080 is 1920 x 1080, which is 1.5 times larger. This gives you more room to play, easy zoom in and out or cutting to close based on your need.
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#5 David Gottlieb

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 12:14 PM

I would imagine we can go in even tighter if the images are going to the smaller Flash format. In view of the size of the CCD, is there really any benefit to using 1080 versus 720? We always shoot in progressive because we do almost every shot in front of a greenscreen.


If you have the correct software/plug-in, you can shoot in 1080/30p on an HVX, which I believe is completely progressive 1080. Also, 1080/24pA can be used to extract a true 24 progressive frames with a pulldown removal. But 720 may be easier, and supposedly 1080 is only 10%-15% higher res than 720 due to the chip size. As you're going to the flash 320 format (I assume) you'll have even more flexibility than if you went to DV. However, normal DVCPRO-HD is about a 1min/1GB ratio, although while using the P2 card's native mode in 720/30pN, exclusive to the card and not exportable on firewire, will double your space since it automatically deletes the doubled frame. If you want to shoot in 720/60p or standard 720/30p, you can capture it through a computer via firewire and a compatible editing software to one of your G-raids with no issues, but it will remain a 1GB/1min ratio. HOWEVER, note that 1080 over firewire will take up nearly the same space as 720, at the 1GB/1min ratio, so you might as well capture it in 1080 if you're going to circumvent P2 cards. Then again, the hassle of offloading P2 cards may be worth it. Also, if you have enough time, the Cineporter I believe comes out soon which will support those native space-saving modes. All of these options, bottom line, should give you a wealth of options to choose from. Best of luck!
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#6 Ed Messina

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 01:36 PM

David

Yesterday, I talked to the "videoguys" at Cineform and ordered the Aspect 4.13 plus PremierPro 2.0 upgrade (nice package deal). They seemed to think it was out of the Beta phase and should be helpful. They seemed very approachable, just in case we need support.

We are excited about the HD format because of the flexibility of zooming the shots in post, for our own alien experimental needs... we are doing experimental educational stuff for web delivery through an expert system, including some interesting drama parts and these are not easily storyboarded because of the interactive style of the final product. I am usually a storyboard freak, so this helps me maintain some control again.

Since we shoot about 90% of our work in a permanent greenscreen/sound room, we will connect the camera to a hefty dual core desktop PC and probably stay in the 720/24p realm, it doesn't sound like much extra benefit to use 1080 since it is not native to the chip, I guess, and we are committed to the 24p aesthetic. In the field, we will certainly appreciate the P2 cards.

I'll let you know how it works, if all comes next week as promised. Again, thanks for being so helpful.

Ed
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