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HD vrs Digi Beta


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#1 Bob Hayes

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 05:45 PM

Some folks are trying to get me to shoot Digi Beta on some projects instead of HD. What are the real differences?
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#2 John Sprung

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 07:03 PM

The biggest difference is that the end product will be nowhere near as marketable, especially in the future. If it's entertainment to be sold, any kind of SD is a big mistake. (Another consideration -- if they can't afford HD, can they afford to pay you?) If it's something temporary and in-house for an industrial or institutional client, it might make sense to go SD.



-- J.S.
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#3 Michael Nash

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 07:14 PM

Resolution, colorspace, and frame rate. Functionally it's a lot like shooting with an F900, but simplified in many ways.

The newer DVW970 will shoot 24P with pulldown added, and will have more updated controls and menus. Older models shoot only plain old "vanilla" 60i, and will have fewer image controls than you're used to with HD.

Older digibeta cameras won't handle highlights quite as well as F900's and color reproduction won't be quite as "film-like" as you may be used to with HD cameras. Check with a DIT or engineer to help set up the cameras during prep.

Since it's lower resolution you have to treat the image appropriately, not unlike the difference between 16mm and 35mm. You may have to re-think your lens diffusion, and make more effort to maintain a sharp image (good glass, etc.). In SD you also have to keep an eye out for moire patterns and edge detail. The detail enhancement is MUCH coarser at the same values you would use for HD, since the lines of resolution are comparatively larger within the image.

SD has the same optical depth of field characteristics as HD, but since the effective "circle of confusion" is larger SD is more forgiving of focus buzzes. But soft backgrounds won't look any softer, since again it's the same d.o.f.
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#4 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 10:58 PM

The biggest difference is that the end product will be nowhere near as marketable, especially in the future. If it's entertainment to be sold, any kind of SD is a big mistake. (Another consideration -- if they can't afford HD, can they afford to pay you?) If it's something temporary and in-house for an industrial or institutional client, it might make sense to go SD.



-- J.S.


There is a tremendous amount of top dollar spots ($1M or so) that are finished to Digi-Beta and much of the broadcast news world is still using BetaSp or Digi-B for interview or intro stuff with "A" talent like anchors. A terranex can (and do regularly) up-res top end SD to HD and have the result look very good, D-Beta has less compression (1.5 or 2 to 1) and more color space (10BIT 4:2:2) than most compressed hd formats.

I would not assume that a D-beta client is a bottom feeder, if they request it it is probably a good dollar job (of a sort) and talking them into hd may be technically better and more usable in the long term but maybe that client does not care beyond 6 months...

-Rob-
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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 03:22 PM

The BBC still shoots Dr Who on Digi Beta, although perhaps part of that might be for budget reasons with all the CGI work.

Going HD would depend on the planned market for the production.

I've heard extremely good reports on the DVW970.
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Rig Wheels Passport

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Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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