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MiniDV Vs HD


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#1 rickieuk

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 03:21 PM

I am planning to shoot my disertation in January and am prepping it at the moment. I can choose to shoot it on either a Canon XL1 (MiniDV) or a HD camera (can't remember the model, all I can tell you is that it's panasonic).

It is an action short with a few fight scenes. Although MiniDV creates so much more convinience, HD obviously gives a better quality picture.

Has anyone got any suggestions as to why I should go with one or the other?

Thanks
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#2 Matt Read

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 04:44 PM

Your decision will depend on several factors. The most important is, can the system you will be editing on handle HD footage? HD files are big, requiring several GB of storage for even a 10 minute film. The specific amount varies depending on your resolution and frame rate. MiniDV on the other hand, uses much less space and requires less processing power and RAM.

Another factor will be what format you plan on finishing your film to. DVDs can only record and play standard definition (SD) footage. Blu-ray discs can record and play HD footage. HD footage will have to be compressed down to SD to be recorded on a DVD, which means you will lose the extra resolution of your raw HD footage. This isn't bad though, as it will still look good. SD footage will have to be up-res to HD to be recorded to a Blu-Ray disc. No matter how good your equipment is, this will never look as good as footage natively shot in HD. If you want to finish to DVD only, then you can shoot on MiniDV or HD. If you want to finish to DVD and Blu-Ray or just Blu-Ray, then you should shoot on HD. If you only plan to exhibit your film online or from a computer, then either format is fine.

As far as convenience goes, I don't think MiniDV is necessarily more convenient than HD. MiniDV has to be captured to a computer in real time for editing. If your HD camera records to a card and not tape, the footage can be transferred from card to computer in faster than real time. Most prosumer HD cameras are not significantly larger than MiniDV cameras, so they would not be more of a hassle on set.

Finally, most HD cameras will record colors better than MiniDV cameras. They will at least record at the same quality. And with the extra resolution of HD, even if they aren't actually recording the colors better, it will look like it.

Bottom line, if your editing system is setup to handle HD footage, then you should shoot HD.
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#3 Matthew Buick

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 04:47 PM

Personally, I thibk it'd be the wiser descison to go with HD, it's what everyone seems to be doing these days, you can get amazing pictures even from a humble HV30. Plus there's the benefit of progresive scan. You'll also be future-proffed in a way if you shoot in HD.


-Best!
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 04:59 PM

I don't know of any Panasonic HDV cameras, their systems are normally DVCProHD (HVX) or AVCIntra; the newer cameras an their professional line. Double check your post workflow to be certain you can handle it.
Given the choice between HD and SD, a lot would come down to camera and it's performance for the specific shoot. Some HD cameras can get very noisy in low light whereas SD will be alright.
HD will look better downconverted to SD for DVD Presentation; and will also look better projected on a screen as it's not "enlarging" as much as SD material would be.
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#5 Andrew McCarrick

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 06:00 PM

DVDs can only record and play standard definition (SD) footage.


This is actually not true. DVDs can indeed record HD, all be it alot less video. Now find a DVD player that can play HD out into a HD cable...The only thing you'll probably get is a Blu-Ray player with Standard DVD capabilities (that might be able to play back the HD into the HDMI cable).

The format you record to (Blu-Ray or Regular DVD) have no correspondence to the codec actually put on them.

Edited by Andrew McCarrick, 07 November 2008 - 06:02 PM.

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#6 Matt Read

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 05:21 PM

DVDs can only record and play standard definition (SD) footage.

This is actually not true. DVDs can indeed record HD, all be it alot less video. Now find a DVD player that can play HD out into a HD cable...The only thing you'll probably get is a Blu-Ray player with Standard DVD capabilities (that might be able to play back the HD into the HDMI cable).

The format you record to (Blu-Ray or Regular DVD) have no correspondence to the codec actually put on them.


Andrew, I am not incorrect. Playable DVDs, also called DVD-Video, (ie will play in a stand-alone DVD player) use only the MPEG-2 codec for video. You can create a video using a different codec and import it into a DVD authoring program, but it will always be transcoded into MPEG-2 before being burned to the DVD. Audio on DVD-Video can be encoded using PCM, MPEG-1 audio layer II or AC-3.

It is true that you can put non-MPEG-2 files on a DVD, but you can only do this by making a data disc. The video on the DVD will not play - or even be recognized - on a stand-alone DVD player, only a computer, where they will appear as files. This is similar to how you can put MP3 files on a CD, but your stand-alone CD player can't play them.

Blu-Ray players read three codecs: MPEG-2 (to be backward-compatible with DVDs), H.264/MPEG-4 and VC-1.

If you were correct, then DVDs released using a new codec could not be played on older DVD players because they would not recognize the new codec and have no way to be updated. People would constantly be buying new DVD players so they could watch the newest DVDs.

Check out the Wikipedia article here for more.
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#7 Adam Orton

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 01:14 AM

Playable DVDs, also called DVD-Video, (ie will play in a stand-alone DVD player) use only the MPEG-2 codec for video. You can create a video using a different codec and import it into a DVD authoring program, but it will always be transcoded into MPEG-2 before being burned to the DVD.


What confused me about HDV is that it uses MPEG-2, strangely. When I first heard this, I thought you could theoretically play it on SD DVD players since, like you pointed out, they only use the MPEG-2 codec (and HDV is supposed to be that.) I also believe that there are several export presets on Vegas that promise HD through its MPEG-2 codec but I could be remembering it wrong. Although now I know it obviously wouldn't work for the basic reason that regular DVD is limited to a bitrate of 9.8 Mbit/s whereas HDV is rated at 25 Mbit/s for 1080i and 19.7 Mbit/s for 720p.

Maybe that was what confused Andrew.

Anyway, to answer your question...
(You didn't mention what HD format the camera used, so I'm just assuming it's HDV.)

What I've narrowed it down to is editing power; ease of editing; distribution format; shooting environment; and cost.

It's difficult to give you advice because I don't know your level of experience in regards to working with formats is. I also don't know what cameras you have to choose from...HDV versus DV is tricky enough without knowing what camera the XL1 is up against. (If you have a 3CCD DV camera with manual everything against a pocket-sized HDV, I'd probably recommend DV. However if your HDV camera has 3CCD's and is manual like the XL1 is, that changes things. Also, if you're shooting a documentary and the tiny HV20 is easier to sneak in to special areas, that's another factor as well.)

If you have the CPU power; are familiar and comfortable working with HD; and you want to distribute Blu-ray and premiere your film on the big-screen, HDV is the best way to go. My opinion though. Figure out what your priorities are.

Good luck!
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#8 Andrew McCarrick

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 02:36 AM

Explain to me then why RED Digital Cinema is putting 4k onto RED Laser based Discs (Regular DVD).
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#9 Andrew McCarrick

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 02:44 AM

Explain to me then why RED Digital Cinema is putting 4k onto RED Laser based Discs (Regular DVD).


http://reduser.net/f...mp;postcount=16

http://www.manifest-.../dvd_hd_dvd.htm

Edited by Andrew McCarrick, 16 November 2008 - 02:47 AM.

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#10 Andrew McCarrick

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 02:55 AM

And that was my point is that, there currently are no stand alone players that do it.... but it's technically HD material on DVD.

You could also do 480p on Blu-Ray.
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#11 Adam Orton

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 02:56 AM

http://reduser.net/f...mp;postcount=16

http://www.manifest-.../dvd_hd_dvd.htm


Whoa! Very interesting.
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#12 Matt Read

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 12:22 PM

Explain to me then why RED Digital Cinema is putting 4k onto RED Laser based Discs (Regular DVD).


From my understanding, RED has created a new codec that is more efficient than MPEG-2 while still using a red laser, so you can get 4k footage of a decent length on a standard DVD disc. However, like most of RED's creations, this is not compatible with standard, commonplace hardware. You have to buy more of RED's equipment for this disc to work. This means that you would not be able to play a RED-Ray disc in a standard DVD-Video player because it would not understand the codec RED-Ray uses; you would need to buy a RED-Ray player. Basically, RED has created a new format that just happens to use DVD discs. No other DVD technology is compatible with RED-Ray. While the disc used for this is technically a DVD, it would not be referred to as a DVD because it is not compatible with DVD-Video technology. Even RED call it RED-Ray, not DVD. When people use the term "DVD," they are usually referring to the DVD-Video format, rather than the physical disc itself. That is why I said DVDs only play standard definition video. While you can put HD footage on a DVD disc, there is no possible way to play it on a standard DVD-Video player that most people have; it would have to be formatted as a data disc and the media played as a file on a computer (in which case it would be easier to just put it on a thumb drive or other portable memory device) or use the RED-Ray codec and be played on a RED-Ray player (which about 2 dozen people have).

What confused me about HDV is that it uses MPEG-2, strangely.


HDV does use MPEG-2. The difference between HDV and DVD-Video is the bit-rate and resolution. If you wanted to put HDV footage onto a DVD-Video, you'd still have to trans-code the video to the lower bit-rate and resolution of MPEG-2 that DVD-Video uses.
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#13 Tony Murray

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 05:29 PM

Your decision will depend on several factors. The most important is, can the system you will be editing on handle HD footage? HD files are big, requiring several GB of storage for even a 10 minute film. The specific amount varies depending on your resolution and frame rate. MiniDV on the other hand, uses much less space and requires less processing power and RAM.

Another factor will be what format you plan on finishing your film to. DVDs can only record and play standard definition (SD) footage. Blu-ray discs can record and play HD footage. HD footage will have to be compressed down to SD to be recorded on a DVD, which means you will lose the extra resolution of your raw HD footage. This isn't bad though, as it will still look good. SD footage will have to be up-res to HD to be recorded to a Blu-Ray disc. No matter how good your equipment is, this will never look as good as footage natively shot in HD. If you want to finish to DVD only, then you can shoot on MiniDV or HD. If you want to finish to DVD and Blu-Ray or just Blu-Ray, then you should shoot on HD. If you only plan to exhibit your film online or from a computer, then either format is fine.

As far as convenience goes, I don't think MiniDV is necessarily more convenient than HD. MiniDV has to be captured to a computer in real time for editing. If your HD camera records to a card and not tape, the footage can be transferred from card to computer in faster than real time. Most prosumer HD cameras are not significantly larger than MiniDV cameras, so they would not be more of a hassle on set.

Finally, most HD cameras will record colors better than MiniDV cameras. They will at least record at the same quality. And with the extra resolution of HD, even if they aren't actually recording the colors better, it will look like it.

Bottom line, if your editing system is setup to handle HD footage, then you should shoot HD.


Great explanation, thanks..!!
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