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Will HDV be a dead format within three years?

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raidernealWill HDV be a dead format within three years?
by on Jan 13, 2007 at 8:54:27 pm

Hello,

I was reading a message board on another site regarding the life-span of HDV. The opinions there seemed to share the idea that HDV because of the way that it's heavily compressed, will have a fairly short life-span before we are using another format. The Panasonic HVX200 is the only prosumer camera on the market that shoots true HD (uncompressed)via the expensive P2 cards. I guess I'm just wondering if it's too early to move into the HD realm as I would like to avoid purchasing a HDV camera that will rapidly depreciate during these early stages of prosumer HD technology. I realize that the nature of the video industry is one of constant change, but I would prefer to get the greatest possible longevity out of new gear. Will we all be shooting in true HD within three years? Or will the compressed format of HDV still be utilized? Any opinions that you have would be greatly appreciated.


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Derek Antonio SerraRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years?
by on Jan 13, 2007 at 9:11:49 pm

Well, I've already been shooting on HDV for more than two years, so even if the format fades away during the next 3-5 years I'll have got good use from the two Sony camera's I own. No doubt new formats will be forthcoming, but don't forget that Sony controls a fair share of the hardware market and are thus able to dictate the pace of development to a certain extent.

I think HDV will be with us for several more years yet.

Derek Antonio Serra
Filmmaker
http://www.controversifilms.co.za
http://www.indv.co.za


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Uli PlankRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years?
by on Jan 13, 2007 at 11:18:11 pm

The HVX200 is definitely not uncompressed, just a bit less compressed than HDV. But you'd be comparing apples and oranges if you just look at the data rate (25 mbps vs. 100 mbps), since one is long GOP, the other intra-frame.

I suppose heavily compressed formats will be with us for quite a while in the lower end of the price range, just have a look at the upcoming amateur camcorders using H.264 (maybe even semi-pro soon). We'll rather see things moving away from tape to disks and chips than to anything uncompressed.

Regards,

Uli

Author of "DVDs gestalten und produzieren", a book on professional DVD-authoring in German.


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Blast1Re: Will HDV be a dead format within three years?
by on Jan 13, 2007 at 11:36:56 pm

[Uli Plank] "We'll rather see things moving away from tape to disks and chips"

I assume that the "we'll" is the rich people


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santellavisionRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years?
by on Jan 13, 2007 at 11:53:05 pm

I don't get the amazement everybody seems to have in shooting to P2 style memory cards? Archiving is still a PITA. Maybe it's good for news or a quick shoot, but anything long form is a hassle. Even with laying off shoot files to Blu-RayROM or HD-DVDRom will take quite a bit of time and effort later. (corporate projects anyway)

The only thing I see as a better alternative to good 'ol videotape is shooting to a Disk-based system.

Ernie Santella
Santella Film/Video Productions
http://www.santellaproductions.com


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Uli PlankRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years?
by on Jan 14, 2007 at 8:37:20 am

I wasn't necessarily talking about the rich or about P2 only. There are relatively cheap cameras (at least relative to 3-CCD HDV cameras) coming to the market these days with stronger compression and they are recording to chips or optical disks. These are aiming at the consumer market.

Reagrds,

Uli

Author of "DVDs gestalten und produzieren", a book on professional DVD-authoring in German.


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Ken HodsonRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years?
by on Jan 13, 2007 at 11:49:42 pm

As Uli points out the future is MORE compressed rather then uncompressed. There is nothing wrong with compression except for the processing power to do it.
As pointed out above the HVX200 is definately not uncompressed. DVCproHD is an older form of compression. It records 960x720@24p at 40Mbps where as HDV records 1280x720@24p at 19.7Mbps. HDV is a much newer and efficient compression, and is capturing higher resolution. This makes the two formats much closer than people give them credit. Certainly any look at quality HDV footage would erase all doubts.
As for HDV dying, I don't see it anytime soon. There is a large installed base of cams (more then all other HD cams combined!) All major software supports the format just as they support DV before it and always will. All of the major prosumer cam makers (Sony/JVC/Canon) make HDV cams except Panasonic. HDV uses the same tapes as DV befor it. The tapes will be available for the far forseable future.


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Rich RubaschRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years?
by on Jan 14, 2007 at 12:25:02 am

the consumer connection is the key here. Hopefully in the not so far future HDV will evolve as a full standard format, including consumer camcorders. This is sort of already happening. Editing systems are going to have to support HDV and as processors speed up the workflow will improve. I think you will seee more chips and cameras with S-video and Component standard outupts to be input to existing editing systems. Firewire interfaces and HDV to standard def downconverting on the fly will improve.

I hust hope machine control via firewire improves since HDMI doesn't seem to support machine control protocol which seems crazy. It is a hit and miss world out there when you connect a deck or camera to an editing system.

I think HDV will be the format of tomorrows home movies.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media


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Brian MillsRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years?
by on Jan 14, 2007 at 5:27:26 am

A bit of advice if you're looking into buying a camera to make money: hold off until you can't afford not to.

If you're shooting regularly and regularly using HDV for your clients, then the camera will quickly pay for itself and you will not get burned if/when HDV goes obsolete. If however, you rarely get asked for HDV, then you should seriously consider borrowing from a friend or renting the camera for occasional HDV shoots and build the retal fee into your price (which you should be doing all the time - even if you bought the camera you are "renting" it to yourself).

If you buy the coolest/newest gear just because and don't have the client demand for it, then you are just working to pay for your gear instead of working to pay yourself.


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Ken HodsonRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years?
by on Jan 14, 2007 at 9:29:30 am

I don't know who ever asks for HDV. HDV is just the acquisition format, not delivery. Give them what ever format they want. DVD, HD-DVD, HDcam, whatever. HDTV resolution standards are not going to change for a very long time. I don't understand this perception of how a cam that provides image quality far beyond its price in SD/HD can become obsolete. It can become old and depreciate in value, but they aren't going to be obsolete.


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accelvRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years?
by on Jan 14, 2007 at 10:49:17 pm

HDV on the consumer is already being leapfrogged by AVCHD on DVD and on memory cards. SD memory cards are up to 8 Gbs - same as P2 cards! Go to Best Buys and you'll see half the consumer camcorders record in widescreen.

You'll probably see an AVCHD HVX-300 by NAB, although this has nothing to do with HDV.



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Ken HodsonRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years?
by on Jan 15, 2007 at 9:22:08 pm

Consumer cams are adopting to tapeless formats simply because they do not care about having a tape backup. Most prosumers do. JVC has just announced the Eviro HD which records mpeg2 to HDD including an HDV compatible mode. As processing power increases we will see a shift to AVCHD at high bit rates, but right now it is relegated to low bit rate consumer cams.
Panasonic is moving towards an intraframe version of AVCHD to finally replace the ancient DVCproHD. That version will not require the processing power(in cam or upon editing) nor provide the space savings of the high bit-rate AVCHD codec that prosumer HD cams will eventually migrate towards.
Nothing has leapfrogged HDV as of yet. Having a tape backup is still important at this time. And no other compression has of yet stepped up to unseat HDV's prosumer market dominance.


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Kevin ShawRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years?
by on Jan 14, 2007 at 5:28:42 am

Oh boy, here we go again. First of all, note that "true HD" is a nearly meaningless term which is frequently used by people who can't accept HDV for what it is. As far as the HVX200 is concerned, that camera offers less compressed recording than HDV, but only by a matter of degree compared to totally uncompressed HD video. And the sensors in the HVX200 barely exceed SD resolution, so that camera shouldn't be called a "true" HD camera either. Meanwhile, some Canon HDV cameras offer a fully uncompressed HD output (if you have a way to capture that) plus three times the sensor resolution of the HVX200, so this isn't a simple issue when it comes to comparing cameras.

Getting to your main question, there is a possibility that HDV cameras will eventually fade away in favor of other options, but the format itself will be useful for many years to come. (Long after many DV cameras have been shelved.) If you're really concerned about other options I'd wait to see what Panasonic announces this year in terms of a successor to the HVX200, using "AVC-intra" compression and standard flash memory to get around the limitations of P2 recording. That's the only proposed alternative to HDV which makes any sense at the moment if you can't afford higher-priced HD cameras, and until that camera is shipping HDV is the way to go. Several years from now it may be feasible to replace HDV with even more heavily compressed "AVC-HD" recording, but we're a long way from having that be practical.

HDV isn't perfect, but it's fine for the price and works better than some people give it credit for. According to one recent video magazine survey, HDV is already used by more video production companies than all other HD recording formats combined. That's not something which is going to disappear 2-3 years from now.


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Bob ZelinRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years?
by on Jan 14, 2007 at 3:51:34 pm

ALL formats will probably be dead within three years. The days of buying a Beta VTR or camera, and having it be a good 15 year investment are OVER. It is amazing to me, and very frustrating as well, to see dramatically new products introduced constantly, one obsoleting the next. This does not mean that you can't use HDV (or whatever) after it's outdated - it just means that "something else" has come out.

Look at the HDV VTR's. The HVRM-10U came out, it was discontinued a year later to be replaced by the HVRM-15 and HVRM-25U. Now, less than a year later, Sony is showing the professional HVR-1500 at IBC 2006.

Beta was a stable format. But then Sony came out with Beta SX, then Beta IMX, then XD Cam (HDV about that time), and now XDCamHD. Each previous, expensive version, obsolete within a year. "You should be using this, and you should be using that" is always the sales pitch - right after you bought your product.

Same applies with software, same applies with computers, same applies with disk drive storage. You get about 1 year use on these products, before you are "forced" to do upgrades, or replacements. This does not mean that you must do this. Hollywood movies are STILL edited on "old" AVID Meridian systems that cost $80,000, and are no longer produced. But if you need to do graphics on an AVID system that runs OS-9 - good luck trying to import files into this.

I am sure that people that spent $60,000 on a Panasonic Varicam were unhappy when Panasonic released the $30,000 HDX-900, which is the same camera, without the varispeed capability. I KNOW that people who bought a Panasonic AJ-HD1200A for $25,000 freaked out when Panasonic released the AJ-HD1400 (with full insert edit capabilities) for the same price, the following year - now, no one requests the 1200, even though it is a perfectly fine VTR.

If you want a 15 year investment, may I suggest real estate, or a sandwich shop - where the meat slicer will not become obsolete next year.

No one ever said this was an easy business. Just remember this -with all this new technology - there are STILL plenty of people shooting with Beta cameras out there.

Bob Zelin


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Jerry AltoRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years?
by on Jan 14, 2007 at 8:07:32 pm

Hey Bob- Couldn't agree more. I think Sony's big mistake, especially with us old timers, was when they came out with Digital Betacam and the camera was $70,000 without a lens! That's in 1995! Talk about being greedy. Sony had the world market locked up with Betacam and they shot themselves in the foot. Lot's of people held back from the Digi-Beta plunge.

The next thing you know there are multiple digital formats; DV, DCVPro25, DVCPro50, D-9, DV-Cam, D-2, D-5, etc.,etc.

Talk about muddy the water. Thousands of us independant producers (let alone broadcasters) hung onto our old Betacams and waited out the storm. Sony you had it and you blew it!

Well, two years ago the Z-1 HDV comes out with analog component out. Get a Kona card and FCP and look at what this thing can do! Real time HD component uncompressed, DVC-Pro HD, SD 10 bit/8 bit uncompressed, S-video, composite video, widescreen, cropped, stretched, NTSC, Pal, yea even HDV native! IN AND OUT- Real Time!

The picture is way better than Betacam SP and the camera cost $3,500. My old Betacam 300A cost $28,000 without a lens in 1990!

Plus the Z-1 weighs 5 lbs., uses one hour tapes and will run all day long on two batteries.

Hey, less than 5% of consumers know what real HD is. It's my opinion that this format has legs and for $3,500 WHO CARES?

Yea, the issues with HDV mpeg can be confusing but they aren't that big a deal. In my case 90% of the time they stop at the camera analog outputs. But hey if I do edit HDV native I've got real time HD video (on down to SD composite) coming out the Kona connectors. Talk about flexible!

To me flexibility means longevity

My two cents.

Jerry

G5 Dual 3GB Ram
FCP5 Studio
External 1 TB SATA Raid 0
Kona LH, Second system w AJA ioLA
Sony Z-1


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Ken HodsonRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years?
by on Jan 14, 2007 at 10:41:14 pm

I think Jerry hits the mark. Now that we have gone from analog to digital, and SD to HD, given the flexability of these HDV cams, what is there to go "obsolete"? They aren't adopting a new broadcast format for a long time.


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Kevin ShawRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years?
by on Jan 15, 2007 at 7:08:50 am

"Hey, less than 5% of consumers know what real HD is. "

That's not surprising onsidering that few if any consumers have ever seen an HD image at the quality level videographers would call "real HD." Broadcast HD images are compressed to levels similar to HDV by the time they get to end viewers, and the new HD movie discs are also heavily compressed. Plus most consumer HDTVs are 720p resolution at best, and not high enough quality to reveal the subtleties of a "real" HD image.

I've seen a $100K Varicam rig connected directly by HD-SDI to a professional HD studio monitor, and while that looked very good I doubt any of my customers would care enough to request something like that over HDV. I've also seen the Canon XL-H1 connected to a theater-quality projector playing back HDV footage on a wall-sized screen, and while I could see some flaws in the image it still looked good.

I'll look forward to the day when there's something better than HDV for a similar price; my guess is we're at least 2-3 years away from that being a practical reality.


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Peter CorbettRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years? Not dead but a little ill.
by on Jan 15, 2007 at 5:00:20 am

We use HDV alongside DVCPRO50 and while it is a very useful format with the smaller cameras and operating costs, the compression artifacting with complex "busy" images is very much a problem. Plus when grading and manipulating the images in post, HDV really starts to break up. This is not dependent upon how the HDV camera tape is captured. We have had similar results capturing downconverted-to-DV out of the camera, native HDV capture and conversion to HD-SDI.

When a subject is not moving and/or there are large areas of low-contrast consistent colour/texture in the image, and in good light, the results can be nearly indistinguishable from the bigger low-compression formats.

But...when pushed with a lot of detail, contrast, light and shade, etc like I was filming in Borneo a couple of months ago, the resulting HDV can look just awful. As far as acquisition, I think we'll see less compression in the future not more, as storage, broadcast and display technologies surge ahead. And with the move to memory and disc-based storage, I think HDV as a tape format will not last as long as DV has.

Peter


Peter Corbett
Powerhouse Productions
Australia
http://www.php.com.au


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Ken HodsonRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years? Not dead but a little ill.
by on Jan 15, 2007 at 10:17:09 pm

We are clearly moving towards more compression as ever increasing processing power allows it. There is nothing wrong with compression only the bitrate you limit it to and the processing power you have to encode/decode it. Jpeg2000/ProspectHD/Sheervideo ect.. All amazing super compressed codecs we WISH cams could encode.
For example AVCHD encoding at the same bitrate as HDV (25Mbps)would offer twice the level of compression. Thats two times more data in the same space. Hence a much better picture at the same data rate. Can you explain how this is bad(other then it requiring twice the processing power/heat/power consumption, which of course will be reduced in the future)?
Also can you please name the cam which gave you HDV with so many troubles? Encoding varies from cam to cam, so I don't think it fair to brand HDV as if it is all the same.


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Peter CorbettRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years? Not dead but a little ill.
by on Jan 18, 2007 at 1:11:32 pm

The HDV camera was a Sony HC1. Despite the small size and single CMOS imager, the artifacting in busy contrasty scenes was not problematic of the sensor, but the compression system.

We've seen the same moire effects and definition problems with movement on Sony Z1's and A1's. I can't speak for the larger JVC and Canon HDV cameras but I defy anyone not to notice compression problems on scenes with reasonable levels of movement, detail and contrast; and in shooting outdoors in Australasia, we have lots of those issues.

There are going to be better (compressed) formats in the not too distant future that will put pressure on the the survival of HDV. And for broadcast work and large 50" & 65" plus plasma presentation displays like we do, I'm sorry but despite those static, perfect conditions we shoot in all too rarely, HDV just doesn't cut it. Sorry. For other areas of video production, people seem as happy as Larry with HDV.

Peter

Peter Corbett
Powerhouse Productions
Australia
http://www.php.com.au


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Kevin ShawRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years? Not dead but a little ill.
by on Jan 19, 2007 at 6:04:25 am

"There are going to be better (compressed) formats in the not too distant future that will put pressure on the the survival of HDV. And for broadcast work and large 50" & 65" plus plasma presentation displays like we do, I'm sorry but despite those static, perfect conditions we shoot in all too rarely, HDV just doesn't cut it."

For high-end purposes it's no secret that HDV leaves something to be desired, but that's not its intended use. The pending introduction of better mid-priced HD recording formats could put a damper on sales of HDV cameras, but it might hurt other HD formats even more. It's going to be a few years yet before anything can beat HDV in terms of price and convenience, but the new AVC-based formats are going to knock the socks off options like DVCProHD. So is it HDV which will be a dying format in three years, or everything except HDV and AVC?


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Peter CorbettRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years? Not dead but a little ill.
by on Jan 19, 2007 at 6:18:35 am

I think the one to watch is 100mbs Intra-AVC from Panasonic. The reports I've heard say it looks stunning. The other one will be 75mbs - 100mbs JPEG2000 as used in Grass Valley's Infinity. This is also a fantastic non-lossy intra-frame codec.

There's no doubt given the right conditions, long-GOP formats like XDCAM HD and HDV can look great, but as soon as shoot styles, subjects and lighting become marginal, the wheels start to get wobbly.

I just don't know how Sony can say their F350 XDCAM HD and new V1 HDV cameras give "true progressive frame rates". With each frame made up of 15 moving frames, it's quite the oxymoron.

Still we'll keep using our trusty HC1 with it's suitable.

Peter

Peter Corbett
Powerhouse Productions
http://www.php.com.au


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Ken HodsonRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years? Not dead but a little ill.
by on Jan 19, 2007 at 8:39:11 am

"I just don't know how Sony can say their F350 XDCAM HD and new V1 HDV cameras give "true progressive frame rates". With each frame made up of 15 moving frames, it's quite the oxymoron."

I do not get what you are saying at all. Are you referring to the GOP of 15 frames? This doesn't have anything to do with progressive or interlaced. If you are referring as to how a frame only records the differences and this somehow not making it progressive, I don't understand the logic. A frame is either progressive or interlaced. It's like saying DVCproHD isn't HD because it's only 960x720! Every format has its weekness, but to say HDV isn't progressive because it uses a GOP format is nuts. Go watch some HD100/200 footage for what true progressive HDV can do. It is the only native 720p imager on the market and its its progressive frame rate is no oxymoron.


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Peter CorbettRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years? Not dead but a little ill.
by on Jan 20, 2007 at 1:13:45 am

Hi Ken,

I'm not saying HDV cameras like the V1 are not progressive. It and the XDCAM HD cameras clearly have progressive scan imagers and record progressive images. It's the long-GOP codec underlying the recording of those progressive images that I'm talking about. Complex motion within those progressive images is affected by the long-GOP recording structure. I suppose I'm taking an ultra-purist POV of what a "true" recorded progressive frame is.

With intraframe formats like DVCPROHD and HDCAM each single frame is compressed to tape with no external reference to other frames around it, unlike HDV. The nature of long-GOP processing within those individual HDV frames can produce artifacting that is unique to long-GOP progressive.

So to clarify, my argument is with the description of "true progressive" in the recording sense, and how those progressive frames are recorded to tape, not the actual capturing of them in the CCD/CMOS block. I'm not trying to sound pedantic.

Peter

Peter Corbett
Powerhouse Productions
http://www.php.com.au


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Michael GRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years? Not dead but a little ill.
by on Jan 20, 2007 at 10:08:18 pm


Hmm no one's mentioned that HD broadcast streams are mpeg2 at around 18-20 m/s. Also that HDCam and HDCam SR are also compressed. So practically all HD camera formats are compressed.

In my experience the best images I have seen were shot with great lenses on Sony HDCams, Varicam and with the Canon XLH1. The lens is most important, followed by the CCD and image processing software. THe compression codec matters but it is less important in my view.

AS to the question of HDV lasting, the uptake has been very swift and there are lots of filmakers out there who intend to get a lot more years out of the format. DV is still going. HDV has more than a few years left.


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Peter CorbettRe: Will HDV be a dead format within three years? Not dead but a little ill.
by on Jan 23, 2007 at 12:26:30 pm

There's no doubt that HDV will be around for some time but it's apples and oranges. You can't compare a 100K+ HDCAM 4:4:4 SR with HDV (and I'm a long-term Panasonic guy). It's like comparing Digi Beta with BVU. If there was bugger-all difference, all feature films would shoot on HDV prosumer camcorders.

Yes SR is compressed but the images speak for themselves. A great lens helps. I just bought a Canon 36k HD HJ21x7.5 for my SDX900. A fantastic lens. But if I put it on a HDCAM F900 and a HDV camera (if I could with a 2/3") I know which would cut the cake. The lens would help but not enough to make a difference.

Peter Corbett
Powerhouse Productions
http://www.php.com.au


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