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HDV - What is the point????

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Andy Bis
HDV - What is the point????
on Mar 17, 2009 at 5:37:10 pm

I am a student so pardon my inexperience... I just had my first run-in with HDV using the HVR-Z1U. I captured in HDV 1080 60i like your supposed to... I'm having many issues with this codec:

When I edit in FCP 6.0.5, the footage looks great in the Canvas and Viewer. However after exporting via "Export>Quicktime Movie" using both "current settings" and also "HDV 1080i etc", both times with the "Recompress Frames" unchecked - the video looks terrible after export. The colors are washed out, artifacts introduced, and a bunch of problems that weren't present in FCP before export, why is this? How can I avoid this since I am, in theory,, not recompressing it during export...?

My other problem is compatibility. The movies I export only play on my computer and others that have FCP. I made movies self-contained also, so that isn't the issue. I've read somewhere that HDV is only playable on computers with a NLE installed on it. So what's the point of this codec, if only the editor can see it (and its also a bad codec for editing because of the high compression rate). Regardless, I still need to know which codec to output to so my footage will play on any computer? I really don't want to have to recompress it either, any solutions?

Thanks in advance for your help, these two issues are really bothering me and I appreciate any help anyone can give....
Andy


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Daniel Low
Re: HDV - What is the point????
on Mar 17, 2009 at 10:25:02 pm

[Andy Bis] "When I edit in FCP 6.0.5, the footage looks great in the Canvas and Viewer. However after exporting via "Export>Quicktime Movie" using both "current settings" and also "HDV 1080i etc", both times with the "Recompress Frames" unchecked - the video looks terrible after export. The colors are washed out, artifacts introduced, and a bunch of problems that weren't present in FCP before export, why is this? How can I avoid this since I am, in theory,, not recompressing it during export...? "

Why are you exporting - where are you taking the clip or sequence?
There must be something amiss with your workflow, 1000's of others don't have this problem, maybe your sequence settings are incorrect

[Andy Bis] "So what's the point of this codec"

It's designed to deliver HD 1080i at low datarates using a form factor people are familiar with.

What exactly do you want to do with your HDV footage?




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Andy Bis
Re: HDV - What is the point????
on Mar 17, 2009 at 10:49:55 pm

Why are you exporting - where are you taking the clip or sequence?
There must be something amiss with your workflow, 1000's of others don't have this problem, maybe your sequence settings are incorrect.


I am exporting so I can play the edited footage independent of FCP. As far as sequence settings- I've tried using both "current settings" and also scrolling down and clicking on HDV 1080 60i (the same settings I captured and edited with). The exported footage overall just looks different than the way it did in FCP (and I am almost 100% positive I exported with the same settings)


It's designed to deliver HD 1080i at low datarates using a form factor people are familiar with.

What exactly do you want to do with your HDV footage?


Is it true that you need FCP or special software to play the HDV codec? I have read that somewhere (I don't recall exactly where) and also it has been proved to me because none of my exported movies have played on other computers that don't have FCP or similar software on them, Quicktime states: "Additional software is required to play this footage."

As far as what I'm doing with the footage- initially I just want to simply be able to hand it in for class, but many of our projects are also used as PSA's for local organizations and some are aired on TV. It's frustrating because any that I shoot in HD seem to not be playable on the average person's computer. What's the safest codec to output to that any computer would be able to play?


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Immanuel Morales
Re: HDV - What is the point????
on Mar 17, 2009 at 11:17:32 pm

The point of HDV was to make HD more quickly available to the prosumer market until true HD became more available - however, it's getting cheaper to do 'real' HD so you might want to go that route soon - when they created HDV they also tried to make the transition too easy so the result is a lukewarm middle ground between HD and SD that is rather uncomfortable as it isn't a very compatible format and it's extremely compressed (4:2:0?) - i worked with HDV on a music video last year and it was horrible for post - you barely get any room for color correction at all.

Dead the Fed


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Chris Blair
Re: HDV - What is the point????
on Mar 18, 2009 at 2:56:48 am

Andy Bis I just want to hand it in for class, but many of our projects are also used as PSA's for local organizations and some are aired on TV. It's frustrating because any that I shoot in HD seem to not be playable on the average person's computer. What's the safest codec to output to that any computer would be able to play?

A question:

Doesn't your class have a set of standards for the format you deliver your edited projects? I haven't been in college in 25 years, but even back then we had a set of standards to deliver a project in (back then it was 3/4" in the video classes and spliced Super8mm in the film classes).

So it should be exported to whatever your instructor needs to view it and grade it.

As for exporting for compatibility on others PCs. The most compatible formats across platforms are:

MPG2 with audio multiplexed with video (same quality as what's used for DVD and most PC's can play them back) This can be used for HD or SD material, but very few consumer PC's will be able to play back an MPG2 HD stream without choking.

MPG1 - this is a very old codec, but still gives good results at decent data rates. Any computer will play it. The drawback is the quality is only fair, even at that high data rate. I'm not sure if it can handle 16x9 pixel aspect though. Others (Daniel?) could probably answer this.

DV - this is also a very broadly compatible format. If you use the Quicktime DV codec, it will play on any Mac and any PC that has Quicktime installed. Of course it's standard definition so you'd have to resize, but you're going to have to resize no matter what you export to to get it to play on a wide range of PC's

Windows Media format 9. This is actually a very underrated format/codec combination. You can get very good results with it at 3-5MB/sec data rates, and most computers will play it. Mac users can download the free Flip4Mac plug-in from Microsoft and be able to play this as well.

Quicktime using motion-JPEG-A, motion JPEG-B, video, PhotoJpeg, Sorenson and probably a couple others can give you good quality at reasonable file sizes/data rates. Again, you'll have to resize to SD for it to play back reliably across a wide range of computers.

If you're not familiar with encoding and codecs, I recommend you go to Rhozet's website and read their two white papers. They're among the best explanations I've seen on codecs, compression and technique.

http://www.rhozet.com/support_whitepapers.html

Lastly, there are hundreds, possibly thousands of codec/format choices. Within those, there are hundreds if not thousands of additional possible combinations of frame size, aspect ratio, frame rate, interlacing/progressive scan options, audio codecs etc. Compression can be complex. So take the time to learn about it and understand it. Rarely can you can't just pick a preset and have it magically spit out great looking video.

Hope that helps (or makes your head hurt, take your pick).









Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Andy Bis
Re: HDV - What is the point????
on Mar 18, 2009 at 5:50:36 am

Thanks for the help... I see your from Evansville; I go to school at Ball State in Muncie, IN. I don't speak for everyone, but in my personal opinion, I feel my school is way behind with the "technical" side of video. We are supposed to have this great TCOM dept., however all of our money has gone to this new building, and as a result our equipment has become more than outdated... We mainly use PD150's, which are normally good SD cameras, except our PD150's really don't have their heads anymore, they've been run into the ground. This is kind of the standard for all of our equipment.

Anyways I've been lucky enough to use one of the two newer Sony HVR-Z1U's we have... So to answer your question my class doesn't have a standard codec for HD since we mainly use PD150's (DV NTSC 720x480). So I'm kind of without any direction and my HDV footage hasn't been playing back in any of the classroom computers...

I am trying to learn all of this on my own. The teachers I've encountered here really don't know much of anything when it comes to important things like compression, codecs, color spaces, or basically anything else "technical." It's all theory here, and it's all really frustrating to me... I wish I would have gone to an actual film school where I could learn double what I am now for half of the price; but enough venting.

Thanks again for your help, I will check out that link you provided...


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Terry Mikkelsen
Re: HDV - What is the point????
on Mar 18, 2009 at 1:05:45 pm

So what are the expectations of a SD deliverable at your school?

Tech-T Productions
http://www.technical-t.com


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Daniel Low
Re: HDV - What is the point????
on Mar 18, 2009 at 12:47:41 pm

[Chris Blair] "Others (Daniel?) could probably answer this."

Sorry to be pedantic, but there's no such thing as MPG1 (or MPG2) the correct acronym is MPEG-1 (Which stands for Motion Pictures Experts Group as I'm sure you know). MPEG-1 can in fact support resolutions up to 4096x4096 at 100Mb/s.

[Chris Blair] "I'm not sure if it can handle 16x9 pixel aspect though"

16:9 refers to the DAR - Display Aspect Ratio not PAR - Pixel aspect ratio. Anyhow, MPEG-1 supports a number of DARs and PARs

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixel_aspect_ratio
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_aspect_ratio


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Two years from now, spam will be solved. - Bill Gates, World Economic Forum 2004


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Chris Blair
Re: HDV - What is the point????
on Mar 19, 2009 at 1:22:08 am

Daniel Low
Sorry to be pedantic, but there's no such thing as MPG1 (or MPG2) the correct acronym is MPEG-1 (Which stands for Motion Pictures Experts Group as I'm sure you know). MPEG-1 can in fact support resolutions up to 4096x4096 at 100Mb/s.

16:9 refers to the DAR - Display Aspect Ratio not PAR - Pixel aspect ratio. Anyhow, MPEG-1 supports a number of DARs and PARs


Ok...I don't know what pedantic means, apologize for my acronyminism (I made that up), and concerning DARs and PARs....after a while it all makes my head hurt! Actually I had never heard of DAR but it certainly makes sense....and as always...you are of course correct.

It's good to point out that pixel aspect can vary across formats that display at 16x9, same as they can vary across formats that display at 4:3.

I was just trying to keep it simple for the original poster since he doesn't have a ton of experience with compression...and trying to help him get his HD video into a format that others could play!



Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Matt Schulze
Re: HDV - What is the point????
on Mar 25, 2009 at 8:10:06 pm

You are going to run into this issue even with a "real HD" codec like Panasonic's DVCPRO HD. I've just been through it. Other computers need FCP installed to be able to play footage output as DVCPRO HD. If they don't have it, then you will see exactly the same error message in your Quicktime player that you described in your first post. If it is just for viewing purposes, follow the good advice of some of the others in this thread.

Matt Schulze




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Craig Seeman
Re: HDV - What is the point????
on Mar 25, 2009 at 8:23:46 pm

The have plugins for various codecs from FCP for non FCP Mac and Windows systems.
http://www.calibratedsoftware.com/



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