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HDV Workflow - HELP!

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Craig Bass
HDV Workflow - HELP!
on Oct 7, 2008 at 6:56:22 pm

Hello all,

I am currently attempting to figure out an HDV workflow that will suit my needs, but, what with all the options available, can't seem to hit the nail on the head. I feel that I am a very competent shooter and editor, but with the myriad choices, and all that they entail, when it comes to an HDV workflow, I am beginning to feel overwhelmed.

I shot on a Canon XH-A1, 1080i30p, and use Final Cut studio for all of my post needs. Thus far, I have been capturing with the HDV preset, and editing in a sequence set to 1080p30. When in the field, I have the camera set, generally, at -3db of gain. However, I seem to notice grain within my video still, and it is always the worst in the darker areas of the frame.

I have also noticed that when importing projects in Apple Color, and making alterations, almost always without fail, the image becomes noisier. I am also having a very difficult time pulling good keys, and have had to often resort to applying a vignette to confine the key that I do pull to the desired area. This is, of course, fairly inconvenient, as the area to be corrected is often a moving subject.

Color will only allow me to select 8-bit depth rate: would 10-bit increase the quality of my keys and corrections? I've heard that capturing via ProRes will allow for 10-bit with HDV, but I am weary of doing this due to the storage capacity required. I would just cut, and then recapture at ProRes, but, invariably, after color correcting there are always little tweaks that the cut demands.

I am really in the dark here folks. How can I increase the quality and efficiency of my workflow? Am I doing something wrong? Are there any sites/tutorials that may help me better understand what it is that I am doing, and what affect my choices are having. A lot of the literature I have found on HDV is a bit arcane; there isn't much for those who have an intermediate technical literacy to assist in increasing their level of knowledge.

Any thoughts, suggestions, etc. would be greatly appreciated.

Also, out of curiosity, how can you increase the bit depth of video? Does it not record at a specific depth? What I mean to say is, isn't the camera recording at a dedicated depth?


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Trey Gregory
Re: HDV Workflow - HELP!
on Oct 14, 2008 at 2:04:59 pm

Try converting your clips from the HDV codec to ProRes(HQ) @ 1920 x 1080.
I've noticed that if you try to color correct hdv clips in their native framesize 1440 x 1080 Color tends to worsen the already bad compression artifacts that are an unavoidable part of using HDV (even with the gain @ -3db) It's sort of a hassle to convert all the clips, but we've been getting better results in Color with HDV footage using this workflow.
Also, you may want to try using the Noise Reduction features in the Custom Preset on your camera. Hook your camera up to an HD monitor and shoot in low-lite while messing with your NR settings until you find one that will minimize the noise.
You can't adjust the bit-depth on the camera, it comes capable of shooting only 8-bit. I've hear some debate that if you use the HD-SDI out on an XL-H1 and feed it into a deck that can record in 10-bit then you can get a 10-bit signal...I've never tried this, nor can I speak to the accuracy of the statement, but I've read it on the internet.....and why would the internet ever lie?


Trey Gregory
ECG Productions - Atlanta
HD Production and Post

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