Panasonic Cameras Forum
Why shoot 720?
Why shoot 720?
by Mark D'Agostino on Oct 31, 2011 at 8:56:04 pm

We own an HDX900P. This is a for-broadcast only question, not the web.
Most of our commercials now air on cable in HD. We occasionally will shoot 720/60P for slomotion. I actually prefer 1080/30P slowed in post with AE with frame blending. The blowup from 720 softens the image as one would expect, (I prefer my Promists for that)...the compromise by adjusting in post in my opinion is the lesser of the evils. Am I missing something?

Mark D'Agostino

Re: Why shoot 720?
by Chris Bell on Oct 31, 2011 at 9:27:14 pm

720p is dying.

Christopher Bell

Re: Why shoot 720?
by Chris Tompkins on Oct 31, 2011 at 9:27:12 pm

Some networks only use 720p.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC

Re: Why shoot 720?
by Jeff Regan on Nov 1, 2011 at 3:47:23 pm

A good reason(practical reason) to shoot 720PN is you get a lot more recording time on a P2 card vs. 1080P. Data transfer is faster as well.

Another thing that actually has given 720 a bit of a quality boost in the last few years is that DVCPRO HD only offers 960 horizontal lines of resolution vs. 1280 with AVC-Intra 100 or Pro Res 422.

There just isn't a compelling reason to shoot 1080P with an HDX900 or HPX2700. Of course, there are many reasons to shoot 1080P with a native 1080 full raster chip set camera and codec that actually can record 1920.

Jeff Regan
Shooting Star Video

Re: Why shoot 720?
by john sharaf on Oct 31, 2011 at 9:32:14 pm


What you're missing is that the HDX900 is a 720 imager camera, and the "blowup" (really transcode) is done in the camera before the recorder which does in fact record at 1080 if you select.

In general it's a good policy to shoot 1080 (but not interlace) unless your client requests otherwise. I work a lot for ABC News which does request 720, but often at 29.97 which my usual cameras (PWD700/800's) do not accommodate. In this case I shoot 1080/29.97P and instruct them to transcode on playback or just mix the formats in the timeline.

I can't tell you though how many jobs and rentals I've lost because clients have asked for HDX900 to shoot 1080, while my Varicams (with the same imager as the HDX900 could do it just as well and could be transcoded in playback or mixed in the timeline, but they could not understand.


Re: Why shoot 720?
by Mark D'Agostino on Nov 1, 2011 at 1:16:57 pm

So by shooting 720 with the 900 I'm simply eliminating the transcoding to 1080 in-camera? So I could shoot 720 and transcode to 1080 in playback with the same quality results as if I had selected 1080 in the first place with the camera.

Mark D'Agostino

Re: Why shoot 720?
by john sharaf on Nov 1, 2011 at 1:27:08 pm

That is my opinion, some others believe otherwise because of more horizontal resolution in the 1080 recording because after the subsampling there is a higher number. I think one would be hard pressed to tell the difference. Further, I believe this was more of an issue in the past when Avids were not able to mix formats in the timeline. If editing on a current version this is not a problem.


Re: Why shoot 720?
by Mark D'Agostino on Nov 3, 2011 at 6:46:14 pm

Thanks John. While I did know that the 900 is a 720 imager you did clear a few things up. After a few comparison tests it's a no brainer to shoot 720-60p for slomo in post rather than try to slow a 30p scene in post.

Mark D'Agostino

Re: Why shoot 720?
by Wolf Austad on Nov 7, 2011 at 8:17:15 pm

1080 mode on the HDX900 (and 2700 and 2000/2100) use 720 imager with a pixel shift to uprez to 1080. For certain situations this works just fine, for other situations, particularly certain directions of movements, the pixel shift uprez can create ugly artifacts. I don't get these artifacts when shooting in 720 with these cameras.

I've been in a 2K Film DI where (to my horror) they wanted to add a few shots with the HDX900 and also Varicam. The Varicam won hands down. Softer yes, but a lot less funny stuff going on.

The other situation is when detail enhancement becomes an issue, like f.ex. shooting greenscreen or you want to be extra careful with some skintones. Shooting 720P in those situations has for me rendered a more pleasing image with these cameras.

All of course depending on deliverables and what it's possible to explain to producers... ;-)

Aasulv Wolf Austad, fnf
Director of Photography
Los Angeles based

Re: Why shoot 720?
by Mark D'Agostino on Nov 7, 2011 at 9:00:26 pm

Thanks Wolf. When people start using terms like "very pleasing look" I try to check out their reel to get a sense of where they set their own personal bar. You have a very nice reel which brings a strong legitimacy to your comments on my post.

Mark D'Agostino