Corporate client Delivery formats
I've been shooting and editing for large and medium sized corporate clients for many years now. Beta SP has been my tape format of choice. Now with HDV or even Sony's EX-1 camera available, I'm thinking of adding one of those (most likely EX-1) to my equipment.
The question becomes what works better for a client? There really isn't much of a solution yet for creating inexpensive HD DVDs for corporate use. Also, how many corporate clients can play back HD DVDs? I have many corporate clients who now own larger LCD screens, so the wide-screen playback advantage of shooting wide screen, would work.
I'm just wondering what the rest of you fellow corporate video producers are shooting with these days, and if you think this is a god time to get into this format. Thanks.
There is nothing stopping you from shooting SD in wide screen now, and that is the easiest arrangement to work with the existing base of users. Easy to watch as letterbox in 4:3 sets now, and most wide screen sets can automatically scale it to fit, even as they uprez the playback. If you shoot on HD now, you're going to be handing out SD DVD's more than likely until the BluRay infrastructure catches up.
My own belief is that now that the HDDVD/BluRay war is over, a lot of broadcast and semi-broadcast/prosumer Blu tools are going to flood into our business in, oh, say a year. Some early adopters will spend huge to get into that earlier, but the great mass of us will probably be waiting about a year to 18 months for a few things to all align:
1: Apple has to put BluRay authoring and burning ability into FCP, STAT. Adobe will drink their milkshake, THEY'LL DRINK IT UP, if Apple does not get this together soon. It should be a crash program over there to get this into a free FCP/DVDSP update. Getting together with the drive makers to get the drivers and all that worked out has to be a crash priority. The drive maker that gets an affordable, stable working BluRay reader/burner unit in the marketplace first is going to gain a huge advantage. Unless their name is Iomega:-P
2: We are going to need some prosumer/broadcast BluRay recorders that work just like the stand-alone DVD recorders from Pioneer, Panasonic, etc. we use use like VCR's now. Those already exist in Japan, I've seen pictures of several makes and models, but they have not made big inroads here just yet likely due to the format wars. Ergo, my 12-18 month prediction.
3: Duplicators and players: Players, the companies have already taken care of. Sony will be running the maquiladoras night and day from here on out. BluRay Duplicators are well in hand already, you can get a Bravo Primera Pro that dubs BluRay for about three grand. Look for the price on such units, and the cost of the media to drop as the suppliers gear up to flood the market in an attempt to get the most market share first.
I expect the next CES and NAB to be showing tons of this gear, as I think it will become the next archive/recording/interchange and distribution standard for physical media, for the low to mid-level parts of the market. Comparing the cost of BluRay burners, dubbers, and media to something like digibeta, its a slam-dunk business decision. This of course is just one person's opinion, and what the high end market does may be totally different, but my gut tells me the "lingua franca" betacam-type standard for the next decade is going to be blueray everything for prosumer and corporate/industrial work.
I personally would find this a nervous and exciting time, waiting on my purchase decisions until all this falls into place. We have been making these plans ourselves for a couple months now. If we have to shelve them for a year due to imminent budget cuts, no big deal; things will be that much more worked out by the time we're ready to buy.
But what should YOUR decision be? My opinion: If the programming is important or long-lived enough that it is worth re-authoring in a year, or if it is for broadcast, go ahead and shoot it HD tape or hard drive today, perhaps on rented gear so as not to commit to heavy purchases just yet. Distribute copies people can watch on existing legacy platforms TODAY as SD DVD. When everybody has a Bluray drive or player, re-release the HD content on that format from there onwards. If the shelf life for the content is not more than 24 months, I'd save time, grief, and money and just shoot it SD widescreen with what I have on hand, and wait for the big blu event horizon to burst forth with the products we need within 18 months or so.
One of the reason's I'm asking is that I'm working on a video that will involve shooting in cities across the country. My freelance shooter just bought an EX-1, and we're discussing him using that instead of lugging a betacam with him. I edit on FCP. He's suggesting that he'll output all the files for me so I can input them on an SD timeline, and output the video either to Beta SP or DVD wide screen. If this works, I'm planning on buying a SS card reader and some cards so he can shoot and just give me the cards. I'm hoping this will be a good option for me.
Thanks for your input. You always have great advice!