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?
Well, I can't help you with Color, but I have the same camera and shoot everything in 30F. You can continue to capture native HDV, but you should put it in a ProRes timeline and render it. I capture most everything to ProRes from the getgo, just have to budget disc space, but never a problem. Often I use the 1080 footage in D1 anamorphic NTSC timelines, as most of my delivery is SD, and this allows great flexibility in panning, zooming and repositioning footage.
Regarding gain, mine is set at 0 db, but this camera does not score well in low light performance, really my only issue with it.