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Debating to go HD or not...

Discussions about High Definition Television, Blu-Ray, HD DVD and other high definition DVD formats.

Debating to go HD or not...

Postby Uncle Ben » Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:36 am

For a guy on fixed income and limited discretionary spending, going HD for me means that I can make the purchase, but I have to think it through to make sure that this is worth my while. I'm a home video "enthusiast" and most of the input to my productions consists of run of the mills video clips taken from still cameras (with video functionality)... such that most of the video input to my productions are not HD to begin with.

The rest of my content consists of music and slideshows.

What it would it mean for me to go HD? Well, I know that I would have to upgrade my camera; and I would have to buy a blu-ray burner. I have a blu-ray reader on my PC already and we have a HDTV and a blueray DVD player. So depending on the camera, at at mininum, this is a $500-$800 cash outlay.

All the input I get form non-HD video clips ... my HD set up would not enhance those in any way ... Is that correct?
But of course the videos I would take on my new HD camera would look a lot better on my HDTV ... or would they? Is there that much differnce, other than filling the entire screen?

Then I read thoughout these forums that HD rendering is very very slow. Ideally, I wish I could have a sample file to play with; a one hour HD video that I could import into Vegas, play with it; and render/burn it to see how well, or bad, my system can handle it. Are there sample files available somewhere that we can experiment with.

Any comments regarding the pros and cons of going HD for a guy like me will be much appreciated, including your suggestion for a "good" budget HD cam.

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Re: Debating to go HD or not...

Postby Peru » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:37 pm

I sort of went HD.
I bought a 47" widescreen TV and an upscaling DVD player, not a BluRay.

I have two Sony Cameras, one SD and one HDV. My wife has a Canon SX40HS (full HD). There is a marked difference in the quality between each of the camera's video quality.

I am using Premiere Pro CS5.5 and use an HDV or HD sequence for the respective footage, and an SD sequence for the SD camera. I output to DVD. I will output to BRD if I ever get a BluRay burner and player.

Even on old SD projects, the HDTV is way better quality than the 19" CRT TV we used to have.
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Re: Debating to go HD or not...

Postby Chuck Engels » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:37 pm

Uncle Ben wrote:All the input I get form non-HD video clips ... my HD set up would not enhance those in any way ... Is that correct?
But of course the videos I would take on my new HD camera would look a lot better on my HDTV ... or would they? Is there that much differnce, other than filling the entire screen?

If you have played a standard DVD with your BluRay player onto your HDTV then you know that the quality is somewhat better than if you played the same DVD with a DVD player on a Standard Definition TV. The BluRay player should upconvert the video to HD and that alone will improve the viewing experience. However, it will not look anything like High Definition video from a HD camera and burned to a BluRay disc. It will be much more than just "filling the entire screen" :)


Uncle Ben wrote:Then I read thoughout these forums that HD rendering is very very slow. Ideally, I wish I could have a sample file to play with; a one hour HD video that I could import into Vegas, play with it; and render/burn it to see how well, or bad, my system can handle it. Are there sample files available somewhere that we can experiment with.

HD Rendering can be slow, it depends on your computer. I think we can get you some sample files to download, maybe some HDV files and a few AVCHD files as examples. What are your current system specs? Processor, RAM, Video Memory, How many internal hard drives, anything else you would like to add like the operating system.


Uncle Ben wrote:Any comments regarding the pros and cons of going HD for a guy like me will be much appreciated, including your suggestion for a "good" budget HD cam.

If you want to stick with a single unit for video and photos there are less options and most of those are rather expensive. If you can keep your current photo camera and add a HD video camera you will have many more options. I personally love my Canon HV40, tape based HDV camcorder. But you should be able to find something that shoots good quality HD footage for even less than that would cost. Most Cell Phones shoot HD video now, do you need a new phone by chance? :)
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Re: Debating to go HD or not...

Postby Uncle Ben » Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:34 pm

Peru wrote:I sort of went HD.
I bought a 47" widescreen TV and an upscaling DVD player, not a BluRay.

I have two Sony Cameras, one SD and one HDV. My wife has a Canon SX40HS (full HD). There is a marked difference in the quality between each of the camera's video quality.

I am using Premiere Pro CS5.5 and use an HDV or HD sequence for the respective footage, and an SD sequence for the SD camera. I output to DVD. I will output to BRD if I ever get a BluRay burner and player.

Even on old SD projects, the HDTV is way better quality than the 19" CRT TV we used to have.


Thank you for the feedback. But I'm confused. When you output HD to DVD, don't you loose a lot of the benefit of HD? Yes, the DVD will look better on a HDTV, but it still won't be HD, correct?
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Re: Debating to go HD or not...

Postby Uncle Ben » Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:00 pm

Thank you Chuck for such an elaborate response. I find myself liking this web site more with every visit.

So OK, everything will look better with HD at the source, and HD on the output, and HD viewing. I got it.

But is the value added worth the additional time required to render in HD. I have a Dell XPS8500, Intel i7-3770, with 16 GB RAM, running Win 7 64-bit, and one 2TB Hard Drive. The graphics card is a run of the mill AMD Radeon HD 7570.

Yes, I'm happy with the still camera I currently have. It's an old Sony DSC S85, only 4 megapix, but it takes better pictures than a lot of new cameras in the same price range.

Cell phone? What's that? I'm kidding, no I don't need another one. I have two already, two too many now that I'm retarded ... I mean retired.

Thank you both Chuck and Peru for your suggestions, I will look them up for sure.

Cheers!

P.S. Chuck - Aren't tape-based cam a thing of the past? If not, because of all the moving parts, aren't they more prone to developing issues over time?
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Re: Debating to go HD or not...

Postby Chuck Engels » Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:33 pm

Glad to help Ben :)

I don't think tape based cameras are any more prone to problems than anything else.
Tape based cameras are still the primary standard for network TV, Cable and movies.
Of course they have all gone to other formats as well for some broadcasts but they are still mostly tape or film based.

The time to render isn't that much more than rendering anything else, especially with your machine.
I just did a wedding, rendered the 30 minute ceremony in about 12 minutes and my machine isn't as good as yours ;)
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Re: Debating to go HD or not...

Postby Uncle Ben » Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:45 pm

Chuck Engels wrote:Glad to help Ben :)

I don't think tape based cameras are any more prone to problems than anything else.
Tape based cameras are still the primary standard for network TV, Cable and movies.
Of course they have all gone to other formats as well for some broadcasts but they are still mostly tape or film based.

The time to render isn't that much more than rendering anything else, especially with your machine.
I just did a wedding, rendered the 30 minute ceremony in about 12 minutes and my machine isn't as good as yours ;)


12 min, that's great! Does this have anything to do with the fact that you're using a tape-based CAM and the lower compression rate?
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Re: Debating to go HD or not...

Postby Bob » Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:03 pm

Your still camera can take photos that are larger than HD size already. The highest quality that camera records is 2272 x 1704 pixels which is higher than 1920x1080HD and will even give you room to pan and zoom should you wish. If you want to get into making HD slideshows, all you need to do is replace your BD player with a BD burner which you can do for under $100. Here's one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106369

The video resolution of that camera is too low for HD. It is only 320 x 240 or 160 x 120 pixels which isn't even as large as standard definition video (720 x 480). Even if you don't go to HD video projects, your standard definition projects will be significantly higher quality if you upgrade your camera to one with higher video resolution. You can find basic digital still cameras that can record 1920x1080HD for under $200. Of course, you pay more if you need a camera with more capability. If you want, you can keep your existing camera and get another for video.

1920x1080HD has six times the number of pixels in standard definition 720x480 video. So, it will take longer to process. In addition, some video formats (AVCHD) require more computer power. But, the computer you have should have no problems handling HD, even if you need to use AVCHD video.
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Re: Debating to go HD or not...

Postby Bob » Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:42 pm

Just a comment about tape based cameras. Consumer level cameras have pretty much moved away from tape-based. You can still buy them, but cameras based on memory cards now predominate the market. In my opinion, if you don't have an investment in tape based cameras already, you're probably better off going with memory card based cameras at this point. Prosumer and professional cameras are a different story. Professional cameras are, as Chuck said, still predominately tape based or film based. But, even there, things are slowly changing and heading away from tape.
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Re: Debating to go HD or not...

Postby Uncle Ben » Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:20 pm

Thank you Bob for your comments, this is very helpful.

Yes, I never thought that my Sony DSC-S85 was ready for prime time Vegas, but it does take very nice pictures and I'm happy with it. So it's a keeper.

Well then I'm probably better off looking at a HD camcorder, which will likely have more video features and capability than a still camera with video capability - is this a fair assumption.

I bought a cheapie SD Everio Camcorder last year that served me well. I didn't have a HD TV then, and I was using an old outdated desktop ... The long and short of it is Hi Def was no where on my radar screen. But now I have a new PC, a new 60' HDTV, and lots of leisure time to go hiking with the grand kids ... Yes, I think a simple, run of the mill HD camcorder would fill the void nicely. But to find one that takes decent videos, even under low light conditions, with lots of onboard storage, + SD/SDHC card slot, all for under $300 might be a bit of a challenge.

As for the BD burner, the computer is brand new and I'm not comfortable farting around with a drive swaps. I'd rather buy an external USB BD writer instead, which should work just as well, no?
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Re: Debating to go HD or not...

Postby Chuck Engels » Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:43 pm

Uncle Ben wrote:12 min, that's great! Does this have anything to do with the fact that you're using a tape-based CAM and the lower compression rate?


The wedding I did for another company, they shoot everything HD with Nikon DSLRs so the video was MOV format 720p (1280 x 720).
I did have to render the timeline after making edits, same would be the case for tape based capture to 1080i (1920 x 1080).
They use two cameras and I have to switch between the two, by the end of the video most of the timeline needs to be rendered.
I did all of the editing in Premiere Elements 10 because my version of Premiere Pro (CS3) does not support this type of video, need to upgrade to CS6 soon :) I did produce the DVD with EncoreDVD however, after exporting each segment from Premiere Elements.
End result was put onto a DVD so the export from Premiere Elements HD project was to SD AVI format. The segments were about 20 - 30 minutes each and rendering to AVI was only about 20 minutes as best I recall :)
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Re: Debating to go HD or not...

Postby Dave McElderry » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:07 pm

Uncle Ben wrote:As for the BD burner, the computer is brand new and I'm not comfortable farting around with a drive swaps. I'd rather buy an external USB BD writer instead, which should work just as well, no?


I'd reconsider on this point. Changing out an optical drive is actually very easy and having it internal is so much nicer, and probably even less expensive. Most manufacturers provide instructions on how to add/swap out different types of hardware. Or tell us the make/model and we can likely give very specific instructions. It's literally less than 10 minutes start to finish.
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Re: Debating to go HD or not...

Postby Uncle Ben » Sat Oct 13, 2012 5:23 am

@Dave-- Yes, perhaps I was exaggerating a bit. Thanks!
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Re: Debating to go HD or not...

Postby Peru » Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:00 am

Uncle Ben wrote:Thank you for the feedback. But I'm confused. When you output HD to DVD, don't you loose a lot of the benefit of HD? Yes, the DVD will look better on a HDTV, but it still won't be HD, correct?


Correct.

The reason that I edit in HD is that I will probably go BluRay at some time in the future and may output some projects I have done in the past to HD.

I never thought that I would go from 4:3 to 16:9. :-8 I know now not to rule out any possible format changes. ;)

I agree with Dave, too. :tup:
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Re: Debating to go HD or not...

Postby Bob » Sat Oct 13, 2012 1:58 pm

Dell Owner's Manuals have instructions for how to do it. Here's the one for your computer: http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/xps8500/en/index.htm. If you don't feel comfortable doing it or if it affects your warrenty, you can certainly get an external burner. Make sure it is a Blu Ray burner and not a combo that burns DVDs but only plays Blu Ray.

Yes, video cameras have capabilities and features beyond a point and shoot still camera with video capability. The advantage with the still camera is that they are convenient -- these days you can get small slim ones that you can slip in your pocket and easily carry with you. At the high end of the still camera market though, DSLRs are being used more and more for video. DSLR's have the ability to use different lenses, control depth of field, and potentially have better low light performance and less noise. But, they have their disadvantages too -- rolling shutter distortion, possible limits on the length of recording due to sensor heating, etc.. Most major brands do have video camera models around $300 or less, so it should be possible to find one that fits in your budget. You'll need to do your homework to find one that's satisfactory to you regarding low light capability and image quality.
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