I'm planning on buying a new camcorder. It seems that until recently pro-consumer cameras had 1080i as the main format that people would buy.
In recent times, companies have now introduced 1080p cameras at very reasonable prices and that record onto HDV tape. I definitely don't plan on purchasing a camera which relies on internal memory, memory cards, etc. I've always used digital tape.
Well, the problem is that I was planning on also purchasing Final Cut Express; however it only goes up to 1080i, not 1080p.
The last release of this software was in 2007. However, I don't want to purchase Final Cut Pro as that requires purchasing an entire suite and I don't wish to do that at this time.
I'm very familiar with editing in Final Cut and so Final Cut Express seemed to be the best option.
Am I being too picky in choosing a camera? I want a pro-consumer camera... Priced at 900 dollars or so.
Should I just go with a 1080i camera?
Thanks for any advice!
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HDV cams record 1440x1080 in several different modes. normal basic mode for all of them is 60i for ntsc cams. the additional p modes are options when shooting. use them or not it's your choice. make sure you have a firewire port in your computer to capture the video from the HDV cam as it's required.
If you want Final Cut Express 4 (or iMovie), you only have the 1080i 60i option although you could sneak telecine 23.976 or 30p through as 60i even though these are not directly supported as project formats by FCE.
FCE requires HDV or AVCHD to be converted into the 1080i Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC).
I think you should stay with 1080i until FCE 5 is introduced. It may or may not support progressive timeline. Still you can edit 1080i and then export convert to progressive 30p if needed for web or phone distribution.
Last edited by edDV; 7th Nov 2010 at 23:03.
I definitely don't plan on purchasing a camera which relies on internal memory, memory cards, etc. I've always used digital tape.
Well, the problem is that I was planning on also purchasing Final Cut Express; however it only goes up to 1080i, not 1080p.
I'll assume you live in the USA. On a Canon HV40 (for example) your choices are 60i, 30psf, 24psf, and 24p. 60i is the only option that gives you the smooth movement of typical home videos, news footage, sports etc. 24p gives you the stuttery movement of film (and requires care when shooting; fast panning will turn into a dizzying stuttery mess). 30p is slightly less stuttery than 24p, but not smooth like 60i. Both 24p and 30p are commonly used on the web.
30psf and 24psf are progressive images, packed into an interlaced stream. These can be converted into true progressive formats, or left as 1080i so even a 1080i-only NLE will handle them just fine. Your 1080i-only NLE may well put truly interlaced transitions/effects/wipes/etc onto the footage which mean it can't be easily converted into "true" full quality 30p or 24p after editing.
24p is 24p - your 1080i-only NLE may not handle it.
Newer camcorders, like the Panasonic HDC-SD700 offer full 60p - which means you can have full 60fps smooth motion with progressive frames (no interlacing to worry about).
Hope this helps.
I am into this dilemma too: do I really need 60p? or 1080i is enough. I mean, looking at a 1080p HDTV, does 60p looks better that 60i?
I haven't seen a 1080 60p recording so far, but looks like editing of it, even in the future, is a lottery: it might or might not be supported by all major editing software.
I want to get a HD camcorder, a prosumer, but I can't decide right now. And all this AVCHD crap makes it even more difficult.
- Doubles as a great wide DV cam. Plays all the old tapes.
- Uses cheap DV tape (abour 10x less cost vs. flash ram)
- MPeg2 is much easier to edit, is supported for smart render editing for zero HD generation loss to DVDR AVCHD disk.
- Yes "AVCHD" Blu-Ray format can use HDV MPeg2 in an m2ts wrapper. No recode necesssary.
- Most serious editors will have HDV native project modes.
- HDV cams have live digital streaming over Firewire. AVCHD cams don't stream except for uncompressed HDMI.
- Canon HV series has all the basic pro features: manual audio, peak meter, manual exposure, zebra pattern, etc.
- More HV series pro accessory support vs. AVCHD cams.
AVCHD cams are still in format evolution. 1080 60p is not supported for AVCHD. The H.264 format is still not supported for smart rendering thus AVCHD takes one to two recode losses through editing/encoding for Blu-Ray. HDV can be smart render editted (Vegas) with zero generation loss camera to Blu-Ray "AVCHD" format disc or Blu-Ray authored disc.
JVC has a proprietary HDV extension for 720p at 60fps that requires specific editor support. Soon JVC will be changing to XDCAM format for full 60p support. Proprietary digital camera 60p cheats are either not true 1920x1080p or are so heavily h.264 compressed that actual image quality is lower than 1080i or 720p. I'd say forget 1080p 60fps for now. Go for 1280x720 60p if handheld smooth action is a priority.
1920x1080 60p is an ideal target for future hand held consumer camcorders, but is well outside current technology. An optimal consumer h.264 data rate would be near 35 Mb/s. Pro camcorders would use 50-100 Mb/s.
Last edited by edDV; 8th Nov 2010 at 15:36.
Everybody praises the Panasonic TM700 for its 1080 60p but a lot of them complain about fan noise issue. I would try it just to see what is really about it.
Right now am in between getting a Canon XH A1S which is a HDV or wait for the new XF100, both are 60i.
Personally I prefer tapes, cheap and perfect backup, but with hdd prices so low, I don't mind having 3 of them full with video (I don't trust just 2 )
On the other side HDV is becoming obsolete....
Those with higher budgets would jump up to AVC-Intra which is the true HD frame based replacement for DV.
While the Panasonic TM-700 is an interesting proprietary 28 Mb/s 1080p 60 fps effort, that mode is outside the AVCHD spec and needs custom templates for editing. It won't play directly from Blu-Ray players, media players or TV sets unless recoded. There is no assurance this mode will be incorporated into the AVCHD standard as is or that editors will support this proprietary extension. I'd rather see a ~35 Mb/s rate for 60p.
Last edited by edDV; 8th Nov 2010 at 18:06.
It's "none standard" only in that it uses a frame rate that's not defined in a current H/264 profile for that resolution, and hence yields more pixels per second than the current top profile. In a hardware decoder, this could be an issue, but I know of two software decoders (the one in VLC, and the one in DGAVCIndex) which were designed before Panasonic released this camcorder, and yet handle this footage faultlessly without any change to the decoder to accommodate it. So, while it's technically "none standard" - it's "none standard" in a very standard and predictable way!
I agree it's far easier to edit HDV, and you can smart render HDV. However, that assumes no colour correction or video level correction or... - I can't think of one project of mine which, when finished, has been smart rendered for the final output. There's always some change in there which stops it smart rendering. The closest I got was smart rendering in Vegas, and then colour correcting (and selectively denoising) in AVIsynth.
At the end of the day, with a 50p or 60p display fed from a PC, I reckon edited footage from the Panasonic HDC-SD700 is going to look better than edited footage from the Canon HV20. I don't think they'll be a night-and-day difference, but I think the sharpness, stability, and reduced artefacts will be noticeable. That's assuming I spend days doing a top quality deinterlace on the HDV footage - if I just send it to the TV interlaced, I'm at the mercy of the TV's deinterlacer - more likely I'll just bob it in VLC on the PC, and the vertical resolution will end up far lower.
P.S. Panasonic HDC-SD700 raw footage links:
Also any of these which are less than 7 days old, or uploaded by premium users, will retain an option to download the raw footage (if you're logged in)...
It depends what you are shooting and how you intend to edit and encode. I'm not saying HDV is better quality coming from the camcorder, but it is often better quality in output format due to fewer recodes. True if you recode to a digital intermediate or filter the entire footage, this advantage is lost. If you use HDV native projects, smart render and re-wrap with m2ts, there is zero generation loss to the Blu-Ray player. The hardware deinterlacers in Blu-Ray players or recent HDTV sets are quite good. This is a typical work flow for most consumer or prosumer projects.
HDV still has cost advantage when tapes are compared to flash media and HDV cams are the only ones that offer live streaming in either SD DV or HD MPeg2 formats. You can broadcast a multicamera live production with these camcorders (e.g. Bitgravity, UStream, JustinTV, etc).
So a potential user needs to weigh the pros and cons of the formats against the intended workflow.
So with HDV, I keep one copy on the tape, and another copy on a HDD for actual use, editing, etc (pointless shooting it otherwise!). I'll backup that HDD occasionally because, truth is, having to re-transfer all ~100 hours from my HDV tapes would be fairly painful - and very expensive if my current camcorder stopped working before the transfer was complete.
Whereas with flash, I'll copy it to a HDD, and definitely back that up to another HDD. I might even make a third copy of the important stuff and keep it off-site.
So I've swapped a pile of tapes for a HDD. Don't know if you've noticed, but HDDs are cheaper than tapes now - and the price difference is only going to widen.
With that difference, I can buy myself some memory cards.
So over all, there's no price difference. Just the plus point of far greater convenience, and the minus point of having to actively manage back-ups. But I have to do that with my digital photos anyway - and whereas five years ago the size of digital video made that nearly impossible, now HDDs are so big and interfaces are faster so it's less of a problem.
So it comes down to this: it costs the same and is more convenient. And the quality is better.
Your points about editing still stand. You can do basic cut-editing without re-encoding AVCHD too using basic tools, but not in any NLE I know of (yet).
The biggest expense is that a lot of people will need a new PC and/or intermediate to edit it properly. Unless you were going to get one anyway, this could cost as much as the camcorder!
My overriding worry is this: tape is on the way out. You and I both know that we've gone past the point where it's easy to work with VHS - equipment is getting more expensive, while quality and reliability drops. If you have VHS and want to transfer it, it would have been better to do it a few years back. How long before we think that about DV/HDV? I bet if you buy into HDV now, you might hit that problem point with the format before you stop using the camcorder - and I'm sure you'll hit that point before you stop wanting to view the tapes.
I'm sure you also know that HDV is very unforgiving as things go wrong. VHS gave more noise and lines on the picture. DV gave more blocks. HDV just freezes the picture for 2 seconds. I know which problem I'd rather try to fix!
Also HDV hasn't sold as well as DV and VHS. I can solve DV problems by buying up lots of cheap DV camcorders from eBay and playing with them. With a Panasonic ES-10 (I know you'll disagree, but just go with this) I can do a similar thing with crappy VHS decks. But there never were, are, or will be, tens of millions of cheap HDV machines floating around out there. I know there are quite a few, but I bet finding a good one that plays my tapes properly in five or ten years time will be difficult and/or expensive.
I speak as someone who has HDV and isn't jumping to solid-state or HDD yet - but I can see the time will come. If I was looking to buy a camcorder now, I know which one I'd buy, and I wouldn't touch HDV with a barge pole.
Well we are getting the points out for people to consider for their own needs.
The good thing about tape is you have an automatic backup after transfer. Most people don't have the discipline to backup their AVCHD directories before deleting the original. Those using Mac's usually capture straight to 960x540p or AIC without any backup. Many Windows consumer editors also use an intermediate format. These users don't even realize they're breaking all ties to their first generation master.
As for backup longevity, I've experienced several hard disk failures after a few years but all of my digital tapes play in full quality. Nearly all my analog Hi8 and Betacam tapes going back to the 1980s are fine too. After capture I don't plan to ever play these tapes again, they are just for backup.
To be safe I also back my edit masters to tape plus HDD as well. True you do need to maintain a playback deck but in an emergency, there will be many service bureaus that can recapture MiniDV and HDV tapes.
At some point I will change to flash media but today at current flash card costs, tape is fine.
Keep in mind that flash ram suffers performance "wear" over time affecting peak recording rates.
Backups aside, HDV still has the live MPeg2 or DV Firewire streams and the ability to operate in DV mode for SD. I use those features often. HDMI streaming from AVCHD cams is as problematic as AVCHD editing. It can be done but requires high end computer hardware and software.
I always keep a short list of new camcorders/cameras that I'd buy for particular projects. If either of my HDV camcorders failed, I'd probably replace them with a higher end used HDV model like a Canon XH-A1/G1 or Sony Z5U. I need HDV or XDCAM for my current workflow since I do need to go live. SDI would be a nice addition.