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Fun with HD - Part I

COW Blogs : Mike Cohen's Blog : Fun with HD - Part I

My first use of HDV was last year. I shot a friend's wedding with a rented V1U in SD, but then shot some HDV footage to see what it looks like.

On my 19" home CRT computer monitor, it was not too impressive and the YouTube version did little for me except attract YouTube hits:

 Next came Oct 2007 when I was asked to rent a HD projector to show some XDCAM recorded surgery in an auditorium. This was surprisingly easy and the results seemed to have more to do with the camera used than anything else.

This week I was asked if I could convert WMV HD files to web video, presumably Flash.

Aside from Microsoft, I have not seen anyone else use WMV HD. COme to think of it, I once purchased the special edition of Terminator 2, which included a WMV HD disc. However due to some odd DRM efforts by Microsoft, I have never gotten it to play, and you cannot view the video outside of the outdated Microsoft player app.

I have read of some COW members giving clients WMV HD files in lieu of a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD disc.

Using a minute of test footage shot with our V1U, I captured it into Premiere CS3 using the HDV 1080i60 project setting. This, of course, saves an MPG file.

Playback at 100% just about fills one of my 2 22" LCD computer monitors, and playback is almost smooth off a USB connected SATA drive. I do have a SATA card in this computer, so I will test playback with the drive actually connected via SATA.

Ok, so with my HDV footage (1440x1080 for those keeping score at home) I exported a segment as a DV-AVI file, which comes out letterboxed in a standard 4:3 AVI file.

Next I exported the same HDV segment to WMV HD. The preset WMV HD settings in CS3 are 1080 24, 1080 25 and 1080 something else, another version of 24, perhaps 1080p.

Not sure how this would affect the original 1080i60 material, I changed the WMV setting to 1080i30.

So now I have a WMV HD file to play with. I imported that into Premiere and exported it from the HDV 1080 project as DV-AVI, letterboxed. The end result is very aliased and unusable, even as web video.

So I made a new project, SD-AVI settings, imported the WMV HD file, resized the clip to be letterboxed within the SD frame, and exported this as DV-AVI. The results are like night and day - very smooth playback with no jaggies.

It seems there are so many variables with this workflow, some trial and error is to be expected, as there was back in 1999 when we were doing lots of Sorenson 3 encoding!

As a final experiment, I opened my HDV project, and exported my segment of original HDV to P2 DVCPRO 1080i (1220x1080?), and imported this MXF file into Premiere. Playback of the MXF file is actually smoother than the HDV original within the HDV project. Likewise, in a P2 1080 project, the P2 MXF made from the HDV plays better than the HDV file in the P2 project.

Converting HDV to P2 DVCPRO HD appears to be similar to capturing HDV directly to ProRes or AIC as is possible on the Mac. On the PC however one can only capture HDV to HDV without a card. Perhaps a better analogy is converting HDV to Cineform.

All this being said, I have an Intensity card which I have not installed yet. This card will capture HDV straight to one of several Blackmagic codecs. Presumably one would then export an edit back to HDV to go back to HDV tape, or export to SD-DV to go to SD DV tape, or likewise export to DVCPRO if one needed to make a broadcast master.

The Intensity will play out in real time via Component and HDMI. My HDV deck has component inputs, but I do not know if this accepts HD component and converts on the fly back to HDV during recording, or if these component inputs are SD. The manual is nonspecific. Likewise, the HDMI port on the deck appears to be output only.

So many mysteries awaiting answers in the forthcoming post: Fun with HD: Part II. Date and time to be determined. 

Posted by: Mike Cohen on Mar 6, 2008 at 5:21:19 pm hdv, blackmagic design

I have a passion for my job, which entails training for medical professionals such as surgeons, nurses and administrators, not to mention various industries.

Technology is great, but how you apply your skills is what pays the bills.

Years ago I canceled my Media 100 support contract upon discovering what a treasure trove of helpful advice can be found on the Creative COW website. I am proud to be a part of this fantastic community.

In my blog I talk a little about media production, a lot about travel and workflow, and occasionally about cooking, nature and my four-legged friends.

Follow me on Twitter: med_ed_mike

I'm also on LinkedIn if you can't get enough of me!


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