The Hidden Costs of DV and the Hidden Savings of using HD.

You can afford to shoot HD24p instead of DV for your feature!

1) Achieving a film look shooting video: A common misconception is that shooting PAL
DV at 25 frames per second is "very close to the 24 frame rate of film". The PAL camera actually records 50i interlaced fields per second, just as NTSC video actually records 60 fields combined into 30 frames. So while the frame flicker rate of 25 converted to 30 looks close to the flicker one observes from 24 frame film telecined to video, the motion blur of any movement within the frame is nothing like that of film. If you set the Sony F900 camera shutter to 1/48, and the frame rate to 24, the progressive recording process perfectly matches the motion blur of film shot with a 180° shutter. The new Panasonic DVX100 shoots 24p in standard def, and though 4:3 native you can get an anamorphic lens to make it 16:9. This has a film look when viewed on a TV screen, but the compression artifacts are still there when you projedt the image. The new JVC HD camera shoots 1280 x 720 but it records at 60p with an MPEG2 data rate about the same as DV so while you can project a bigger image than the Panasonic, it looks like video, and the heavy compression shows motion artifacts. You can't turn off the detail and artificial edge enhancements with low cost DV cameras. These edges actually can degrade the image when projected on a big screen and when taking the DV material out to 35mm film. The Sony F900 can adjust detail or turn it off and the image is so high res it does not need artificial enhancement. You can shoot and record without any detail on and add the detail later in post. The exposure latitude of the F900 camera, especially with the new /3 upgrade, and the Panasonic 27F, is far superior to any DV camera and approaches the latitude of film. Combined with the frame rate issues, if you shoot DV it becomes necessary for a FilmLook™ or at least a Cinelook process to achieve an imagery closer to film. If you shoot and post in DV, maybe you can ask your friend to spend a week or ten days rendering in After Effects with a Cinelook plug-in. For broadcast or cable television broadcast you might need to spend $100 per minute for FilmLook™. A 90 minute feature or doc will cost $9,000.00, an amount that would be much better applied to renting a 24p camera.

2) Limitations of DV cameras / Crew Time.......HD CineAlta cameras get a good
picture sooner and a great picture that DV will never get: The crew time spent on the set trying to control the lighting that will allow a DV camera to get a decent picture is very expensive. A wide contrast range is normal in most shooting environments. The F900 camera can control highlights better than any other video camera available. If you are trying for 15-20 set-ups per day and save 10 minutes per set-up, 2-3 hours per day is a lot of hourly crew and talent cost savings. Or if you have the time to spend to make a scene look really perfect, the HD cameras have the gamma control, white and black clip, and many other adjustments to do it.

3) Hiring a good DP: It may be very difficult to find an experienced and talented Director
of Photography/Camera Operator who is willing to work with a DV camera. A DP's work is judged by the final look of the movie. His reputation for getting beautiful pictures is on the line and judged with every project. With a low end DV camera lenses are hard to focus, and the white balance capabilities are hard to control. With DV there is way too much depth of field so it is tough to get soft focus backgrounds because the chips are so much smaller

than a high end video camera. DV cameras have so little exposure control and contrast range that you always end up with blown out video. The color saturation and subtle gradations are very limited compared to the rich, saturated film-like color available from Sony's 24p F900, the best camera that Sony has ever created. As we mentioned earlier an experienced DP can light a scene and get a good picture faster with HD than with a DV camera. If you are forced to hire a less experienced or creative DP, you may pay for a lack of coverage with costly re-shoots, or waste crew time, wear out your actors, and even your editor by shooting too much coverage. If you are considering a range of high end DPs, the 24p cameras are so desirableto work with that you may find an operator eager to work with one who would not consider DV.

4) Color Correction: The video already looks so much better and the range of adjustments available from the high bandwidth recording is so good that much less time is spent in post with scene-to-scene HD color correction than you would spend trying to enhance and fix the color from DV recordings. HD Cinema™ post in high definition starts with a basic digital conform in HD where simple color and level settings are accomplished. This master tape can then be used for further scene by scene adjustments at our facility, or you can take it to your favorite highly talented colorist who is a wizard with the DaVinci 2K. 5) Resolution issues: Most of us have now seen High Def, but usually on a relatively small,
but still labeled as "Big Screen" monitor at retail electronics dealers. While the clarity and lack of scanning lines are impressive on these smaller monitors, the big difference in resolution when comparing DV and HD for filmmakers is demonstrated when the image is projected on a screen at least 20 feet wide. HD has six times the resolution of DV and can be very successfully projected in a large theater. If your movie is accepted at an important festival, the DV image falls apart even when "bumped up" to High Def for projection. Any digital motion artifacts, especially common in lower end DV cameras due to their excessive digital compression, are magnified on the big screen.

6) Film Out to 35mm costs the same for HD or DV: For theatrical exhibition, the only
solution to help hide the lack of resolution of DV is a costly DV video to 35mm film process. Prices in the range of $40,000 to $80,000 for film out are fine if you have a deal for theatrical release, but why pay that before your deal is closed? Almost every film festival now has digital projection making a 35mm print unnecessary. If you still want to go out to 35mm, interestingly, it now costs no more to get 35mm film out from HD than it does DV. At some facilities it may even cost less for HD because the time consuming de-interlacing process is not needed, and color gamut corrections are not as difficult. If you have shot 24p the film looks incredible, virtually indistinguishable from a print from 35mm film original.

7) Widescreen Post Production and the HD Universal Master: After your off-line
edit, creating a DV or Digibeta master requires two or even three re-assemblies of the material (conforming to the edit list). With HD you conform once! Every project is now shot in widescreen, and most producers now know to rent a true widescreen camera if they are shooting DV. Most producers don't realize that once the off-line edit is complete, if they are posting on-line to create a release master in DV or even Digibeta, they will have to pay for creating two masters. Once to create the true widescreen version for projection at festivals, viewing on true widescreen or switchable 4:3 and 16:9 monitors, and for DVD release. A second conform is needed for the widescreen letterbox version for VHS screening and broadcast distribution. This requires re-digitizing every shot into the non-linear system for

finishing. Sometimes broadcast television still require a third conform to be accomplished for 4:3 viewing. If DV was shot there is actually a loss of resolution for the 4:3 version. There is also an expense incurred for conversion to PAL in both widescreen and 16:9. With the new HD 24p Universal Master, one conforming session creates a single master tape can be used to make the various distribution masters with just a simple dub instead of reconforming the entire project. This is a very big hidden cost savings to using HD instead of DV. HD Cinema™ post production in HD 24p is only $350 per hour. Since the many weeks of editing in an off-line suite are at the same cost for DV, the only extra costs for posting in HD are the downconverts to BetaSP or DV at $75 per field tape plus record stock, and the 20 or so hours in the HD suite for conforming and color correction. While more expensive than finishing in a DV suite, finishing in high def 24p at HD Cinema™ rivals the cost of standard definition Digital Betacam post! For overseas deliverables, perfect PAL copies of the program can be created directly from the Universal Master, saving the cost of an expensive standards conversion.

8) Audio and Time code issues: The smallest consumer based DV cameras for the most
part have very poor audio functionality, even though the digital audio capability of the DV format is pretty good. Many DV filmmakers end up renting a DAT recorder and paying thousands of dollars for expensive synchronization in post, location sound. With HD the audio should be recorded directly onto the video. The quality is every bit as good as the DAT, and you have instant dailies to screen right out of the camera. Lower end DV cameras do not have the ability to record continuous time code if the camera is stopped and the video reviewed. This is essential when editing, because there can be errors introduced in the edit list that may not show up until the final conform. At this stage corrections are very expensive. Some DV cameras even reset the time code to zero when changing batteries causing more editors nightmares if you don't pay for re-striping.

9) Distributors Awareness of DV versus HD: Distributors are now savvy enough to
know that HD24p is now a very good alternative to 35mm so it really helps to sell the project. The novelty of DV shooting has worn off and they are more critical of the quality issues. Spending an extra $10-15K to shoot HD instead of DV and an extra $10K to post HD could get you hundreds of thousands of extra dollars on your distribution deal. You cannot afford to miss out on this leverage. Some knowledgeable distributors are planning digital only releases thus saving 35mm print costs. They understand the importance of HD capture and mastering in the look of the final results.

10) Digital Projection in theaters, HDTV in broadcast: Even though the roll out of HDTV broadcasting in the US has been much slower than anticipated, no one will deny that eventually it will happen. Similarly, even though a complete switchover may take many years, all of the movie theater chains will will be adding digital projection for at least one screen at their multiplexes. Some blockbusters will be released digitally first, and there is the added benefit and flexibility in selecting their programming content. Independent and Art House theaters are making the switch even sooner. 11) Long term value of HD acquisition: The shelf life of a project shot in HD will be
much longer than one originated in DV.

Note: We are using "DV" to refer to the DV format and its variations DVC Pro, mini-DV, DVCAM; and HD to mean Sony HDCAM, though Panasonic has their DVCProHD, too. Of course DV can mean "Digital Video" in general in which case Digital Betacam and the high def formats can be called DV.

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