HD(high-def) Thoughts

Mike Hollingshead

A week or so ago I got the idea I should make a HD product/video from the still images I have. I mean hell since my vid cam is not HD and those still images are beyond HD I thought it would be wise to enter this market early...with a photo DVD in HD. Like everything I do I don't research FIRST, I just start on it. I knew of the bandwidth and space issues but since it was only stills I was going to mess with I'd only have space issues to deal with. That and maybe I'd have to purchase a new burner(doh!). Since the TVs have been out so long I just figured whatever else was needed would be had easy enough(with just creation in mind...I had no plan to buy my own HD tv or player....etc).

So I convert over 1000 RAW images and prepare to reprocess them all...one by one. I now have almost 900 images processed and resized for this project(my hand is a bit screwed up now from holding onto the mouse that long). Yesterday I purchased music for the dvd. HD was the driving force behind this but I needed the images for something else anyway and planned to make a SD version of it too. Rather than finishing off a SD version I start looking into what I'd need for HD(already knew I had the editing capability with premiere pro 1.5) as well as all the specs for various kinds. What a complete headache! Almost need a degree to know what is best for what and what works for what.

Well while trying to sort through what is best and what I need to shoot for I decide to see what the common players play. Well it wasn't long into that journey I said, houston we have a problem here. HD DVD and Blue-Ray are STILLLLLL not really out yet!?!? There are NO REAL HD players out yet??? Well crap, so much for not wanting to miss out on a market that isn't even there! On www.supermediastore.com I couldn't find any media. That was the search I made after trying to locate some fashion of a HD DVD player. Sure I found some "HD DVD Players", but umm, too bad all they are upconverters. They don't play these new formats(not that I saw.....but that must be because they are not even out yet for purchase). All they do is make your normal dvd footage play on the various HD tv sets. Man I can't wait till the real HD DVD formats come out and people can't play them on these players that I bet they think SHOULD, lol. So, if you are buying a DVD player for you HD tv I think I'd wait till the real HD players are even out(unless I'm completely missing something).

All this makes me wonder about getting a HD vid cam anytime soon. I guess it'd be good to have that footage on HD right away instead of missing stuff. I hope the sales people are upfront about these "HD DVD Players" they are selling people right now. And again maybe I'm out to lunch on half of this. It certainly appears there are no players, burners, or media even for sale right now. It blows my mind so I am guessing I'm missing something.

Here is a good page on some HD stuff: http://www.adobe.com/products/premiere/pdf...fs/hdprimer.pdf

The chart on storage 1/3 the way down is a bit scary! Not just the crazy storage amounts but also the different specs. The read on drives needed is good stuff too. Sounds like if you don't do it in HDV you need RAID setups to capture. HDV is "only" 19.2 mbps so I'd think you'd want to use something else since DV AVI is 28 mbps(3.5 megs/s). Several of the cams it looks like they actually capture in HDV. So that HDV is equal to 8 gigs use in 1 hour of footage. There is 720 progressive and 1080 progressive or interlaced for HD. The lowest 1080 is 350 gigs for 1 hour of footage......lol. Getting a HD cam for 06 or even 07 is seeming really silly to me at this time. If I can't find real HD DVD players even for sale yet then no one is going to have them for a while.

Just some jibberish I had after messing with some of this. Added info would be excellent if you have any.
Well not so much why HD, just mentioning some big road blocks in editing and wondering where the whole DVD aspect of it is.
Mike, sorry...grabbing still frames from HD is a great benefit, as those come along 30 frames a second.

Indeed, there are some big obstacles for HD. The way I look at it is that I can capture my chase season in HD, and then firewire it in to my computer in SD (Standard Definition) for now, then when Blueray, etc., comes along...I'm all set, and I've captured the season in higher resolution.

It does take lots of computer horsepower for HD...but 6 years ago, it took lots of horsepower to grab even SD. Soon, it will be commonplace, and not a worry.

You can save your HD project on standard DVD disks...but it's only your computer that will be able to play them.

I think we'll start seeing HD DVD-type machines this year.

There is a lot of vague and conflicting info on HD distribution right now. BluRay and HD-DVD are prototype HD recordable media formats, but both are in their infancy and players/burners are very expensive (around $1k). I don't know where you can even buy one of these things now. It will be quite some time before any of this goes 'mainstream'. In the end everyone is going to eventually have to buy a new player before it becomes a widespread format. And that's just the people who have or will have HD displays/TVs. This could take 5 years or more to happen.

Windows Media HD can be burned to DVD or CD and supposedly can be played on compatible DVD players, but I don't know if playback is HD component out or just widescreen on a SD component out. WMV HD and Quicktime HD are in use today for computer-based playback. To play these HD files on any computer in realtime, you'll need a monster of a machine with at least a 3Ghz processor, 2GB of RAM, and of course a nice big (read:expensive) widescreen monitor to make it a worthwhile experience.

Of course, we do have HD broadcast (via cable, satellite and over-air) available now which is the only way most consumers can view HD content on their nice new $6000 plasma displays.
For the record, I do believe the Blu-Ray and HD-DVD are expected to be officially unvieled next month at CES (e.g. Pioneer will announce their computer Blu-Ray drive next month). Prices will likely start out high, and probably won't be drop too quickly given that the companies will need to recoup some of the rather large costs incurred for the R&D of these technologies, not to mention the fact that BluRay and HD-DVD will each sell considerably less than if they was just ONE unified format. This will probably be more true since I'm a little skeptical that these 2nd-generation DVDs will sell as quickly as some think. Given that most folks don't have HD TVs, and even more are just fine with the $10-$15 DVD prices, I think many folks are perfectly complacent with the current technology. Perhaps in a few years when HD TV penetration has increased we'll see these things take off. The computer storage industry may be a little different story, particularly if the larger-capacity BluRay tech ends up winning out (dual-layer Blu-Ray disks hold ~50 GB each). I'm not even sure which tech I want to win out, since Blu-ray will provide higher capacity, while HD-DVD is more consumer friendly with less strict DRM standards and will likely be cheaper to produce (which may be passed on through lower prices at retail stores).

I'm sure we'll see these things take hold, but I'm not sure 2006 is the year. It probably wouldn't be bad to record in HDV (or other higher definition format), but realize that few will be able to see your HD-like footage until they (a) buy an HD TV and (B) buy a 2nd-generation DVD drive (BluRay or HD-DVD).

EDIT: Either BluRay or HD-DVD players and disks are selling in Japan, if you REALLY want one now. LOL
That is nice info to know for sure on, thanks. I was thinking I was crazy and missing something while looking around. I am really wondering about the real worth of even HDV format. The bit rate for HDV is less than that of your DV AVI files. That must be some highly compressed HD video. Sure it is still less compressed than you'd do to your AVI to mpeg2 files for DVD, but I'm not sure I'd want that format for my starting point.

I guess the other possible reason to have HD soon is for any possible programs that might use the footage. Might be a strong selling point there.

Now I'm wondering what my brand new 3 ghz computer will even be able to capture. Gets pretty whicked when you look at what you'd need to capture the best stuff.
Yeah, editing full HD would be quite a feat. HDV isn't TOO bad, though I have to admit that I haven't seen any HDV footage in person (I've seen some over the 'net). It should be noted that there are some alternatives to HDV. For example, Panasonic has their AG-HVX200, which is uses DVCPRO on solid-state P2 cards. Canon's XLH1 does output uncompressed HD, with a bitrate of nearly 1.5 Gpbs. Obviously, it would require massive storage if you want to produce your highlight video in uncompressed HD!
Back to photo grabs from HD video... I realize this probably differs from camera to camera but what is the approximate mega-pixel of one HD frame?

Hi Steve,

As some of you know...HDV (format that JVC/Sony uses) is an MPEG2 compression so the video can fit on a DV tape. So, depending on that..it "comparable" to a 1.5 -2.2 megapixel camera.

Not bad when one considers that your'e taking pictures of this quaility at 30 frames/second. I've actually printed out frame grabs on an 8x10..not bad at all.

Jeff, I didn't realize that Canon FINALLY came out with an HD camcorder. Yikes..for the price tag ($8,800 USD)...and the unfortunate Canon Video camera quality and problems seen in the past for the XL-1/2..not sure how well it will do. You're right...who the HECK wants to deal with 1.5 GBs/second when HDV looks just fine (to me).


I can yank that picture off if it's too big.

---back to video editing----
For the record, I do believe the Blu-Ray and HD-DVD are expected to be officially unvieled next month at CES (e.g. Pioneer will announce their computer Blu-Ray drive next month).

Just an update on the HD-DVD vs. BluRay deal... Personally, with what's been released in the past 2 days, I can't imagine that BluRay will take the cake. Toshiba, yesterday, announced that they will begin shipping HD-DVD players for $499 and $799 within the next couple of months. The $499 price for an HD-DVD player, I believe, will be low enough to get decent adoption in the stores. On the other hand, the only prices released from any BluRay group thus far has been from Pioneer, who said their BluRay player is preliminarily priced at $1800. Yes, that's more than 3 times the price of the low-end Toshiba HD-DVD player.

In addition, BluRay group announced that only a "basic" version of BluRay will be ready for shipping this year. This "basic" version will not contain much interactivity, nor will it contain internet connectivity capability. It is expected that "full-profile Blu-Ray" technology will be available next year, however, mainly because BD-J is said not to be ready (Blu-Ray tech involved Java). The limited-capability, 1st generation Blu-Ray players,then, are expected to be able to sell for about half the price of the full-profile Blu-Ray players, or about $800-$1000.

Given the fact the Blu-Ray, as it stands now, will be considerably more expensive than HD-DVD (partly because HD-DVD doesn't require much change in the standard DVD manufacturing process) and will only ship with a limited feature set (it sounds more like the 1st-gen Blu-Ray disks will be very similar to DVD but w/ high definition video), I can't imagine HD-DVD won't win this battle. The two biggest factors in upgrading to a high-definition DVD player would be, IMO, rich feature set that can display HD content at a reasonable price. With more advanced interactivity at a price considerably lower than it's competitor, I have to think that HD-DVD will take the crown. HD-DVD will be natively supported in Windows Vista as well.

CES 2006: First-generation Blu-ray disc players may not be full-featured [TG Daily]
HD DVD: Big Backers and Hardware Coming Soon [PCMAG]
Next-Gen DVD Prices, Titles Announced (Routers via Extremetech


I agree. HD-DVD is going to simply blow out Bluray!!

Too bad Bluray's sort of hooked to Sony...err.. the other way around. But hey...their "Betamax" didn't survive during the Betamax Vs. VHS wars of the 80s.

I can care LESS about the extra crap such as interactivity, or internet...I want the ABILITY to freely share HD.

Now....how about a HD-DVD writer?

I can care LESS about the extra crap such as interactivity, or internet...I want the ABILITY to freely share HD.


Part of the lure of Blu-Ray in the eyes of movie studies is that it has stiffer DRM and does not include managed mandatory copy (demanded by HP a couple of months ago before they decided to support both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray). With Sony's DRM history the past year (e.g. the CD rootkit debacle), I'm hesitant about any Sony-backed DRM tech. For data users, the Blu-Ray disks can also store more data (25GB and 50GB for single-layer and double-layer disk compared to, IIRC, 18GB for a single-layer HD-DVD disk). I just think that it's going to come down to price. Folks who are going to use lots of 25GB or 50GB disks are probably going to have the money to afford it. For the majority of folks, however, 5GB DVD disks are plenty, and heck, 750mb CDs are enough for many in terms of data storage. In addition, large external hard drives are coming down in price, as you can get a 300GB Maxtor OneTouch II external drive for like $200 now. Of course, for content distribution, you aren't going to use hard drives, but for standard in-house data storage many will.

The internet connectivity capability does lead to some interesting possibilities, IMO, particularly for those who like DVD "extras" now.

Haven't heard anything about recorders yet.