Canon HV20 Export HD as SD DV Format Question - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 05-21-2007, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
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I have read every thread about the HV20 that I could find on this forum. I am just about convinced to pull the trigger and drop the money for it, but before I do, could someone answer a few simple questions below:

If you record everything in HD for future use, and want to just work with AVI-DV format today to make SD DVDs on a pc (premiere elements 2), How hard is it to get the video in Standard Def DV format. I read somewhere you could hook the camera up to firewiwre, adjust a setting on the camera, and it would send the HD movie to the PC in Standard Def DV format. Is this true? If so how is the quality going to be on that? Will it look as good if you had just used the Standard Def mode on the camera in the first place?

Anyone been able to compare the GS320 and the HV20? I guess that is the two I have it narrowed down to, just trying to decide if i want to spend the money for the HV20. How is low light compared on the two models?

I have read over and over about "low-Light." What is considered "low-light"? Is my house going to be considered low light if its at night but i have the overhead light on?

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions.

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post #2 of 12 Old 05-23-2007, 12:46 PM
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Yes, the camera will down convert HDV to DV via firewire by changing the settings.

I've read conversion this way is better than NLE software converting HDV to DV.

The Instruction Manual for the HV20 is on the Canon website if you want to learn more about the features.

Not familiar with GS320.

Anything without the sun or abundant professional studio lighting is considered low light to me. When a camera is forced to use increased GAIN, slow shutter, or wide open apertures....I'm in a low light situation as far as I'm concerned.
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-23-2007, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pokerDawg View Post

Yes, the camera will down convert HDV to DV via firewire by changing the settings.

I've read conversion this way is better than NLE software converting HDV to DV.
...

Not at all. Using NLE software (if you know how) you can get equal or better PQ than commercial DVDs while in-camera conversion gives so-so PQ. In fact SD DVD from HD material will look almost HD if done correctly.
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-23-2007, 01:54 PM
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I just attended a Canon seminar with Greg Salman representing Canon. His advise was to shoot in HDV and downconvert to SD in the camera. His point was that Canon conversion would be best suited given it has more exact look up tables that reflect the camera's original processing. With limited testing I find this to be true, using Avid as the NLE.

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post #5 of 12 Old 05-23-2007, 06:45 PM
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I imagine that was just Canon's marketing hype with its reps touting all its features as much as they could.

If the numbers don't lie then in-camera conversion does not yield the best PQ. The AVI stream converted by an HV20 from an HDV footage carries a typical SD DV bitrate of only 1.5mbps. Though it is an extremely clean image considering its bitrate it falls well short of 8.5mbps you can typically get out of the conversion from HDV by NEL software. If you put a DVD with 1.5mbps against a DVD with 8.5mbps you can definately see a difference in PQ.

BTW what's your bitrate coming out of the Avid?
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-23-2007, 11:41 PM
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Interesting question. I will do some testing in the next few days. I am just getting my feet wet in the HDV world.

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post #7 of 12 Old 05-25-2007, 05:29 PM
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I have completed the following tests.

A three minute recording of color bars, sunlit leaves moving in the wind, and stationary B&W text was shot with a Canon XH A1, recording in HDV 1080i.

The HDV segment was captured into Avid X Pro HD 5.2.4. as an avid hdv 1080i MXF file. Inside Avid, the segment was transcoded to DV 25 411 MXF (i.e. standard def, 16x9 format). The transcode time was 10 min for 3 min of video using an AMD X2 4400 system.

The same HDV segment was transcoded in the camera by setting the firewire output to standard def. Avid then captured the 3 minute segment directly as DV 25 411 MXF as it would from any standard def camcorder.

The Avid transcoded clip and the Canon Camera transcoded clip were edited together in a sequence and burned to a standard DVD with Sonic DVDit, with a direct pass through from Avid.

Results:
Captured as HDV file 545 Meg
Captured as SD file 627 Meg
Transcoded in Avid to SD 624 Meg

The DVD was viewed on a 13 Pro Sony CRT monitor (component input)(because I have yet to set up a home HD system). For now my goal is to do the best possible work in SD DVD mode. Color, resolution of the still text, and the look of the moving leaves were noted. It was difficult to tell any difference between the transcode methods. I had a slight preference for the in-camera transcode video, but the small screen viewing test limits the ability to declare a winner. However, it is possible to definitely say that the in-camera transcoding did not have any really obvious negative impact.

Be advised that I am a newcomer to HDV media production, so I am just reporting results and not trying to draw too many conclusions yet.

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post #8 of 12 Old 05-25-2007, 08:11 PM
 
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Thanks, NewYankee, for your test and results.

I have wondered if using a Hi Def camera would result in better SD results. Most of the people who might use my footage would have SD DVD players and I want to make the best product with that in mind.

I have made montages using stills that are very high in resolution. (5 meg stills) and the result using Ulead Moviestudio 9 software has a very good resolution. Compared to SD footage from my Canon ZR200 the stills footage looks like hi-def.
My question is: Will I find the same qualitative difference if I edit my HV20 (I don't own one yet, btw ) Hi-Def footage and burn it as an SD project?

Thanks for any thoughts.
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-25-2007, 09:10 PM
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A few months ago, I thought that all one needed was a modern HDV cam and some famous NLE, and you have an instant 24P professional looking video. Well, I have been recalibrated, and the only thing I know for sure, is that there is a lot to learn, and a lot to invent. HD means an overwhelming amount of data for even today's computers, and the NLE folks and the hardware folks have been rapidly evolving their products, but often in different directions.

In that light, I will modestly offer the following perspectives (which I think are in sync with Greg Salman who gave a Canon product seminar).

1) HDV is the best HD option for those of us who use cameras costing under 10K.
2) Although producing real HD disks (blue ray etc) is only for the pioneers among us now, it is still reasonable to shoot in HDV, so that the media could be remastered in the future.
3)There is no penalty to shoot HDV and downconvert to SD according to my preliminary tests (will do more testing). Salman claims that SD looks better from HDV than regular SD.

BTW, I did the last test with a Canon XH A1, but that was because it just showed up at my door. I have a Canon HV 20 and also did a quick test, as with the A1, with similar results in viewing quality ie cannot detect any difference.

I did a lot of testing with mixing SD and HDV as I was learning Avid. The HDV to SD approach will now be my standard workflow, but I tried SD to HD and got some horrible results.

I think the Canon HV 20 is a great camera. Salman says that it records 24P with 2:3 pullup onto the tape, and the A1 records 24P on the tape, but adds the pullup at the output stage. So there is a lot of confusion about 24P out there, I will be happy with 1080i for a while.

Good luck all

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post #10 of 12 Old 05-26-2007, 10:30 AM
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I haven't had a 13" CRT for a long time. But I would imagine its hard to detect the difference even between SD and HD, let alone between decent SD and exellent SD.

Data rates out of SD DV and HDV are exactly the same, so you can't see any difference by its file size. But the video bitrate is a quite different thing, IMO its the single most important factor that determines the PQ regardless of SD or HD. With the in-camera conversion by Canon stands at 1.5mbps for SD there is no way it can look as good as downconverted SD from the same HDV at 8.5mbps on a 50" LCD. I see a difference even on my 32" LCD.
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post #11 of 12 Old 05-28-2007, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
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To follow up, I bought the camera, and thus far i am very pleased on the PQ it makes.
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post #12 of 12 Old 05-29-2007, 04:46 PM
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And the plot thickens

Seems like converting HDV to SD in the camera is the best way to go, if you are working on a SD timeline in your NLE . But there might be other options.

A video segment of a ballet rehearsal was recorded in HDV on a HV20. The same segment was loaded into AVID 5.2.4 in two ways 1) as HDV and 2) as SD (16x9) converted by the HV20 camera.

The results: The HDV clip in a HDV 1080i timeline was compared to the SD clip added to the HDV timeline. There was a BIG difference, with the HDV clip clearly outclassing the SD clip. .. no surprises here.

Now the same SD clip was compared to the HDV clip in an AVID DV25 411 timeline. Now the clips were similar, however the original SD clip was just noticeably sharper than Avid's conversion of the HDV clip.

To really understand the quality differences, I now think it is most important to factor in the delivery format. SD is frame based compression and HDV is GOP based compression. If you are going to end up in a frame based editor, then letting the Canon camera convert form HDV is probably the best option, but is there another option?

Since the mpg files on a conventional DVD are GOP compression, it seemed a little inefficient to go from GOP, to frame based editing, and then back to a GOP file on a DVD.

Therefore I did the following test. The same segment was edited in the Avid HDV 1080i timeline, and then exported as an HDV stream. The HDV stream was repackaged as a mpg by a freeware program, HDTVtoMPEG2. (no transcoding required.) The mpg was fed to Ulead movie Factory 6 plus, which burned a DVD after reducing the stream file size by a factor of 3 to 4.

Now I evaluated the DVD, which contained two versions of the same segment. One was produced by HDV editing, and the other by conventional DV editing. Well, the HDV may be slightly sharper, but it is not noticeable on conventional standard def TVs. The clips were reviewed on a 35 Sony consumer CRT TV and a 13 Pro High Res Studio Color Reference Monitor. I thought the HVD clip might be sharper, but others could not tell a difference.

The next step is to take the DVD to someone with a good up scaling player and High Def monitor. I would not be too surprised if the HDV difference was more noticeable.

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