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minimum broadcast quality??

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Editing Forum' started by inquisitive, May 9, 2005.

  1. inquisitive

    inquisitive
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    I'm under the impression that miniDV PAL (as am in uk) is the minimum broadcast standard..... say for something like a documentary.

    is there a min on chip number, size and therefore resolution (max pixals in 625lines)

    is there a min on colour saturation.... ie 3 chip better than 1 chip.... but is half inch chip better than third inch chip better than quarter inch chip etc???

    ideas and knowledge would be much appreciated.
    thanks
     
  2. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    The main person on this forum to help with 'broadcast quality' will be Roy Mallard who should be around soon. He has first hand experience of getting footage broadcast.
    In the past he has said that DV is good enough, but in general many broadcasters will not accept it! I'll leave him to explain when he finds this thread.

    Don't worry about the resolution of a CCD as PAL is a set resolution and the higher resolution CCD is used mainly for capture of still images and not full motion video.

    A 3 CCD cam will give better colour reproduction than a single CCD. The bigger the CCD the better the cam will be at low light level recording - which most consumer camcorders are very poor at.

    Mark.
     
  3. Roy Mallard

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    Broadcast quality; this is a tricky topic.

    Basically aim for the best camera you can (though note from things like the tsuanmi and twin towers that am can footage, even shot on a mobile phone, was of meritous enough content to be broadcast).

    The hottest debate at the moment is to HDV or not?

    I did, I can still shoot 4:3 (regular aspect) at SD (standard definition, which is actually 576 not 625 in PAL, 50 non-visible lines carry the information for teletext and technical info for broadcast engineers), 16:9 (widescreen aspect) SD and widescreen HD.

    These cams are not particularly cheap (£2200 is about the best deals i've seen) but my reasoning was that they have a degree of future proofing built in.

    Much as my XM2 has given sterling service, I wouldn't buy one now because of HDV.

    Do you want to do broadcast work, or just aim for higher production values?

    Lights and decent mics are a prerequisite. You can't do anything without decent lighting. All the debates about consumer cams being usable indoors are pretty irrelevant if you are serious about doing high quality work. Apart from the control and visual quality that well planned and executed lighting gives, there is always loads of light kicking around.

    I also use a sony DSR570 which has 2/3inch CCDs (massive compared to consumer cams, giving great low light performance) but I still use lights.

    You will want a cam that has 3ccd, (pixel count at least 400k per ccd, although the canon XL1 & XL!s gave pretty credible results with only 330k)
    manual exposure controls and manual audio control.

    The basic entry level for this would be a Sony HC1000 (steer clear of the PC1000, it uses inferior CMOS sensors) which can record in full-SD widescreen or the PAnasonic GS400 (4:3sd with reduced def widescreen option)

    The BBC are reknowned for knocking back DV (hypocritical as they still run VX1000's), the main reasoning being that just about every rich kid wannabe director will buy a sony VX, shoot some terrible footage and try and get it broadcast, although formats like DVCPRO and Betacam are technically better, because of the increased cost it is more likely that there are better production values, production values are ALL, even the best camera wont give you talent, though by the same token a cheap camera may stifle your talent.

    If you have't already, do a course and learn how the things work. There are a couple of really basic compostion skills that will give your footage a more professional look (things like not crossing the line, rule of thirds -in moderation- giving subjects looking room, laying off the zoom, usuing manual focus & exposure)

    For documentary invest in a lavalier and super/hyper cardiod mic, between these and the onboard mic you can cover just about any recording situation.
    Audio is an area often neglected by videographers, shame, as a lot can be done to slavage poor visuals, compartively little can be done to salvage shonky audio.

    Final advice, if you are just starting out, don't buy all your kit at once, the camera and a good tripod are the essentials, as you start to get some money coming in then buy mics & lights, where you have to hire stuff pass this cost on.

    Final final advice: Don't compete on price, compete on ideas and quality, otherwise you will spend the next five years working for nothing. I knock back work all the time because it doesn't meet my minimum rates. If people want quality video work done then they have to be willing to pay a sensible rate, I'd love an Audi A8 but the local dealer won't give me one at half price on the insincere assurance that it'll lead on to more sales in the future.
     
  4. Hillskill

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    Anything can be broadcast quality if transferred to a broadcast format such as Digi-Beta. The thing to bear in mind is whether audio and video levels conform to channel specifications.
     
  5. Roy Mallard

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    The quality of the footage is only ever going to be as good as the source, although, yeah getting the engineering levels rights is important as well.
    Most professional level editing software will give toolbench controls (waveform monitors and vectorscopes - check that the brightness level and gamut - colour reproduction- is within safe limits for broadcast) and some even have NTSC or PAL safe filters that can be added in order to make the footage broadcast safe. This however is different from being of a broadcastable standard. And that is diffeent whether you are watchng HBO drama or 'you've been framed'. Adroit kit and competent technique are the two biggest things to begin with.
     
  6. inquisitive

    inquisitive
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    Thanks Mark. Interesting point about PAL being a standard res and other res is to do with still imaging, thanks.

    Roy, thanks for info (I made a coffee and stocked up on biscuits to have a good read time!).

    Yep I wish to make a 10 min film which is all preped in way of storyboarding and shooting scripts etc. I would like to pitch the endresult with aim of having it on TV.
    Within the film there is use of some 'invented gadgetry' and i wish to make a second documentary type footage of how the gadgetry was conceived,researched, designed and worked (or not!).

    Do appreciate it is directing the content and edit that count for interest, but dont wish to comit the projects until I have established that the SOURCE will be of at least the minimum standard for broadcast.

    For uni Hons Project (BScHonsUnderwaterScience) I did scientific imaging and filmed the invisible... I bought a £700 single chip JVC which was all i could afford and the end result was suitable for a First.... with scientific imaging the single chip was adequate.

    I have finished uni and need to purchase (obtain) a suitable cam for the said 10min film and documentary.
    I have seen the Sony FX HDV cam and thought it to be fairly cool....... would it need HD editing software?
    I use Premiere at the moment (another point.. is premiere good enough?)

    All your points Roy are great to chew over thanks. The last points on pro editing and tool bench controls are new to my level of knowledge... I may have to get end result pro-checked... perhaps setonto Beta as HillSkill2 mentioned?

    Anyone got a HDV they bought but are not using !!??

    cheers for now
    Stephen
     
  7. inquisitive

    inquisitive
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    Roy.... I just came across another of your posts about software for editing.... so kind of answers some of my thoughts on editing... off to find prices now.

     
  8. Roy Mallard

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    What version of Premiere do you have?
    If it's pro 1.5 you can get a free HDV plug in off the adobe site, if it'sa n older verison you can buy an updater for about £150, to raise the version to Pro 1.5, then add the HDV plug-in.

    As you already have premiere I would save the expense of buying a complete new package andstick with a programme you've already some experience of using.

    (are you using an old version of Premiere -up to 6.5 - on a mac?, if it's a mac then Fincal Cut EXpress HD will do the job, education proce about £80, just checkt he specs of your machine)
     
  9. inquisitive

    inquisitive
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    premiere is version 6.0 running on a win98system. the computer is P111 and has good mem and speed, but appreciate version of prem is fair age now.

    .....more expense?!

    i do like the set up and am use to premiere now, so if poss would keep to same prog just for sake of not having to learn another..... but then I think I should need to get upto date.
     
  10. RockStar

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    I may be wrong but I was under the impression that minimum broadcast quality
    has a 4:2:2 sampling rate?

    DVcam is 4:1:1 so technically is below broadcast standard.

    The link below explains it better than I can...

    http://www.studio1productions.com/Articles/411samp.htm

    ps... if you want to upgrade to Premier 1.5 you will probably need to upgrade your hardware... it is significantly better than Premier 6
     
  11. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Broadcast quality and what broadcasters are prepared to broadcast are two different things . If the material is meaningful and useful on its own terms the colourspace is somewhat irrelevant.

    However there are limits. Remember the minor furore surrounding a bare knuckle fighting documentary a few years back that was banned.

    They made a big song and dance about it being an example of over-zealous censorship. The truth was it was a barely technically competent , tedious collection of badly shot vhs footage (most of it with badly fluctuating colour). The main reason no-one wanted to show it is the majority of the footage was blurry flickery barely colour rubbish. Didn't matter that it was transfered to betaSP to make it technically stable.

    If the relevance of the footage outweighs the technical constraints it will be broadcast , if its rubbish that looks rubbish it won't.
     
  12. Roy Mallard

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    You can downconvert on camera from HDV to SD so that you won't need to upgrade your edit system, although if this is your preferred option then a HDV wouldn't really give you any benefit. Most 3ccd cameras would be adequate (though if you can aim a bit higher than the budget panasonic, limited user control and tiny ccds).

    I don't want to get into an anoraks discussion on colour space compression (again) but BetacamSX has a higher compression than DV (10:1 at output over 8:1 at output) and is generally regarded as a better format than miniDV.

    I think that this is in part down to the fact that if you have a betacam operator and have hired a betacam for the day the extra cost implies higher production values. Any fule can pick up a sony vx and get passable results (after a bit of judicious editing), folk using higher format cameras tend to have a better technical knowledge and a better standard of production practice.

    Back to orignal poster, Premiere Pro will only run on an XP platform, to get HDV editing you really need acres of RAM and a fast processor speed.
     

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