Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


hd-v-tv-v3Good question, I was more than happy with SD until I saw the pictures from an early Sony EX-1, the pictures blew me away…I HAD TO HAVE ONE. So now I have moved over to HD and all the extra expense…was it worth it ? 

Firstly lets look at your cliental (Note UK only)…

Are you being asked for HD… 98% say NO.

Does any of your clients have Blu-ray playback…99.9% say NO.

Would they pay extra for you using HD…99.9% say NO.

So where is the market for HD…In your head…sadly HD as yet is still a specialized market if you are going to make money with it.

The Emperors New Clothes comes to mind, look at that quality we must have it…at any cost !  

I like many others followed the posts in various forums like children following the pied piper… looking at, downloading frame grabs, interacting, posting, surfing, due dates for EX-1s, phoning suppliers, part exchanges, convincing myself this was going to make me my fortune, convince the wife we can afford it, new web site, HD this, HD that, future proofing…… EX-1 arrives…………………….1st job .. AAAARRRGGG no tape = no archive !

I had used tape for 25 years, it had built up a comfort zone never stopping to think what that ‘zone’ was until now…what am I going to do with this footage, it’s all on SxS cards that I need to re use. I had no choice but to copy the files onto 2 hard drives and hope for the best. I was the first hand up for getting rid of tape…drop out, crunching up in tape machines, video head tracking the list is endless…now that day had finally come I was regretting my anger towards good old tape….tape …the last linear bastion of a non linear  world. 

One thing about computers that has a negative comfort zone is hard drives…if you use computers as much as I do you will come to treat hard drives with respect, as long as they are working…a drive that goes down on you can be catastrophic, so you can imagine my horror at having to use hard drives for archive purposes. 

I started using “Stickies” the Macs electronic version of the post-it note, that way I could keep a record of where things were stored. It sits on a spare Mac mini beside me in the edit suite which gets used for nothing but this purpose, now I use iMedia a far more dependable application purpose built for the job. It’s the one nightmare you have with memory card storage is keeping track of all your media.

18 months later…I have got used to editing 720 50P this is my preferred format as 85% of televisions are now LCD or Plasma and I hate the interlacing effect of 1080 50i.

Speaking of formats, this is a nightmare, you have got Mega Bit Rate (MBR), 100+ down to 3.6 (DV). Then you have 1080 50P (Not widely used) 1080 50i, 1080 25P, 720 50P, 1440 x  1080 HDV are you still with me.

The best quality would be 1080 50P but there are no fast refresh (25Hz or 50Hz) 1080p production or transmission formats in use, nor are there any looming in the near future — even on Blu-ray format. The bandwidth is barely there for 1080i channels, and it’s probably just as well, because most TVs wouldn’t support 1080p/50 anyway — they’d just convert those signals to 1080i or 720p before you saw them.

The 1280×720 progressive-scan HDTV format, which can be captured at full resolution using existing broadcast cameras and survives MPEG-2 compression better than 1080i, doesn’t make it to most HDTV screens without first being altered to 1080i or 720p in a set-top box or in the HDTV set itself. 

So to get back to my original question do we need HD ? The quick answer is no if your clients are happy with SD 720 x 576 the only person who will not be happy is your curious brain cell that tells you that YOU NEED HD QUALITY.

PART TWO…Editing with HD


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *