View Full Version : Why Choose HD?


BlueSapphire
01-13-2009, 08:33 PM
Hi All,
I am new here and looking at purchasing my first camera.

I am really curious about HD versus SD in relation to the clarity of the images.

I understand HD is much clearer than SD but is it too clear for certain applications?

I also understand all the technology is going that way and it is the future but
are some applications better suited to SD than HD?

I am cetain by now I have shown you my lack of knowledge but i would really like to hear
what the advantages are of both if that is the case or is there no question one is absolutely the way to go?

WideShot
01-13-2009, 09:33 PM
have you gone to a store and looked at the difference between proper HD and SD? The difference is night and day.

There simply is no replacement for resolution.

That said, all kinds of projects can still be filmed in SD like projects for the web. Its just that it almost makes more sense to just record them in HD anyway and downres it in post, which looks better anyway (you can see how this works by taking any still shot at 1MP + and resize it to 720 pixels wide.. looks great huh?

There are so many advantages to HD, I don't know where to start. But it also takes more processing to edit, and takes up more space on hard drives.

BlueSapphire
01-14-2009, 09:46 AM
Hi there WideShot and thanks for responding..

I am not arguing against the superiority of HD .. I am more interested in whether or not HD should be used for everything... I have heard even shooting in HD and then downsampling to SD still has way more clarity than if you shot in native SD.

If I was using it for sports, nature, or anything that I really wanted all that precise detail then I would say yes HD all the way..

But what about actors and actresses? faces, flaws, makeup, low budget sets? aren't there things that HD will pick up and put right in your face with all that clarity that maybe SD with it's low resolution would hide?

ThomasKoch
01-14-2009, 01:19 PM
For film projects I would say yes, shoot HD over SD. 24P over 30i,

Will Vincent
01-14-2009, 01:56 PM
Forgive me if this sounds a bit harsh, but the suggestion of opting for SD to hide certain aspects of a film that not enough time, effort, money, whatever went into seems a bit of a cop out to me. I think it would be a bit of a slippery slope, first the thinking would start out as "well it's standard definition, so the lack of makeup won't be as noticible lets skip doing it all together" and that could very soon become "well, nobody will be able to see that we didn't put any effort into set dressing, so lets skip that too.."

Makeup, set dressing, lighting, etc.. don't have to be a prohibitive expense. A basic makeup kit can be had for very cheap, set dressing takes time more than it does money. If thought, time, and effort are given to making every frame look good, there's no reason to do any of it half way and then try to hide that by shooting in standard definition.

Seems to me that would be like choosing to shoot with everything a bit out of focus because it might be easier to not have to worry about getting critical focus. *shrug* I just don't understand that motivation, unless it's an issue of what camera you can or cannot afford, or get access to.

BlueSapphire
01-14-2009, 02:14 PM
Thanks Will and Thomas,

I didn't mean to sound like i am trying to do something half ass or not put effort into it.. that isn't my intention at all.

I am more interested in the aesthetics of the image. Mainly, Are there images captured by the crystal clearness of HD that would be much less clear with SD and therefore the viewers mind in a way imagines what it is... sort of fills in the missing if you will .. with HD it seems like this would be much more difficult

Your comment about 'out of focus' is somewhat relevant.. i mean don't people apply Gaussian blur to achieve an affect on images? Seems like that goes against the grain of HD.

I guess I am interested in how the abstract or surreal translates in HD.

Again, forgive my ignorance here as I am just asking these questions as a newbie.

thefilmgeek
01-31-2009, 03:36 AM
I'll drop in two cents here.

SD is on the way out the door. The future is HD, and the future is now. Youtube supports HD video now, so you KNOW it's caught on. ;)

If you buy an SD camera, you're dating your production quality. Getting HD is sort of like a 'future proof' you're doing.

There are many ways to soften an HD image if that's what you're looking for. Don't purchase a rapidly becoming obsolete piece of equipment just because you don't want that sharp of an image. Eventually, you most likely will! :)

Thunderclap
02-05-2009, 11:17 AM
Here is a simple question to ask yourself: "Do I want to sell my film to a distributor or tv network?" If the answer is yes then shoot HD. If you find HD too "clean" for your film you can apply filters in post and degrade it a bit.

If you ultimately go with HD I'd suggest finding a camera that shoots either 720p or 1080p. Try to stay away from 1080i because it's interlaced and, when broken down, only has a resolution of 540 due to interlacing.

mcpollo
02-27-2009, 12:32 PM
The HD is the future, in this moment youtube support HD videos and vimeo too.

M1chae1
02-27-2009, 01:48 PM
I find this question veeeeery interesting. lol. :)

It's like asking, why DVD over VHS? I know...sorry, I'm bustin' ya balls. It's all in good fun.

HD looks far better than SD. And honestly, a film maker must keep up with the Jones' at least a little. Unless you're doing a stylized piece...you want to get the best your budget can afford. Pretty much all filmmakers (who previously worked on older technology) have moved up to HD. The quality jump you get going from SD to HD is astounding. Not to mention, the new HD cams have some tricks up their sleeves your older SD cams won't have...toys are fun. Everyone loves plug n' play effects.

I'm not saying I can't appreciate a film shot in SD...or even sVideo...I can. But I would MUCH rather be watching the same film in HD.

In the general sense...if you want to compete with the other indie films out there...you better get HD. If you shoot in HD, and can afford adapters and lenses, and are clever with a few post effect filters...you can make your digital film look just as good as any 35mm.

spinner
02-28-2009, 12:15 AM
Okay, okay, HD is the future. Be that as it may....


If you buy an SD camera, you're dating your production quality. Getting HD is sort of like a 'future proof' you're doing.

Hold on there, big feller! You have no idea how much craptacular footage I've seen shot on HD.

We all know that eventually we will probably all have HD cameras, SD will phase out, the price will come down some, etc. But when you are learning how to use a camera, learning how to frame a shot, figure out lighting, SD is fine for now.

Frankly, I personally don't have the money to buy a HD camera. Alot of the work I've seen in my area is shot on HD....by AMATEURS who couldn't focus a camera to save their lives. I've had people sneer at my DVX! And they think what they are doing is great because it is HD. Never mind you can't make out the features of your subjects. Hey! nice job there, jerky! Love the "squares" where his face is supposed to be!

The point I'm making is: when you can afford to go HD, do it, eventually you'll have to anyway. But don't let that be the reason you don't try to create films with you SD camera. You will need to learn all the same stuff, and then figure out the ins and outs of HD.

PLEASE remember that HD doesn't make you a good videographer. YOU make you a good videographer and once you get to that place, HD will make you look even better.

-- spinner :cool:

Jones23
02-28-2009, 12:16 PM
Spinner, all I have to say is... Amen!

Alter Ego Productions
03-01-2009, 01:55 PM
Listen to spinner.. "The truth will set you free".

I don't know what your budget is to spend for a camera or what your purposes are. Is money an obstacle?

Do you know how many movies have been shot on DVX100's or other SD DV cameras? Quite a few. The 2002 theatrical release "28 Days" used the Canon XL1 for many of its shots. In one sequence they posted 13 SD XL1's at various heights and angles in downtown London to get shots of a mass zombie attack. It looked great on the big screen. Learn how to shoot and light properly. Do these well first, than move up. SD is here for a while yet. No need to sweat it.

spinner
03-01-2009, 02:38 PM
And don't think that I prefer SD over HD. I don't.

But when I am doing a production, the thing that I ask myself every time is not what do I want, but what do I have?

Right now, I am trying to figure out how to light a green screen in a room that:

a.) has a tin roof that will not support a grid
b.) has nothing at the sides of the walls to attach any form of lighting grid
c.) no funding, as yet, to afford to get actual lighting fixtures

Well, what do I have?

I have two Black and Decker light fixtures and I will be figuring out how to take the protective 'cage' off of. I might have a couple of bucks to go look at and purchase a couple more Black and Decker lighting fixtures -- they are very cheap. I know where to go for a 'do it yourself' plan to make other lighting fixtures and an idea as to how to possibly build a 'scaffolding' of sorts to attach the lights to.

It might not be the best, but I'm thinking quick and dirty possibly passable and hope I can fix the rest in post if I can get even light on that green monster.

I am not sure when I'll be able to work this out, but I'll keep you posted.

The point is use what you have until you can get better stuff :)

-- spinner :cool:

EvsFX08
03-03-2009, 08:23 AM
I see all the hype of shooting in HD, and even have customers asking for HD, but isn't there really a misconception about HD? I mean someone correct me if I'm wrong, but the only way to really get true HD is to either have HD DVD (which is no longer supported), BluRay, or through an HD satellite channel, (you will never get true HD over cable TV according to people I've talked to both in satellite and cable industry) right? I mean will recording in HD make a visible difference if recorded on a standard DVD? I wouldn't think so and this is why there are two channels for History Channel, ESPN, etc. One is for standard viewing, the other for HD. If I tried to view the HD channel on a Standard TV, would I see anything different? So, are people asking for HD simply because they think they will automatically get better quality, or are they not understanding HD? Or am I completely wrong about this? I'm confused as to why so many people are recording their Indie films, music videos meant for YouTube or DVD, etc; in HD when only a limited number of people will be able to benefit from the HD technology at this point in time. I have a 1080p big screen TV, but it doesn't mean I can view an HD DVD or BluRay, I have a standard DVD player, but NASCAR looks great on Fox Sports HD. So, I hope someone sees my point here and if I'm wrong, please set me straight. Thanks.

Alter Ego Productions
03-03-2009, 11:13 AM
I think you may be confused on a few issues. There seems to be a misconception with the American general public about the upcoming change from ANALOG to DIGITAL TV broadcasts.

1. We are currently getting ready to change our TV broadcast systems from ANALOG to DIGITAL. This change doesn't mean everything is being broadcast in HDTV. It means 720 x 480 SD will be broadcast digitally now. It still will be 720 x 480 SDTV. People with TV's that have analog tuners will need to get a digital to analog converter box, or buy a digital TV set.

2. Yes the cable companies are now broadcasting a lot of channels in true HDTV format, 1920 x 1080p. You need a HD TV set and a HD cable box to see this of course.

3. SD and HD TV are being simultaneously broadcast and will coexist for some time. Your home TV equipment setup dictates what resolution you are receiving and watching.

4. You need a HDTV set and a Blu-ray player for it to be HD. Blu-ray is HD and the format that won out over the competing format HD DVD. They both are HD formats that uses an optimized MPEG-2 codec and the h.264 MPEG-4 part 10 codec for video. Blu-ray mainly won because it will hold more data than the HD DVD could. But both are HD formats.

5. Yes you need the all proper equipment in place in order to take advantage of HDTV viewing.

I hope this helps to clear things up for you.

EvsFX08
03-03-2009, 11:34 AM
thanks for the response and clarification, but the question I have then is, are people making low budget films and music videos really benefitting from filming in HD? I mean don't get me wrong, we all want HD, but wouldn't an HD production have to be recorded in either of the HD DVD formats in order for the viewer to benefit from the HD? In other words, HD is great, but only the people who have an HD compliant system (HDTV and HDDVD player) will buy and be able to get the full potential of the HD production, right? So, is there really a need for the average low budget film maker to film in HD thinking this means a better production when they won't be able to afford to burn the final product onto a Blu-Ray or HD DVD? Someone mentioned that YouTube now accepts HD, how is that possible when they compress to a much lesser quality format? I think some people think that 16:9 means HD. Or am I still confused, it's quite possible, doesn't take much.
I'm definately interested in HD, I just want to make sure I invest in an HD camera for the right reasons.

VPTurner
03-03-2009, 10:56 PM
I would love to have an HD camera. But I'm still a student for the most part. I'm not going to dump that kind of money into equipment until I know I can get some money out of it. Granted, I've spent a lot of money on a SD setup by going Prosumer, but considering what I would have paid for a comparable HD rig, I saved thousands. Everything I need to learn I can do so with SD.

And like Alter Ego said, SD isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

EvsFX08
03-04-2009, 05:56 AM
. I'm not going to dump that kind of money into equipment until I know I can get some money out of it. .

Thanks, that's exactly what I was trying to say.

Will Vincent
03-05-2009, 06:37 AM
There is plenty to be gained by shooting HD -- if you have the means to do so. The amount of image information that's recorded being number one on the list.

From a post production standpoint, there is so much more image information in an HD image vs, a standard def image that you will have plenty to work with for compositing, color correction, digital reframing, etc..

And if you protect your pixels, but not squashing it down half way through the process, keeping the resolution high and the compression as low as possible, your images will always have much more clarity than something shot on Standard Definition. Additionally, if you keep the footage in HD all the way until the final output, you'll have it there ready to reoutput in HD when you get a BluRay burner. ;)

EvsFX08
03-05-2009, 08:16 AM
Ok, that's something for me to think about. Thank you much.

M1chae1
03-05-2009, 03:11 PM
Okay, okay, HD is the future. Be that as it may....



Hold on there, big feller! You have no idea how much craptacular footage I've seen shot on HD.

We all know that eventually we will probably all have HD cameras, SD will phase out, the price will come down some, etc. But when you are learning how to use a camera, learning how to frame a shot, figure out lighting, SD is fine for now.

Frankly, I personally don't have the money to buy a HD camera. Alot of the work I've seen in my area is shot on HD....by AMATEURS who couldn't focus a camera to save their lives. I've had people sneer at my DVX! And they think what they are doing is great because it is HD. Never mind you can't make out the features of your subjects. Hey! nice job there, jerky! Love the "squares" where his face is supposed to be!

The point I'm making is: when you can afford to go HD, do it, eventually you'll have to anyway. But don't let that be the reason you don't try to create films with you SD camera. You will need to learn all the same stuff, and then figure out the ins and outs of HD.

PLEASE remember that HD doesn't make you a good videographer. YOU make you a good videographer and once you get to that place, HD will make you look even better.

-- spinner :cool:

The question is not of talent. The question is of technology. If a filmmaker doesn't know how to shoot his way out of a wet paper bag...it will be the same for both SD and HD. But when a filmmaker knows what he's doing, then his productions shot on HD are going to look way better than SD.

Just because a bunch of skilless dolts are running around filming shorts on HD, doesn't mean it's not a better choice for the industry...of course it is. I think if a filmmaker has something against HD, and continually justifies how the 'art form' can be shot on any medium...well then I think what we have is a delusional filmmaker. Maybe they can't afford an HD camera, so they poke fun at what's being done with it...but we all know crap is crap is crap, no matter what format.

But there is no denying that HD looks FAR superior to SD--especially if you know what you're doing.

Oh and about that other questions...about only HDTV owners being able to see our HD films properly. To be totally honest, we don't shoot our films with Ma and Pa Kettle in mind. Here's the thing...if we shoot in HD, everyone will get a great looking image, especially if they have the ability to view HD properly. If someone doesn't have the ability to view HD in all its glory, they still will have a great image. Now, when we release our film in BR, it will utilize the resolution. And when we show our film in a theater that utilizes HD projectors, we are all set. If your film was shot on SD, your film isn't going to look nearly as nice when 'up to date' audiences want to view it. Far too many people have BR and HDTVs today to not use HD to shoot.

I love to use 28 Days Later as an example also...with a few expensive lenses, and clever filters, you can make your HD film look like 35mm.

Gonzo_Entertainment
04-30-2009, 03:13 PM
I see all the hype of shooting in HD, and even have customers asking for HD, but isn't there really a misconception about HD? I mean someone correct me if I'm wrong, but the only way to really get true HD is to either have HD DVD (which is no longer supported), BluRay, or through an HD satellite channel, (you will never get true HD over cable TV according to people I've talked to both in satellite and cable industry) right? I mean will recording in HD make a visible difference if recorded on a standard DVD? I wouldn't think so and this is why there are two channels for History Channel, ESPN, etc. One is for standard viewing, the other for HD. If I tried to view the HD channel on a Standard TV, would I see anything different? So, are people asking for HD simply because they think they will automatically get better quality, or are they not understanding HD? Or am I completely wrong about this? I'm confused as to why so many people are recording their Indie films, music videos meant for YouTube or DVD, etc; in HD when only a limited number of people will be able to benefit from the HD technology at this point in time. I have a 1080p big screen TV, but it doesn't mean I can view an HD DVD or BluRay, I have a standard DVD player, but NASCAR looks great on Fox Sports HD. So, I hope someone sees my point here and if I'm wrong, please set me straight. Thanks.

The quality is still light years better. Footage shot in HD then viewed in SD is still crisper and has more visible detail than footage shot in SD (IMO). Also, there are Blu Ray projectors. Even at low rent festivals I have watched projected Blu Ray and it looked pretty darn good (whether or not it was "true" HD).

rattailfilms
05-12-2009, 11:00 AM
a decent camera, go Sony Ex-3 it will do everything you need for a long time. i bought 2 of them for our small production company. SD is a hard sell to clients. If your making film fest stuff or artist films, your ok with SD. canon XL-2 is a good choice.

sonnyboo
05-12-2009, 11:51 AM
I hope this image helps explain some technical difference between HD and SD. Click on the picture to enlarge...

http://www.sonnyboo.com/downloads/images/hdsd_sm.jpg (http://www.sonnyboo.com/downloads/images/hdsd.jpg)

A lot of people learn visually. Reading 1920x1080 versus 720x480 doesn't always convey the AMOUNT of difference, so this picture helps spell it out in detail.

R3VOLUTIONARY
05-16-2009, 02:15 PM
I shoot HD and am actually looking to switch to an SD camcorder. It isn't because I don't like HD, it obviously preferable. For what I want to do and how it fits into my affordability has everything to do with my decision. Each situation is different.

HD vs. SD. If resolution is the only thing being discussed, HD wins. There are also other things that go into your decision on cameras. Such as the processor, lens, glass quality, manual controls, xlr or mini inputs.

My current setup is a Canon HF100 with 35mm adapter, lenses, and the shrigg rig. For how I shoot I have learned I need something more than a menu and joystick, mini jack, and a small camera with little weight. It produces a great picture, but has limitations on audio, portability, and setup.

I am currently looking for a Canon XL1s because I can afford it and it offers me all the tools and controls to learn the skills needed for professional work. I can't afford an HD camera with the same features, but I can afford the XL for the price of trading in my current setup.

M1chae1 had it right. The bottom line is that in the end, content matters. You can shoot in HD or even SD, but if people aren't interested in the story, the audio is poor, and the shot composition is bad it still isn't good. Figure out how you want to shoot and what you can afford.

Check out the filmfellas series here: http://www.vimeo.com/2515688

I would watch the first cast (webisodes 1-4) before purchasing. They have great insight on the art of film and talk about learning and the new developments in technology.

morjazzz
05-16-2009, 08:07 PM
I have no idea about any technical merit this has, but for me I know SD programming on my HDTV looks a lot crisper than SD programming on my other SDTV. So, I have always assumed that shooting in HD (due to higher native resolution, etc.) will turn out better results regardless of the medium it is broadcast on. Again, that's just my experience. It could just be me wanting to believe my HDTV is better than it is...well, it probably is me wanting to believe. Just my two cents.