Frank's thoughts on HDV (High Definition Video)

franks hdvHDV hardware support in the form of camcorders and decks comes from Canon, JVC (Japanese Victor Company), Sharp, and Sony, although as of the latest revision to this document, neither Canon nor Sharp had product to offer. In this author's opinion, HDV is much more of a consumer-oriented format than a professional grade format, although it can certainly have applicability in some production situations—especially where cost is a major consideration. Personally, I'd probably feel better about the HDV format if instead of MPEG-2 video compression and MPEG-1 Layer II audio compression, the designers had chosen to use MPEG-4 video compression (which would have provided better-looking pictures at the same data rate) and MPEG-4 AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) audio compression, which would have provided higher quality sound at a much lower data rate. With regard to post production technique, because it's MPEG-2, cuts-only editing at the GOP (group of pictures) level, with no re-compression of the data, is the best approach to take if a high visual quality level is to be maintained. Note also that since the audio is lossy compressed, care should be taken to avoid unnecessary transcoding operations. Primarily, I see two major things to like about the HDV format. 1. It's quite inexpensive. 2. Because it's 4.2.0, it directly translates to DVD-Video, which is also 4.2.0, so chrominance (color) information is maintained. This is an ideal situation if the material will not be edited/enhanced/altered in any way. See the Comments on transcoding from DV25 to MPEG-2 for DVD-Video footnote at the end of this page for additional information on the topic of color space conversion. Check out this excellent HDV reference, loaded with links!!

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