Monday, September 14, 2009

Five Things to Think About When Going HD

I get lots of email - too MUCH email to be honest. But I do get email from some great sources of information in regards to our industry. One such place is ProMax ( They can help you build your edit system and much more. They don't seem to advertise systems that run Premiere Pro CS4, but I'll try not and hold that against them.

As someone getting very, very close to getting a new HD camera (the Sony XDCAM EX3 may soon be mine!), I'm looking at moving the majority of my workflow into an all HD environment. I've done a lot of homework, but I got an email from the folks at ProMax that listed five gotcha's for editing HD. It contains some really helpful hints, and I thought I'd pass it along to all of you. You may know some of this - you may not, but I hope it helps some of you who, like me, are leaving Standard Definition behind and embarking into the bright, shiny world of HD...

HD really is the future of video production and post. SD and DV are pretty much on their way out. It’s very hard to find a post house working with any SD and/or DV footage and most networks won’t accept any new content that is not shot and edited in HD. Having said that, to edit HD properly, you need to be prepared because there are some “gotchas” that if you don’t address before you start your project, you will have issues finishing that project.

Below is our list of the top 5 gotchas when editing HD:

Not getting the right amount or type of storage.

Make sure you have not only the right amount of storage (which depends on the type of HD you will edit), but also the right type. There are many choices out there, from SAS to eSATA to USB to Firewire drives. Each type has its positive and negatives. Other things to look into when getting a storage solution includes the speed of the drive (e..g 5400 RPM vs. 7200 RPM vs. 10K RPM) and how the storage solution is set up (such as RAID 0, 1, etc.). Picking the wrong solution for the type of HD editing you need to work on will make your project fail from day one.

Thinking all HD is the same.

All HD is not the same. If you are going to edit HDV, you can get away with a lower powered system running a Firewire drive. If you are going to edit XDCAM EX or DVCPRO HD footage, you will need a more powerful system to properly edit that footage. Thinking of editing uncompressed HD? Now you are talking about a high-powered system with lots of memory and storage space running in RAID mode. It’s important to note that all HD is not the same and you need to have a system properly configured for the specific type of HD you will edit.

Thinking you can use your SD images and motion graphics in your HD edit

Do you have a lot of Standard Definition images from previous projects that you want to use in HD? What about motion graphics you created in SD? How about stock footage that was shot in SD? You will need to up-res most of your footage that was SD to match the new resolution size of HD. Thinking you can just drop an SD footage, increase it’s size by 200% and think it will look great, is a big mistake that you don’t want to be caught making in the middle of your project!

Not having an archiving solution in place

HD takes up a lot of storage space. If you are working with a tapeless solution (such as XDCAM EX or P2) then you won’t have a proper backup of that footage in a secure tape. You need to figure out an archiving solution that protects the footage from any accidental deletions or hard drive crashes.

Thinking all NLE’s can author Blu-Ray DVDs

Not all NLEs can author Blu-Ray. In fact, depending on which platform you do your video editing on, you can be severely limited on the ability to author Blu-Ray DVDs affordably. Make sure you know all of your options before you start your project if your final delivery method needs to be in Blu-Ray.

And that's it - thanks ProMax!

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