Sunday, October 30, 2005

JVC HD100U frame rates

Last weekend I went up to Hollywood Studio Rentals to demonstrate the CineForm products as part of the DV Camps training seminar ( I've done this show before when the JY-HD10 was first launched two years ago. This time around the gear was for more suitable for the filmmakers that were in attendance. The Prospect HD work-flow combined with the new Wafian on-set recorder was demonstrated operating with the new JVC GY-HD100U. For this demo we captured the JVC's 60p analog feed (through an AJA HD10A digitizer to output HD-SDI) into the Wafian disk recorder; then, just a moment later we sent the captures data via GigE to the Prospect HD editing system for playback and editing as either a 60p clip or a prefect 2.5X slow-motion at 24p. This seemed a crowd pleaser.

Although CineForm products fully support all the JVC's modes over FireWire, capturing directly from the analog feed has several quality benefits. Bypassing the MPEG compression of HDV is significant one, yet there is also the increased chroma resolution of 4:2:2 vs HDV 4:2:0. Even for users of the HVX200 will get both resolution and chroma image enhancements by bypassing that camera's DVCPRO-HD 720p compression which has a normalized (to 1280x720) sampling resolution of 3:1½:1½. There are also frame rate advantages, particularly for HD100 users. When the JVC camera is in 30p mode the analog output is at 60p, similarly for the 25p mode the analog feed is 50p; so what happens at 24p? I expected a 3:2 pulldown of the 24p into 60p (somewhat like the 24p mode does on tape), however the camera actually puts out a true 48p with a 1:1:1:2 pulldown into 60p. This means for standard shooting/slow-motion rates, that options are 24, 25, 30, 48, 50 and 60 frames per second. With additional selective frame recording, correctly cadenced frame rates of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 16 and 20 fps are also available. How cool is that? Really, I want feedback on this so we can determine what sort of capture frame rate controls are implemented within Prospect HD and similarly within the Wafian recorder. The JVC HD100 is shaping up to be an excellent indie filmmaker camera.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Canon XL-H1 early results.

While one of our engineers is having fun learning about our newly-arrived JVC HD100U, that has left me some time to spend with the new Canon XL-H1, with a particular focus on its HD-SDI abilities. The HD-SDI feed is great for on-set monitoring and direct acquisition that bypasses the MPEG compression. Note: If you are using direct HD-SDI capture, you can't use the magnify feature for focus assist because the magnified image is sent over HDSDI. Anyway, you don't needed the magnify feature anyway because the peaking focus assist works very well.

I used a Prospect HD system to capture HD-SDI directly from the camera and compress on the fly into CineForm Intermediate. The results are nice. The 24F stream doesn't use HD-SDI's 24PsF mode (segmented frame), rather it delivers a 60i stream with standard 3:2 pulldown applied (although the data is presented with the proper 24p cadence.) We will be quickly adding real-time pulldown extraction to Prospect HD for direct support for the 24F mode, so 24P editing will be straight forward.

The image quality is excellent, really! The 24F image doesn't quite resolve the same image resolution as the 60i, but it seems higher than one interpolated field; we still have more to learn about 24F. I expect this will be a very popular shooting mode. The HD-SDI feed is 8-bit not 10-bit unfortunately, although someone at Canon had already stated that -- I really hoped to find that information incorrect. Please Canon, 10-bit support in a future update! That said, its clean uncompressed 1920x1080 8bit feed is still very nice. That is what I have learned to date.

Monday, October 10, 2005

New gear at CineForm

Thank you Canon! Having the new Canon camera before it hits the market will greatly help CineForm be the first to support ALL its features. We intend to directly support the Canon 24F/30F modes within Aspect HD and Connect HD, and Prospect HD will additionally add support for this camera over HDSDI.

Jeff (CineForm engineer) is pictured modeling the camera soon after its arrrival.

A second thanks also goes to JVC for getting us their deck way ahead of the HD100U shipment, enabling Aspect HD to be the first to support the ingest 24p from Pro HD source (are we still the only commercial NLE solution to support that mode?) Now that JVC has also shipped us a production sample of the camera, we will have some exciting new features/products for the now wide range of of inexpensive HD cameras.