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Seven Questions: Is HDV Good Enough?

Miranda's Michel Proulx thinks so, for some projects By Charlie White

Mirandas vice president of product development, Michel Proulx made a bet on the success of the new HDV format over a year ago, developing products whose success hinged on whether HDV would be good enough for broadcasters to use on the air. Miranda introduced a HDV-to-SDI converter that lets broadcasters easily use the HDV footage along with their other broadcast equipment. DMNs Charlie White talked with Proulx about the new HDV format and its role in the broadcast workflow in this exclusive interview.

DMN: How is DV like HDV?

Proulx: HDV is the DV of HD. Thats the next thing. Beyond ESPN and the big specialty channels and the big networks, how does the local, normal TV station, where does the smaller budget specialty channel or programmer or content for provider, how they get into this? The answer is HDV. The key thing about DV that applies the HDV I think is that its good enough. Its removing the barrier to entry. The next logical thing is, what about the little guy? What about the broadcaster whos not in New York, LA, or whatever, which is a large chunk. And then there are all the others, production, the other important segment that we know of?there are a whole bunch of specialty channels that are showing content thats produced by independents?fishing shows, cooking shows, electronic gadgets shows, all kinds of stuff. All that content can now be, the cost of producing that in HD as opposed to producing it in SD, the differential is just dissolving away.

DMN: Broadcasters have already invested a lot into HD, havent they?

Proulx: These broadcasters have had to invest massive amounts of money on transmission infrastructure for this. In my opinion, investing in an antenna and a transmitter is not a very modern thing to do, especially if you consider that HDTV is not being watched off the air that much?its being watched over cable. But broadcasters  just suffer through this massive investment. So already HDTV has a sour taste to it inside the TV station. If they also had to face having to buy high-end cameras and high-end editing systems at a premium cost, to do HDTV production, it may have never gotten off the ground, whereas now theyll be able to get a PC or Macintosh with Final Cut Pro or Sony Vegas or whatever, and cut HDV material and buy cameras that are 5, 6, $7,000. Suddenly there is no barrier to entry to HDV and production like there was in transmission. I think thats very important. It removes the barrier to entry to HDTV into production in news production, anything below the big networks that are buying these XDCams and things like that.

DMN: But is HDV good enough for broadcasters?

Proulx: We had a customer tell us just this week, ?Weve looked at this end-to-end, and for our type of production, which is not multi-generational, multilayers, its acquire the material, cut it up and broadcast it. So they looked at it, end to end and that included the transmission leg, and they said, ?You know, the difference between this and HDCam and the other high-end formats, for this kind of material that were doing, its not important enough to justify the cost. 

DMN: Is it just as good?

Proulx: I would never say just as good, thats dangerous. Its good enough.

DMN: Who will use HDV in broadcast?

Proulx: Any TV station, no matter how small, thats doing HD production for news and for those kind of shows will use it. And that the top end, weve talked to the big-name broadcasters that are absolutely looking at this stuff, because theyre covering special events where they need a lot more cameras, and they dont all have to be the super high-end cameras, in dangerous situations, as an dispose-a-cam kind of thing. HD dispose-a-cam.

DMN: So youre talking using HDV just for ENG [electronic news gathering]?

Proulx: Its ENG. Of course, theyre not going to use it for studio production, or high-end documentaries that theyre doing, thats where digital Betacam was used in SD, and thats where SX was used in SD, and you know, even though those formats were the main formats for that network, they used DV to do special things, or dangerous things, or fast things. But certainly, the justification that this is really like DV, my little 1 year old Macintosh can edit HDV with what is equivalent to a $10 piece of software thats actually pretty decent?you can do titles, you can do fades. I said this really is happening now. Because the bet we had made here at Miranda 14 months earlier said that HDV would be like DV and it would penetrate broadcast in an important way. And its true.

DMN: That bet is going to pay off, isnt it?

Proulx: Yes, and I think its just what the doctor ordered.

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Related Keywords:Miranda, Michel Proulx, HDV format, broadcasters, good enough, HDV-to-SDI converter, HDV footage, broadcast equipment, Charlie White, broadcast workflow, exclusive interview


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