Many industry insiders believe that the first people to embrace HDTV will be those who already produce video.Video producers know the nuances of good lighting, contrast composition and color balance and have a propensity to appreciate high quality video. In addition to image quality, the entire video experience has a greater richness with HDTV and the stories can be more enjoyable with the high-resolution of the picture and the fantastic sound quality of HDTV.
This year, we’ll see more high definition camcorders entering the field and possibly the primary reason why video producers are more likely to upgrade to HDTV may be a selfish one. A true and healthy market for these camcorders is emerging because people love to watch their own home videos on a HDTV monitor. It is extremely satisfying to use such high quality gear, and showing your video on an HDTV monitor to an audience is incredibly rewarding. For many of your viewers, your video will be superior to anything that they have ever seen on a TV because most viewers have yet to watch an entire program or video shot for HDTV.
In the coming months, we will begin providing more editorial coverage of the unique aspects of shooting for HDTV. Not only does it require a new HDV camcorder, but it also requires more powerful editing equipment, specialized monitoring, and greater attention to lighting, accessories and detail.
The blank media for HDV is Mini DV tape. This can be a bit confusing for some people, but it is a very efficient use of resources. Later this year, expect to see another camcorder format for HDTV named Blu-Ray which records video on a disc rather than on videotape.
Producing for HDTV has some unique challenges. Greater resolution is the major advantage, but sometimes the dramatically increased clarity is a hindrance rather than an asset. HDTV will show the details of whatever imperfections exist within the video frame. The quality of the paint job of the cars, the nicks in
the furniture and the blemishes on the faces of your subjects will be more vivid than anything seen on a standard TV.
Shooting in the 16×9 aspect ratio is also a totally new experience. It allows for new production techniques where, for example, two people talking can be at the far ends of the HDTV screen. Those of you who watch videos in the letterbox format are familiar with how different 16×9 video is compared to 4×3. If you want to shoot in HDV format and your video will be displayed on a conventional 4×3 TV set, your audience may not see the subjects on the far edges of the screen. So considerations must be made before you shoot. HDTV will be the biggest boom for you since the Mini DV format!
Matthew York is Videomaker’s Publisher/Editor