New Canon HF11 - The impending demise of consumer HDV?

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Smarty, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. Smarty

    Smarty Guest

    I am hardly a soothsayer, but this new Canon HF11 consumer 24 MBit/sec AVCHD
    camcorder may spell the end of HDV for consumer use eventually. Even the
    present HF10/100 at 17 Mbits/sec gives my HV20 a really comparable
    alternative, so I expect the new HF11 will destroy the previous quality
    benchmarks for 25 Mbit/sec HDV. I recognize that HDV may also be bumped up
    to higher bit rates, but the consumer products have yet to do so.



    July 21, 2008 - Canon expanded its iVIS high definition camcorder line today
    with two new models, the HF11 and the HG21. These will be the first
    consumer-grade camcorders capable of achieving the 24Mbps ceiling for AVCHD
    compression. The HF11 records to 32GB of solid state memory. The HG21
    records to a 120GB internal hard drive. Both camcorders were announced for
    the Japanese market only, and are expected to hit stores in September.

    The HG21 comes as a replacement for Canon's HG10, released in August of last
    year. Joining the HF10 and HF100 (Review, Specs, Recent News, $0.00), the
    Canon iVIS HF11 will become Canon's third model in the line of HD Dual Flash
    memory camcorders. The HF11 is very similar to the HF10 in lens, sensor,
    and body design, but comes with a higher capacity Flash of 32GB. All three
    of the new models carry a new maximum bitrate of 24Mbps.

    This new maximum bitrate achieves the ceiling first promised when AVCHD was
    unveiled in 2006. Although the professional grade Panasonic AG-HMC150
    records up to 24Mbps compression (with an average bitrate of 21Mbps), the
    two new models from Canon represent the first camcorders with 24Mbps
    compression to reach the consumer market. AVCHD is clearly the dominant
    format for consumer HD video. The increase in bitrate to 24Mbps has been
    long-awaited by prosumers and hobbyists as the point at which AVCHD might
    finally trump HDV (an older, popular, tape-based compression) in overall
    video quality. At press time, no footage of the new camcorders has been made

    Canon has stated that the upgrade to 24Mbps should produce no
    post-production hassles, as it still falls within the same AVCHD spec.
    Consumers upgrading from the earlier AVCHD models should have no problem
    working with their current editing software.
    Smarty, Jul 23, 2008
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  2. AVCHD was limited to 12/17MBps, and it was said to becomparable to HDV at
    those datarates, because it is a more efficient compression algorythm. The
    HF11 @ 24 MBps is certainly very interesting, and looks indeed like it
    might kill off HDV. How is it handling the usual suspects of fine waving
    grass, fast movement etc?


    Martin Heffels, Jul 23, 2008
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  3. Oooooooooooooooooooh! I've had trouble enough editing HDV
    (relatively easy compared with AVCHD, I gather...), and then there
    is still the matter of cheaply, reliably, and easily archiving edited
    I think I will not be hopping on this format any time soon...
    --David Ruether
    David Ruether, Jul 23, 2008
  4. Precisely. The cost of media will be the deciding factor between formats,
    ESPECIALLY for consumers who don't see the difference in quality.

    Jacques E. Bouchard, Jul 23, 2008
  5. Smarty

    Smarty Guest

    I mostly agree, but I must admit that the attractions of AVCHD have become
    pretty addictive once I have started using them. Specifically, the very
    small and light camera, the individual video clips which can each be
    accessed randomly and instantly without winding/rewinding tape, and the
    especially fast ingest which now takes only a minute or two versus an hour
    can become very compelling. For whatever it is worth, I now grab the HF100
    most of the time rather than the HV20, and both deliver very comparable

    I do indeed miss the archival tapes, but have adopted a backup format which
    accomplishes the same thing.

    Smarty, Jul 24, 2008
  6. I wonder what the hell business they have selling consumers cameras that
    record to flash drives or hard drives? We're talking consumers now - they
    shoot something, come home and what do they do with it? Do they expect them
    to archive to their hard drives, or burn bunches of Blu-Ray discs, or what?
    At least when all the cameras were tape based, they could play their stuff
    from the camera, then put a new tape in and go again. And whether they knew
    how to burn to DVD or not, they still had all of the original material
    available, marked, and on the shelf.

    Gary Eickmeier
    Gary Eickmeier, Jul 26, 2008
  7. Smarty

    Smarty Guest

    Delivery of HD for consumers has been a huge problem for early adopters,
    with HD DVD providing (IMHO) the only viable and low cost solution up until
    recently. Once HD DVD "died", the HD videographer faced a real problem in
    delivering content with original pristine quality at low cost.

    AVCHD promises to change that, and indeed I have discovered that
    AVCHD-encoded content from the flash/hard disk cameras, if transferred
    directly to AVCHD disks without transcoding / re-rendering, really do
    deliver on the promise. With red laser 4.7 GB disks and today's 17 MBit/sec
    VBR encoding, a disk delivers 35 or 40 minutes of content. A DL disk brings
    the time over an hour of uninterrupted playback for those who like to truly

    The essential conclusion / observation I can offer is that AVCHD with no
    transcoding on a red laser disk has the same economy and performance as HDV
    performance on a red laser HD DVD disk, both avoiding expensive burners and
    very expensive media. For archiving,*** if *** one has faith in optical disk
    dyes as an archival storage method (and this is a really big "if"), then a
    very low cost off the shelf solution is to buy a Canon DW-100 DVD burner
    which plugs directly into the flash cameras, and immediately burn an AVCHD
    disk whenever you want to back up an SD flash card or distribute your
    content without the use of a computer. For $185, this is a very nice

    Since AVCHD disks play on many if not most BluRay players, and several very
    inexpensive editing/authoring programs now deliver AVCHD disks, some without
    transcoding, I would have to think that this is the 'bridge' solution until
    BluRay burners and disks become cheaper and more popular. Thankfully, the
    software is now there to handle this format (finally) although the warnings
    regarding the need for high performance CPUs as well as the criticisms of
    buggy and poorly designed code are still extremely noteworthy.

    I'm beginning to believe that there is some validity to this AVCHD approach,
    given the devices like the $185 burners which go directly from the camcorder
    to the consumer's playback machine. I would not be at all surprised to see a
    smaller format DVD burner built into an AVCHD camcorder one of these

    Smarty, Jul 26, 2008
  8. You state a BIG "***if***" above! ;-) Even if users realize that
    their dye-based disks have a relatively short life compared with
    commercially-made pressed DVDs (and take steps to properly
    store them and periodically copy them for preservation of the
    contents), it is unlikely that most will take suitable disk archiving
    measures - and we are likely to see a flood of complaints about
    "great" and "irreplaceable" footage lost through computer HD
    failures, accidental erasures, or DVD failures (which can happen
    in as little as a couple of weeks with badly handled DVDs). Your
    other caveats about AVCHD should also be taken seriously. I
    think is not yet a medium that should be committed to lightly...!
    --David Ruether
    David Ruether, Jul 26, 2008
  9. Smarty

    Smarty Guest

    I entirely agree David, and can only hope that the void will be filled
    eventually with archiving and delivery solutions which truly preserve video
    for years. HDV still has the best solution in this regard and I am a big
    tape enthusiast. I also have to wonder whether the various forms of
    compression including mpeg2, AVC, and the others have enduring longevity. I
    can imagine that movies and videos will go through many more variations of
    digital compression as the years go on.

    Smarty, Jul 26, 2008
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