HDV/HV20 Use
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WARNING

Be very careful with the Firewire connections when using the HV20. Ensure you're putting the plugs in dead straight, and always make sure the HV20's power is off before plugging the cable into it.

Other users have also strongly recommended that, if using a 6 pin (large) Firewire cable from your desktop computer, you turn off the computer before plugging in the cable. This is to ensure no stray voltage crosses the pins of the plug as it is being put in.

What is HDV?

HDV stands for High Definition Video. The data rate is about the same as DV (now called Standard Definition video), 13gb per hour, but the HDV format is MPEG 2, frame size 1440x1080, so there are many more pixels per TV screen. The HDV specification is 1920x1080, but some older consumer HDV cameras shoot 1440x1080 and stretch the pixels horizontally to make up the correct size. That's why, if you analyse your HV20 footage, it shows up as 1440x1080.

HDV should not be confused with AVCHD (Advanced Video Codec High Definition). Increasingly, video cameras use this technology. It is highly compressed video that requires a very powerful computer eg very fast Quad core (i7-class is better) to edit with MEP. The quality is terrific and the file size is about half that of HDV.

General

I use a Canon HV20 high definition video camera. Quite frankly, the image quality is fantastic. The problem is, how do you view your edited HDV masterpieces?

The options are:

There's an HV20 forum here. Not many MEP users though (full Vegas and Premiere users and stroppy moderators).

Hardware Requirements

To be brutally honest, the only solution when editing HDV (and especially AVCHD) is to use a very fast computer ie i7 or equivalent. My i5 just does the job.

The latest versions of MEP are designed to use the CPU, not the Graphics card (as in the past) so when all is said and done, the CPU is the critical component for video editing.

Apparently, other programs require less horsepower but are not as easy to use as MEP.

If you do have a slower computer or have trouble with jerky playback, options include exporting to Standard Definition MPEG and then editing that, or using proxy editing (which is a bit of a fiddle); there is an extensive thread about this here.

Capturing HDV

HDV is downloaded from the camera in much the same way as DV: via Firewire.

MEP captures one large MPG file but will scene-detect as normal. Unfortunately, the magical timecode that comes with DV-AVI isn't available through MEP, so you have to get date and time information from the camera display.

HDVSplit note: HDV is captured by HDVSplit as M2T files (you can set HDVSplit to capture individual files for each scene; great for date names). Unfortunately, I haven't had a lot of success using HDVSplit files in MEP. Even in MEP 17, they import with black ends and I have had poor results encoding MPEG 2 from them with occasional bad transitions. I therefore do not recommend using HDVSplit.

Capturing in DV-AVI format

You can of course capture from the HV20 in DV-AVI. Be aware that the HV20 has a bug where it doesn't get the scene detection right: it misses by 2 frames, which have to be trimmed off manually. Use the CTRL 0 or CTRL 9 to jump between object edges to trim your scene split.

This camera bug also occurs with other capture programs. Have a read of this thread for examples.

Export Back To Tape

MEP will export HDV back to tape. Here's how to do it in MEP 16:

If you have any trouble, turn off the HV20, turn it back on then "Rescan Devices".

You can then connect your camera to your TV using either HDMI or Component cables and play your HDV masterpiece.

Exporting Stills

I must say that I am very impressed by the quality of stills taken off the MPG/M2T files (in MEP, File>Export Movie... BMP or JPEG) or indeed playing the tape and then hitting "still photo" on the HV20. For some unknown reason, MEP produces JPEGs that are lower in than JPEG screen captures from VideoRedo; I do not know whether this results in a lesser-quality image. I can't spot the difference.

Converting Analogue Video (VCR, old video cameras) to DV using the HV20

The HV20 can be used to convert analogue video from say a VCR or analogue camcorder eg VHS. VHS-C, video 8, video Hi 8, to DV for editing. There are USB devices that will convert AV to AVI for editing, but can be unreliable, with the main issue being audio sync. That said, the HV20 (and other DV capture devices I have tried) can be picky regarding video quality: any reduction in analogue video quality and it gives a "no video" signal. It's worth a try though before you purchase a dedicated analogue>digital converter. I currently use a cheap TV tuner card which can be accessed by MEP for recording my old VHS tapes.

Using the HV20 to convert analogue video to DV

Viewing UDF 2.5 disks in Win XP

The standard version of Windows XP cannot read UDF version 2.5 disks, which are used for Bluray. However, it is easy to install drivers to do so. See the Digital Digest website here.

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