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Unfortunately, MPEG (and any non-Intra-frame format), will have issues with motion, either with subject motion, or camera motion. Because a miniDV tape camera will result in Intra-frame footage, these artifacts are far less likely.
When the camera compresses the data, and encodes to MPEG, much of this damage has been done. Then, if this footage is edited, especially if exported to DVD/BD, another compression step will take place. This makes these artifacts even worse.
With any camera that records to a compressed MPEG format, it's best to:
1.) shoot with a tripod
2.) use very slow pans and zooms
3.) avoid a lot of motion, especially across the axis of the lens
#'s 1 & 2 are easier to deal with. #3 can be out of the videographer's control.
Now, PrE does have a Stabilizer Effect. It might give you a touch of improvement with the footage, but I think you'll still have artifacts, maybe just fewer, but I think they will still be there.
Thanks Wine. This is all starting to make more and more sense to me, and I owe that to all the helpful postings not only to me, but to others that are helping me put this puzzle together. Thank you all.
So, clearly, one of my issues is I need to be a better videographer. Another is, I would have better results with a miniDV camcorder. My only hesitance in buying a new camcorder is the fact that I'd like to go HD, and it seems like the technology on that end is really rapidly changing...so I'm tempted to try and wait it out a while and see how things shake out. I did some HD AVCHD tests with downloads from the Internet and Premiere and my PC handled them without issue...so I think I have the horsepower I need to make that jump.
All this said, I couldn't help thinking if my problem was compression, I simply needed to try and find a way to get the content back into a purer form. That led to an idea. I started up an old PC (about a 4 year old AMD I used to use) It still had Pinnacle 9 on it. I connected the Pinnacle USB Dazzle connector and connected that directly to my minidvd camcorder. The Dazzle is a USB RCA connector that I used to use for my first camcorder. Once I had it connected I used pinnacle to capture content playing through the Dazzle in it's highest resolution AVI and MPG formats. (The MPG is MPG2 I believe...both 720X480). I then took both files and moved them to my new PC and brought them into Premiere and made two new clips from them with Premiere. The AVI looked horrible. I'm not sure why, but it was terribly grainy. The MPG however, went right into Premiere, and the resultant DVD looks about as close to the original as I have seen. I added the resultant video from Premiere to my Test Video folder in the link above. (It's called Pinacle Test Video MPG.MPG ) http://www.photoshop.com/accounts/a4df2d50427543bda3e5e1f18285f67e/px-assets/2618a29147424 8278338e6fa3debc6c2
I'd love some thoughts on this. If I'm not crazy I'm thinking if I follow Wine snobs advice and try to be a better videographer and in addition use another product to capture the content prior to editing it in Premiere I might just have something that would get me by for a while. Is there anything I'm missing? Does anyone else use this type of technique? Are there good products out there I should use to try? (I don't mind simply updating Pinnacle and adding it to my new machine, but I'm tempted to see if there is a better product out there. Maybe I could add a dedicated HDMI or other input to my machine and simply play content into my machine in a capture format, and then use Premiere to edit and stitch all the content together.
Sorry for rambling, but thanks in advance for the help.
The AVI looked horrible. I'm not sure why, but it was terribly grainy
I do not know the Dazzle, or what Pinnacle is capable of anymore (used it many, many years ago, but not recently). You probably had some form of compression in the .AVI. This ARTICLE will give you some background on format "wrappers." While .AVI is used as an example, the same can be said for .MPEG, .MOV, .WMV, and many of the rest. They are but "wrappers," and all sorts of stuff can be inside them.
My only hesitance in buying a new camcorder is the fact that I'd like to go HD, and it seems like the technology on that end is really rapidly changing...so I'm tempted to try and wait it out a while and see how things shake out.
You are not alone in this. I am also contemplating moving to HD, but am waiting and watching. AVCHD is very big in the consumer market. It's pretty good, except for the processing overhead. The "new" format that I think will likely become the paradigm is Full Intra-Frame MPEG. Panasonic has it in many of their US$40K cameras. Obviously, I'm not heading to the Panasonic store anytime soon. PrPro just added the Panny Intra to its native CODEC's, in response to the great press that this format has gotten - maybe even better than the RED format. It will take awhile for this to trickle down to the pro-sumer cameras, but maybe not THAT long. When/if it does, I think that AVCHD will likely go off into a corner. However, I could be very wrong, as there might be an even newer format lurking in the shadows. Compression technology has come a very long way. I just hope that more mfgr's. work towards I-Frame compression, and not GOP.
I simply needed to try and find a way to get the content back into a purer form.
This is where the quality is - before any compression. Once that has been applied, it's like having lost the negative, and only having a print to work from. With most compression schemes, it's like only having a print on "silk textured" paper, or worse, to work from. That is why, when someone says that they are working from a DVD-Video, my first suggestion is to go and get the original footage, that the DVD-Video was created from, before the MPEG-2 compression. Often, that is just not possible, so quality will be, what it will be.
As for what you should do in the interim, all I can say is that I am shooting miniDV tape, editing the SD material to DVD-Video, and waiting, while I read and study.
One thought would be to pick up a good miniDV camera now - they are fairly cheap, as AVCHD sweeps the consumer markets. Use that until there is a breakthrough. The Canon's get very high marks - the tape-based ones. What are they up to now Canon HV40? Is that correct? One could probably pick up an HV20, or HV30 for very little.