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HD Video Production Tips & Techniques

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 11/24/2010

Here is a look at a few tips for how to approach HD video production for those new to the evolving format.

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    Now Comes HD Video Production

    HD video production was a game changer in the same way that digital video was in comparison to older formats. Not only does the emerging HD video production increase the quality of the image that home digital video producers create, but they have also completely defined the new broadcasting formats, eliminated all old storage media, and redefined the whole process of image development. In the same way that the type of camera, affordability, and technological specifics of digital video changed film production, HD video production has done the same as well. Here are a few HD video production tips that are specific to the HD video production technology.

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    Costs and Benefits of Clarity

    The first thing that you have to remember is how HD video production is going to produce images that were not possible for home digital video producers before. This means that the image is going to be both more clear and more "professional looking" than you would get before, so the cinematography that is used should try to reflect this positioning. Try to take a clear look at your image's lighting when preparing it as you know shading is going to be detailed in the final images. People's faces will be much more visible so it may be important to hide blemishes and to use lighting that is flattering, such as soft lights pointed more directly at the face.

    Your image is also going to be a little more forgiving in certain situations, which means that HD video production is going to make quality images in documentary film a little more practical. Here you can have your HD video follow formats associated with feature film production, such as the frame rate, and it will tend to come across with more clarity than you would find if you were just shooting on SD mini DV tapes.

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    Digital Storage

    True HD video production rests on shooting entirely with digital formats where the video and audio are essentially saved as digital files that are then converted and interpreted during post-production. This will allow you to save money on tapes, but will bring costs along in other ways. First off, you have to record on fairly expensive digital recording cards. These cards, such as the P2 storage card, are going to also have a limited space and since you will not be able to stock up on huge numbers of them as you would with mini DV tapes you may have to be a little more frugal. You will also need to compensate for this footage on your actual post-production storage systems because the space that is going to be needed for footage from HD video production is going to be much larger.

    The best option for this is to spend the money and acquire a number of different portable hard drives for your footage. Then you will want to bring a laptop onto set with you so that you can transfer the HD footage from your digital storage card to your actual storage locations, allowing you to then clear out the card and fill it up again. This is going to allow you to keep filming even though you have surpassed the supposed limits set by the medium.

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    HD Playback and Post-Production

    One of the main difficulties of showing HD video is that the formats are not always equipped to handle HD video productions. This means that many televisions, DVD authoring programs, streaming web video options, and even projectors will not be able to handle your HD video. This is changing as HD video production begins to become the norm, but you are going to need to check ahead of time for the formats that you are attempting. Streaming web services like YouTube have begun to offer HD video options, burning to Blu-ray discs is a great options, and since many broadcasters and film festivals are able to handle digital files for playback it may even be alright to maintain your HD video production in its originally exported format.

    The same is also going to be true of HD post-production software. Though most of the major proprietary post-production software is going to be able to handle HD video production, this should still be checked ahead of time. This is especially true if you are using lower level consumer post-production software or open source software.