There are many different cameras and many video formats at the disposal of video production companies: DV, Digital Betacam, DVCAM, DVCPRO, HD, P2, XDCAM, Red and even film (16 or 35mm if the budget allows).
Full HD (1920x1080p) is becoming the new high-end standard for corporate video production. Cameras like Panasonic’s P2 series or Sony’s EX1 series are capable of shooting at the highest resolutions and outputting directly to disc – which allows for much more efficient workflow. These cameras rival or surpass the quality of broadcast ENG cameras. Fully tricked-out with proper mikes and lens you’re probably looking at an outlay of $12,000 or more. But if you are looking for high quality input (and output) and want to make sure your video will still be usable tomorrow, using a camera that shoots full HD is your best option.
I shoot almost exclusively with the Sony EX1 for many reasons:
1. Quality. Attaining high quality footage is the best and most obvious reason to shoot in full HD. Whether you are shooting for a 480×270 web video or for a large HD plasma display at an event, there is no substitute for the quality that a high-end camera produces. In IT circles the expression ‘garbage in, garbage out” relates to the quality of output being determined by the quality of the input. The same holds true for video. Even if you are compressing your full HD footage down to a small web video format the final quality is still determined by the starting quality. Keying out backgrounds, colour correction, zooming in edit mode and many other post production activities are directly affected by the quality of the original video.
2. Flexibility. HD is ‘future proof’ (today). You can repurpose and re-use your full HD footage for a variety of uses such as trade shows, broadcast, and the web and still plan on incorporating it into future productions and formats. Video formats change quickly so having the highest quality footage allows you the most flexibility and re-use options in the future.
3. Standards. Full HD is becoming the standard (16×9 aspect ratio full 1920x1080p) for Corporate Video. Large companies are starting to specifically ask for this format and mid-sized and smaller companies will follow suit. Ericsson even claims that its mobile phone cameras will shoot in HD video in 2012!
4. Ecosystems – A corollary of the quality and standard argument is that ecosystems evolve to support the standards and the higher quality formats because of the larger scale associated with the standard and the higher profits associated with the higher quality. Camera equipment, editing software, storage devices and a host of other support products and services will evolve around the high end HD standards like Sony’s EX1 and the Panasonic P2.