PDA

View Full Version : How has HDTV affected Lightwave use?


NanoGator
11-24-2003, 09:05 AM
Hi All,

Back in the NTSC days, you had to do renderings at 720 by 480. Nowadays, it's seems to be HDTV. I was just curious, how's that affected your workflow? What resolution are you rendering at now? Which HDTV standards are you supporting? How many more polygons are you using? What other interesting changes occured?

T'is an interesting topic to me, so please feel free to share what ya know!

Facial Deluxe
11-24-2003, 09:47 AM
Haven't been asked for HDTV yet. Some friend used it for cinema effects (seems big enough). I don't have any tech infos, but just to know, I suscribe here :)
My only fear : Render times x 4 approx...

js33
11-24-2003, 01:45 PM
Well if your final output is DVD the final res is always 720 x 480 no matter what format it originated on. That is of course until they come out with HD-DVD.

Most TV work is still 720 x 480 or 486 for NTSC.

The only people doing HDTV now are high end trade show demos and broadcast TV and film.

For regular work it is too expensive for most of the budgets out there.


Cheers,
JS

LittleFenris
11-24-2003, 03:26 PM
Originally posted by js33
For regular work it is too expensive for most of the budgets out there.

Cheers,
JS

What is more expensive about HDTV? Do you need special recorders and players in the studio to work with HDTV footage?

HowardM
11-24-2003, 03:45 PM
Yes, you need new decks, even new edit systems made just for HD! They are VERY expensive and new.

Fortunately you can use the same computers to make animations! :)

BUT, man o' man, rendering out at 1920x1080 is harsh! Welcome back to 1 hour per frame render times!
You need to jack up the AA to at least High otherwise it will look like CG. And yep, you need to boost your poly counts WAY up! And no more low res textures! HD is VERY unforgiving, unlike NTSC!

One issue I have with LW is that Volumetrics are exponential (and I wish Doubler was back) so if a render takes 1 minute at half res (960x540) it doesnt take 2 minutes at full 1920x1080 like you think it would.
It takes about 12 minutes longer! So we have to render out Volumetrics at half res and comp them...being a pain as we sometimes use fields!

I really hope LW8+ is designed with HD in mind when it comes to things like that. Doubler would save my life!

DaveW
11-24-2003, 07:41 PM
It's really not much more expensive. Right now you can get setup for about $120k for the camera, deck, and capture card; most of that is for the camera, if you're just editing HD then the deck and capture card will set you back around $35k. And soon you'll be able to capture HD via firewire, so that'll cut costs even more. And unless you're editing on old computers, you won't need new hardware or software to edit the video.

Also, those costs are just the upfront costs. Once you've got the hardware, it's a lot cheaper than film, which is what most tv shows are shot on these days. More shows are starting to shoot on HD rather than film because they realize that in the long run it ends up being cheaper. The same thing is happening in documentary filmmaking.

The cost of doing FX will likely go up though, as render times increase and more work has to be done to make sure the effects hold up at HD resolution. It'll get cheaper though, as hardware costs go down and software gets more sophisticated.

Krix
11-24-2003, 07:56 PM
"One issue I have with LW is that Volumetrics are exponential (and I wish Doubler was back) so if a render takes 1 minute at half res (960x540) it doesnt take 2 minutes at full 1920x1080 like you think it would. "

I think it would take 4minutes, because of the four times more pixels.

;)

HowardM
11-24-2003, 09:50 PM
Originally posted by Krix
"One issue I have with LW is that Volumetrics are exponential (and I wish Doubler was back) so if a render takes 1 minute at half res (960x540) it doesnt take 2 minutes at full 1920x1080 like you think it would. "

I think it would take 4minutes, because of the four times more pixels.

;)

Thats what you would think, but nope...12 times the amount.
I cant exactly recall why, but the guys at tech support can explain it.

NanoGator
11-24-2003, 10:11 PM
Originally posted by HowardM
Thats what you would think, but nope...12 times the amount.
I cant exactly recall why, but the guys at tech support can explain it.

That wouldn't surprise me a whole lot, given that volumetrics have to deal with depth info. For every 4 pixels you add, you're doing a lot more calculations for how deep something is within it.

Krix
11-24-2003, 10:19 PM
What I've tried to point out that it would be never only 2times slower, as you said but at least 4times, because the 4times amount of pixels. Double the resolution, you will get 4times more pixels to calculate. In general. With the same rendering settings of course.

:)

HowardM
11-24-2003, 11:04 PM
No Krix, Nano is getting warmer!
Volumetrics arent like normal pixels, so when the pixel size is doubled, the volumetric render time is at least sextupled! :)

Someone call tech support!
:)

NanoGator
11-24-2003, 11:33 PM
So is there any way to make my PC playback 1080p video? (err hope I got the right term there, haven't researched HDTV a whole lot.) Right now I can do NTSC pretty easily by routing it through my DV cam. Anything I can buy for HDTV?

studiomiguel
11-24-2003, 11:35 PM
Yeah, I've got some friends who are working HD. It looks fantastic, but the efforts are tremendous. Comparative to rendering still images for illustration.

m

HowardM
11-24-2003, 11:44 PM
Originally posted by NanoGator
So is there any way to make my PC playback 1080p video? (err hope I got the right term there, haven't researched HDTV a whole lot.) Right now I can do NTSC pretty easily by routing it through my DV cam. Anything I can buy for HDTV?

hmm I doubt anything thats cheap, but dont quote me on it.
everything we do with AE needs to be set to half res and usually can only playback 10-20 seconds, but thats on a g4 with 2 gigs.
we port em over to a DDR thats not cheap for real playback.
1920x1080 w/fields and alpha TGA's are 8 megs a frame...RPF's are 10 megs!

NanoGator
11-24-2003, 11:54 PM
Ouch. Makes ya wanna use JPEG, duddn't it?

HowardM
11-25-2003, 02:05 AM
yeah but RPF's are great for DOF!
:)

DaveW
11-25-2003, 02:10 AM
Download Windows Media Player 9 if you don't already have it, and go here (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/content_provider/film/ContentShowcase.aspx)
for some HD clips. They recomend a 3ghz P4 for the 1080p clips, but they ran fine on a P4 2.5 ghz machine. A dropped frame here and there, but overall it played back pretty well. The 720p clips also look amazing and will play back on slower machines.

Most video cards these days have hardware assisted HD playback, and if you want there are some full hardware HD cards, I think you can pick one up for around $300.

Editing HD is different than just playing it back though. Viewing formats for HD are mpeg2 and mpeg4 (though there's nothing stopping you from using a different codec if you want), but those aren't meant for editing. Uncompressed or lossless compressed HD will require more resources and as HowardM said, even at half res it'll be slow and gobble up tons of RAM and hard drive space.

NanoGator
11-25-2003, 02:11 AM
What's an RPF?

lightwolf
11-25-2003, 10:35 AM
Originally posted by HowardM
No Krix, Nano is getting warmer!
Volumetrics arent like normal pixels, so when the pixel size is doubled, the volumetric render time is at least sextupled! :)

Someone call tech support!
:)
I ain't tech support, but... ;)

You basically have two factor determining the speed for volumetric renders, the number of final pixels you render, and the quality/step size the ray marcher uses.
Most ray marchers tend to use more evaluation steps, the smaller the pixel is in relation to the complete image (since, every pixel will hold more "detail"). Basically. I could go off a bit more...

Cheers,
Mike - not tech support

HowardM
11-25-2003, 09:03 PM
Rich Pixel Format!
You dont use it?!
DOF on the fly, FOG on the fly!
Zbuffer data at your disposal!
:)

studiomiguel
11-25-2003, 09:26 PM
Is this RPF like RLA?

m

NanoGator
11-25-2003, 09:40 PM
Heh i dun even have it as a save option in LW. Does AE use it?

HowardM
11-25-2003, 09:41 PM
Do you mean RLA? Yes.
It saves out a bunch of extra data for use in compositing programs so you can do realtime DOF, FOG, Zbuffer effects.

It isnt in the normal file dropdown, so you have to use it under Image Filter.

yes AE uses it, havent you read what Ive said?! :banghead:

NanoGator
11-25-2003, 09:50 PM
RPF = RLA?

Yes I read what you said, but I was under the impression it's a seperate download or something. Was hoping for more info. :P

HowardM
11-25-2003, 09:57 PM
come on guys, do a search here or at NT forums or even in the manual/help file.
all of this stuff is documented or has been talked about here in the past year...plus this thread has totally gone off course! :)

RPFs are like RLAs, with more channels.
In AE, load a RPF seq, pop into timeline and select 3DChannel>Depth of Field, then tweak!
DFX or Combustion supposedly has better DOF control.

Sorry if I sound like an ass today, not much sleep last night.

studiomiguel
11-25-2003, 10:04 PM
Yes, I am familiar with RLA's, and I'm certain I've seen them referred to RLE's. However, RPF is a new one to me. I haven't tried to use them since I was on AE 5... but I never could get them to work properly. I know Combustion worked wonders with them.

M

LittleFenris
11-25-2003, 10:25 PM
I am probably going to sound like a dumba$$ here, but what is a Zbuffer and what do you use it for? Also what is DOF on the fly and fog on the fly? I know what each is, but what does "on the fly" mean in terms of these?

NanoGator
11-25-2003, 10:43 PM
Zbuffer = alpha-esque channel that stores depth info. :)

erikals
11-25-2003, 11:30 PM
If I'm not wrong Zbuffer is mostly used for making the background in a rendered frame blurry without using Lightwave's DOF (Depth of Field)

It's almost like making a selection of a picture in photoshop, then blurring that selection only.

So instead of using Lightwave's DOF to do the blurring, you use a program like AfterEffects or something instead.
It saves time I guess. (or am I all wrong?)
--------------------------
A little back to the subject, I really don't think many people have played around with the HDTV settings in LW yet, at least not in Europe. As for render times, are they really that bad though? I'm kind of guessing a little here, but my guess is that it would take about 4 months to render 30 minutes of animation with 4 Pentium 4 machines. Or maybe that is bad :hmm:
--------------------------
A little off subject again, AFAIK Disney is changing the release dates for Disney DVDs to an earlier point as they are planning to re-realease the titles on the new format in 2007. (which I'm pretty sure will be a HDTV format). Also, Sony (I think) just made a prototype player that is capable of playing (near?) HDTV quality. (called BlueRay).

NanoGator
11-25-2003, 11:35 PM
Terminator 2 was rereleased on DVD with a Windows media 9 file of the movie at HDTV resolution. F'n cool if ya ask me.

erikals
11-25-2003, 11:41 PM
That's cool :)

Have you tried playing it on your machine though?
Edit: Ah, found it DaveW. You're right, the T2 clips are not super quality, but a lot better than DVD though. Cool.

DaveW
11-26-2003, 12:00 AM
I played it on a AthlonXP 2200+, but it was a little stuttery. Not too bad though. I haven't tried it on my 2700+ but the faster processor and 2x RAM should play it back smooth as butter. It doesn't look as good as I hoped though. Better than the DVD, but not a lot better. It still has a soft, grainy film look to it. There is a sample clip from the movie at MS's website. You can really tell the difference from real HD and film converted to HD.

Beamtracer
11-26-2003, 12:57 AM
One reason that HDTV has been expensive is old-school companies like Avid trying to make a buck.

Avid's Symphony edit suite costs a six figure sum to buy, and it still doesn't do HDTV. You've gotta spend hundreds of thousands of dollars.

On the other hand, you could buy a Macintosh G5 with Final Cut Pro and a Kona HD capture card for a few thousand dollars.

If you stay away from equipment from the "traditional" broadcast companies then you can do HDTV "relatively" cheaply.

While inhouse corporate videos may be standard NTSC, all international broadcast work is now widescreen. Much is also HDTV.

I was surprised the other day to get a client who wanted some 4:3 (standard TV aspect) work. It was a U.S. cable station. I haven't done 4:3 for many years now! It's all been 16:9 widescreen.

By the way, the United States is way behind the rest of the world in HDTV. I think this is because the U.S. chose an inferior HDTV transmission standard than Europe, just like NTSC is inferior to PAL.

U.S. HDTV transmissions suffer from many quality issues, probably the worst of which is multipath interference. It really is a horrid system that was chosen, and the public are the losers.

Rumpus King
11-26-2003, 02:52 AM
We delivered Galactica in HD (I guess SciFi has their reasons...I don't think it's going to be broadcast in HD).

We rendered elements out at 1280 x 720, but they were finalled at 1920 x 1080 from combustion (or flame). Once you add film grain and all that crap, you'd be surprised at what you can get away with.

NanoGator
11-26-2003, 04:24 AM
Originally posted by Rumpus King
We delivered Galactica in HD (I guess SciFi has their reasons...I don't think it's going to be broadcast in HD).

We rendered elements out at 1280 x 720, but they were finalled at 1920 x 1080 from combustion (or flame). Once you add film grain and all that crap, you'd be surprised at what you can get away with.

Was the grain added to match film/video, or was it added for style? Just curious, over on another forum we've been debating about grain.

I have a book on the making of Episode II. One of the comments that stood out in my mind was that with the HD footage, they were able to blow it up as high as 2x and it still looked fine. They liked it because they had more control over who/what was in the shot. Is that essentially what you are saying?

lightwolf
11-26-2003, 09:31 AM
Originally posted by Wanker
One reason that HDTV has been expensive is old-school companies like Avid trying to make a buck.
The editing system is only one part of the equation.
For HDTV, you don't get around the following caveats for editing:
* You need large, ultra-fast storage
* You still need the peripherals, like HDTV decks, monitors (SD monitors only make limited sense) etc...
Once you add that up, the choice of editing system is only a small percentage of the initial investment.
The same goes for SD (if you go the high end route, i.e. DigiBeta etc...).

By the way, the United States is way behind the rest of the world in HDTV. I think this is because the U.S. chose an inferior HDTV transmission standard than Europe, just like NTSC is inferior to PAL.
Not true, at least from a European pov.
Over here they spent too much time trying to fix a standard for analog HD, which was scrapped, now they're switching over to the same digital standards they use in the U.S. There is however now single HDTV broadcast in the whole of Europe, with a prototype project coming next year.
Which also means that you can't go into a store and buy HDTV equipment like you can in the States.
Japan on the other hand seems to be a bit more ahead.
Over here, HDTV is a non-issue, unless you aim for high-end industrial productions (which means that they control the playback, let's say at an event, expo or so), want to replace 16mm shots for TV (which means aquisition on HD, downconvert to SD and then edit in SD), or target an international audience (since most U.S. broadcasters demand HDTV nowadays).

Cheers,
Mike - who wants HD now too!

Beamtracer
11-26-2003, 11:20 PM
Originally posted by lightwolf
Over here they spent too much time trying to fix a standard for analog HD, which was scrapped, now they're switching over to the same digital standards they use in the U.S.

Lightwolf, I stand corrected, and the fact is that Europe is mainly transmitting in standard definition, however digital transmissions in Europe are much more common (mainly in the UK) than in the US.

All of Europe uses the DVB standard for digital transmission (including Germany where you are). This is like the "PAL" of digital tranmissions.

The United States is using its own (inferior) ATSC digital transmission standard. ATSC is like the "NTSC" of digital transmisssions. Hardly anyone in the U.S. has bought ATSC digital TV receivers.

Both DVB and ATSC use the same compression, MPEG-2. However the two standards are very different when it comes to transmission, and the way they use radio frequencies. This is where the U.S. ATSC broadcast system falls in a heap.

DVB is also being used in many other PAL countries, such as Israel, India, Australia, New Zealand, and is becoming more widely adopted than ATSC. Canada is one country that has adopted the US ATSC standard, but maybe it would have been hard for them to adopt a different standard to their bigger brother.

Although some countries use DVB to broadcast standard definition, a subset of the DVB standard includes HDTV ability.

The government of Australia has written a law to force broadcasters there to transmit a minimum of 20 hours of high definition content per week, using the DVB transmission standard.

Anyone in the U.S. who has an ATSC digital TV receiver at home should post here. Chances are there won't be any Lightwavers who have one, despite there being many broadcast professionals.

Rumpus King
11-27-2003, 03:47 AM
Originally posted by NanoGator
Was the grain added to match film/video, or was it added for style? Just curious, over on another forum we've been debating about grain.

I have a book on the making of Episode II. One of the comments that stood out in my mind was that with the HD footage, they were able to blow it up as high as 2x and it still looked fine. They liked it because they had more control over who/what was in the shot. Is that essentially what you are saying?

They chose a grainy film stock for stylistic reasons. Grain was added to the effects so they'd match.

Novadesigns
11-27-2003, 05:38 AM
Man, I can't imagine trying to get a weekly TV show out the door using HD! We don't have enough time as it is at 720x486!!! ;)

I think storage, rendertimes, and the speed of working with HD sized plates are probably the biggest concerns, over equipment costs. I've done a few small HD projects and they can be slow to work with.

And there just aren't enough HD equipped tv sets out there to warrant it yet.

But I do see it coming.

lightwolf
11-27-2003, 10:13 AM
Hiya,
Originally posted by Wanker
Lightwolf, I stand corrected, and the fact is that Europe is mainly transmitting in standard definition, however digital transmissions in Europe are much more common (mainly in the UK) than in the US.

All of Europe uses the DVB standard for digital transmission (including Germany where you are). This is like the "PAL" of digital tranmissions.
O.k. I see your point. As far as the transmission protocol is concerned, you're right.
Mind you, the majority of transmissions over here are still analogue, DVB is being tested in Berlin, and used over cable extensively (especially by pay-tv channels). DVB via satellite there as well.
Cheers,
Mike - who on the other hand hates those Mpeg-2 artifacts...

NanoGator
11-27-2003, 11:33 AM
Originally posted by Rumpus King
They chose a grainy film stock for stylistic reasons. Grain was added to the effects so they'd match.

Thanks! :)

What kinda poly counts are involved? That number go up significantly with HD? The resolution of the rendered image has gone up quite a bit, but has the model detail gone up at the same ratio?

(That's directed at Rumpus King, but I'm curious what others have experienced.)

Beamtracer
11-28-2003, 02:02 AM
Originally posted by lightwolf
who on the other hand hates those Mpeg-2 artifacts...
I can't stand digital transmission artifacts.

In analog you'd get ghosting in a bad transmission area, but if your antenna was set up properly you'd get a good picture in a good transmission area.

With digital transmission, everyone gets a worse picture. You get all kinds of digital artifacts which never existed in analog.

Watch something where there are lots of camera pans, like tennis, on digital. Every time the camera pans fast you get blocky artifacts appearing, as the bandwidth can't keep up.

Standard digital pictures are also a bit 'softer' than good analog. This applies to DVB as well as ATSC.

In the UK digital transmissions have proven more popular, especially with home shopping add-ons.

AndréNozawa
11-28-2003, 03:00 AM
Originally posted by Wanker
U.S. HDTV transmissions suffer from many quality issues, probably the worst of which is multipath interference. It really is a horrid system that was chosen, and the public are the losers.

Interesting.In Brazil, all the broadcasting companies don`t know which one to choose between Japanese,American and European standards.Japanese seems to be the best. There is a possibility to make their own standard.

Beamtracer
11-28-2003, 06:07 AM
The world waits to see what standard Brazil adopts. It's an important player, as it has a lot of influence on other countries in that area.

Argentina announced it would go ATSC.
Brazil would be much better going DVB.

I don't think there's much room to develop an independent transmission standard for Brazil. China is talking about doing that, but they have a bigger population.

There's a strong parallel between digital television standards and cellular telephone standards. Europe's GSM has become ubiquitous around the planet. America's CDMA has only received marginal support.

The United States is not particularly good at adopting international standards.

NanoGator
11-28-2003, 08:43 AM
Brazil'd probably be smart to use whatever North America is using. I saw a lot of American stuff while I was down there.

lightwolf
11-28-2003, 10:05 AM
Originally posted by NanoGator
Brazil'd probably be smart to use whatever North America is using. I saw a lot of American stuff while I was down there.
Yeah, but it's not transmitted directly from the U.S., is it? There is a difference between content, delivery formats and transmission formats.
The transmission format will have an impact on the hardware to be bought by the end user though.
Cheers,
Mike

lightwolf
11-28-2003, 10:09 AM
Originally posted by Wanker
I can't stand digital transmission artifacts.
My main gripe is with low key scenes including close-ups of actors. Sometimes you have eye movement (or any other subtle moves) lag by a couple of frames, and that makes for a very odd picture indeed...

Cheers,
Mike

Beamtracer
11-28-2003, 01:24 PM
Originally posted by NanoGator
Brazil'd probably be smart to use whatever North America is using.
The European DVB digital broadcast standard is capable of running at 30 frames per second as well as 25 frames per second.

This would make it possible for former NTSC countries like Brazil to jump over to the new European digital standard.

CourtJester
11-28-2003, 09:30 PM
Originally posted by Rumpus King
They chose a grainy film stock for stylistic reasons. Grain was added to the effects so they'd match.

Oh? What happened to the plan to shoot it (Episode II) all-digital? I guess that got dropped. Forgive me if I'm way out of it on that one.

CourtJester
11-28-2003, 09:47 PM
Originally posted by Wanker
I can't stand digital transmission artifacts.

With digital transmission, everyone gets a worse picture. You get all kinds of digital artifacts which never existed in analog.

Watch something where there are lots of camera pans, like tennis, on digital. Every time the camera pans fast you get blocky artifacts appearing, as the bandwidth can't keep up.

Standard digital pictures are also a bit 'softer' than good analog. This applies to DVB as well as ATSC.


I've noticed that as well, most notably in HD transmissions of NFL games. Somehow my brain knows it's being cheated, and it's irritating, in the way smudges on my glasses are.

That being said, that's a failure of the particular implementation of HD, which itself is a failure of the FCC. The latter was harping so much on the cost of receivers and backwards compatibility that technology just went and passed them by. Monitors capable of HD scan rates went from thousand-dollar luxuries to commodity prices while HD languished, stuck halfway down the birth canal for over a decade. (ouch!)

And to cap it off, they finally copped out, looked at all the competing resolutions, and said "ok, let's make ALL of them part of the standard."

It makes free-market "chaos" like VHS versus Beta look efficient as all get-out, no?

HowardM
11-28-2003, 10:40 PM
well digital does suck compared to analog, youre right lots of macro blocking and crappy bandwith.

most NFL and HD broadcasts are at half res HD 720p and not full 1080i .
watch something on HDnet (1080i sharp) and youll notice the difference compared to ESPNHD (720p blurry).
for instance, watch a football game, the players on a large screen HDTV are about 4-6 inches tall, yet you can distinguish the details in their faces! try that watching ESPN!
:)

I cant wait for prices to come down!
its a tease creating animations for HD but not being able to watch them on-air at home! :)doh!

Rumpus King
11-29-2003, 07:42 AM
Originally posted by NanoGator
Thanks! :)

What kinda poly counts are involved? That number go up significantly with HD? The resolution of the rendered image has gone up quite a bit, but has the model detail gone up at the same ratio?

(That's directed at Rumpus King, but I'm curious what others have experienced.)

Poly count went up quite a bit for us. Then again, it'll differ depending on the project. You plan for how much time you have, how close you'll get with the camera, and what type of lighting you'll use, etc., and hope everything comes out right in the end.

Even with all that, you'll end up wishing some things coulda been different. I know I did. ;)

CGTalk Moderation
01-16-2006, 07:00 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.