kottke.org posts about HD

Flickr, HDMar 02 2009

Flickr has HD video now (for pro accounts only). Also, those with free accounts can now upload two videos a month.

Battle of the HD video camerasNov 14 2008

Now that the Flip has released their handheld digital HD video camera, here's a little rundown of the offerings currently out there and coming soon.

Kodak Zi6 - 128MB of built-in memory, expandable to 32GB, 720p, 1280x720 at 60 fps, 2.4 in. LCD, AA rechargable batteries. $180. (Video sample.)

Flip Video MinoHD - 4GB of built-in memory (~60 min of video), 720p, 1280x720 at 30 fps, 1.5 in. LCD, very slim handheld. $229. (Video sample.)

Nikon D90 SLR - expandable SD memory, 720p, 1280x720 at 24 fps for 5 minutes at a time, 3 in. LCD, and almost every single setting and control that's available on a SLR camera. $1200. (Video samples.)

Canon 5D Mark II SLR - expandable CF memory, 1080p, 1920x1080 at 24 fps for 30 minutes at a time, 3 in. LCD, and almost every single setting and control that's available on a SLR camera. $2700. (Video sample.)

Red One - Not going to list the specs on this one, except to to say that you can shoot whole feature length movies on this thing at a higher resolution for less money than pretty much any other camera out there, digital or otherwise. $17500. (Gorgeous video sample.)

KoyaaniskottkeAug 29 2008

I dusted off my Vimeo account to post a test video in HD from the Kodak Zi6, the pocket-sized HD video camera (now shipping from Kodak).

Looking west down 42nd Street. Taken with the pocket-sized Kodak Zi-6 from Park Avenue, the part that's elevated and goes around Grand Central. Music by Philip Glass from Koyaanisqatsi. It's amazing how good Glass' music is that some schlub can take a video of a busy Manhattan street using a pocket-sized camera and it comes out feeling like it's a clip from the film. Leitmotif, anyone?

Came out looking pretty good. The major issue I have so far with the Zi6 is the lack of image stabilization...it's pretty jittery, even with a steady hand. But it was $180 and it fits in my pocket so I can't complain too much.

Scrubbing the grain from HD moviesMay 21 2008

Possible collateral damage from the ascendence of HD and Blu-ray: people want their movies to look nice and clean and sharp and without film grain, even if the feel of a movie calls for it.

Unfortunately, what seems to happening right now is that the studio marketing folks are conducting focus groups with new Blu-ray consumers, who are saying they want perfect pictures every time. As a result, a few of the Hollywood studios are currently A) using excessive Digital Noise Reduction to completely scrub film grain from their Blu-ray releases, or B) not releasing as many older catalog titles as they might otherwise for fear that people will complain about grain. Some studios are even going so far as to scrub the grain out of NEW releases that have been shot on film. Case in point: New Line's Pan's Labyrinth Blu-ray Disc. When I saw this film in the theaters, it was dark and gritty. The grain was a deliberate stylistic choice -- part of the artistic character of the film. New Line's Blu-ray, on the other hand, is sparkly and glossy -- almost entirely grain-free. So much fine detail has been removed that the faces of characters actually look waxy. Everyone looks like a plastic doll.

(via house next door)

HD retouchingMay 14 2008

Related to yesterday's post about photo retouching is this article about how challenging high definition is to makeup artists and actors alike (via house next door) .

John Toll is an Academy Award-winning cinematographer who has had limited exposure to HD photography, but who understands the impact of it on the business. "Film tends to be more kind," he said. "Now with HD, they're doing things like more filtration, or softening of the light, or degrading the image so it's not so highly defined. It's sort of what they used to do in movie star close-ups, an over-diffused style to try to make them look glamorous. Now they do it so you don't see every pore in a close-up on skin."

Also related, James Danziger weighs in on the Dove/Dangin/Leibovitz controversy the latter of whom is represented by Danziger's gallery.

Any photograph used in a magazine, a billboard, an album cover, whatever -- can only be presumed to be a photo-based illustration. The issue, which Dove's well-intentioned campaign addressed, is the effect these illustrations have on the psyche, self-esteem, and well-being of women (in particular) not to mention the unrealistic view men might have of women. It brings to mind the shock the eminent Victorian art critic John Ruskin experienced upon discovering his wife's pubic hair, after which he was unable to consummate the marriage. Divorce followed shortly.

The week before Warner announced that theyJan 23 2008

The week before Warner announced that they were dropping support for HD DVD and backing the Blu-ray format, sales for players for the two formats were running roughly 50/50. The week after the announcement? Blu-ray players outsold HD DVD players more than 12 to 1. Blu-ray discs also saw a large increase in sales.

Not sure how this became Blu-ray centralJan 11 2008

Not sure how this became Blu-ray central all of a sudden, but here's a bit more news. NBC Universal and Paramount might be "opening the door" for a switch to Blu-ray.

These studios have commitments to release some discs this year in HD DVD, but both have ended their exclusive commitment to that format, which is backed by a group led by Toshiba.

Screencaps comparing the DVD and HD versionsJan 08 2008

Screencaps comparing the DVD and HD versions of LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring (roll over to toggle the images). Quite a difference. (thx, alex)

It looks as though we finally mightJan 06 2008

It looks as though we finally might have a winner in the race for the high-definition successor to DVDs: Blu-ray.

With Warner on board, Blu-ray now has about 70 percent of the market locked up; Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox, MGM, Lionsgate and, of course, Sony are all on Blu-ray's team. Warner Brothers has some of the bigger releases in 2008, including "Speed Racer," the Batman sequel "The Dark Knight" and the sixth Harry Potter installment.

I feel like maybe I can actually buy an HD player now...

Don't know how I missed this, butNov 29 2007

Don't know how I missed this, but there's a TiVo that records in HD that doesn't cost four bazillion dollars. TiVo HD records 20 hours of HD programming, you can view/record two shows at once, and differs very little from the more expensive Series 3 TiVo. Amazon's got it for $262 (retail is $299). But whoa, the Series 3, which can record 32 hours of HD programming and retails for $599, is only $399 at Amazon after rebate (note: "usually ships within 3 to 5 weeks").

Wow, Vimeo has videos in HD...theOct 12 2007

Wow, Vimeo has videos in HD...the best quality I've seen from one of the big video sites. You get so used to watching crappy quality stuff on YouTube that you forget how nice it can look.

Amazon has the TiVo Series 3 DVR (that'sJun 01 2007

Amazon has the TiVo Series 3 DVR (that's the one with the 2 HD tuners) for only $400 after rebates. It was $800 when released back in late 2006. (via lance)

HD TiVo, way too expensiveSep 12 2006

I didn't see this one in the FAQ, so I'll ask the question here: Can someone explain to me why the just-released Series3 TiVo (aka TiVo HD) costs $800? (!!) I've been waiting for this damn thing for months/years now, but I just can't justify spending that much money when Time Warner's (admittedly inferior in many ways) HD DVR is $7/mo. Hell, we only get ~12 HD channels in this backwater burg anyway, so downgrading to a regular cable box and hooking up the old TiVo is an option as well.

TiVo's next priciest box is the 180-hour Series2 for $130.1 What's in that box that's worth the extra $670? Is it the dual HD tuners? The THX? (Maybe Lucas charges exorbitant sums of money for THX certification?) The extra hard drive space for the additional 170 hours of programming? The CableCard inputs? The backlit remote? What?

[1] Although the Series2's service fee is $20/mo versus $13/mo for the Series3, based on a 1-year contract. On a three-year contract, the S2's service drops to $17/mo while the S# would still be $13/mo. Over three years, that brings the total price of the S3 to
~$1270 compared to ~$740 for the S2, a difference of $530.

Hello, TiVo. Hurry the hell up andJan 06 2006

Hello, TiVo. Hurry the hell up and release your HD-compatible Series 3 machine already. Are you trying to make me angry?

Tags related to HD:
Blu-ray Tivo HDDVD movies video TV photography

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