David Ruether

Having much Mini-DV material, and quite a few edited videos in the same format, but also being impressed with how much better good HDV can look (even from a relatively inexpensive 1-chip HDV camcorder, like the excellent Canon HV20/30/40, when compared with one of the best Mini-DV camcorders, the 3-chip Sony VX2000), I was hoping to find a practical way to upsample my Mini-DV footage to look at least reasonably good on a sharp 42" 1080p LCD screen, viewed at 6.5'. I had noticed that standard definition DVDs made from Mini-DV often looked somewhat better on that screen than did the original Mini-DV tapes (the DVD player I use has 3 connections for the video output, but it is not progressive scan - but DVDs did noticeably reduce stair-stepping artifacts, the bane of Mini-DV). SD also looks good on my 32" 720p LCD, although good HD material doesn't look quite as good on it as it does on the other LCD. In Premiere Elements 4, I used some good Mini-DV material to edit and export a 4 minute DV-AVI file. I used the same material to also export an MPEG (DVD) file. I then deinterlaced the source material and again exported DV-AVI and MPEG files. In Premiere Elements 4, I exported an HDV .m2t file with all of these versions in it to the camcorder and compared them on the 42" LCD. The Mini-DV AVI file converted to HDV using PE-4 was acceptable (although it was somewhat soft, with some slight stairstepping still evident with motion on contrasty edges), but it was not what I was hoping for (well, I admit it - I was hoping for a miracle, although I already knew that one cannot create information from what was not there to begin with...). The MPEG file looked slightly softer yet, and generally less attractive. I bothered looking only at the deinterlaced Mini-DV to HDV footage, and it was the worst. I then tried converting and exporting the Mini-DV file as HDV using Sony Vegas Pro 8. Compared on the timeline, its converted footage looked wonderful. But, sigh....! On tape, on the TV, it *was* sharper than the Premiere processed footage (and when there was no motion, the image looked quite nice), but with motion, the  stair-stepping was unacceptably ugly. I did not check the following carefully, but my impression is that Mini-DV processed in Premiere Elements 4 to become HDV looks perhaps a tad better than footage converted to SD MPEG, put on a DVD, and then viewed on the same HD TV (which upsamples everything put into it to 1080p), although it was somewhat (but not too unacceptably) soft...

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