Editing HDV: Output
The only obstacle left to HDV is how to output and view it. As of right now, there is no way to output HD footage to a true HD format medium. The only way to view HD footage in its true format is to master your sequence back to tape and play through an HD deck or camera. This will all change this fall. As in the old days of VHS Vs. Beta, technology companies are matching up for another battle in media dominance. This time they'll be fighting over the new HD DVD format. There are two formats to choose from, HD DVD and Blu Ray.
Blu Ray is supported on the hardware side by Sony, Hitachi, LG, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Apple, Dell, HP, TDK and Thomson. On the software side, Blu Ray is supported by 20th C Fox, Walt Disney Studios, MGM, Paramount and Warner.
HD DVD is supported on the hardware side by Toshiba, NEC, Sanyo and Thomson. On the software side, it is supported by New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures and Paramount.
Blu Ray seems to have the upper hand as it holds more data, up to 50 GB per dual layered disk, while HD DVD holds 30 40 GB per dual layered disk, and Blu Ray has more company support. But HD DVD has one major advantage. The technology needed to make these disks is already in place. HD DVD is not that different from a traditional DVD and so existing factories can already produce them. Blu Ray disks will use an entirely different manufacturing process and therefore cost more to implement. We will just have to wait and see who wins out in the end!
Output to DVD
If you are going to distribute your footage on a traditional DVD, your video will need to be compressed to be MPEG 2 format used to create DVDs. In this compression, however, you will loose the resolution advantage you have in shooting with an HD camera, but you will at least have a solid demo that anyone can play on any DVD player and through any TV or monitor. Before you output to DVD, you must first export your sequence as an MPEG 2 file. Final Cut Pro has an export option called Compressor that will easily export a variety of MPEG formats based on length and quality. Once you have exported your movie, you will be able to import it to a DVD authoring program.
A way to output to true HD is by exporting your edited sequence or movie back to a mini DV tape. This tape can then be played back at full HD resolution on an HD monitor or television set. It is a good idea to do this anyway so that you have a master back up of your sequence. This will guard against loosing your sequence if your computer crashes. All nonlinear editing sweets will allow you to record directly from the program to a camera or deck. In Final Cut Pro, it is as easy as queuing up your sequence, playing it and pressing record on your camera or deck. If you want to add any color bars or leaders at the beginning of the sequence, you will be able to do this here as well.
Output for Web and CD
Outputting for web and CD follows the same process. The web, because it relies on download speed, requires a smaller file. CDs can usually maintain larger data rates and therefore larger file sizes. The file formats will be the same for both, as both will be played through your computer. Only the file sizes will differ. You can output your files to a variety of video formats to be viewed by people on their computers. I use Quick Time as it is the most ubiquitous and can be viewed by both PC and Mac users. It is easily streamed, and is the format supported by Final Cut Pro and Imovie.