About Hi-8

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I would like to know if shooting a short film (around 30 min.) on Hi-8 or DV is better. A friend has the Hi-8 package and would let me use it for next to nothing. Do I have as much flexibility/quality with Hi-8 as with DV?

-- David Montoya (newnumber2@earthlink.net), March 02, 1999


Well, DV is better than Hi8... but Hi8 is certainly a decent analog format for shooting a short film. If you really can do it for next to nothing then I'd say go for it. Learn the craft and then move up to digital.

-- Chris Ward (Chris.Ward@Showtime.net), March 05, 1999.

Yeah, what Chris Said... Also, good Hi-8 looks better than shitty DV. If your friend's camera is one of the better ones and you use the good tapes (I like the Fuji ones that cost $11- from B&H) You can get a really decent image. Here are some other tips: Only use 60 min. tapes-not 120, which are made with thinner, more fragile tape. "Pack" your tapes before shooting: Fast-Forward them to the end, then rewind back to the beginning. (I'm not gonna explain why here-just trust me.) Record 1 or 2 minutes of black at the beginning of your tape-the first 2 minutes of the tape are the most prone to dropouts.(dropouts=bad) Edit on another format (SVHS, 3/4" or Beta if you're lucky), or at least hi8 dubs of the camera originals-hi8 is a tremendously fragile tape, and the wear and tear of the editing process will create (you guessed it)- dropouts. This isn't as much of an issue if you're editing on a computer as opposed to continuously fast-forwarding, rewinding, pausing, playing the tape on editing decks, but it's still a really good idea to have backups. If you're lucky, you'll have a local cable access station or school or something, where you can make your dubs through a time base corrector (TBC), which will vastly improve the quality of the dubs, and allow you to adjust brightness, color, etc. These and other tips can be found in the October '97 issue of "Videomaker", which I believe you can access at their web site- www.videomaker.com. Also, bear this in mind: There is no venue where your film will be shown where the slight resolution difference between hi8 and DV will make a difference. That is, short films never make money and are never theatrically released. The festival circuit, where your film will go if you're lucky, is not going to discriminate against you because of 20 horizontal lines of resolution. No one is going to pay to blow it up to 35mm, where the difference would be much more apparent. That said, best of luck.

-- nate ford (lynn@javanet.com), March 07, 1999.

I've shot both, and although DV is better, Hi8 can look really good especially in black and white (the colours not as good as dv). I've blown up a feature shot on Hi8 to 35mm in black and white and although it looks grainy, I kinda liked it! Good luck with your movie.

-- Mark Waldron (markwaldron@eircom.net), December 14, 1999.

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