HD Video Online

November 28, 2007

I’ve seen the future of online video, and it’s gorgeous. Vimeo hosts HD video, which looks fantastic and streams smoothly. Never mind poking around YouTube watching grainy, pixelated teens falling off rooftops. On Vimeo you can see detailed, crisp images, in full-screen HD.

Now, so far there’s nothing like the selection on YouTube, but what’s fascinating about Vimeo and its HD fans is the passion for video and for wringing the most out of the cameras. Canon’s HV20 has a loyal following on this site and it’s great to see not only what the camera is capable of out of the box, but also what creative DIYers are able to achieve with some add-ons. The current item of technolust is the 35mm adapter that allows you to take your 35mm lens from your still camera and connect to your camcorder. The idea is simple enough–and for the handy, tutorials for creating your own are posted and freely available–but the results are stunning.

For a great example of what people are doing, check out this video by a user named twoneil. Watching his samples I was truly blown away by the quality of the video. It’s the closest I’ve ever seen video come to film, and in fact, I think it would be tough for a casual viewer to really tell the difference, at least online.

What this does, of course, is completely open the realm of high-quality movie-making to almost anyone. The look of video, while becoming more accepted every day, still represents a barrier to an independent filmmaker. Film is obviously the gold standard and if it looks like video your work is immediately–if not consciously–taken a little less seriously. Video folks are always looking for ways to make their video appear more like film. And now, with the advent of reasonably affordable HD equipment and a little ingenuity, this goal is within reach.

Of course, just having the “look” of film doesn’t make someone’s short- or feature-film great. But if the raw materials are worthy–script, cast, director, etc.–there’s one less hurdle to clear towards the goal of making something great.