DVCPRO HD Format Specifications

DVCPRO HD is a 100 Mbps extension of the DVCPRO (25) and DVCPRO 50 formats, used for capturing and editing high-quality HD video. Because DVCPRO HD is a DV format, native FireWire capture and output is supported.

Storage Medium

DVCPRO, DVCPRO 50, and DVCPRO HD tapes use a metal particle (MP) tape formulation. Some tape sizes are supported only by decks and not by cameras. As the data rate is doubled from 25 Mbps (DV and DVCPRO) to 50 Mbps (DVCPRO 50) to 100 Mbps (DVCPRO HD), the recording time is halved in each case. Therefore, a 63-minute DV tape stores only 31 minutes of DVCPRO 50 footage, or 15 minutes of DVCPRO HD footage.

Warning: DV (sometimes referred to as mini-DV) and DVCAM use a metal evaporated (ME) tape formula, whereas DVCPRO uses metal particle tape. When in doubt, always use cassettes explicitly manufactured for the camera or VTR you intend to use.

You can also record DVCPRO, DVCPRO 50, and DVCPRO HD on P2 cards. For more information, see About Panasonic P2 Cards and Media Files.

Video Standard

The SMPTE 370M-2006 specification defines the following DVCPRO HD formats.

Format
Frame dimensions
Frame rate
Scanning method
1080i60
1280 x 1080
29.97 fps
Interlaced
1080i50
1440 x 1080
25 fps
Interlaced
720p60
960 x 720
59.94 fps
Progressive
720p50
960 x 720
50 fps
Progressive

Panasonic equipment and Final Cut Pro support additional frame rates within these formats. For more information, see Frame Rate and DVCPRO HD Formats Supported by Final Cut Pro.

Aspect Ratio

Regardless of the specific resolution used, DVCPRO HD always captures and displays an image with an aspect ratio of 16:9 (or 1.78).

Frame Dimensions, Number of Lines, and Resolution

DVCPRO HD supports three resolutions:

  • 1080i60: 1280 pixels per line, 1080 lines; interlaced (displayed at 16:9, or 1920 x 1080)
  • 1080i50: 1440 pixels per line, 1080 lines; interlaced (displayed at 16:9, or 1920 x 1080)
  • 720p60, 720p50: 960 pixels per line, 720 lines; progressive (displayed at 16:9, or 1280 x 720)

Final Cut Pro captures and processes DVCPRO HD using its native dimensions but displays the image onscreen as you would expect 16:9 video to appear.

Figure. Illustration showing native and displayed pixel dimensions for the DVCPRO HD formats.
Frame Rate

DVCPRO HD supports both NTSC and PAL frame rates:

  • NTSC: 59.94 and 29.97 fps
  • PAL: 50 and 25 fps

Note: The Panasonic Varicam camcorder has an option for true 60 fps recording (versus 59.94 fps), although Final Cut Pro does not support these rates when capturing via FireWire.

The 1080i60 format can record 24 fps progressive footage with standard pull-down (2:3:2:3) or advanced pull-down (2:3:3:2).

Camcorders capable of recording 720p60 footage can also record 720p30 and 720p24 footage. Camcorders that support 720p50 can also record 720p25 footage. Tape-based camcorders achieve these frame rates by duplicating frames and flagging them for removal during capture (or with a frame rate converter). P2 camcorders such as the Panasonic AG-HVX200 can record natively (without duplicate frames) to the 720pN30 and 720pN24 formats. The Panasonic AG-HVX200E camcorder supports 720pN25.

Some DVCPRO HD camcorders support variable frame rate recording in the 720p format. In this case, the video is actually recorded at 60 or 50 fps and duplicate frames are flagged for removal during post-production. Duplicate frames can be removed using a frame rate converter.

Scanning Method

DVCPRO HD can record either interlaced or progressive scan images, depending on the frame size and format.

  • 1080 lines: Interlaced or progressive (via advanced pull-down)
  • 720 lines: Progressive only
Color Recording Method

DVCPRO HD records a 4:2:2 Y′CBCR (component) digital video signal. Each sample (pixel) has a native resolution of 8 bits.

Data Rate

The data rate of DVCPRO HD on tape is fixed at 115 Mbps, which is double the DVCPRO 50 data rate and four times the rate of DVCPRO.

The table below compares the captured data rates for DVCPRO HD formats. These data rates show video only.

Format
Data rate (Mbps)
Data rate (MB/sec.)
1080i60
115 Mbps
14.4 MB/sec.
1080i50
115 Mbps
14.4 MB/sec.
720p60
115 Mbps
14.4 MB/sec.
720p50
115 Mbps
14.4 MB/sec.
720pN30
58 Mbps
7.2 MB/sec.
720pN25
58 Mbps
7.2 MB/sec.
720pN24
46 Mbps
5.8 MB/sec.

The actual disk space used during capture will vary slightly depending on the number of audio channels captured. Each captured audio track adds an additional 0.34 MB/sec.

Because DVCPRO HD is compressed, an internal 7200 rpm parallel or serial ATA drive is sufficient for capturing DVCPRO HD footage. FireWire drives are often sufficient as well.

Video Compression

DVCPRO HD uses a variation of the DV and DVCPRO 50 codecs. The compression ratio is around 8.6:1.

Audio

The DVCPRO HD format supports up to eight audio tracks, though not all devices can access every track. The sample rate is 48 kHz, using 16 bits per sample.

Timecode

On tape or P2 card, 1080i60, 1080p30, and 720p60 DVCPRO HD use 30 fps timecode. 1080i50 and 720p50 DVCPRO HD use 25 fps timecode. When recording 720p60 DVCPRO HD, each timecode number is used twice, with an asterisk used to distinguish frame 1 and frame 2 of each timecode pair. This maintains backward compatibility with SMPTE 30 fps timecode. When 720p60 footage is captured, the 30 fps timecode is converted to 60 fps timecode. To allow you to view 30 fps timecode instead of the 60 fps timecode in your media files, Final Cut Pro has a timecode display option called 60 @ 30 timecode.

Note: Final Cut Pro supports drop frame timecode for 720p formats.