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Budgeting for HD

If you’ve been shooting film, chances are your costs will come down when you shoot and master in HD. The information that follows refers to cost differences when switching from standard def video to HD.

The number one question on everyone’s mind when considering going HD is cost. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer on the difference between NTSC production and HD production costs because no two productions or producers are alike. While it’s true that HD does increase the cost of a production, it’s well worth noting that prices have dropped dramatically for HD production during the past few years, and will continue to do so over the next couple of years.


CDTV has reviewed many real project budgets and has seen increases as low as 3% to as much as 25%. However, the generally accepted premium for HD over standard def for most broadcast production is thought to be in the range of 10% – 15%. While this is not an inconsequential amount, it is far from the astronomical increases producers incurred earlier in the decade.

Unfortunately, most broadcasters view HD as a replacement format for their programming and as such offer no additional license fees or added funding. As well, none of the traditional funding agencies currently offer funds to upgrade your production from standard def. While this may change in the future, it is up to the producer in most cases to find the money or change their production methodology in order to make the switch. While this may seem like an impossible task, much of the HD programming produced to date has in fact, been producer-driven.

NOTE: If special funding is available, it will be posted on this website, so make a point to check the CDTV website periodically.

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