Is there any quality difference in the final product if we record in HDV and then down convert the footage in camera to DV?
It depends entirely on the camera. Sony does this particularly well. I’ve compared footage downconverted with my Sony Z1U and footage I’ve converted in Vegas and I am hard pressed to tell the difference. But as I said, it all depends on the camera’s down converter.
Or do we just video in DV and output in DV as it makes no difference?
I wouldn’t do that. The difference is quite obvious. You really can tell the difference when viewing a DVD made from DV as apposed to HDV converted to DV. You definitely want to shoot in HDV and downconvert instead of shooting DV.
Even if he had PC capable of editing HDV, he does not believe that editing in HDV and outputting to a PAL DVD will result in any better quality than a project done entirely in DV. Is he right?
No, he is wrong. Has he ever done this before? HDV has 5 times the resolution of DV. There is 5 times more information recorded and even when you downconvert to DV you are using 5 times the information to make that down conversion! You will see finer details that you didn’t think was possible with DV.
Bottom line: Always shoot HDV. Not only is the downconvert better quality that shooting DV but you have the option to deliver the program in HD later on.
As for quality, not to contradict anything John said, but it really does depend on the final DVD output. If this is a short program where you can really max out the bitrate on DVD, then sure you may notice the difference between downconverted HDV and DV. If this is a longer program that you need to fit onto a 4.7gb DVD-R at 5 or 6mbps, then you may not notice much difference.
When we first got Sony EX1’s in 2008 the first thing I tested was dumping 4:3 footage from our Sony DSR-300’s and 4:3 cropped 1080i footage from the EX1 taken at the same location and angle to DVD at I think 8.5mbps. That was a long time ago but I remember not being very impressed with the difference.
I wonder if a comparable analogy would be having a high end Canon camera and shooting the same photo at both Full JPEG and Medium JPEG, then resizing them both to 720×480 and seeing if one looks any better?
Frankly with your system specs, you could just shoot in HDV then downconvert to a DV AVI real quickly and send it. Then at least you have an HDV copy of it for safe keeping.