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Digital Video Camera Camcorder
Buy and Enjoy the Best Digital Video Camcorder

Digital Video Cameras and Camcorders

Video is an exciting and innovative way to tell your story. The arrival of digital video technology gives amateurs the opportunity to make quality videos that compare well to professional work. Most digital video cameras are sold to people who want to record their own children, family relatives and friends and local events of interest. Videos are made to enjoy and share with others.

With the new digital camcorders, it is possible for the average person to shoot high-quality videos. When you select a digital video camcorder, you should base your decision on the number of memory chips, the amount of video storage and special features to help you create great videos.

The costs of camcorder, blank film and editing software have declined so much that almost anyone can get started making films. Reproducing and distribution costs are also very affordable. You have the power to express yourself on video and distribute it worldwide cost-free through the Internet.

The terms camera, video camera, and camcorder are used interchangeably.

Background on Videotape Recorders

Analog videotape recorders were developed by Ampex in the 1950s to tape live television shows, so they could be rebroadcast. At that time, amateurs used lower-quality 16mm and 8mm film cameras for their family videos. Digital video camcorders came on the scene in 1996 via Sony and Canon. The new Mini-DV digital tapes allowed you to record videos that, unlike analog tapes, could be edited without loss of quality. Digital video caught on quickly. Now video capability is even build into your camera phone and your still camera.

What is a Digital Video Camera or Camcorder?

Almost all video cameras sold today are digital video cameras. Digital video DV is an imaging process that uses a light sensor focused on a microchip instead of film to capture the image. The sensor chip contains millions of elements to detect light and color and convert them into digital values. Each element of the sensor is a pixel. The video image size of a digital video camera is either 640 x 480 or 720 x 480 pixels. The video camera compresses the image data and stores it on a storage medium, either Mini-DV tape or DVD or flash memory or a small hard drive inside the camera. About 60 images are captured and recorded every second. The main component of the digital video camera is the sensor. There are two main types of sensors, CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) and CCD (charge-coupled device). CMOS sensors are cheaper to manufacture, but CCD sensors are generally preferred for higher image quality.

The sensors for a digital video camera come in three sizes, ½ inch, 1/3 inch or ¼ inch. No matter what the pixel count of a sensor, larger sensors are preferred because they have larger pixels and are more sensitive to light. Economy video cameras are usually designed with one sensor. High quality digital video cameras come with three sensors, for the three RGB color channels, red, green and blue. If price is no object, choose the best digital video camera with three large ½ inch sensors. However, even an inexpensive camera with a single small ¼ inch sensor can deliver good quality video.

Dv and Mini-DV Tape. Digital Video Camera Cancorder Storage

The most popular format for digital video storage is DV and Mini-DV tape. The tapes are rugged, supported in the industry, hold a lot of video, are inexpensive and also capture the highest resolution video. Use the brand of storage tape recommended by the digital video camcorder manufacturer.

When salespeople talk about digital video, DV, they are usually talking about digital video cameras that store the image data on Mini-DV tapes. Mini-DV tapes are ¼-wide coated tapes inside a small, convenient plastic cassette. Each tape can hold about 11 gigabytes of data, or about an hour of video. The quality is very close to that of expensive professional video cameras. Other storage formats don’t deliver the same quality, even though they are called digital video.

There are three methods of video recording media, tape, disc or memory card. You should choose a format that many manufacturers support, so that it will be in use a long time. Technology changes quickly, as you know. Already the old 16mm films, Betamax, VHS, Hi8 and other old formats are out of date and unplayable.

DVCAM is another tape storage format similar to DV, with better quality. The cassette size is larger then DV and it is more expensive. DVCAM storage tape is used in cameras with higher quality lenses and transport systems.

Digital Video Cameras Camcorders with Hard Drive Storage

Hard drives have been miniaturized for digital video camcorders. They hold as much as 14 hours of video in high quality. The advantage of a hard drive video camcorder is that you can review your footage in the camera at any time, without waiting to fill a DV tape and rewind it. The disadvantage is that when the hard drive is full, shooting has to stop until you can use a computer to download the video and store it on CDs. 14 hours of video from the hard drive storage fill 13 CDs for archiving. On the other hand, Mini-DV tapes don’t limit you’re the length of your video shoot, because you can replace the tapes in the camera as they fill up.

The New Generation of High-Definition HD Camcorders

The new HD High-Definition video camcorders are digital video cameras that produce impressive video results. The image format is often 1440 x 1080 pixels, which means they have 4.5 times more resolution than DVs. Like digital video cameras, they use three sensor chips. And they use the same Mini-DV storage tape as the digital video cameras. High Definition video has superb quality, and displays much better than digital video on a large flat-panel HD high-definition digital television. High Definition video cameras use either progressive scanning or interlaced scanning. Interlaced scan cameras shoot two frames at a time and merge then line by line. High Definition Video require an editor like Apple’s iMovie for Mac or Adobe’s Premier Elements for Windows.

Editing Digital Videos

To download your video from the tape storage to your computer for editing, you will need a cable connection to connect the camcorder to the computer. The connection can be either a FireWire connection or a USB port on your computer. FireWire is Apple’s proprietary name for this interface. It is also called iLink or EIII 1394. All video-editing software programs can edit the Mini-DV video code. Furthermore, you can edit, store or duplicate your video without losing quality. With older analog video, editing the film would introduce generational loss or degradation of quality.

Special Features for the Best Digital Video Camera Camcorder

  • For quality digital video, you’ll want the ability to override the automatic settings on the camera. This will allow you to set the exposure manually in low-light situations.
  • You’ll want optical zoom capability rather than digital zoom. Optical zoom means that the image is magnified by physically shifting the lens elements. Optical zoom is preferred over digital zoom. Digital zoom is software for image magnification; it results in loss of image quality.
  • All video cameras have a built-in microphone, but you will want the camera to accept an external microphone, too. The external microphone, either a shotgun style or a wireless model, connects to the camera via a shoe attachment. The external microphone focuses its direction to avoid unwanted sounds.
  • Many video cameras can take still photos, which might be convenient for you to email home. Some cameras have the ability to handle auxiliary lights. They can illuminate a dark setting in a pinch.
  • Another interesting feature is the camcorder with night vision capability. It uses infrared light to photograph, when you don’t want to reveal your presence or disturb nocturnal animals.
  • Battery power is critical to keep your video camera running. Carry extra batteries on a shoot, and get a small 12-volt inverter for the car to recharge the batteries when you are away from home.
  • Video cameras often have built-in image stabilization, to adjust the image when the camera is unsteady. Optical image stabilization allows the lens elements to float to keep the image centered or steady. Digital stabilization uses software to adjust the image after it has been captured. Optical stabilization is preferred to digital stabilization.
  • Instead of relying on the stabilization features of the camera to compensate for your shaky hands, a tripod is the best way to keep the camera steady. A video camera requires a fluid-head tripod for slow and steady camera movements. The tripod you use for your still camera won’t work well for video.

I hope life brings you much success. I wish you a very happy day.
-----     Surfer Sam  

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