Digital or DVD Camcorder

Digital or DVD Camcorder

PostBy: sterling40man On: Fri Oct 24, 2008 3:24 pm

The wife and I want to get a new camcorder. My old one is an 8mm that I bought in 1991.

Any insights on which is better, digital or DVD?
sterling40man
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker K6
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6

Re: Digital or DVD Camcorder

PostBy: Richard S. On: Fri Oct 24, 2008 4:00 pm

They are all digital now, miniDV tape camcorders are superior to DVD camcorders in nearly every way. The only benefit of having a DVD camcorder is you can play the disc in a DVD player. You could always make your own DVD's from DV. For that DV tape excels as the format is very editor friendly.

Note that DV and DVD are separate formats.

The miniDV cams available now on the consumer market are exceptionally good as the technology is quite mature now.

I'd suggest anything with the name Canon on it. ;) Try and get one with "passthrough" capability. You can use this to transfer all your old 8mm to miniDV tape or directly to an external hard drive.

I have an article here: http://www.nepadigital.com/articles/analog-capture.php

For camcorder reviews go here http://www.camcorderinfo.com
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Digital or DVD Camcorder

PostBy: sterling40man On: Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:32 pm

Thanks Richard. When I wrote "digital", I did mean miniDV (tape). Sorry, :oops:

I will check out the links that you provided. YOU DA MAN!!! :D
sterling40man
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker K6
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6


Re: Digital or DVD Camcorder

PostBy: mozz On: Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:57 pm

Beware that some of them that record direct to dvd, they use those tiny 3" dvd's. Even though they will play just by putting them in a regular dvd player, the blanks cost a lot more than standard size dvd blanks.
mozz
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 1982 AA-130 Steam

Re: Digital or DVD Camcorder

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sat Oct 25, 2008 3:12 am

The cost is really a minor issue compared to others, actually tape is probably more. I don't know what those discs cost but a tape is about $3 each if you buy in bulk.

When people hear tape they they think it must be an older technology which it is and the disc must be a better technology because it's newer but that is not the case. Remember DV is a digital format stored on tape and some people don't realize that, it's not the same as VHS or HI-8 analog recordings on tape. It's stored on tape as a bunch of 1's and 0's no different than a file on your computer. For example you can transfer the video stream from the tape to computer and you'll have an exact copy on the computer. You can transfer this back to the tape then back to the computer... then repeat this process 1 million times and you'll still have the same file you started out with at the beginning.

The reason tape is better is the DV format itself, it requires a lot of storage area that only tape can provide in such a cheap,small and portable package. You can fit about 14 Gigabytes of data on single tape in SP* mode which translates to 1 hour of footage. A full size DVD can only store about 4 GB's or less. Because of this DV uses a much a higher bitrate than MPEG2, roughly 4 times more. With DV each frame is stored individually and compressed slightly. MPEG uses a compression method that utilizes what is called a Group of Pictures (GOP). Only 1 in 15 frames is stored individually, the rest is made up of information in preceding frames. This is why if you watch a poorly encoded video you'll see a lot of artifacts during motion.

MPEG presents some unique problems, it was intended to be a playback format and never really intended to be edited. If you want to make a simple analogy you can think of DV as being a negative and MPEG as being the picture itself. It can be edited but generally speaking most consumers are not going to have the software to do it properly and even if they do will not be utilizing it correctly and further degrade this already stepped on video. DV on the other hand was specifically made to be edited, it's even used in the professional world extensively and is supported by wide array of software.

Another thing to consider is reliability, DV has been around for many years and has already proved that it's a very reliable storage method. DVD discs on the other hand have yet to prove this. Keep in mind commercial discs are pressed, it's so similar to record that it's weird. Burnable DVD media is a technology that was brought to the consumer as an after thought. It was inveted to fit the disc, when you burn a disc that is actually what its doing. You're burning the data into a chemical inside the disc. This chemical will inevitably break down in the future. There's reports of cheap discs already failing, it is not a suitable long term storage medium. Just to add even new discs have problems, if you buy the best media on the market chances are 1 or 2 discs in 1000 are going to produce a coaster. The cheapest media may have a 50% failure rate. :shock:

More here on the specifics od DVD media: http://www.digitalfaq.com/guides/blank-media.htm

As I already mentioned the benefit of having a DVD camcorder is the ability to take the disc and play it in a DVD player immediately, just be aware that you are giving up a whole lot for this convenience. Also note that consumer camcorders that record to an internal harddrive also utilize MPEG@ so they fall into the same boat.


-----------------------------------------------------------

*SP: While on the topic SP is the only mode that should be used when recording to DV. LP or other modes that will fit longer playing times onto one tape will produce the same exact quality as SP mode so that is not an issue. The problem is to achieve this the cam slows the tape down so it's writing more data in the same area. This lowers error tolerance levels. Tapes recorded in LP mode may be unplayable even right after you recorded them and most definitely will present problems down the road. If the specific cam they were recorded on becomes unusable you may find that you can no longer view them on other playback devices. If you value the material you are recording stick with SP.

If you have tapes recorded in LP mode I'd strongly suggest transferring them to your computer and back them up on a external harddrive because you're playing with fire leaving them on tape recorded in LP.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Digital or DVD Camcorder

PostBy: Adamiscold On: Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:10 am

What about the ones that just record to a hard drive or scan-disk? Those seem like the ones that can easily be upgraded to larger sizes allowing you to have more room to save movies on, or with the scan-disks allowing you to quickly swap one out and not have to worry about carry a storage device that takes up a lot of space. They can easily be plugged into your tv set for viewing or to your computer for burning to a dvd or Blu-ray for HD quality.
Adamiscold
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Chubby Sr. Old School

Re: Digital or DVD Camcorder

PostBy: sterling40man On: Sat Oct 25, 2008 9:08 am

So, if I get a miniDV, is it easily recordable to a DVD using a PC? I have a PC that has a DVD burner. What kind of software would I need?
sterling40man
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker K6
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6

Re: Digital or DVD Camcorder

PostBy: Adamiscold On: Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:43 am

Bob

I'm not sure what is the best software to use but most cameras come with a type of software with them to use. But there is always ones readily available like Windows media and real video that allow you to burn things to cd's and dvd's.
Adamiscold
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Chubby Sr. Old School

Re: Digital or DVD Camcorder

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:16 am

Adamiscold wrote:What about the ones that just record to a hard drive or scan-disk?


AFAIK the consumer cams that record to a hard drive record in MPEG2 so they would quite similar to a DVD cam, the ones that record to flash memory card have not penetrated the consumer market but I may be mistaken. The bottom line is most professional (e.g. even ones that cost $75,000) cams and consumer cams used to record HD or DV record to tape. As I mentioned tape costs about $3 per tape, that's 14GB of storage for $3 and only the hard drive might come close to that.

The key with buying any cam is to make sure it records to a standard format ***, I've seen cams offered by some companies that will lure the consumer in with advertising that is almost bordering on fraud. the issue is the video is not standard. For example your still camera may take video, the problem is that they usually record a video that uses a frame size that is not standard and/or a unsuitable frame rate. This video can be transferred to DVD but not without losing something along the way. The video on still cameras is most suitable left for computer playback.

As always buyer beware, you need to select the right tool for the task. A pair of vise grips may do many tasks but it does very few of them well. I see Canon is offering HD recording on their DSLR's now and that would not fall into this category. Generally speaking though if you want to record video you buy a video camera, if you want to take pictures you buy a still camera.

Adamiscold wrote:or with the scan-disks allowing you to quickly swap one out and not have to worry about carry a storage device that takes up a lot of space


The tapes are quite small, as I mentioned they are dirt cheap. Looking at my favorite place to buy A/V equipment you looking at about $75 for one 16GB card. Flash cards or something else will replace tape at some point but not until the prices come way down. Even if you could buy a cam with a flash card or HD that records in a standard format you are really limiting the amount of video you can take. This won't be an issue if you lug around a laptop with you but that pretty much defeats the purpose.

Adamiscold wrote:They can easily be plugged into your tv set for viewing or to your computer


You can plug a mini DV camcorder into a TV, the benefit disk or card would have is you can easily select different movies you want to view instead of having to FF or REW to find specific scenes. Again they offer convenience but IMHO you're giving up way too much for this convenience.


Edit:
*** MPEG2 is a standard format but its not a standard format made for editing. HD cams record in a format that really isn't made for editing but they have no choice if they want to fit 1 hour of footage on a single tape. If there was DV equivalent for HD recording the storage requirements would probably easily exceed 75GB per hour as a rough estimate.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Digital or DVD Camcorder

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:37 am

You can use any video including the video you can make on your still camera to make DVD's, how well it works out and the frustration level with the quality rises with the source footage hence the reason I advocate DV. It's very easy to use and just about every product on the market supports it natively.

sterling_40man wrote:So, if I get a miniDV, is it easily recordable to a DVD using a PC? I have a PC that has a DVD burner. What kind of software would I need?


To get the footage to computer you first need a firewire cable and firewire card. These are also called I-link by Sony and have the generic name IEEE 1394. You'll also need a firewire port on your computer which you may not have. If you don't have one you'll need to purchase one. Both the cable and the card can be purchased at most electronics stores for about $20 to $30 total for both. The card is a simple install, open the case and plug it in... Note that some DV cams have a USB connection and this should never be used to transfer the video. The DVD and ither cams that do not store on tape may only have USB but it doesn't matter for that type of transfer.

Note i said transfer as that is exactly what you are doing, its not much different that copying a file. It's bit for bit copy of what's on tape.

As far as software goes you may already have all you need if you have Windows Vista, I believe that comes with a version of movie maker that can make DVD's. The version on XP cannot do this. Having said that for someone that is just getting started I'd suggest Ulead Video Studio.


Both will get your footage from your cam to a DVD. Video Studio focuses on editing video and has some very advanced features like Green Screen and a host of others. It has a limited options for menu creation when you want to create the disc. Movie Factory is the opposite and focuses on creating DVD's with a lot of options for making different menus. Basically most consumers are not going to be really interested in doing extensive editing and Movie Factory would be a good choice.

Both are consumer apps but have more than enough features to get your feet wet. Some of the capabilities of Video Studio for example were only available in professional video editing applications only a few years ago.


--------------------------------

Note that I mentioned the passthrough feature above, if you get a cam that can do that then you can make your old VHS or other analog video into DVD's too. Be sure to save the origianl DV footage though.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Digital or DVD Camcorder

PostBy: sterling40man On: Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:26 pm

Thanks, guys!! :D
sterling40man
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker K6
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: KA-6

Re: Digital or DVD Camcorder

PostBy: Adamiscold On: Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:01 am

Richard S. wrote: AFAIK the consumer cams that record to a hard drive record in MPEG2 so they would quite similar to a DVD cam, the ones that record to flash memory card have not penetrated the consumer market but I may be mistaken.


For the Sony HDR-SR11 it records Standard definition in MPEG2 while recording HD in MPEG-4 AVC/H.264. The 60gb hard drive will record between 7-23 hours depending on the video setting. Our Canon Powershot SD630 camera will also record movie's to our flash card, not sure of the coding though. But that's a few years old, so there are some devices out there recording to flash cards even though this is still just a camera.

The bottom line is most professional (e.g. even ones that cost $75,000) cams and consumer cams used to record HD or DV record to tape. As I mentioned tape costs about $3 per tape, that's 14GB of storage for $3 and only the hard drive might come close to that.


Sony's DCR-SR220 seems to allow you the option of both; Hybrid recording technology delivers a new level of flexibility for transferring your video footage and digital photos from the camcorder to compatible viewing devices. Record to the camcorders 60GB internal hard disk drive, or choose instead to record to removable Memory Stick Duo media or Memory Stick PRO Duo media. You can even select from various dubbing functions to easily copy video or still images from the hard disk drive to Memory Stick media, without using a PC. Images recorded or transferred to Memory Stick can then be played directly on a PS3 or PC to share your memories with family and friends. You even have dual record mode that lets you capture still images directly to Memory Stick Duo media while recording video in high definition.


The tapes are quite small, as I mentioned they are dirt cheap. Looking at my favorite place to buy A/V equipment you looking at about $75 for one 16GB card. Flash cards or something else will replace tape at some point but not until the prices come way down. Even if you could buy a cam with a flash card or HD that records in a standard format you are really limiting the amount of video you can take. This won't be an issue if you lug around a laptop with you but that pretty much defeats the purpose.


My only thing really against tapes are that they are tapes. It's one thing to use tapes for backing up you computer system, but like any tape don't they wear down like the old ones did the more the are used and recorded over? Over time that would degrade the quality of the recorded material. Unless the newer tapes are read with a laser and not making contact with a reading device? I don't know much about the newest tapes out there.


Also note that in order to record in HD you do need an HD recorder. DVD's are not in HD.
Adamiscold
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Chubby Sr. Old School

Re: Digital or DVD Camcorder

PostBy: Richard S. On: Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:12 am

Adamiscold wrote:For the Sony HDR-SR11 it records Standard definition in MPEG2 while recording HD in MPEG-4 AVC/H.264. The 60gb hard drive will record between 7-23 hours depending on the video setting.


MPEG2 is what is used on DVD, typically a Hollywood movie is encoded at 6000kbps and this is generally the bare minimum you'd want to use for any home footage. However for family footage I'd suggest giving 8000kbps. Rounded out you'll need about 4.5 gigs for 1 hour of 8000kbps footage or 1.5 hours of 6000kbps footage. At 8000kbps you could get a little over 13 hours on that hard drive. the issue is you're dealing with MPEG2. If you want to edit this footage their is a learning curve to do it properly and you need the right software. Coincidentally both of the Ulead products I mentioned above are suitable for editing MPEG, both of these will only reencode parts you have edited to prevent degradation of the video. If you just want to get the video to disc and utmost quality is not a concern then go for it. Keep in mind you're still going to have to pay for something to store the video on because you can't leave it on the cam. IMHO DVD is not suitable format for archiving and just about anybody that knows there stuff is going to tell you that.

I'm not trying to steer anyone away from buying one but just laying down some facts you should be aware of. If you want simple and easy then hard disk is a very nice option. The point is you're giving up a lot for that convenience. There's an old post where I go into detail here with screencaps, if you want to see what some premium DV looks like download the 30MB file. AVI-DV to MPEG vs. MPEG to MPEG

Adamiscold wrote:so there are some devices out there recording to flash cards even though this is still just a camera.


Edit: Note this portion is in reference to still cams. Yes and they have been for a while but I haven't seen one yet that records in standard DVD format. The max resolution is usually 640X480 or something smaller. The video on these types of cams is usually a very compressed format. TheDVD standard calls for 720X480 or the next one down at 352x480. If you scale up this introduces a lot of artifacts, scale down and you lose detail. Throw in the highly compressed video which can be a nightmare for an amateur to navigate and your resultant DVD looks like *censored*. :P It will look great on computer.

Adamiscold wrote:Sony's DCR-SR220


I think it's important that we separate the types of cams we're are talking about here That's an HD cam as would the Sony above if you used the AVC mode. Another standard is HDV which is used for cams that record to tape... See here: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/ou/are-avchd- ... hd-lie/998

Tape wins even in the HD arena. :P Just to add the consumer market for HD cams are still in their infancy as is the software. I wouldn't be jumping on that ship just yet. To quote a poster signature from videohelp.com "If you want to go bald try editing HD video" Matter fact since DV has matured so much you can get some really good deals on very good equipment. It's not going to have the resolution of HD but a DVD encoded correctly from really good source material can look outstanding on a HD screen.

Adamiscold wrote:My only thing really against tapes are that they are tapes.


I don't have any exact numbers but DV was introduced in 1995, there is no wide spread reports of tape failures yet. It's a proven reliable format. Of course proper storage is important and certainly excessive use would cause problems. I take a simple approach to this but it costs a little bit. I only use a tape once, all the footage I take is important to me. The tape gets rewound, I then transfer to a external drive and rewind it again. The drives stay here at my house for easy access and I store the tapes at a relatives house. This insures I have a backup in case of fire etc.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Digital or DVD Camcorder

PostBy: Adamiscold On: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:18 am

Good stuff Richard, lots of great information.
Adamiscold
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Chubby Sr. Old School

Re: Digital or DVD Camcorder

PostBy: Richard S. On: Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:58 pm

I'll have to admit I haven't looked at whats available in a while, the hard drive cams came on the market a while ago but they had very limited storage and were very expensive. They appear to be becoming an alternative because they can make the storage capacity cheap enough. The cams using flash are still way too expensive for storage. The cards they use were well over $100 for 16GB. Once you get one hour of footage you either need to transfer it off the card to computer or get another $100 card. The flash card or something similar will be the storage format of tomorrow for cams but the prices have to drop a lot before that will become a reality.

If I were to purchase a HD cam at his point I'd still be in the market for one that records to tape. I didn't see any that recorded HDV to hard drive.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite