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DVD camcorder or MiniDV?

 
 
Bill
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      10-23-2004
Hello

I am in the market for a family-oriented (vacations, birthday parties,
etc) Camcorder and am looking for input on whether DVD or MiniDV is
the better option.

I WILL be doing video editing on the home computer. In addition, I am
looking for the longest battery life possible.

Budget is no more than $800 for the camera itself.

A quick look at the top sellers for both are

(DVD) Sony DCR-DVD201

(MiniDV) Sony DCR-HC20/HC40

any info is appreciated

thanks
 
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Smarty
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      10-23-2004
Bill,

If your home computer is up to the task (and this is a big if which I will
expand upon below), I would opt for the DV tape format rather than record
directly onto disk. My reasoning is as follows:

1. The mpeg2 encoders found in DVD camcorders which do real-time encoding to
the disk are generally weak, leaving artifacts which become especially
apparent when you use the longer recording times.

2. The inherent recording capacity of a miniDV tape is nominally 10 times as
great as that of a mini DVD disk used in the DVD camcorders, thus capturing
considerably more raw detail on the tape.

3. The minDV tape is ultimately more precisely edited, since it contains far
less compressed video and has a linear format with respect to time base.
This makes for extremely precise edits and lessens the opportunity for time
base issues like lip synch errors to appear later in the editing process.

4. The media (miniDV tape) is less expensive.

5. The miniDV camcorders and tapes have been around for nearly a decade and
are reliable and very mature. The camcorders themselves typically have more
features per dollar than the DVD style and there are a wider variety offered
as well.

Having made these points (and there are certainly good arguments to be made
for the opposing choice as well), I want to briefly qualify the editing
computer issue mentioned above.

Your home computer, in order to do good editing on miniDV (tapes) which
contain avi files, requires quite a bit of disk space for editing, typically
50 to 100 GB would be recommended at a minimum, since these files are about
22 GB per hour of recording. The home computer needs a fast processor (at
least a couple gigahertz), a half a gig of RAM or more, and a relative;y
fast I/O capability. The editing software for doing avi editing is extremely
mature and stable, and ranges from shareware to some very nice high end
predicts costing hundreds or even thousands. This format is, after all, what
professionals use rather than editing mpeg2 files directly off a DVD.

I and others would be glad to elaborate and help you make specific editing
and authoring choices when you get to that stage.

One final caution..........if you are someone looking for fast, simple, and
basic........and are not really anxious to get into the more complex
computer and editing approach I am proposing, then I would look for a simple
DVD camcorder with the approach that a little editing on the computer and
within the camcorder may be enough.

Also....as regards camcorders in general......I have personally owned many
over the years and keep coming back to Sony brand stuff despite occasional
Canon, Panasonic, and other alternatives. I am not surprised that Sony still
has "top selling" status in these areas based on your comment, and would buy
another Sony without hesitation. Now if they would just drop the price of
their new HD camcorder from $3700 a wee bit..............

Smarty


"Bill" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) om...
> Hello
>
> I am in the market for a family-oriented (vacations, birthday parties,
> etc) Camcorder and am looking for input on whether DVD or MiniDV is
> the better option.
>
> I WILL be doing video editing on the home computer. In addition, I am
> looking for the longest battery life possible.
>
> Budget is no more than $800 for the camera itself.
>
> A quick look at the top sellers for both are
>
> (DVD) Sony DCR-DVD201
>
> (MiniDV) Sony DCR-HC20/HC40
>
> any info is appreciated
>
> thanks



 
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Bailey Savings & Loan
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-23-2004
If you plan on editing your video on a computer, go with mini-DV. If you just
want disks to play on your TV, and that is all you are ever going to do with
your video, the disk is probably OK. It isn't like you can't edit these disks,
but like someone else says, the on-the-fly MPEG2 encoders of these DVD
camcorders is certainly not as clean as mini-DV.

"Bill" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) om...
> Hello
>
> I am in the market for a family-oriented (vacations, birthday parties,
> etc) Camcorder and am looking for input on whether DVD or MiniDV is
> the better option.
>
> I WILL be doing video editing on the home computer. In addition, I am
> looking for the longest battery life possible.
>
> Budget is no more than $800 for the camera itself.
>
> A quick look at the top sellers for both are
>
> (DVD) Sony DCR-DVD201
>
> (MiniDV) Sony DCR-HC20/HC40
>
> any info is appreciated
>
> thanks



 
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Ed Anson
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-23-2004
Smarty wrote:
> Bill,
>

<snip>
> Your home computer, in order to do good editing on miniDV (tapes) which
> contain avi files, requires quite a bit of disk space for editing, typically
> 50 to 100 GB would be recommended at a minimum, since these files are about
> 22 GB per hour of recording. The home computer needs a fast processor (at
> least a couple gigahertz), a half a gig of RAM or more, and a relative;y
> fast I/O capability. The editing software for doing avi editing is extremely
> mature and stable, and ranges from shareware to some very nice high end
> predicts costing hundreds or even thousands. This format is, after all, what
> professionals use rather than editing mpeg2 files directly off a DVD.


Although these are good recommendations for a video editing system, they
are by no means the minimum requirements. For example, I started out
serious video editing with an 800 MHz cpu and only 256 MB RAM. Of
course, I have a much more capable system now, and that speeds up the
job of editing quite a bit.

The only performance requirement you really need to be concerned about
is your hard drive. Check the required drive rotational speed and
transfer rate for the software you will use. [That info is available
from a variety of web sites.] If you have a fairly new desktop computer,
you probably needn't worry, but some laptops and older computers aren't
up to the task.

BTW: A miniDV tape contains a DV data stream, not avi files. If you
capture the data to a Windows computer, you will most likely store it in
an avi file. Other platforms use different file types. But you don't
need to worry about that.
 
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AnthonyR
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      10-23-2004

"Ed Anson" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> Smarty wrote:
>> Bill,

> BTW: A miniDV tape contains a DV data stream, not avi files. If you
> capture the data to a Windows computer, you will most likely store it in
> an avi file. Other platforms use different file types. But you don't need
> to worry about that.


Ed,
Are you positive about this? Because reading this forum for a long time, I
see many posts about this subject and most come to the consensus that when
you capture with a 1394 dv card, you aren't really capturing, more like just
transferring the already digital dv-avi signal from tape to the HD for
editing. The actual capturing encoding is done by the camera chips during
the initial recording to tape. There is no further converting done when
capturing( really transferring) to the hard drive.
But I am only going by the threads I've read on here in the past.

AnthonyR.



 
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Roman Svihorik
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-23-2004
Anthony, I would support you - FireWire just transfers video data so it
must be avi format on the tape.
Roman

AnthonyR wrote:

> Because reading this forum for a long time, I
> see many posts about this subject and most come to the consensus that when
> you capture with a 1394 dv card, you aren't really capturing, more like just
> transferring the already digital dv-avi signal from tape to the HD for
> editing.

 
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TigerMan
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-23-2004
I agree with you Anthony, it is done at the camera and simply transferred
across to the computer.

"AnthonyR" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:KTyed.33474$(E-Mail Removed)...
>
> "Ed Anson" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:(E-Mail Removed)...
>> Smarty wrote:
>>> Bill,

>> BTW: A miniDV tape contains a DV data stream, not avi files. If you
>> capture the data to a Windows computer, you will most likely store it in
>> an avi file. Other platforms use different file types. But you don't need
>> to worry about that.

>
> Ed,
> Are you positive about this? Because reading this forum for a long time, I
> see many posts about this subject and most come to the consensus that when
> you capture with a 1394 dv card, you aren't really capturing, more like
> just transferring the already digital dv-avi signal from tape to the HD
> for editing. The actual capturing encoding is done by the camera chips
> during the initial recording to tape. There is no further converting done
> when capturing( really transferring) to the hard drive.
> But I am only going by the threads I've read on here in the past.
>
> AnthonyR.
>
>
>



 
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TigerMan
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-23-2004
Mini DV is better quality than MPEG2. the better quality the master is the
better and correct me if I am wrong that mini dv edits with little or no
loss. there are mpeg2 editors that retain un-edited portions. mini dv is
more precise at cutting

"Bill" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) om...
> Hello
>
> I am in the market for a family-oriented (vacations, birthday parties,
> etc) Camcorder and am looking for input on whether DVD or MiniDV is
> the better option.
>
> I WILL be doing video editing on the home computer. In addition, I am
> looking for the longest battery life possible.
>
> Budget is no more than $800 for the camera itself.
>
> A quick look at the top sellers for both are
>
> (DVD) Sony DCR-DVD201
>
> (MiniDV) Sony DCR-HC20/HC40
>
> any info is appreciated
>
> thanks



 
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luminos
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-23-2004

"TigerMan" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:417ac6f4$0$10351$(E-Mail Removed) u...
> Mini DV is better quality than MPEG2. the better quality the master is the
> better and correct me if I am wrong that mini dv edits with little or no
> loss. there are mpeg2 editors that retain un-edited portions. mini dv is
> more precise at cutting



This is generally true, however, some of the newer Mpeg2 editors are frame
accurate: They expand and rewrite the frames of I , B, P in software.


 
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nerdz_r_us
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-23-2004
Hi Bill;

I am not one of the experts here, not by a long shot. I want to get that
straight. That being said, I was just in the same situation as you. I wanted
to get a camcorder for family oriented home movies to send back home. I went
to several stores and asked that almighty question "which is better.. miniDV
or digital tape?" The question they put back to me was "how much editing are
you going to be doing on your computer?". I was told that miniDV captures in
mpeg while tape captures in AVI and mpeg is very limited to how much editing
you can do to it. Since I wanted to do more than just add credits and a menu
I choose the digital tape. It was that simple for me.

As for the camera? I was tossing up between the Canon and the Sony. I have
owned a couple Sony Hi8 before and was very pleased but the Canon was on
special. I think I should have stayed with the Sony but in the end I took
the better deal Canon. To be honest, I have had no problems with the Canon
so far and am quite pleased. Mind you, this is just your typical family
birthdays, plays, home movies with the kids as stars kinda deal. Nothing
special.

Hope that helped.

Paul

"Bailey Savings & Loan" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
newsuwed.294658$MQ5.87014@attbi_s52...
> If you plan on editing your video on a computer, go with mini-DV. If you

just
> want disks to play on your TV, and that is all you are ever going to do

with
> your video, the disk is probably OK. It isn't like you can't edit these

disks,
> but like someone else says, the on-the-fly MPEG2 encoders of these DVD
> camcorders is certainly not as clean as mini-DV.
>
> "Bill" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:(E-Mail Removed) om...
> > Hello
> >
> > I am in the market for a family-oriented (vacations, birthday parties,
> > etc) Camcorder and am looking for input on whether DVD or MiniDV is
> > the better option.
> >
> > I WILL be doing video editing on the home computer. In addition, I am
> > looking for the longest battery life possible.
> >
> > Budget is no more than $800 for the camera itself.
> >
> > A quick look at the top sellers for both are
> >
> > (DVD) Sony DCR-DVD201
> >
> > (MiniDV) Sony DCR-HC20/HC40
> >
> > any info is appreciated
> >
> > thanks

>
>



 
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