DVD camcorder or MiniDV?

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by Bill, Oct 23, 2004.

  1. Bill

    Bill Guest

    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
     
    Bill, Oct 23, 2004
    #1
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  2. Bill

    Smarty Guest

    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" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > 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
     
    Smarty, Oct 23, 2004
    #2
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  3. 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" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > 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
     
    Bailey Savings & Loan, Oct 23, 2004
    #3
  4. Bill

    Ed Anson Guest

    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.
     
    Ed Anson, Oct 23, 2004
    #4
  5. Bill

    AnthonyR Guest

    "Ed Anson" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > 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.
     
    AnthonyR, Oct 23, 2004
    #5
  6. 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.
     
    Roman Svihorik, Oct 23, 2004
    #6
  7. Bill

    TigerMan Guest

    I agree with you Anthony, it is done at the camera and simply transferred
    across to the computer.

    "AnthonyR" <> wrote in message
    news:KTyed.33474$...
    >
    > "Ed Anson" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> 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.
    >
    >
    >
     
    TigerMan, Oct 23, 2004
    #7
  8. Bill

    TigerMan Guest

    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" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > 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
     
    TigerMan, Oct 23, 2004
    #8
  9. Bill

    luminos Guest

    "TigerMan" <> wrote in message
    news:417ac6f4$0$10351$...
    > 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.
     
    luminos, Oct 23, 2004
    #9
  10. Bill

    nerdz_r_us Guest

    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" <> wrote in message
    news:puwed.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" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    > > 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

    >
    >
     
    nerdz_r_us, Oct 23, 2004
    #10
  11. Bill

    TigerMan Guest

    which mpeg2 editors can do that?

    "luminos" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > "TigerMan" <> wrote in message
    > news:417ac6f4$0$10351$...
    >> 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.
    >
    >
     
    TigerMan, Oct 23, 2004
    #11
  12. My question is: do these DVD camcorders till have firewire input/output like
    mini-DV camcorders?

    If they do have firewire, editing video might not be too bad. Quality would
    probably not be as good as straight mini-DV format, but certainly acceptable for
    many people. If these camcorders lack firewire input/output, I would for sure go
    with mini-DV.
     
    Bailey Savings & Loan, Oct 23, 2004
    #12
  13. Bill

    luminos Guest

    The camcorder mentioned by the OP uses USB2.

    "Bailey Savings & Loan" <> wrote in message
    news:x_zed.519902$8_6.501618@attbi_s04...
    > My question is: do these DVD camcorders till have firewire input/output
    > like mini-DV camcorders?
    >
    > If they do have firewire, editing video might not be too bad. Quality
    > would probably not be as good as straight mini-DV format, but certainly
    > acceptable for many people. If these camcorders lack firewire
    > input/output, I would for sure go with mini-DV.
    >
    >
    >
     
    luminos, Oct 23, 2004
    #13
  14. Bill

    luminos Guest

    luminos, Oct 23, 2004
    #14
  15. Bill

    Guest

    In rec.video.production Smarty <> wrote:
    : 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,

    I have only 256Mb memory and 1.4GHz processor. I use Vegas-Video,
    VirtualDub, TMPGE, DVD-Lab, Dynapel, CoolEdit, NTrack, and other
    software with no problems. However, I don't even want to talk
    about disk space. :)

    Scott
     
    , Oct 23, 2004
    #15
  16. "luminos" wrote ...
    > The camcorder mentioned by the OP uses USB2.


    Many (most?) camcorders have USB (1 or 2) for transferring
    still pictures. Doesn't preclude using Firewire for transfer of
    full-frame full-speed video (such as DV).

    We're still waiting for a list of camcorders that use USB2
    for transfer of DV video. So far, the list is empty.
     
    Richard Crowley, Oct 23, 2004
    #16
  17. Bill

    TigerMan Guest

    TigerMan, Oct 23, 2004
    #17
  18. Bill

    AnthonyR Guest

    "nerdz_r_us" <> wrote in message
    news:417aca4c$0$14204$...
    > 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?"


    Bill, just to interject here...I assume you mean miniDVD as opposed to
    digital tape, right?
    Because miniDV is digital tape, so that might confuse people.

    miniDV (digital tape) is different from miniDVD, these companies don't make
    it easy, do they?
    LOL

    AnthonyR.
     
    AnthonyR, Oct 23, 2004
    #18
  19. Bill

    AnthonyR Guest

    "TigerMan" <> wrote in message
    news:417acafc$0$11774$...
    > which mpeg2 editors can do that?
    >
    > "luminos" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >>
    >> "TigerMan" <> wrote in message
    >> news:417ac6f4$0$10351$...
    >>> 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.
    >>
    >>

    >
    >


    I just tried the new Main Concept MPEG PRO Plug v.1.04 in for Premiere Pro,
    it's amazing!
    It allows you to do frame accurate editing on all types of Mpeg files right
    on the timeline, just like it's dv-avi.

    But please don't confuse this with the regular, Main Concept Mpeg Plug in
    encoder which is just used for encoding the final output to mpeg video from
    the timeline, the 2 products are similarly named and can be confused!
    It's the $250 Plug in, I am talking about, or more for the HD Version.
    There is a demo on their site, it is amazing the editing ability of mpeg in
    premiere pro, to bad adobe doesn't include this, maybe in the next upgrade?
    Here is the link:
    http://www.mainconcept.com/mpeg_pro.shtml#standard

    and demo link:
    http://downloads.mainconcept.com/fdl.php?downloads.mainconcept.com MPEGProv1.0.4 mpegprov1.0.4.exe

    this has changed how I think about editing in mpeg in Premiere, in fact with
    this plug in you can capture directly to Premiere Pro in Mpeg2 from a dv
    camcorder or a miniDVD camcorder, and edit in Mpeg2 on the timeline and it
    will only render the changes with smart rendering to preserve the quality
    and save much time.
    Too bad it costs so much as a plug in, plus the price of Premiere pro, but I
    suspect with the new Liquid Edition 6 doing native frame accurate mpeg
    editing now, that this will become more common.

    AnthonyR.
     
    AnthonyR, Oct 23, 2004
    #19
  20. Bill

    Ed Anson Guest

    AnthonyR wrote:
    > "Ed Anson" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >
    >>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.


    Yes, I'm positive about this. You are correct when you say that the
    conversion to digital form is done in the DV camera. You are also
    correct when you say that the FireWire just transfers the digital
    stream. However, that doesn't mean that the data are stored as AVI files
    on the tape.

    A DV tape does not have a file structure as such. It simply stores a DV
    data stream. AVI is one of several file types that can be used to store
    the digital data. I happen to use QuickTime files. Both file types store
    the same DV data, and differ only in how it is "wrapped" by the file
    format. Both file types can also store different video encodings, but
    that's another story.

    But (as I said before) this isn't terribly important. Just use whatever
    file format your software creates and consumes.


    >
    > AnthonyR.
    >
    >
    >
     
    Ed Anson, Oct 23, 2004
    #20
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