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Tech Tips

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Tech Tips: Help with filming

Panasonic Camcorders

Sony Cameras

Canon Camcorders

Canon DSLR Camera

 4K camcorders

Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera

This is a high-end model aimed at intermediate and experienced photographers. A digital SLR camera often is called a DSLR. These cameras are professional-style cameras.

They offer interchangeable lenses, full manual controls, external flash units, and through-the-lens (TTL) viewfinders.

They're large models and they closely resemble the 35mm film cameras that were popular several years ago, with handgrips and large lens housings.

A digital camera model that looks like an SLR, but that doesn't offer a TTL viewfinder or interchangeable lenses, is called an DSLR-style camera or a fixed lens camera. A new classification for interchangeable lens cameras, called DIL or EVIL, makes use of a mirror-less design. Such cameras technically are not DSLR cameras.

Wanting to video on a digital camera?

Many digital still cameras do not allow you to "zoom" while you're shooting video. If this is really important to you, you'll have to search for a model with this feature, or you may want to go with a digital camcorder, which is dedicated to video.

Secondly, some digital still cameras limit the resolution or frame speed of their video capabilities, but they advertise the maximum measurements, which may not actually work together under real-world conditions.  Be certain to dig through the specifications for any camera your considering and make sure it can shoot at both the maximum resolution and frame speed you want.

Finally, it's very difficult to gain a feel for the audio capabilities of a digital still camera. Audio capabilities are not measured and listed in the specifications as are video capabilities. Again, a digital camcorder almost certainly will provide higher quality audio than a digital still camera.

High definition (HD)

Camcorders are a natural fit for the growing number of HDTVs in living rooms across the country. Prices on HD camcorders continue to drop, while more and more camcorder manufacturers are expanding the number of HD models they carry.

Much like televisions, the difference between standard definition and HD camcorders is the video resolution. The video you see on your television or computer screen is made up of hundreds of different lines. Standard definition video will have 480 horizontal lines of resolution whereas high-definition video can have up to 1,080. The more lines of resolution you have, the sharper your video will look.

There are three main resolutions of HD video available: 1080p, 1080i, and 720p.

The main difference between the three is how they record video. The “p” at the end of 1080p and 720p stands for "progressive scan." The “i” at the end of 1080i stands for interlaced.

Interlaced Video: Typical standard definition video is interlaced video, as is 1080i. In interlaced video, your camcorder will record every other line of resolution. It would start by showing lines one, three and five and then follow later with lines two, four, and six.

Progressive Scan Video: Progressive scan video records each line of video in order without skipping any lines. So it would start first with line one and work its way all the way to line 1080. Progressive scan video typically looks better than its interlaced counterpart with fast-motion video (like sports).

Full HD is a marketing term that refers to camcorders that record in 1920 x 1080 resolution. In general, you’ll get sharper video from camcorders that record at 1920 x 1080 than you would from a 720p model.

AVCHD refers to high definition video format used by Sony, Panasonic and Canon, among others. It's a way to compress and save high definition video onto digital storage media like hard disk drives and flash memory cards.


Video Formats

DV & HDV The DV format was designed to store digital video onto magnetic tape. HDV refers to the high definition version of the DV format. DV and HDV files are very memory intensive but produce high quality video.  Given the drop in tape-based camcorder sales, fewer consumers need to worry about DV and HDV, but it does remain popular among enthusiasts.

MPEG-2: Many standard definition camcorders record in MPEG-2. It's also used in high definition camcorders, although not as often. It's a very high quality digital format, the same used in the DVD movies produced by Hollywood studios. That gives MPEG-2 based camcorders a nice advantage over other formats: the video is easily burned to a DVD and most computer media players (like Apple QuickTime and Windows Media Player) support MPEG-2 playback.

MPEG-2 is more commonly found in traditional camcorders that are pricier and higher quality than pocket camcorder models. This is, in part, because MPEG-2 video files are larger in size than other formats and thus not as easy to upload to the Web or send in an email. If you're more interested in viewing high quality, standard definition camcorder footage on a TV, an MPEG-2-based model is a fine choice.

MPEG-4/H.264:Found on most pocket camcorders like the Flip and in many higher-end HD camcorders, MPEG-4/H.264 is actually a very broad family of different formats supporting both standard and high definition video recording. There are several virtues to H.264: it can record very high quality video yet compress it in such a way so as not to consume too much memory. Camcorder makers use the H.264 if they want to offer a "Web-friendly" video product.

AVCHD: A variant of the H.264 format, this is a high definition video file format found on most Canon, Sony, and Panasonic HD camcorders (other manufacturers support it as well). AVCHD camcorders can capture very high quality video and they can also burn HD video to a standard DVD disc, which can be played back on a Blu-ray disc player.

How Do You Know What Format a Camcorder Has?                                       

Since this is a fairly technical element in your camcorder, it's typically not advertised all that prominently. Nevertheless, all camcorders will indicate what format they use in the official specifications. If you already own a camcorder and are curious what type of format it has, check the manual.


4K  Camcorders have arrived

Now high definition content has become a standard for consumers , just imagine how demanding video resolution requirements are in the field of professional videography. Well, to some, video cameras that shoot in full HD may still suffice; however, with the advent of 4K professional video cameras, others may not think the same anymore.

 4K refers to one of two high definition resolutions: 3840 x 2160 pixels or 4096 x 2160 pixels. 4K is four times the pixel resolution, or twice the line resolution (2160p), of 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels) that is one of the main current consumer high definition resolution standards. The other high definition resolutions currently is use are 720p and 1080i. 4K is now officially designated for consumer products as Ultra HD or UHD, but is also referred to at times, such as in professional or commercial settings as Ultra High Definition, 4K x 2K, or Quad High Definition.

Filming in 4K and downloading in HD will give you a superior picture. The main advantage of recording video at the 4K standard is that fine detail is resolved well. This contrasts with 2K resolutions in which fine detail in hair is displayed poorly. If the final video quality is reduced to 2K from a 4K recording more detail is apparent than would have been achieved from a 2K recording. Increased fineness and contrast is then possible with output to DVD and Blu-ray.

The selection of video and digital still cameras capable of capturing 4K video is growing. Memory cards which read and write at fast speeds will be a must letting users record more video without changing cards and lets photographers shoot high density image files, such as RAW or JPEG, without running out of space.

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