DVD camcorders vs tape camcorders

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by L. P. LePage, Sep 16, 2003.

  1. L. P. LePage

    L. P. LePage Guest

    Mpeg-1 and mpeg-2 are "more" lossy than DV
    How much more is a matter of preferance of the viewer.
    Mpeg-2 is also harder to edit.(I'm told) because of the way it compresses
    the video.
    DVD-RAM is a more "data" oriented recording media IE it has parity and other
    things to make data more reliable.
    DVD-RAM is also by design rewritable.
    My sugestion would be to wait, but I'm very cautious. If you can't wait buy
    the one you like the best.(VIDEO QUALITY)
    L. P. LePage, Sep 16, 2003
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  2. L. P. LePage

    dvdfred Guest

    I am thinking of purchasing a DVD camcorder and I am looking at either the
    Panasonic DVD camcorder VDR-M30, or the Sony DCR-DVD200. I am interested to
    know whether these DVD camcorders are capable of producing as good a picture
    as tape-based camcorders.

    I have read that DVD camcorders record in MPEG2 and that miniDV camcorders
    record in DV25. Panasonic's camera has the advantage that it can record on
    mini DVD double sided RAM discs (2.8 GB), but the Sony DVD camcorder can
    record only on 1.4 GB DVD-R or DVD-RW mini DVDs. I have read that a one-hour
    mini-DV tape holds 13GB of data, so does this mean that the picture quality
    of tape camcorders is better than that of DVD camcorders that have a maximum
    of only 2.8GB available for a 1-hour recording?

    I have also read that editing MPEG2 is relatively difficult. Do the DVD
    camcorders above allow firewire transfers to a computer so that editing can
    be done in a program such as Studio 8? Is editing with MPEG2 really more
    difficult than with DV25 from tapes?

    Can anyone who has used a DVD camcorder also please give me their opinions
    on the picture quality and editing ability of DVD camcorders. Is it really
    too early to buy a DVD camcorder, is the technology reliable? I have heard
    that mini DVD discs can lose data if stored at 60 degrees, is this true?

    One other question, do DVD RAM discs provide a better picture than DVD-RW
    discs? It's a pity that Sony products, for example, don't record on DVD RAM

    Thanks very much for your help.

    dvdfred, Sep 16, 2003
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  3. L. P. LePage

    Kevin Guest

    What drives me away is cost. The little DVD-R's and DVD-RAMs cost WAY
    more than miniDV tapes, which I already think are expensive. I'd rather just
    burn to DVD on my computer onto $1 DVD-R's.
    Kevin, Sep 16, 2003
  4. L. P. LePage

    dvdfred Guest

    Thanks for your reply. I thought a DVD camcorder might be a
    good idea after having had a tape jam in my Sony TRV 11E. This
    camcorder also produced garbled sound and jerky pictures even
    though there was no warning from the camcorder itself that
    something was wrong. This shows the need to have two
    cameras rolling if you are filming a wedding or some other
    non-repeatable event! I found this Sony camcorder was also
    quite susceptible to moisture problems, particularly
    when the camera was used on cold evenings. I thought a DVD
    camcorder might overcome these problems!

    In a review of the new Sony DVD camcorders:

    DCR-DVD100; DCR-DVD200; DCR-DVD300

    it was stated that: "As the video format for DVD is MPEG-2
    rather than the DV stream format used by most digital video
    editing applications, legions of iMovie users are excluded from
    editing footage captured on these DVD camcorders because of
    the lack of a FireWire (iLink) interface, but Windows Movie
    Maker users are also excluded because Movie Maker can't
    import the MPEG-2 format."

    see: http://www.masterdvd.com/sony-dvd-handycam.html

    However, it must be possible to copy from a DVD camcorder
    to DV tape, and then import the video into a program such
    as Studio 8? The sales literature for the Panasonic VDR-M30
    emphasises that you do not need a PC to edit the video because
    "you can select the scenes you've shot onto a disc and arrange
    them to play back in any order you want. You can create your
    own scenarios, and then save them into a playlist with seamless
    transitions between scenes."

    However, it is good to work with more advanced editing
    programs that can add music and create DVD menus etc.

    dvdfred, Sep 17, 2003
  5. L. P. LePage

    Dan Maas Guest

    I would avoid DVD camcorders if you have any intention of editing the
    video at all. MiniDV is much more standard and is a known quantity.
    You could dub the DVD to MiniDV, but you'd lose some video quality.
    Better to start out on MiniDV and then author your own DVD after

    I would only recommend a DVD camcorder for someone without a computer
    or who has no interest in learning how to edit video or author DVDs.

    Dan Maas, Sep 17, 2003
  6. L. P. LePage

    dvdfred Guest

    Thanks Dan for these comments. I think the main issues with most camcorders
    are the quality of the video, the weight of the camera, and the low light
    capability. There are some quite full specifications for a DVD-RAM camcorder


    These specifications are for the Hitachi DZMV-350.

    When recording on to DVD RAM, you get approx. 20 minutes in "extra fine
    quality mode" on a single sided DVD. The video quality is described as 704 x
    480 (3-10Mbps VBR). VBR stands for variable bit rate.

    If you use "fine" quality mode, you get approx 30 minutes on either a DVD
    RAM or a DVD-R. The video quality is described as 704 x 480 6Mbps CBR). CBR
    stands for constant bit rate.

    Can anyone tell me whether the "extra fine" and "fine" modes described above
    would provide good quality video? Would the quality be as good, or nearly as
    good as the best settings that can be obtained from miniDV with a camera
    that costs less than US$1,000?

    Unfortunately, the specifications do not say what the minimum required
    illumination for this camera is, but it has a F1.8 lens. Does anyone know
    the minimum required illumination in LUX for this camera? The weight of the
    camera is 565g, including the battery and the disc, so it is a reasonably
    light-weight camera.

    Thanks for your help.

    dvdfred, Sep 19, 2003
  7. L. P. LePage

    dvdfred Guest

    Thanks Kevin for this reply. However, you can use the same discs hundreds of
    times (100,000 times in the case of DVD-RAM discs), so the idea is to
    purchase about 6 mini DVD-RAM discs, and copy from these on to your DVD-R's.
    The 6 mini DVD-RAM discs will then last you a lifetime, but with a tape
    system, you need to buy fresh tapes as soon as one has been used. I don't
    like recording on tapes more than once, and at most, about 3 or 4 times. I
    transfer all my tapes onto DVD+RW discs as soon as I have finished

    Note that, when using double-sided DVD-RAM discs, after filling up the first
    side, the discs must be removed and turned over manually when you want to
    record on the second side. This is important because it means that the
    maximum length of recording you can get at the highest video quality is only
    20 or 30 minutes, after which you need to either insert a new disc, or turn
    over the DVD RAM disc.

    dvdfred, Sep 19, 2003
  8. Well, that's your choice, but it's the wrong one. This isn't an analog tape
    and to accept lower quality just because it's dvd-ram instead of tape is
    going to result in less, not more.
    Jason O'Rourke, Sep 19, 2003
  9. L. P. LePage

    psandiford Guest

    dvdfred, my decision tree would have 2 branches: immediate delivery
    vs. editing. A DVD-corder is ok if you want to stream/progressive
    download "out of the camera" (though the file is still large). But it
    records in a lossy format that isn't friendly with many NLEs. It will
    really limit your choices if you want to edit for a living.

    On the other hand, DV format WILL go into your NLE and have far less
    loss (transparent to most NTSC clients). But it requires processing
    if you have to wire the product back to your client ASAP.

    You've been given some good insight by these other posters, I'd listen
    to them carefully before deciding.
    psandiford, Sep 19, 2003
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