Digital video: Background and purchasing decisions
This page was written by Christopher Spry and last updated on 2 December 2009. It discusses the options I considered in 2001 before selecting the digital video camera, computer hardware and software that I now use to make digital video films. I have updated sections on background information. Please let me know about errors or omissions.
I am an amateur photographer and videographer. I began to take silver halide photographs in 1957 and analogue video in 1995. In 1999, I became interested in making digital video movies and still pictures. I wanted to be able to edit digital video on a personal computer, then store and output digital video film to either television, printed medium, CD-ROM or web servers. While searching for suitable information, I came across many useful web pages of information and advice on these complex and rapidly-moving topics. If you have similar interests, you may find some of the information and links useful. Note that my brief survey has not included non-PC computing hardware platforms, such as Apple and SGI computers, which are covered extensively on other sites. The camera equipment, PC computer hardware and editing software that I finally put together in January 2001 and updated later, are listed below. See also my second video page on 'Digital video: Editing'.
- 1. Background information
- 2. DV camcorders
- 3. Video tapes
- 4. Surveillance video cameras
- 5. DV camcorders and still pictures
- 6. Microphones and sound recording equipment
- 7. Filters and lenses
- 8. Lights and lighting
- 9. Tripods, trolleys, booms etc.
- 10. DV capture cards and devices with editing (NLE) software
- 11. IEEE-1394 PC connection cards without (NLE) software
- 12. Analogue/digital conversion
- 13. Video compression
- 14. Video disk array hardware
- 15. Non-linear editing (NLE) software
- 16. Computer video graphics cards that support two monitors
- 17. Preview monitors, including 'vector scope' and 'waveform' monitors
- 18. Digital video recorders (VCRs)
- 19. Retailers of video equipment and software
- 20. Books, magazines and journals
- 21. Digital video production companies
- 22. The camera, hardware and editing resources I have bought
A few years ago, video camera only recorded in analogue video formats. Now, analogue formats are being replaced by digital video formats. Digital video is usually recorded into 'avi', MJPEG', QuickTime and other types of digital video format, so that it can be stored on computers, sent over the Internet or viewed directly on computer monitors or TV sets. Another major benefit of digital video is that it can be edited on computers and copied repeatedly without loss of picture or sound quality. However, until digital television and digital computer monitors become more generally available, analogue devices (usually a standard TV with or without a VCR) will generally still be used to view digital video. But this creates problems, as there are several different analogue TV video formats, including NTSC and PAL, to be considered. In addition, TVs and computer monitors differ in the way that they present video (gamma values), so digital video that looks right on one type of display, may appear wrong on another.
Note added 02/12/2009: Since this review was written eight years ago, there have been great steps forward in video hardware and software. Digital Photography Review has an excellent 'Beginner's guide to HD video', which was published today, that reviews many of the topics discussed below. It also discusses the new role that 'still' cameras are having in taking video, outlining the benefits and disadvantages of having a single camera to take both still and moving pictures.
Hopefully, the day will come when all images are recorded, edited, stored and played back in standard digital formats and when all display devices use a common digital display standard. Until then, there are selections and compromises to be made because of differences in current video and graphic 'formats'.
Currently, camera equipment, computer capture devices and software are available to
(a) make digital video (DV) movies or clips, using near-broadcast quality DV or HDV camcorders ('camcorder' is another name for 'video camera' and 'palmcorder' refers to the most compact cameras).
(b) transfer the videos to PCs using DV capture cards and
(c) edit video with non-linear editing software (NLE) so that the video can be (1) output to disk, tape or CD-ROM with no loss of sound or video quality from the original recording (2) copied to VHS video tapes for viewing with VCRs and standard TV sets.
- DV cameras record video and compress it 5:1 to ' DV' in either the PAL or the NTSC format, not both (see below).
- There are two common digital video formats, which were originally designed to be used by consumers, called 'DV' and 'Digital8' and two other formats for professional work, which are called 'DVCAM' and 'DVCPRO'. Subsequently, professionals have found 'DV' useful, in addition to their own two formats. 'DV' is the format most commonly used by the general public and it is the one focused on in this review. Note that 'digital video' and 'DV' may not be synonymous.
- A video standard called HDV was announced in September 2003, for viewing on the new high definition TV (HDTV) sets and with professional projectors. There are two forms, interlaced (i) and progressive (p). Sony has selected the HDV 1080i format for consumer, semi-professional and 'prosumer' cameras. The higher-quality HDV 720p standard is selected when video needs to be transferred later to film for professional work. HDCAM is a yet another format with a wider range of recording options than HDV and it is designed for professional use. Nigel Cooper has written a useful 'HDV Professional Product FAQ', summarizing this field. Note that HDV video can only be edited using expensive software and top quality computers, so it remains outside the mainstream non-professional field at present. I have not discussed it further in this guide.
- TVs and VCRs. 'Standard' analogue TVs and VCRs most commonly use either the PAL or NTSC video formats. Some TVs and VCRs are 'Multi System' and have worldwide capability because they are designed to receive signals in more than one standard. Most of these can show NTSC, PAL and other popular transmission formats but their features vary by brand and model and they may not be able to record in the 'opposite' format.
There are two principal analogue transmission video formats in use around the world today:
- National Television Standards Commission (NTSC): This is the transmission standard used in the United States. American televisions are designed to receive signals broadcast in NTSC.
- Phased Alternate Line I (PAL I): This is the transmission standard used in the United Kingdom. British televisions are designed to receive signals broadcast in PAL I.
'DV' can be shown directly on digital television or digital video screens. 'DV' has to be converted into analogue streams for showing on analogue televisions, when it may be in either (a) the 'NTSC' standard, when it is given a timebase' of 29.97 frames per second, 'resolution' of 720 x 480 and 'sampling' of 4:1:1 or (b) the 'PAL' standard, when it is given a 'timebase' of 25 frames per second, 'resolution' of 720 x 576 and 'sampling' of 4:2:0. Fortunately, consumers need not be concerned about these technical details, unless they stray into the world of professional digital videography.
In addition to differences in the format of the video that they receive, TV screens and computer displays also have different gamma values. This is the relationship between numerical pixel value and the amount of light displayed. Video cameras usually have no way to compensate for this difference, to allow the user to select for one or the other. The only way to do this is to set a 'gamma correction' or to alter the 'brighten/contrast' in the computer's video editing software. Of course, if you do this and then send the image back to your camera as a title screen etc., it will now look too bright on a TV screen and vice versa. You can try to adjust the computer monitor to match the TV appearance, which helps somewhat. This issue is discussed in the Beale FAQ. An ideal option, if the output will go finally to TV, is to use a 'true broadcast specification' monitor, rather than a standard computer display, for viewing and editing the video before it is stored for playback. High quality video is also checked with 'Vector scope' and 'Waveform' monitors. These have a setting with 'colour bars' to define the standard output and enable edited to be saved in an optical form.
Converting PAL and NTSC VCRs are available that produce a 'true' conversion of one format to another and the converted signal can be saved to tape. Some cheaper VCRs can output NTSC tapes to a TV in PAL format, but this can not be captured as PAL video because they only create a 525 line\60Hz picture with a PAL type colour subcarrier. Also, note that if you convert from PAL to NTSC the video can ' stutter' due to the extra frames per second. Converting video from NTSC to PAL requires either stretching the frames and the reducing picture quality or adding black bars to the top and bottom of the picture. For these reasons, it is desirable to record to the format they will be output.
Software and hardware can be purchased to convert between PAL and NTSC. Canopus sell hardware to do this. Keene in the UK, sell hardware to convert between the two standards. Often is it best to have the conversion done professionally for small numbers of tapes.
Here are some links with background information on digital video:
- DV 'FAQs', by David H Dennis and Desktop Video. The DV format, by Adam Wilt.
- 'Camcorder Info' links and advice for users.
- Video EFX information at 'Pixelan'.
- Digital Director video editing forums
- How to use Colour Bars
- Directors Guild of America DGA.
- The Desk Top Video Handbook On Line advice on editing by VideoGuys.
- 'pc world' Digital video cameras buying guide.
- Robin's Video and Camcorder Web Site with reviews of camcorders and advice on making videos.
- Usenet newsgroups and discussion groups about video include news:rec.video.desktop, news:rec.video.production, news:rec.video and 'Video University'.
- Cinematography Mailing Lists.
DV cameras can be grouped into three categories:
- Professional-level £6,500 and up) for news crews and production studios
- Semi-professional models (£2,000 to £6,500) suitable for small television stations or large corporations that shoot a lot of video. These include most HDV cameras (see above).
- Entry-level models (from below £500 to £2,000) for business and home users (consumers and 'prosumers').
Traditional analogue camcorders cost between £300 and £1,000.
Older models: David Ruether has reviewed (updated 2003) Sony mini-DV cameras, including the Sony PD-150, PC-1, TRV-9, TRV-900, VX-1000 and VX-2000; Panasonic AG-EZ30U; and Canon GL-1 and XL-1 - with a Sony UVW-100 Beta SP with Canon YH1 8x6.7 lens used as a reference. Comments about the Sony PC-7 and the Panasonic AG-EZ1U are also included there.
Necessary features are IEEE-1394 for DV input and output and desirable features are three 'charge-coupled device' (CCD) chips and optical stabilization.
Note: I have not updated this section since 2002. I plan to do so when I buy my next video camera, perhaps in 2006. However, one camera that I will consider is the Sony HDR-HC1E high-definition camera costing under £1,500. Its 'big brother', the Sony HDR-FX1 costs £3,000, so is too expensive for most amateurs.
- Canon XL-1 with interchangeable lenses. Charlie Diaz's advice and information on it. Although this is a camera for professional productions, It does not provide 'true' 16 x 9 screen format film.
- Canon GL-1/XM-1 This is a newer model (July 1999) with analogue-in and professional Fluorite x 20 zoom lens. The suggested list price is US$2,699. In the USA this camera is called the 'GL-1' and in Europe it is called the 'XM-1'. 'See the GL1-411 web site for more information.
- Sony DCR-VX2000 is widely regarded as the 'best' compact DV camera for professionals, costing about £2,500 or US$2,600. It was released in 2000 and superseded the Sony DCR-VX1000 which was first released in 1995. A pre-sales assessment is available and it was reviewed in 'Computer Video' July 2000. There is a comparison of the VX1000 with the Canon XL-1. It is used by the BBC, among others. The DSR 300 is more expensive. If you need the 16 x 9 format, the VX2000 is also the best unit at this price although the more expensive DSR 500 and DXC D30 WS are able to provide it. Buy the Sony VX2000 Mini DV camcorder online.
- Sony DCR-HC1000 has replaced the DCR-TRV900. Comments and information by John Beale. (He prefers it to the more recently released Sony DCR-TRV950). Surveyof users. This appears to be one of the best of the current (December 2002) digital camcorders for non-professionals, costing about £1,200 on discount or US$2,000. Note that although both the NTSC and PAL versions of the TRV900 have analog video input and output, in Europe, versions prior to about July 2000 of the TRV900E had IEEE-1394 and A/V input disabled. Check this before buying or enable the deficient cameras with a widget. No TRV900 model, as sold, has direct analog->IEEE-1394 'pass-through', although (like most MiniDV cameras) it does go directly in the opposite direction, IEEE-1394 to analog. There is a firmware hack to enable direct pass through for analog input, so you do not have to record to MiniDV tape first to get analog video into a computer attached by a IEEE-1394 connection. You can buy the Sony DCR-TRV900 Mini DV camcorder online.
- Sony DCR-TRV17 is reviewed and well received at ZDNet in September 2001 as a camera for beginners. It has a list price of US$1,100.
- Sony DCR-TRV80 is reviewed and well received at ZDNet in August 2003 as a camera for technical connoisseurs. It has a list price of US$1,500.
- Sony DCR-PC100. This digital video camera is also designed to take stills at 1,152 x 854 pixels. It provides up to 520 lines of resolution and has 'Memory Stick' removable still picture storage. It is small: about the size of a Walkman personal stereo and only weighs 1 pound, 3 oz.
- Panasonic NV-EX3B. Tiny, 400g DV camcorder with IEEE-1394 and progressive mode for still pictures.
- Panasonic NV-MX300E. Various Video magazines have rated this camera above the Sony TRV-900 and just below the Sony DCR2000, but others disagree.
- Canon ZR10. Small home movie camera costing only US$750 and with excellent quality images.
- Hitachi have a camcorder model DZ-MV550E that records onto DVD rather than tape.
Enabling DV camcorders in Europe with 'DV-in' disabled
The EU requires DV camcorders to be sold with 'DV in' disabled unless they are also classed and pay additional tax as 'videoplayers'. Several web sites have methods to activate 'DV in', when it has been disabled on models sold in Europe, see DV 2000 and search Google.
Cleaning video camera heads and moving parts
Do not clean the camera's head, unless you regularly see video 'drop outs' in video made with the camera. First, try using a (dry) head cleaning tape sold by the camera manufacturer for this purpose. If this does not solve the problem, do not attempt to clean it manually yourself. Never touch the recording head with any cleaning device, unless you have been trained how to use it. Instead, take the camera for cleaning by a skilled professional video technician, who will not use 'cleaning buds', 'q-tips' or any material other than chamois leather or lintless swabs, which are sold specifically for 'head' cleaning, and highly purified specialist cleaning fluids. Most samples of cleaning fluid sold to the general public will damage a video camera by leaving a film that will fuse to the recording surface. Stroking the head across its surface can ruin it. Movement must be along the direction of the tape. You have been warned!
3. Video tapes
- It is generally best to use more expensive tape, if several are available from a manufacturer.
- Tapes that were made some years ago may have problems, so only buy recently manufactured tapes.
- Some MiniDV tapes have embedded chips that allow data to be recorded about when they were used. This is only useful when a tape is taken out of the camera and reinserted later. They are much more expensive than standard tapes and not generally recommended.
- When analogue tapes were used, it is often recommended that new tapes should have one continuous clip of blank video and sound recorded on them from the beginning to the end of the tape, to provide a continuous 'datestamp' and 'timecode' for recordings, which are later made in discontinuous sections. This 'formats' the tape so that it can be read end-to-end by NLE software. The process is called 'blacking' or 'striping' the tape. This is not recommended for digital tapes for many reasons, including timing issues, and wear on the tape and camcorder.
- Do not record useful video on the first or last 10 - 30 seconds of the tape, to make it easier to use NLE software to find the start of the first clip and avoid artefacts at the start and end. Rarely, recording to the end of a tape can physically damage the tape or camcorder.
- MiniDV tapes can be played, in some camcorders, in a standard play (SP) mode of 60 minutes or in a long-play (LP) mode of 90 minutes. LP mode should only be used when the tape will only be played back in the device that created the video in LP format. Other devices may not be able to read the recordings made in LP mode. Do not record in LP-mode over a tape that has previously been used in LP mode, as this can produce video that cannot be edited with NLE software. For these reasons, LP mode is best avoided, if possible.
- Follow the advice in the pack, on how to store and use digital tapes. They need to be run through a deck or camera once a year, to expose the magnetic surface to air to prevent degradation and should be stored on their side, not flat.
- Video tapes have a limited lifespan. 'Conservation OnLine' at Stanford University has links to information on video preservation issues and resources.
Most video cameras can not yet match the picture quality of dedicated still cameras. Still images made with video cameras seldom contains more than about 0.4 million pixels. whereas mainstream consumer still cameras contain 4-5 million pixels. For example, the Sony DCR-TRV900 gives good quality still pictures up to the resolution of the camera, which is 720 x 480 (345,600 pixels) for NTSC and 720 x 576 (414,720 pixels) for PAL, but these are of limited use. You can record stills directly to a compact flash (CF) card, floppy disk or a Sony memory stick. Stills of this (low) quality can also be taken from video using many non-linear editing programs, such as DVStorm. I have a separate digital still camera and use these good-quality photos when I edit my edited videos.
Many people who make good-quality videos believe that 'sound' is as important (or possible more so) than 'vision'. For this reason, microphones should be chosen with care. Fortunately, many of the better video cameras have excellent microphones built-in.
simplyDV have an overview of sound in videos. There is a review of microphones at Audio-technica. For amateurs, the Sennheiser MKE-300short-shotgun microphone is an effective and inexpensive microphone to use in the hot-shoe. It can be bought from Keene with a matching 'Rycote windgag' for £169. When wrapped closely in air conditioner filter foam, this microphone can also be made resistant to wind-noise.
For 'serious' audio, put the microphone close to the sound source. This requires a wired microphone and cable, or a wireless microphone. Most videographers have several microphones for different situations and an even larger assortment of cables and adapters. Jay Rose has adviceabout professional audio for broadcast and multimedia.
Audio is often monitored, as it is recorded, using headphones attached to the camera, most of which have headphone connection sockets.
7. Filters & lensesUse a neutral filter in front of a lens, to protect it. Outdoors, use a polarizing filter to lower the sky values and 'sharpen' them. The filter has to be rotated to find the best setting. 35-mm still photography filters also fit onto many video cameras, but may not be designed to work correctly with digital camcorders. Tiffen filters are often recommended and their 'Soft/FX' and 'Warm Soft/FX' filters are particularly good for portrait work.
The Hahnel 'Zoom Opto 35' 6 volt on-camera lighting system is recommended and costs about £100. For independent digital cinema, industrial work, or training videos, more lights will generally be required. Lighting at Lowel is reasonably priced. Professional lighting equipment is available from Dedolight, Mole-Richardson, and Arrilights.
- Glidecam 1000 Pro camera stabilizer c$150.
- MicroDolly, Classic Video Productions Inc. Wheeled platforms, camera dolly, dolly track, and jib arm crane systems.
- Karl-Heinz Huber provides 'Video Stabilizer' software, which ' stabilizes' shaky video streams under Windows95/98/me/NT/2000.
10. DV capture cards and devices with editing (NLE) software
Some computers have IEEE-1394 connections built in and a range of video (NLE) editing software can be bought separately to work with them. The IEEE-1394 specification is called 'Firewire' by Apple and 'i-Lnk' by Sony, which can be confusing, as they are identical. Computers that do not have Firewire connection sockets built-in, will require a video capture card (also called an 'IEEE-1394 input and output (I.O.) card'), to provide a way to send the video from a camcorder through a connecting cable to the computer. Digital video capture cards should have one or more IEEE-1394 connections, so that video and sound on the camera can be sent to the computer (and usually back again) without loss. DV capture cards can also have analogue connections for s-Video and sound, but these are only needed for analogue video cameras. Some video capture cards have a 'breakout box' (set of connectors) which can simplify cable connections. Some of the more recent cards have their connectors routed from the back of the capture card, through the computer to a panel set into the front of the computer. This makes it easier to attach the camera and reduces 'cable-clutter'.
Many DV capture cards are bundled with editing software that has been configured to work with them. Purchasing decisions should be based on both the quality and cost of the card, and their bundled NLE editing software. The cards listed below all have software included for capturing video from a camera, editing it and sending the resulting video to a VCR or camera.
There are reviews of IEEE-1394 input and output (I.O.) cards by Videoguys with a comparison matrix.. There are also some IEEE-1394 PCMCIA cards for notebook computers. Manufacturers of the most popular retail DV capture cards are ADS, Avid, Canopus, DataVideo, Matrox andPinnacle. The best known manufacturers of graphics cards, NVIDIA and ATI, do not sell graphics cards with Firewire connection sockets.
Currently (December 2005) I use:
- Canopus 'DVStorm2 Pro', which is now replaced by the 'ACEDVio' video capture card.
- Canopus EDIUS Pro v 3. NLE software and Imaginate v 2 still graphic editing software for video.
11. IEEE-1394 PC connection cards without editing (NLE) software
These cards are useful if you want to buy a card and software separately. The IEEE-1394 ('i-Link' or 'Firewire') connections are used to transfer video and audio streams between a video camera and a computer. They also enable camcorder control signals. Normally, they are not bundled with DV editing software. There are many of these, see for example:
- Adaptec FireConnect 4300.
Many people who have analogue tapes and want to convert them to digital formats. There are several ways to do this. Most modern DV camcorders can convert to and from analogue formats and there are many modern VCRs that do the same, but are probably not worth buying to do just conversion work. Hardware designed to do this includes Canopus 'ADVC hardware' and bidirectional 'Digital to Analogue Converters' (DACs) from Keene. SwiftDVD.com in Atlanta, Georgia, USA provide a service to convert home videos and VHS/VHS-C including Mini DV, Digital8, 8mm Hi8 (Super8),and VHS/VHS-C (including VHS, S-VHS, VHS-C and DVHS) to DVD.
Uncompressed source digital video takes up large amounts of storage space. There are many ways to 'compress' video, to take up less space but still provide adequate quality for playback. The word 'codec' (short for 'compress-decompress') is used for hardware or software that compresses or uncompresses graphic files. There is an overview of 'codecs' at http://www.dpreview.com/learn/?/Guides/Understanding_Video_Compression_01.htm
- 'AVI' is the standard video compression format. It is less compressed than 'MPEG' (see below), but easier to edit.
- There are two standards for AVI files: Type-1 AVI and Type-2 AVI. John McGowan has an AVI Overview resource. All IEEE-1394 cards transfer unchanged 'AVI' video data streams between a video camera and a computer. The software on the computer determines which type of file it stores. AVI type-2 is the preferred format. Canopus cards, StudioDV, Vegas Video, DVIO, AVI_IO, and Main Actor can all capture to type-2 AVI files. Ulead MSP6, VS4, MGI VW3 all capture to AVI type-1, only.
- You can convert between type 1 and type 2 with Ulead's 'Media Studio Pro and the free DV Type Convertor tool.
- With DV video, audio and video are intermixed on a frame basis. If you capture (that is transfer the DV video over the IEEE-1394 bus to your PC), the software can extract the audio out of the DV stream and store it as an additional audio stream. Type1 based software does not do this, but leaves the DV data stream intact at the cost of incompatibility with older video for Windows based software, such as Adobe Premiere and others. You can use AVI_IO for your captures, but make sure to carefully read the information under 'DV Video', which will create DV Type-2 AVI files. These AVI files can then be imported into Premiere. If you do not have a 'DV Video' for Windows compliant codec installed on your system, one is available from Mainconcept, which can download as a trial version, before purchase.
- There is a description of the maximal size of AVI files in different operating systems. There is no size limit for *.avi files that are 'OpenDML' v 1.02 compliant on NTFS formatted file systems, used by Windows 2000 Professional. In other systems the limit may be 4-GB or even 2-GB. Some NLE software can deal with these limitations by 'seamless' use of separate files.
- 'MPEG-I' and 'MPEG-2' video compression codecs are often used to distribute videos on CD-ROMs. MPEG is used by the Pinnacle DC1000 card with Premiere software. MPEG-1 provides relatively low quality and high compressed files giving about 1-MB/minute for approximate VHS quality. MPEG-2 provides sVHS quality that is about twice as good, suitable for TV viewing. There are several products that convert digital video input to the MPEG format by Heuris, Ligos, Darvisions. MPEG-4 is the latest of these compression codecs (there was no MPEG-3 codec).
- 'Motion-JPEG' (M-JPEG) will give higher quality and low compression for quality that is better than VHS. Many video capture cards provide this format.
- The 'ATI' codec, available in the All-in-Wonder, AiW Pro, TV Wonder, TV Tuner etc. cards, is a software compression scheme that provides compressed video of quality somewhere between MPEG and M-JPEG.
Digital video (DV) runs at 3.6-MB/s. This means that (a) you need a hard disk that can support this rate of disk writing and (b) one minute of DV occupies 216-MB (3.6 * 60). Nine minutes of DV occupies about 2-GB and one hour about 13-GB. Programs to edit DV often require over twice this space for temporary and other files, so a rule-of-thumb is to provide 1-GB of disk space for each minute of DV that you propose to work with on your computer. If you have very large projects, a video disk array will be needed.
Many digital video capture cards are also sold with NLE software. Some come with additional hardware, such as a breakout box to make cable connections easier and so on. This makes it difficult to compare one product with another. There is a list of NLE software at GlobalProducer.com.
For home and semi-professional use
- Adobe's 'Premiere Pro' v 1.5
- Apple Final Cut Pro (DV and HDVediting)
- Movie DV 6 & Movie X one PLUS from Aist
- Edius Pro3 from Canopus Corp.
- Apple QuickTime Player Pro (has many editing functions)
For professional use
16. Computer video graphics cards that support two monitors
'Premiere' is easiest to use as video editing software, in a computer that has a video card which supports two monitors. There are several cards that support two monitors and work well with DVStorm. They are made by ATI, NVIDIA and Matrox. Matrox has released a DualHead2Go box for enabling notebook computers to use two monitors.
17. Preview monitors, 'vector scope' and 'waveform' analysis
Videographers should check the quality of their video before they save it to the final format:
- 1. By 'eye', using a TV set or LCD video monitor adjacent to the editing suite.
- 2. With NLE software, such as in 'DV Rex' and 'DV Storm' that analyze the 'Vector scope' and Waveform' properties of the video ('Vector scope' and Waveform' analyses are described at VideoUniversity.com).
- 3. On a 13"colour-calibrated professional picture monitor, that has a 'Blue Check' setting to provide a calibrated set of colours bars.
- 4. Using specialist equipment to analyze video signals. These are available from Tektronix but are expensive and are seldom used by amateur videographers.
18. Digital video recorders (VCRs)
- The principal recorders are made by JVC (the HR-DVS3. MiniDV/Super VHS Hi-Fi Stereo domestic VCR costs abut £700), Panasonic, andSony.
- ASK Electronics retailers of electronic equipment.
- Computers Unlimited
- Digital Video Computing DVC.
- HHB Communications Professional sound equipment
- J Ackerman, cheap camcorder batteries and MiniDV tapes.
- Jessops UK. Electronic equipment.
- Keene Electronics UK. Electronic equipment, specializing in video-related items.
- Maplin Electronics for cables and connectors.
- MultiMedia Direct cameras, equipment and software.
- Prime Television. Digital production and postproduction equipment and expertise for hire and use.
- Unbeatable.co.uk, retailers of electronic equipment
- Abrupt Edge. Books, videos and links covering all aspects of production.
- B & H - Photo, Video, Pro Audio.
- Camera World of Oregon - Photo & Video.
- Camsling mini DV support
- Desktop Video at the MiningCo by David Simpson. General Desktop Video, including DV.
- DVD Direct - Mail order retailer.
- DV & Firewire Central with a DV-L List server
- Electronic Mailbox
- HHB Communications Professional sound equipment.
- Omega Multimedia - DV mail-order source
- Onecall - Audio Video Consumer Electronics
- PacificCable.com sell cables for digital video equipment
- Promax - reseller of Sony, Canon, Apple, Panasonic, Adobe, Adaptec, & other DV HW & SW
- Rycote - sell microphone windshields
- Safe Harbor Computers
- Steadicam camera support devices & other video equipment.
- Supercircuits video surveillance and micro-camera systems.
- TapeOnline Retail blank videotapes, audiotapes, data backup tapes, labels, cases etc.
- Videoguys Retail video editing hardware/software and video accessories but not TVs, VCRs or camcorders. They have a 'Best of 2004' page with useful comments on current video options.
- 'Basic Betacam Camerawork' ISBN 0-240-51360-6, $24.95 at Amazon, recently out of stock.
- 'Picture Composition For Film & Television' ISBN 0-240-51421-1, $44.95 at Amazon.
- 'Producing Great Sound for Digital Video' by Jay Rose, 375 Pages with audio CD, published by Miller Freeman Books, ISBN 0-87930-597-5, US$31.96 at Amazon.
- 'The Five C's Of Cinematography', ISBN 1-879505-41-X, $23.96 at Amazon.
- 'Video Production Handbook', 2nd Edition, ISBN 0-2405-1321-5, $29.56 at Amazon.
- 'DV Doctor' news, comment, reviews of current video hardware & software, UK prices and suppliers with HEXUS.community discussion forum.
- 'Digital Video for Dummies' 2nd Edition, available at Amazon.
- 'DV Live'
- 'EditorsNet' electronic magazine on editing.
- 'Modern Recording Techniques' by David Miles Huber & Robert E. Runstein. Recording sound
- 'The Filmmaker's Handbook'. Steven Ascher and Edward Pincus. Paperback. 30 September 2000. Plexus Publishing; ISBN: 0859652939.
- 'The Low Budget Video Bible'. Cliff Roth. Paperback. 2nd revised edition edition. 31 December 1995. Desktop Video Systems. ISBN: 0963521616. £18.39 at Amazon.uk.
- 'Sound & Vision' formerly 'Stereo Review'
- 'Videography'. For the 'Club Vid' section of back issues use 'TRANSPORT'.
- 'Videomaker' magazine.
- 'What Digital Camcorder' magazine.
- CSST computer animation creation and rendering services.
- John Burder Films.
- My Web Presenters Ltd. UK company providing commercial web-based and online video services for use on all types of online and networked devices.
- SwiftDVD.com in Atlanta, Georgia, USA provide a service to convert home videos and VHS/VHS-C including Mini DV, Digital8, 8mm Hi8 (Super8),and VHS/VHS-C (including VHS, S-VHS, VHS-C and DVHS) to DVD
- TallboyMedia Video Solutions, Corporate video makers in South West London.
22. The camera, hardware and editing resources I have bought:
- Camera: Sony DCR-TRV900E MiniDV three-CCD camcorder with DV and analogue input/out and six MiniDV tapes. I bought it in January 2001 from ASK Electronics, London, for £1,494.20 including VAT, the cheapest price for this PAL system that I could find in the UK. I also bought a set of Sony's lens protection and polarizing filters. I bought the camera because of it was widely recognition then as one of the best, if not the best, 'prosumer' video cameras with a large user base and support. Newer models are available now.
- Personal computer: Armari T875HT Workstation.
- Operating system: Windows XP Service pack 2.
- Non-linear editing hardware and software: I first bought Canopus 'DVStorm', with 'StormBay' breakout box (replaced by the 'ACEDVio' capture card), which fits into a 5 ¼ " drive bay, with NLE editing software 'StormEdit' (including the components 'Storm Video', 'Storm Navi' and 'Storm Audio'), 'Premiere' v 5.1, which I upgraded at no extra cost to version 6.0 a few months later, 'SoftXplode', Boris 'Graffiti Ltd,' 'SpruceUp' trial edition, Sonic Foundry 'ACID Style', and Canopus 'Web Video Wizard'. I bought 'DVStorm' in January 2001 from 'Online GB Ltd.', who are now called 'MultiMedia Direct', London for £1,285 without VAT. Later, I updated it to v 2. My decision was based on Canopus good reputation for support and the high quality of the 'DV Rex M1' card and 'Rex Edit' software, on which 'DVStorm' is closely based. Now (December 2005) I use Canopus EDIUS Pro v 3.5 NLE software, which works with Canopus hardware and with Imaginate v 2, which enables graphics files to be manipulated for use in video.
- Camera tripod, £45 including VAT. Essential for any photographer. I would like a better quality one, now that I have such a good quality camera.
- Microphone: Sennheiser MKE-300 short-shotgun microphone, bought from Keene with a matching 'Rycote windgag', £169.
- Networked video storage: Buffalo 1-TB 'TeraStation'.
- Bidirectional Analog/Digital Video Conversion unit, Canopus ADVC300.
- Video cassette recorder: JVC HR-DVS2 video cassette recorder, which enables me to view on a television screen both my older analogue sVHS/C and VHS tapes and my current digital MiniDV tapes. It will also transfer video accurately between these two types of tape. (In March 2003, the JVC HR-DVS3EK replaced the DVS2 and can be connected to a computer to edit video.)
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