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Need Knowledge on Digital Video Terms and Specifications

Discussion in 'Digital Photography & Imaging' started by Alex Ethridge, Apr 25, 2004.

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  1. Alex Ethridge

    Alex Ethridge Thread Starter

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    I am an analytical person and I am thinking about digital video and I have no idea how these things are rated. I have no idea what kinds of digital files they make and what native formats they are stored in. I do know a bit about still photography and the fact that the larger the image the better; but, I have no idea how this knowledge could be translated into something I could understand about digital video.

    I also have no idea how light gathering capabilities are translated from video tape-type camers to digital video cameras. In older video tape cameras, light gathering capabilities were rated in Lux; but, I understand this isn't a term used in digital video.

    Some people envy me my knowledge of the craft of still film photography; but, this goes only so far in digital movies and doesn't give me any knowledge about digital video equipment and terms used in its specifications, what the terms mean and how they translate into something I can understand.

    So, I guess I need an education; but, I don't know where to start.

    For instance, still still cameras are rated in Megapixels. What is the corresponding rating for video. Do some digital video cameras produce larger frame sizes? Example: I have a still camera that will produce AVI files at 30 frames per second and 640 x 480. What numbers can I expect from a digital video camera?

    Do all digital video cameras store their files natively in AVI format? If some do and some don't, what is the most desirable format?

    I guess what I would like to know first is how light gathering capabilities are expressed and information about frames per second and the picture sizes expressed in pixels across and down (if that is how it is measured at all).
     
  2. MustBNuts

    MustBNuts

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    The most comprehensive help site I've found so far: www.dvdrhelp.com

    This should cover all your questions.

    MBN
     
  3. Alex Ethridge

    Alex Ethridge Thread Starter

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    Well, I guess I should have been clearer about what I am trying to find out and my immediate purpose. I am considering a digital video camera purchase. Being the analytical buyer I am, I want to know about camera specifications and what the spec numbers mean.

    The site you suggested seems to dwell on doing something with the moving pictures after you have them in digital format. I am interested in the camera. I want to know about the cameras and the differences between them and the pictures they make--the quality and so forth.

    For instance, what are the dimensions in pixels of the images they make?

    Do the dimensions vary from camera to camera?

    Are the frame rates the same on all digital video cameras?

    Do they all create AVI files?

    If they don't, what formats to they create?

    Which format is best to record and store long-term for best image quality?

    These aren't questions dvdrhelp seems to deal with--at least not where I can find it.
     
  4. rextilleon

    rextilleon

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    Standard DV is 720x480 pixels with an aspect ratio of 4:3.

    Frame rates vary, but the standard is 29fps for NTSC , 25 fps for PAL

    The avi is a tag. When you capture to your computer using Windows you capture avi files. If you are using a mac you capture quicktime files--

    The best image quality would be HD captured video--but a high quality camera would cost you well over 100,000 dollars. Next down are several 4:2:2 formats---then of course you have DV at 5:1:1---

    Go read about it at http://www.adamwilt.com/DV-FAQ-tech.html
     
  5. Alex Ethridge

    Alex Ethridge Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the link; but, they seem to talk in a language I mostly don't understand.
    What is the native format of digital video cameras?
    What do these numbers mean?
     
  6. buck52

    buck52 Banned

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  7. Fredledingue

    Fredledingue

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    Alex

    The main thing about quality for a digital video camera is its resolution: its number of pixels. I think 640/480 is the minimum for a good quality.
    I don't know how many they do now, it evoluates very fast.

    If you have no time for that now, it's better to wait another 6 months for lower prices/higher performance.

    There are two kind of zoom applied in digital cameras: optical and digital.
    Look only at the optical zoom specifications. The digital zoom is a fake zoom: it's only a resizing of the picture.

    Normaly all digital video camera should support the standard framerates (fps) 29fps for NTSC , 25 fps for PAL.

    The "native format of digital video cameras" depend on the camera itself. Some cameras will give you Quicktime format (.mov) (for Mac computer, so if you have Windows avoid that), some will give you the choice between mpeg1 (low quality for Video CD, mpeg2 (variable quality for dvd or SuperVideoCD quality) and Avi, some will give you only mpeg1 or 2 (to avoid because as I said, avi is likely to give the best quality) or only avi.
    The best is of course when you can choose between mpeg and avi and compare the quality.

    The avi in question is possibly compressed in a brand-build codecs, that could be worse or better than mpeg2, or non compressed at all and that will be definetly better than mpeg2 but with a much more limited movie time storage capacity.

    Some camera could even offer mpeg2 at full (maximum) resolution in mpeg2 and 1/2 resolution in avi... etc

    The memory capacity of the camera is important. The more MB the best of course.

    Beside that, the lens is the same as on an analog camera. :)
     
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