sony pd 150/170 video cameras
Digital video cameras store video as digital bits on a mini-DV or micro-MV tape, as opposed to analog cameras that record a continuous signal. It's similar to the difference between an old record album and a CD.
So why use a digital video camera rather than a usually cheaper video camcorder, like an 8 mm Hi-8?
The main reason is that it will be much easier to transfer the video directly into a computer for editing. With traditional tape you'd need a VCR into which to insert the tape, and a capture card to convert the video into a digital format for the computer.
With an analog tape you also lose some quality in the process of converting the tape into a digital format (similar to what happens when you make a photocopy of a photocopy of a print document). But in digital video, each copy is nearly an exact replica, without any significant loss in quality.
Digital video has also brought video editing to the desktop. Older video formats required video editing stations that cost thousands of dollars. Now you can use a desktop or laptop computer to do sophisticated editing, including special effects.
With a digital video camera you use a cable - usually Firewire - and move the video directly to the computer using video editing software like iMovie or FinalCut Pro for the Mac, or Premiere for the Windows PC.
So which digital video camera should you buy? The most popular brands are Sony, Canon, JVC and Panasonic. At the UC Berkeley and USC journalism schools we use Sony cameras, but other programs and news organizations use the other brands as well.
The cameras range in price from several hundred to thousands of dollars. For Web video you can definitely get by with the cameras on the lower end of the price spectrum.
But one thing to consider is whether to get a1-chip or 3-chip camera...
Filed under: Video