When you’re shopping for a digital video camera, understanding the different digital video recording formats can have a huge impact on the model you choose to buy. There are four formats prevalent today, and MiniDV is the most common lately. The tapes are cheap and hold up to 90 minutes of footage. The big drawback comes when you want to edit. Downloading videos to your computer happens in real time. Every minute of video you filmed is a minute you wait for the download. That’s why this format, though popular, isn’t great for a videographer. Perfect for home movies like a birthday party, but not for someone looking to edit, mostly because of the time factor.
DVDs are a familiar digital video recording format, but here’s some detail on it that may help you: The discs can hold a substantial amount of footage, but it is very difficult to extract your content for video production. The MiniDV format is not a challenge to edit for a patient videographer, but the DVD format is even less friendly to editing. You’d have to be a real computer whiz to edit your DVD footage, but if you’re that skilled with computers, chances are you’d go with a better option for editing.
Last in our series on digital video recording formats is hard drive-based. This final format is a lot like the flash format we discussed previously, but cuts out the middle man. Instead of recording on an SD card and quickly transferring it, you can record directly to your hard drive. The biggest downside to this format is the storage space. There’s not much of it, and when your camera’s full you have to delete everything to film more. The good news is it’s much faster to upload to your computer and software, and is great for editing. Another con for this format is that it’s probably the least prevalent of the formats, so if you choose to go this route, be sure you shop around and make sure you can find it.