What exactly is meant by a HD Camcorder?

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    • #39818

      Lately I notice that some Camcorders are described as HD while others are called HDV. I thought, probably wrongly, that HD meant that the camcorder had a Hard Drive (as opposed to a tape or DVD) and that HDV meant that it could record in High Definition. I have been confused by recent reviews in Videomaker so I would like this clarified please.

    • #171786

      Short answer: It really depends. Every manufacturer has their own jargon

      Not-so-short answer: I used to work as a retail store manager at a store that specialized in men’s big & tall clothing. Inevitably, some poor wife, sister, or whomever, would be given the responsibility for coming into our store to buy clothes. In most cases, these women would come up to me with a confused look, because the man who sent them said that they wore an extra-large, and on our shelves, we had shirts labeled XL, 1X, 1XL, XLB, and 1XLB. Invariably, they wanted to know what these codes all meant, which one was the same as "extra-large", andwhy they all looked to be the same size.

      The explanation I had for them is the same one I have for you. Every manufacturer has their own way of labeling their product. In the world of video, HD and HDV both mean that the camcorder can record in high definition video. Typically, these cameras can record in 1080i, a super-high definition format that can be watched on the new High Def TV’s, assuming you have a way to get the footage there (Such as a blu-ray or hd-dvd drive).

      Cameras that have an internal hard drive will usually be listed as HDD camcorders. Note the extra "D", referring to the Hard Disk Drive that is inside. As a rule, I tell people to avoid HDD camcorders, as they often compress footage to the point of being near useless for editing.

      That being said, some people will mistakenly use HD to mean "Hard Disk." This isn’t the technically correct term though, and if you’ve seen this referring to a hard disk rive camcorder, my guess is that it was either an accidental typo, or someone who didn’t quite know what they were saying.

      There are cameras that both record in High Definition and use a hard drive to store data. These cameras can be accurately called HDD, or HD / HDV camcorders, since they do have both qualities.

      Again, manufacturers are the bottom line. They decide what labels will get applied to the camera. In my clothing store, I explained that the best way to find the right fitting shirt is to bring the person in and have them try it on, and the same goes here. Regardless of what the label on the camcorder says, you should take time to fiddle with it yourself and learn what it offers before you slap the cash on the counter.

    • #171787

      Thanks Jim. I think that the question was worth asking as I am sure that there are others who were as cofused as I was.

    • #171788

      There is actually a little more to it than that.
      HD simply means "High Definition", which includes everything from 720i to 1080p. It is simply referring to the alternative to "Standard Definition".
      HDV is an extension of the DV recording format. It is a compression scheme for recording HD video.
      HDD refers to "Hard Disc Drive". Many newer camcorders are abandoning tape all together and recording to a hard drive in the camera, or solid state ("flash") memory. The caveat with these is that the video is highly compressed. It will look great straight out of the camera (assuming you shoot good video in the first place), but editing it can be a nightmare.

    • #171789

      PMorton Wrote:

      There is actually a little more to it than that.
      HD simply means "High Definition", which includes everything from 720i to 1080p.

      There is no 720i.

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