Ellen, Brushing off the co


Brushing off the cobwebs on my memory of electronics, I think CCD stands for Charge-Coupled Device. OK, that really doesn’t explain anything, but this is a device which can convert light into an electrical signal, which your camcorder can record. The larger the CCD, the more accurate the signal it can provide. There are different factors that can contribure to accuracy: Fine detail (the more pixels in the CCD, the more detail), better low light sensitivity, and reproducing the exact colors that were in the scene. Camcorder manufacturers found that they could further improve color accuracy by using 3 CCDs, one for each primary color. Less expensive camcorders with a single CCD tend to have less vibrant colors (although some single-CCD camcorders manage to do a pretty good job with color).

These days, some camcorders are available with CMOS devices instead of CCDs. CMOS doesn’t need as much power as CCDs do, and can produce beautiful images if there is enough light. But CCDs seem to be better in low-light conditions.

For professional applications, HD is the way to go (unless you’re making videos for customers who don’t have HD). But standard definition can look quite good, if your camcorder has a quality lens, and you take the time to get a good focus and exposure. I recently entered a video festival. My movie was shot with a semi-professional standard-def camcorder. When I went to the festival screening last weekend, I saw these movies projected on the theater screen, and assumed they were all high-def. I was afraid that my movie would look horrible compared to the HD movies. SUPRISE….. my movie looked as good as most of the other movies. (OK, there were a couple movies that did look noticably more detailed. Those must have been shot in HD.)

For now, if you’re shooting home movies or amateur movies, it’s easier to stick with standard definition. But in a year or 2, most computers, software, and disc-recording units should be able to handle HD without problem. And, hopefuly, the BluRay vs. HD-DVD battle will be resolved.

Good luck! πŸ™‚
Ken Hull

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