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MiniDV continues to be the “old man” of video production, and is considered to be the most reliable in terms of media interchangability and editing. The classic assortment of DV/MiniDV camcorders currently (or used to) have the leadamong pros and serious hobbyists. For the most part, tapes continue to be the most reliable in terms of recording format, recording DV-AVI at 25Mbps. The initial quality is better, but is reduced to a fraction of the quality with the production output.
TV, Web, DVD, Blue-ray, or Theatre are most of the sources which video ends up. All mentioned above, with the possible exception of theatre, utilize some sort of MPEG-2 codec (or something of lesser quality) normally at 8.0 Mbps or less. HD broadcastformats range around 18.0 Mbps.
HDD (Hard disk drive) camcorders use the MPEG-2 or AVCHD (most HD non-tape camcorders are AVCHD) codec. The bitrate for most standard definition hard disk camcorders is typically around 8 Mbps, which matches the typical video bitrate of DVDs.MiniDV enthusiasts like to balk at the MPEG-2 format as being highly unsupported. Many freeware and software creaters now support MPEG-2 and AVCHD formats, while the support is still growing.
Flash Memory camcorders typically go by the same trend of recording formats as HDD. They typically record SD video at MPEG-2 or record HD video at either MPEG-2 or AVCHD. Flash memory can refer to a camera’s internal solid state memory, a slot for interchanging memory cards, or both. HDD camcorders will often have an SDHC memory card slot.
The common debate over MPEG-2/AVC vs. DV-AVI continues forward by some peoplewhile many are simply going with HDD or flash memory. DV-AVI is a “simpler” format which generally poses an easier time with editing. Though serious shooters like to argue in this way, most NLEs are now capable of handling MPEG/AVCHD formats just the same as DV-AVI.
The HVR line of Sony camcorders will probably work fine with your situation. Check for the best deals online before you start purchasing. Sony HVR-A1U at Camcorderinfo.com – http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Sony-HVR-A1U-First-Look.htm