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Digital Camcorders go from MiniDV to DVD
by kp

Canon DC20 DVD Camcorder
Canon DC20 DVD Camcorder

For a couple of years, digital camcorders have been evolving from using tape to DVD media. The major advantage of this new technology is that you can record directly to DVD with little effort. Plus, the new digital cameras have built-in editing functions.  If you are considering an upgrade, here are some features to keep in mind:

DVD Media
One of the many benefits of a DVD camcorder is having your movies ready to go on DVD. No more moving your film from tape to an editing program then burning to DVD. Everything can be done right in the camera. Most DVD camcorders operate with three types of DVD disk standards: DVD-R, DVD-RAM and DVD-RW. DVD-Rs allows one-time recording, but a DVD-RW and DVD-RAM allow multiple rewrites over the media.  An important tip to keep in mind is that not all DVD players are compatible with this media, so before you make fifty copies of your holiday party, check the manufacturer's specifications of your DVD player.

Movie Editing
DVD camcorders come with a variety of digital effects that you can add to your movies. Most offer color enhancement features such as changing the film to sepia tone or monochromatic. In addition, these camcorders have built in scene transitions like fades to make your movies flow smoothly. If you prefer to do things the old-fashioned way, you can plug the camcorder into a computer to download your movie into an editing program. Some manufacturers provide their own software, or you can use programs such as Vegas Movie Studio + DVD or iMovie.

More Features to Go
Like all camcorders, DVD camcorders come with an myriad of options to help you make the best movie. Some extra features to look for in a camcorder are aspect ratio, optical zoom, digital zoom, and image stabilizer. The quality of your video is also crucial, so comparing megapixels is essential.

Aspect ratio is important when creating your movie because it sets the dimensions of your screen viewing area. Aspect ratio is the viewing area on a display in regards to its width in conjunction with its height, therefore a full-screen has an aspect ratio of 4:3, and widescreen has an aspect ratio of 16:9. Having the option to switch between full and wide screen is an important feature to have available depending on what type of display your final movie is going to be shown on.

Optical zoom versus digital zoom can be confusing. Optical zoom refers to the focal length of a lens to shoot close ups, but digital zoom makes the size of the pixels larger not the picture itself. When comparing the optical next to a digital zoom specification, look for the best optical feature to get better quality close-ups.

Most new camcorders on the market have a built-in image stabilizer. This nifty technology helps to eliminate the "shaky-hand" camera effect when taking freestyle shots. There are two methods of image stabilization, optical and electronic. Optical stabilization uses lens sensors to adjust the lens to motion, but an electronic stabilizer makes a pre-recorded capture of a picture, then makes corrections to the motion shift.

Similar to digital cameras, camcorder resolution is measured in megapixels which are equal to one million pixels. The more megapixels, the better quality pictures you'll get. A resolution of 1.5 megapixel or above resolution is considered a good quality image for a video camera.

DVD camcorders basically offer many of the same features as a tape camcorder, but have a significant advantage with using the direct to DVD recording. This can save both time and money by eliminating the need to purchase special software for editing and extra media for your final movie. If you are considering purchasing a DVD camcorder this season, don't forget to include plenty of DVDs with your gift.

References: consumer.usa.canon.com

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