From a quality standpoint, family videos can sometimes be the worst: sound is muffled, images are backlit, and the color might be faded. However, because they are images of our loved ones, they’re often priceless for those few moments we remembered to take out a camera and record our lives.
That is why I write this article about avoiding DVD Camcorders as I feel it is the first step among many, to making sure your family movies are the best they can be.
What is a DVD camcorder? It is a video recording device that puts your movies directly onto a mini DVD for instant playing. It sounds convenient, but it’s a very dated piece of technology already that does not give your home movies legs into the future! It’s more or less like the mini DVDs traps your movies.
Even if your home movies are not shot with the right lighting or sound, there are chances you might want try and fix them in the future. It’s always best to start with the highest quality image you can and recording straight to DVD throws away a lot of visual data. In order to fit anything on a DVD, you must compress it. Why start with a lower quality file? Most specifications on these products do not even list importuned video information like what sort of codec they compress in! This is probably the most important thing to know and the information is hard to find or not existent on the packaging.
Most of the DVD’s only hold 30 minutes. If they hold anything above that you can expect quality less than that of a VHS tape. Also, even the cheap SD cards (how you should consider recording your home movies), can record around 60 minutes!
The cumbersome process of getting your video off of a DVD into any editing software (iMovie or Windows Movie Maker) is NOT as easy as just putting your DVD into your computer and having the computer “rip” the DVD like it would with a music CD. It will take a far greater knowledge than it would to use an SD camcorder and transfer the files from the SD card to your computer.
While this isn’t as big of a point, for those of you who have slot loading DVD players, beware! The likelihood of your computer accidentally eating your mini DVD is very high.
5) Harder to archive
With SD Card camcorders, you can backup your footage to a hard drive and put it on DVD. With a DVD camcorder you can maybe copy your DVD, maybe. Expect a hard lengthy process.
If you have more questions, please post them! I tried to keep things simple, but I can elaborate more if need be! Bottom line, don’t buy a DVD camcorder. Get an SD card capable camcorder. It might seem scary but will put you in a much better place with your family footage!!!