Opinion: HD video camera format described

Opinion: HD video camera format described

Some would state that we want another video camera format like we want an opening within the mind – enough different formats available confuse buyers already. Video camera manufacturers appear to disagree, though: Panasonic, The new sony, yet others have lately announced a brand new format for top-definition camcorders known as AVCHD.

What exactly performs this new format mean?

Hi-def in small spaces

The brand new AVCHD format (Advanced Video Codec Hi-def) records high-definition 1,080i or 720p video to some DVD, a hard disk, or perhaps a flash storage device (the maker chooses which media types wants for each different model).

The new sony was the very first company to announce actual products supporting AVCHD. The organization just released information on two new camcorders that record high-definition video within the new format. One video camera (the $1,400 HDR-UX1) records to DVDs, as the other (the $1,500 HDR-SR1) records video to some 30GB hard disk.

The recording is compressed while using MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 standard, which greatly compresses the recording without losing much of quality. The audio is compressed while using Dolby Digital AC-3 or even the Straight line PCM (Pulse Coded Modulation) standard – each standard enables for approximately eight channels of surround seem, whilst maintaining your quality small.

Sharp-eyed readers will observe that fundamental essentials same compression methods employed for movies on Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD it’s apparent the designers have made the decision to talk about technologies. You will find more technical information regarding the format around the AVCHD website.

What is the catch?

All of this sounds good to date: we have got high-def video and-quality seem inside a format that does not occupy much space. However it takes extra space than standard-definition video. Based on The new sony, all the seem and video you can fit on one-layer DVD while using DCR-UX1 at it’s peek quality setting is really a meagre fifteen minutes. Standard-def DVD camcorders holds around twenty minutes set to their maximum quality. You can increase that for an hour around the The new sony HDR-UX1 by decreasing the quality and taking advantage of the lately announced double-layer 8cm DVD dvds, but exactly how well the standard stands up in the lower-quality settings remains seen.

Another wrinkle comes when for you to do something using the video: the brand new format is incompatible with existing high-definition camcorders and editing systems. Right now, most software is going to be not able to see the dvds or files the new camcorders produce.

That limitation will ease, though: numerous video software companies have agreed to offer the AVCHD format, including Adobe, Sonic and Ulead. They’ll offer programs that offer the new format (and can possibly update their existing products to complete exactly the same), though none have released information regarding when this will occur. The new sony Japan have a fundamental video editing program using the new camcorders, and something hopes The new sony US is going to do exactly the same.

So for that first generation of merchandise, the recording editing choices will be limited however, options can look lower the road.

The new sony also claims that you can watch footage documented on an AVCHD video camera to DVD on Blu-ray Disc players and also the forthcoming Ps 3. The dvds will not be suitable for older DVD players, though – most will not possess the processing capacity to decompress the MPEG-4 video. Both Panasonic and The new sony are intending to license we’ve got the technology, however therefore we will most likely see AVCHD-compatible DVD players from their store along with other manufacturers shortly.

One major benefit of the brand new format is you will not require an costly Blu-ray Disc or HD DVD burner for doing things: since you can keep video on a single standard DVDs you already use, you should use exactly the same DVD burner. All you will need may be the new software to create the recording in the right format as well as an AVCHD-compatible player.

Future features

What exactly will the future hold for AVCHD? Well, this will depend about how prevalent the support is perfect for the brand new format. People will not purchase the new camcorders when they can’t watch and edit the recording they shoot, therefore the companies behind AVCHD need to make certain the players and software can be found, along with the camcorders.

Sony’s two new models are scheduled to reach this fall – September for that DVD-based UX1, and October for that hard-drive-based SR1 – which does not leave enough time for that pieces to fall under place. Until they are doing, the brand new AVCHD camcorders is going to be for early adopters only.

Richard Baguley threw in the towel becoming an early adopter as he got his first mortgage. He blogs about camcorders and video at


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