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Old August 27th, 2007, 07:34 PM   #1
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MiniDV vs. DVCPro vs DVCam vs.Beta

Hi,
Can some please explain the difference between these formats in terms of quality? A client asked me to videotape something and wanted very good quality. I have a miniDV videocamera but could rent another format if it was worth it. Also, how hard is it to transfer data off the camera (other then miniDV) would I need a capture card?
Thanks in advance
Robert
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Old August 27th, 2007, 08:01 PM   #2
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For NTSC, there's no real difference between DV, DVCAM and DVCPro. The only difference of significance is the running speed of the tape. DV is slowest, DVCPro is fastest. The benefit of the faster tape travel is more robustness to drop-outs etc. DV and DVCAM recordings are interchangeable if you have a DV/DVCAM player. Once captured into a PC, there's no difference in quality. (There is a difference is the way the audio is laid out in the digital data stream but it doesn't mean anything).

DVCPro typically refers to the 25Mbps version. Higher quality versions exist - DVCPro50 and DVCPro100 (a.k.a DVCPro HD).

The above relates only to the format of the digitized video and audio. The quality of the optics and sensors of the camcorder will play a much greater role than the recording format.

Personally, I would choose DVCAM.

Many people will argue that DV/DVCAM/DVCPro are on a par with Betacam SP, others will insist otherwise. It's quite contentious.
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Old August 27th, 2007, 08:33 PM   #3
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Betacam SP has better color rendition than any DV-25 format. Practically speaking it is marginally better on an apples-to-apples analysis.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 09:51 PM   #4
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As John mentioned, There's a serious difference between DVCam and DVCPro 50.

DVCam's color sampling rate is 4:1:1. DVCPro 50 is 4:2:2. If you ever have to do green screen or major color correction or color grading, there are major advantages to using DVCPro 50.

Also, the data rate of DVCPro 50 is double that of DVCam. Which means you'll need twice as much hard drive space.

There's also 4 audio tracks in DVCPro 50, compared to two audio tracks of DVCam (at 48 kHz sampling rates).
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Old August 30th, 2007, 04:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Nunez View Post
Can some please explain the difference between these formats in terms of quality? A client asked me to videotape something and wanted very good quality. I have a miniDV videocamera ........
The simple answer to your question, Robert, is "very little", at least in practical terms.

Far greater quality differences are likely to occur due to the differences in the front ends of the camera. When DV first came on the scene, it tended to be regarded as much inferior to material shot on Beta. There may have been justification to this - but it was due to high quality camera front ends then being generally paired with Beta recorders, and much cheaper front ends generally being paired with DV, rather than differences between recording formats.

There will be FAR more difference between a high end DVCAM camera (DSR450) and a consumer DV camera (even though they are both recording the same data stream), than between the DSR450 and a good Beta camera.
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Old August 30th, 2007, 09:06 PM   #6
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Thanks to all of you for helping me with this. Beginning to make sense.
Robert
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