Good videocamera for web clips at

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Old September 6th, 2007, 03:55 PM   #1
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Good videocamera for web clips


I need to buy a videocamera for filming clips which will appear mostly on the web. Should I buy a videocamera that shoots progressive to avoid interlacing issues? Can anyone recommend a camcorder in the low $2k range. Thanks in advance.
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Old September 6th, 2007, 05:36 PM   #2
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If your doing stuff for the web you should be able to spend quite alot less. If your putting your work on the web you will likely be compressing the video quite a bit giving up some quality to save bandwidth.
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Old September 7th, 2007, 03:42 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Kelly Harmsworth View Post
If your doing stuff for the web you should be able to spend quite alot less.
If the message is 'buy a cheap webcam, people won't tell the difference between that and a digibeta' I'd disagree a bit here. Web video involves a lot of compression, which means one should start with the best quality you can to start with:

- Low noise
- No edge sharpening
- Controlled exposure
- Shallow depth of field
- Good tripod
- Good tripod skills! :)
- Clean sound from separate mics (very very important)

The idea is to minimise the number of pixels that change from frame to frame. If you pan the camera or hand hold it, every pixel in the image will change from frame to frame - very compression-unfriendly. If you follow a subject carefully in a pan, then less pixels change, better quality. If the background is sharp, crunchy and active, it will steal bandwidth from the foreground, so it's best to use DoF to isolate your subject. If the auto-iris is opening and closing to cope with variable amounts of your subject's white T-Shirt, all pixels are changing - bad for compression. If you can clamp the exposure, white balance, etc, less pixels change, less work for the compressor, and so on.

Another thing is that video for TV uses a different setup than video on a computer screen. You need a little tweakability to get a good image for data.

And yes, progressive! Web videos used to top out at 320x240, thus any video could be scaled down to that size and be effectively deinterlaced. However, we're beginning to move to 640x360 web video at the higher end - certainly all my corporate work starts at 480x360 in Flash 8, and downscaling to these newer sizes does cause problems with interlacing.

Deinterlacing the footage at compression time (with Episode, Squeeze) or as a separate pass (e.g. DVFilm Maker) creates an effective 25% vertical resolution loss - no great shakes at the moment, but the real issue is the time it takes.

IF you don't deinterlace, compression is of lower quality and image suffers.

But if you look at YouTube videos and think they're rubbish, please note that most videos are copies of copies of copies. You can get quite respectable quality from YouTube if you provide correctly compressed, correctly scaled video. Note that YouTube will be moving to H264 over time, along with Flash video, and that will 'raise the quality stakes' even higher.

So it pays to shoot progressive from the get-go. I've been enjoying the HVX200 recently and will purchase a Sony EX1, but...

The Canon HV20 has had some great write-ups. If you can work around the rolling shutter, it has a great image quality for pennies. There are plenty of others, but just look for progressive, with manual controls.
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Old September 8th, 2007, 12:37 AM   #4
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Thanks to both of you for the replies. Matt, what is the Sony EX1? (Do you mean the FX1?).
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