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HDV : HD for the Masses

Will you be editing HDV anytime soon? By John Virata

Several years ago, consumer electronics manufacturers Sony, JVC, Canon, and Sharp came up with a new standard that gives video editors the capability to acquire footage in a high definition format while at the same time, reducing the amount of money spent on such an acquisition device. HDV, or High Definition Video, for the most part, is that format. This can be attributed in part to the maturing of DV-based video cameras, and the upcoming requirement that TV stations broadcast in a digital format by the end of 2006. With JVC's release of the JY-HD10 a few years ago whetting consumer appetites, the message became clear that soon HDV would be on the minds of most everyone who shoots video with a DV camera. Consumers over the last few years have snapped up more DV cameras than their analog counterparts and will soon harbor interests for the new HDV format camcorders. DV formatted tapes, which were virtually impossible to find at your local drug store five years ago, can now be found at most drug and discount department stores, right next to the batteries behind the counter. This is testament to the popularity of the miniDV cassette.

DV is a mature 10 year old format. It offers 5:1 compression and records a standard definition 720 x 480 NTSC frame at a data rate of 25Mbps (3.5MB per second). The HDV specification supports 25p, 30p, 50p, and 60p at 1280 x 720 resolution in an MPEG-2 transport stream data rate of 19Mbps. It also supports 1080i at 1440 x 1080 resolution. It is big, about twice the size of a standard definition DV image. Audio is recorded at 16-bit 48kHz, MPEG-1 Audio layer 2 at 384kbps. Like DV, HDV format cameras capture data on miniDV tapes and transfer that data to the computer via FireWire.

Capturing the HDV image
There are several manufacturers that offer consumer-based HDV camcorders. In addition to the JVC JY-HD10 introduced several years ago, the company also offers the GR-HD1US ($3499), which records 1280 x 720 resolution HDV images. In addition to HDV, the camera can also capture in SD (MPEG-2) as well as the DV format, and links to the computer either via FireWire or USB. It also sports component and composite outputs. Sony offers the HDR-FX1 ($3699), a consumer based 1080i HDV camcorder that sports a 3 CCD sensor and records HD video at up to 1440 x 1080 resolution. It can also record standard definition DV video. It features a 12X optical zoom Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lens with Super SteadyShot image stabilization.

Sony's HDR-FX1

Canon, which came late to the initial DV party, is expected to announce a line of HDV camcorders sometime in the Summer/Fall 2005 timeframe.  As with the first DV camcorders, as the HDV format gains in popularity, you can expect that the cameras will come down in price.

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Related Keywords:HDV, HDV for the masses, HDV editing

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