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kpmedia 04-26-2010 04:36 AM

DV vs DVCAM - best editing codec for Sony DSR-PD175P PAL camera?
Continued from email...


Purchased a new PD175 Sony Camera, like to record tapeless, recording on to laptop through firewire,
which is the best uncompressed format to choose, we need good quality video for editing and broadcast purpose, cannot afford a highend tapeless camera, do not want to record in tape and then use a capture card or VTR to capture and then edit,
do not have a capture card or VTR, finding laptop and firewire caputure useful, but want to know the best suitable format for editing, using now ulead to capture or record video direct from Camera to laptop.
Edues for editing.
liked the information on your site, many thanks for the same,
appreciate your valuable feedback for this query.

Hi, thanks for writing, welcome to the site. :)

If you take a look at the specs of the camera at you'll notice that the camera natively shoots in two formats: DV or DVCAM.

You would be best to select DV/DVCAM thoughput. I would not try to change video codecs on-the-fly, especially since the input is not uncompressed -- any damage that would have been done has already been done by the time the computer gets the footage. Firewire is also pretty much limited to 35-40MB/s transfer speeds (400Mbits sustained), so DV is about as best as you can get from available codecs.

So DV vs DVCAM -- Which is better?
I'll explain it, but I'll also spare you the technical jibberish. :)

DVCAM is a Sony proprietary variation of DV. In terms of image/audio quality, DV and DVCAM are the same thing. However, the DVCAM tapes supposedly last longer, but are harder to find, and cost more. And I mean A LOT MORE -- for example, $2 for a DV tape in bulk, or $12 for a DVCAM tape in bulk. Because data is written differently in the DVCAM format, and because the tapes move faster, it only holds 40 minutes of content, as opposed to 60 minutes as you'd get on a normal DV tape.

DV is... well... DV. It's a standard definition shooting format. Quality of DV is more dependent on the camera (and the camera sensors) than anything else. You have a pretty decent camera there, so I'm sure it will look great. For PAL, you're using 4:2:0 colorspace, which I'd suggest is better than the NTSC 4:1:1 (although the compression is not much notice in a camera, unlike VHS conversions).

In terms of "which one should I use" -- if you're bypassing tapes (can this unit do that?), then both formats will look the same. DVCAM files may be larger, although I'm not sure. I bet I'm wrong on that, both DV and DVCAM are probably 13GB/hour video files.

I'd suggest a well-shot DV is probably good enough for standard def broadcast work, sure. Why not? It was done 10 years ago by news orgs and TV stations. Thought most people have moved to HD tech, there's nothing inherently wrong with SD material.

I'd run it as standard DV into the computer, and then any good NLE (non-linear editor) will work with DV input. Canopus / Grass Valley Edius, for example, as you've mentioned. I use Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 and CS4 for my editing work.

As far as the program that will allow you to record while you shoot? I'd see if your program of choice, Edius, will allow for live capture. I bet it will.

I hope that helps. If you have more questions, join the forum and reply to this post. Consider upgrading to Premium Member or making a donation too, to help support what we do at this site.

Thanks. :)

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