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FAQs about HD Camcorders

by Paul Sanders

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Girl with an HD camcorder recording a skateboarder

HD video is the next great thing to hit home video, and a large number of camcorders are on the market that record in high-definition resolution. Before you make the upgrade to an HD camcorder, though, you may want to know what factors will really give you a clearer, higher definition picture. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about HD camcorders and image quality.

HD Camcorder Questions:

  1. What makes camcorder video "HD" quality video?
    The "HD" refers to the high-definition resolution of the images that camcorders capture. An HD camcorder captures video with a resolution above 1920x1080 pixels. There are more factors that affect the image quality a camcorder is capable of, but it is the resolution that makes the video "HD" quality.

  2. How do HD camcorders store video data?
    HD camcorders store video in digital video files on an optical disc, hard drive or other storage media. The video may be compressed in order to fit more video into a smaller amount of digital memory.

  3. Does compressing video lower the quality?
    Video compression does affect image quality to a certain degree. The type of digital video file that your camcorder records with will determine how "lossy" the compression process will be. Too much compression can introduce artifacts into your video, such as pixilated parts of the screen. HD camcorders that record raw, uncompressed video will require a lot more storage space for their videos on memory cards or hard disks.

  4. What other factors affect the image quality of the video?
    The size of the image sensor, the lens and image-stabilization software can all affect the quality of the image. Look for a camcorder with an HD camera sensor featuring a large dynamic range and a quality lens.

  5. What else do I need to shoot quality HD video?
    One of the biggest issues that camcorders face is the camera-shake effect. If your HD camcorder has good image-stabilization, your images will steady a bit. If you use a tripod to steady your camera, you can largely eliminate any shaking. You can also adjust the settings on your digital camcorder to record the highest resolution possible. You'll need more memory cards to hold the video, but the picture from your HD camera will be of the highest quality that it's capable of producing.

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