The Most Popular Video File Formats for Camcorders
When recording videos with a camcorder, you can choose to work with equipment that stores video data in a raw format. What this means is that the file has to go through several different steps during the post-production phase to render it readable in other devices. The good thing about this format is that its latitude in color manipulation and exposure is greater than that of its compressed counterparts.
In most cases, video file formats come in various forms and identifying each from the others is important because the file format often dictate how feasible it is to work on those files on a computer, how the video quality will turn out during the recording, or how large the file size may be. Usually, you only need to worry about file formats if you plan to edit a video or burn it on a DVD.
Here’s a quick look at some common and popular camcorder file formats.
l AVCHD – This high-definition format is often the output of most Sony, Canon, and Panasonic HD video cameras, though other renowned manufacturers also support this format. Generally, camcorders that use this file format often capture high-quality videos and can burn HD video to a DVD disc, which can then be played on a Blu-ray disc player.
l MPEG-2 – For most standard definition models, this is the file format they use. It’s a high-quality digital format; in fact, DVD movies produced by Hollywood studios often come in this format. With that said, it’s easy to see the advantage that MPEG-2 files have over other camcorder file formats: it’s easy to burn it on DVD and be read by many computer media players since most support MPEG-2 playback functionality.
Typically, camcorders that record in MPEG-2 formats are pricier than pocket video cameras and often deemed to have higher quality. This may be because MPEG-2 video files recorded on the equipment are larger in size than other formats. The drawback of this file is that it’s not as easy to upload the file to send it through email or publish it on the Web.
l DV and HDV – Originally, the DV file format was designed to store digital video on a magnetic tape. The HDV format has the same raison d’être but it’s the high definition version of the DV video file format. For the most part, files saved in this format are memory-intensive but consistently produce quality video outputs. However, given the sharp drop in the popularity of tape-based camcorders on the market, modern cinematographers need not worry about these formats at all.
l H.264 or MPEG-4 – For many high-end HD camcorders and even pocket units, this is their go-to video file format. It may be important to note, however, that this form is a very broad family of different formats that generally support standard and high-definition video recordings. Now, the biggest upside of this video file format is that it’s capable of recording high-quality motion picture that can easily be compressed in a way that doesn’t consume excessive amounts of memory. In most cases, video cameras that utilize this particular file format are deemed as “Web-friendly” as they can easily capture video that isn’t difficult to send over the Internet.
Knowing the Format Used by a Camcorder
Being quite a technical element in a camcorder that average users won’t understand, don’t be surprised if this detail isn’t readily or prominently advertised or indicated on the equipment’s packaging. Nevertheless, you can always check the device’s manual to learn about this particular information. When you’ve lost your video camera’s manual years ago, a quick search on the World Wide Web can give you the answers you’re looking for.