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Compression

Simply put, compression is the science of storing large amounts of data in small packages. Without compression, digital video would be impractical for all but the most powerful computer systems. A single uncompressed frame of full-screen video consumes nearly 1 MB of storage. Capturing and playing back 30 uncompressed frames per second is beyond the capability of most hard disks and processors; the data rate (or flow of information) is simply too high.

Fortunately, various compression schemes have been devised to reduce the file size and data rates of digital video and audio. In addition, add-on capture cards and fast drives can enable your computer to process relatively high-quality, high-data-rate video files. The DV format accomplishes its compression in the camera, reducing the data rate to a level most modern computers can handle without extra hardware.


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