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Why a DV Camcorder Is Worth It > Why a DV Camcorder Is Worth It - Pg. 15

8mm camcorders are extremely inexpensive these days--under $300. Among non- digital camcorders, 8mm is the most popular format, but even these are rapidly being discontinued by camcorder makers. ·Hi-8.Hi-8 was the compact-camcorder equivalent of the S-VHS format described above: pricier camcorders, pricier tapes, better quality than regular 8mm. For several years, S-VHS and Hi-8 were popular prosumer camcorders--a cute way of saying that they bridged the gap between inexpensive consumer equipment and very expensive professional equipment. Because S-VHS and Hi-8 footage doesn't deteriorate as much from copy to copy as regular VHS and 8mm tape, it was a popular format for recording wedding videos, legal depositions, and even low- budget cable TV commercials. Today, of course, DV camcorders dominate these functions. iMovie works only with digital camcorders, but that doesn't mean you can't use all your older footage; Chapter 4 offers several ways to transfer your older tapes into iMovie. But from this day forward, shoot all of your new footage with a DV camcorder. At this writing, MiniDV camcorders cost about $400 for a basic model--and prices continue to sink, month by month. (See the end of this chapter for a DV buying guide.) Tip: Selling your old camcorder eases much of the pain of buying a DV camcorder. Remember to transfer your old footage into DV format before you do so, however. Meet Digital Video Why a DV Camcorder Is Worth It A DV camcorder offers enormous advantages over previous formats. It's smaller The size of the camcorder is primarily determined by the size of the tapes inside it. A MiniDV cassette (tape cartridge) is tiny, as shown in Figure 1-2, so the camcorders are also tiny. The largest DV camcorder is about the size of the smallest 8mm camcorder, and the smallest DV camcorder is the size of a Sony Walkman. Figure 1-2: The various sizes of tapes that today's camcorders can accept differ in size, picture quality, and cost. For both home and prosumer flming, the standard-size VHS cassette (back) is nearly extinct. 8mm and Hi-8 cassettes (right) are extremely popular among people who don't have a computer to edit footage, and are very inexpensive. MiniDV tapes (left), like the ones required by most DV camcorders, are more expensive--but the enormous quality improvement makes them worth every penny. chapter1:thedvcamcorder 15