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Introduction > Introduction - Pg. 17

Videos, a tape submitted by an amateur camcorder fan, you've seen this problem in action. Digital video is stored on the tape as computer codes, not as pulses of magnetic energy. You can copy this video from DV camcorder to DV camcorder, or from DV camcorder to Mac, dozens of times, making copies of copies of copies. The last generation of digital video will be utterly indistinguishable from the original footage--which is to say, both will look fantastic. Note: Technically speaking, you can't keep making copies of copies of a DV tape infnitely. After, say, 20 or 30 generations, you may start to see a few video dropouts (digital-looking specks), depending on the quality of your tapes and duplicating equipment. Still, few people have any reason to make that many copies of copies. (Furthermore, making infnite copies of a single original poses no such problem.) Meet Digital Video A DV recording is forever Depending on how much you read newspapers, you may have remembered the depressing story the New York Times broke in the late eighties: Because home video was such a recent phenomenon at the time, nobody had ever bothered to check out how long videotapes last. The answer, as it turns out, was: not very long. Depending on storage conditions, the signal on traditional videotapes may begin to fade in as little as ten years! The pre- cious footage of that birth, wedding, or tornado, which you had hoped to preserve forever, could in fact be more feeting than the memory itself. Your frst instinct might be to rescue a fading video by copying it onto a fresh tape, but making a copy only further damages the footage. The bottom line, said the scientists: There is no way to preserve original video footage forever! Fortunately, there is now. DV tapes may deteriorate over a decade or two, just as traditional tapes do. But you won't care. Long before the tape has crumbled, you'll have transferred the most important material to a new hard drive or a new DV tape or to a DVD. Because quality never degrades when you do so, you'll glow with the knowledge that your grandchildren and their grandchildren will be able to see your movies with every speck of clarity you see today--even if they have to dig up one of those antique "Macintosh" computers or gigantic, soap-sized "DV camcorders" in order to play it. No fuzzy snow when rerecording As on any camcorder, a DV unit lets you rerecord a scene on top of existing footage. But with DV, at the spot where the new footage begins or ends, you don't get fve seconds of glitchy static, as you do with nondigital camcorders. Instead, you get a clean edit. You can edit it The ffth and best advantage of the DV format is, of course, iMovie itself. Once you've connected your DV camcorder up to your Mac (as described in Chapter 4), you can pour the footage from camcorder to computer--and then chop it up, rearrange scenes, chapter1:thedvcamcorder 17