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Chapter 1. DV 101 > DV: The Latest Generation of Video

DV: The Latest Generation of Video

As I’ve said, DV is unparalleled for video quality, audio quality, and ease of editing on a computer. The quality of the picture and sound are better than that of any other consumer analog video format. Another big advantage of DV (also refered to as MiniDV) is that it retains the same high quality even after making multiple digital copies of the original. There are also the numerous applications or projects shot and stored on DV. DV is a capable format for training videos, business presentations, and even broadcast TV.

DV, Compression, and Artifacts

First, let’s take a look at what DV really is. DV is a format that records component video (see the previous section, “Component”), compresses it, and stores it on tape with audio and timecode. Whew! That was a mouthful. You know what component video is, Y, R-Y, B-Y, right? OK, first the analog signal from the camera is converted to digital, using A to D converters. This conversion is done at 8 bits, so Y, R-Y, and B-Y have 256 individual levels (2 to the 8th power is 256—it’s digital). If you have ever seen the expression 4:1:1, here’s what it means. The video must be sampled (measured) to capture 720 pixels across the screen and 480 down. For every four samples of luma (Y, brightness), DV uses one sample each for R-Y and B-Y. Therefore, a lot less color information is stored than luma. That’s OK, because our eyes perceive detail based on contrast, the luma part of the signal. Humans need less information to perceive color, and all video formats take advantage of this to save on the amount of information they need to store.


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