Camcorder, Video & DVD Terminology
The following terms are often used in reference to camcorders and
16:9: the aspect ratio of the width to the height
of a wide-screen TV image. Standard TV aspect ratio is 4:3. Only
HDV models record true wide-screen video with a 16:9 aspect ratio.
24p: Movie producers run at 24 frames per second.
Video on venerable analog NTSC-format TVs runs at 29.97 frames per
second. To make a comparable NTSC video you must convert the video
from 29.97 to 24 fps. Camcorders that record in 24p use progressive
scanning, as opposed to interlaced scanning.
CCD: Charge Coupled Device, a type of image sensor
(see CMOS, below).
CMOS: Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor,
a type of image sensor used in many camcorders. More expensive models
usually use CCD sensors, less prone to picking up electrical noise
(which can make images look grainy). Differences are small today.
HDV: High Definition Video is a standard for
camcorders to record onto a standard MiniDV tape by using compression.
Requires hefty computer power and editing software to manage.
Interlacing: A scanning mode used to create the
illusion of high-image resolution while conserving bandwidth. The
TV image is cut into two parts, or fields. The TV displays them
alternately in rapid succession (one field every 60th of a second
to produce one full frame every 30th of a second). The human eye
perceives them as one image.
NTSC: National Television Systems Committee created
the TV standard used in the U.S.
PAL: Phased Alternation Line, the standard for
analog TV in the UK and parts of Europe. PAL has higher resolution;
more lines of screen than NTSC: 576 visible horizontal lines instead
of NTSC's 525. Most U.S. TVs don't support PAL
Progressive Scan: Associated with DVD players
and some camcorders. Progressive-scan camcorder or player processes
the image frames are displayed in sequence, rather than interlaced,
giving a smoother appearance to fast movement.