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Camcorder, Video & DVD Terminology


The following terms are often used in reference to camcorders and film editing.

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.



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