The majority of digital cameras record movies in addition to still photos. Some are capable of recording video that approaches the quality of a dedicated camcorder and even capture video in high definition.* There are two formats for HD video, 1080i (interlaced) and 720p (progressive).
If you plan to shoot a lot of video, make sure the digital camera you buy does not have a limited recording time. There are cameras that have no limit at all and record until the memory card is full.
A high speed memory card is required to obtain the best performance when shooting video at the highest video resolution and fastest frame rate. Video files can be huge so large capacity memory cards, such as Secure Digital High Capacity cards, are recommended.
Video files often have a THM file associated with them. They are small files created by the camera to act as thumbnails for videos. The THM file is the first frame of the video and is the initial still image you see when previewing a movie in a camera.
Hybrid digital cameras
Because of the increasing demand for improved video in compact digital cameras, some manufacturers make hybrid digital cameras. These cameras have some of the features found on dedicated camcorders such as stereo sound, wind cut function and High Definition video. Some capture HD video in “AVCHD Lite” format, which allows longer recordings than the Motion JPEG format.
Digital single lens reflex camera video
Taking video with a digital single lens reflex camera is becoming more common. The main advantage of DSLR video is picture quality. Every control used for producing high quality still pictures is available for making high quality videos.
Because of the large sensor, video shot with a DSLR looks more like it shot with a movie camera than a camcorder. However, DSLR video capture is in its infancy as of this writing so don’t expect much in the way of camcorder-type features.
Video output mode setting
Make sure your camera is set to the record video output to the standard for your country. If you live in the U.S.A., Canada or Japan, set your video to NTSC. Select PAL if you live in a European country or in China.
*Note: If you want high definition video to playback smoothly, your computer may require hardware upgrades…or you may have to get a new computer.