Shooting modes

Movie mode

Written by Gail Bjork

Some digital cameras record video that approaches the quality of a dedicated camcorder and even capture video in high definition.

Video file type symbolsThe 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.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.

2 Comments

  • Joan, I’m not sure I understand your question, but let me give it a shot. You can leave the camera in still mode until the battery runs out. Another option is to download the video to your computer and use software to extract stills from the video. You may be able to do this with the software that came with your camera. Then either print out the still, or open it on your computer.