Cameras forum

General discussion

Best video format for camera

by vhdpsj / March 16, 2008 1:58 PM PDT

Hi, I am a newbee. I take a lot of videos using my camera. One of my cameras, Kodak, saves video files in .mov format. My other camera saves the videos in .avi format. It seems to me the .avi files takes a lot more disk space than the .mov files for the same amount of video time. It also seems to me that the .avi file is slightly better quality than the .mov format (still need to be verified).

Can someone tell me what video format uses the least disk space for the same picture quality as disk space is important to me since I store everything on my laptop and disk space is limited.

Also, please let me know what camera manufacturers use that best format that you recommend.

Thanks in advance.

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not the file format
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / March 17, 2008 8:27 AM PDT

AVI and MOV are container formats . One can't answer the question which one of the format has better quality because it depends on the codec used in the container. As a pretty good rule though, the more the video is compressed(smaller file sizes) the worse the video quality.

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New, Better Video Format
by jellojerry / March 23, 2008 10:39 PM PDT

We all know that too much compression can really damage image quality. So the holy grail in video would be high compression with high quality.

With the emergence of reasonably priced HD camcorders, manufacturers had to deal with the extreme file sizes and still keep the high quality "HD" look. I recently purchased two HD camcorders, one by Aiptek ($180) and one by Sanyo ($700). The Aiptek records at HD's 720p (1280x720 pixels), while the Sanyo does 1080i (1920x1080). Both record HD video to SDHC storage cards in HDTV's 16:9 or standard TV's 4:3 aspect ratio.

For both camcorders, file size is reduce with a new codec called AVC H.264... Google H.264 for more info. H.264 is all the rage in the camcorder community and many companies are racing to put out small, compact HD camcorders. H.264 is great for compressing a lot with mimimal loss of image quality.

The Aiptek puts it's H.264 compressed video into a .mov container which plays back via QuickTime 7.x. The camcorder is packaged with a plugin for Windows Media Player that allows .mov playback without QuickTime. The Sanyo's "container" for H.264 is MPEG4.

I bought 32 Gb SDHC cards for each camcorder ($29 each) which hold up to 4 hours of video. Playback on an HDTV is stunning as each camcorder can record and play in 16:9 wide-screen format.

For comparison purposes: a video clip from the Sanyo HD camcorder was 83 Mb in 720p. Converted to AVI it was 112 Mb and in 480i format. Converted to MPEG2 it was 27 Mb, but only 480i. While AVI is a common format, it's file sizes are too big for only 480i resolution. MPEG2 is small, but it's 480i resolution was disappointing on an HDTV screen.

Still, H.264 is as close as you can get to having your cake and eating it, too.

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Archiving/converting to disc
by zone_five / March 24, 2008 12:26 AM PDT

Which file type is easiest to either convert to DVD (480p) or blu-ray (720p or 1080p) when I get a blu-ray burner? (don't have one yet)?

I'd like to get a camera that records HD video but not sure which one...

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Look at what DVD FLICK supports.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 24, 2008 12:51 AM PDT

I'd use one of those formats for 480.

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what camera brand,modl give the best quality video compress
by vhdpsj / March 24, 2008 6:58 AM PDT

Thanks kalel33 and jellojerry for making me understand the .mov and the .avi formats. So these are only the "container". And the codec inside can be anything else such as h.264, Dvix, Xvid etc....

So, the remainder of my questions I am still looking for the answer is what camera manufacter or brand should I buy so that I can get the best compression with good picture quality? I am satisfied with 640x480 or ????x480 (16x9 ratio). Can someone help me with this question? Any input would be appreciated. I am a learner in this issue.

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Let me comment about "camera compression."
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 24, 2008 8:23 AM PDT

Let's get real here. In camera compression is usually a trade off of power and space. I can safely bet you can recompress later on some PC or Mac and do much better. I would not give one nickel for better compression in the camera.

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by vhdpsj / March 24, 2008 8:47 AM PDT

quote "Let's get real here. In camera compression is usually a trade off of power and space. I can safely bet you can recompress later on some PC or Mac and do much better. I would not give one nickel for better compression in the camera.

Is it not true that repeated compression will degrade the quality of the picture? If this is true, then it is best to find the camera that does the best compression to begin with, then you (or I) do not have to do anything else (save time, save..???)

My 2 cents.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 24, 2008 9:45 AM PDT
In reply to: Recompression

I'm going to share I've done this too many times and you can test it on your own like I did. Those cameras run on AA power so they can't compare with your many GHz CPU AC powered monster. This is an area you may have to get your feet wet.

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In terms of video quality how do the two camcorders compare
by cjones2010 / May 9, 2008 3:38 AM PDT

I've been looking at both those cameras... In terms of video quality, low light performance and audio how do the two camcorders compare (Aiptek & Sanyo)? And are the feature sets that different?

Also, where did you find 32 gb SDHC cards for only $29?

When played back on your HDTV were you using component cables, HDMI or did you put the card into the TV via a card reader? I'm curious because I've got a PS3 that I can throw a SD card into and copy all the video files onto its hard drive and then play it through the PS3's HDMI right to the TV. That's also why this new video format has some appeal since it hopefully won't eat up the 80 gb hard drive too soon. Thanks for the help and info.

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Aiptek vs. Sanyo

Obviously, the $180 (Costco) Aiptek GO-HD (newer model out now) and the Sanyo HD1000 for $679 (Amazon) are in different classes.

The Sanyo has a popup flash for 4MP still photos, but needs to light assist for shooting indoors during daylight hours. Now, I don't mean a bedroom with one window... rather a room with multiple windows. The Sanyo has an f6.3 lens but the chip has good light gathering ability.

The Sanyo has a 10 to 1 zoom; the Aiptek 3 to 1. The mic in the Sanyo is better than the Aiptek. Both can use the Transcend (Amazon) 8Gb SDHC card. Be sure any SD card is CLASS 6 (not Class 2 or 4 which record too slowly). Sorry, the SDHC card was 8 Gb, not 32Gb. Next year the 32Gb card will be $10. Happy

The Sanyo comes with a base that recharges the battery and is used to transfer video from camcorder's SDHC card to attached external hard drive using the TV screen as a monitor. Sequence is Camcorder in base with SDHC > transfer to external HD > view video on TV via component cables or HDMI. No computer is needed to view video on TV.

The new codec is all the rage and is ahead of editing software right now. Software to EDIT H.264 includes Sony Vegas 8 ($400), VideoStudio 11 Plus ($130), and ArcSoft's TotalMedia Extreme ($120). I downloaded a freebie version of TotalMedia Extreme ($10) from Aiptek's website: > Support > FAQs > Topic is: "Can I Burn/Make DVD movies?" Link to TotalMedia Extreme is there. $2.99 plus $7 S&H.

The other more expensive programs are available in a trial version for you to try out. You can also edit in the camcorder.

I can view the video on my PC in Quicktime 7.4 and in ArcSoft's Digital Theater (which was on the CD with TotalMedia Extreme). I can drop still photos (JPEGs) and MPEG4 files from the Sanyo into my slide show program (Memories on TV - and burn a DVD for viewing on my HDTV 60" screen. Either a Blu Ray or HD DVD player will upconvert 720p from the Sanyo to 1080p or upconvert 1080i from the Sanyo to 1080p--fantastic video is the result.

I don't know about putting the SDHC card directly into a PS3.

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is there a big difference in the video quality?
by cjones2010 / May 9, 2008 7:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Aiptek vs. Sanyo

Thanks for the quick reply.

Curious, what's the difference like in the video quality? Obviously not having the image stabilization will have an effect, but for a point and shoot is the 720p decent? I noticed the newer Aiptek will do 1080i @ 30fps or 720p @60fps, which seems pretty decent for $200.

Also, I realized that simply putting the SD card in the playstation 3 wouldn't work since the PS3 can't play .mov files, which means I'd either have to convert it (mpeg 4)or just plug it directly in the TV or AV receiver via components... not ideal. Do you think most of the new hybrid camcorders like these are going to be using that movie file format? Thanks again for the replies and help.

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They also state it can do 8 or 10 megapixel, which according to how many pictures it can store seems to be more close to 3 megapixels. The things I've seen with the Aiptek are not very good. Just like a digital camera, if the $80 camera does 8 megapixel it doesn't mean it will do as well as the SLR with 8 megapixel. The Aiptek are plastic lens with a little hole for the light to go through. There's a reason why they are so cheap.

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aiptek VS Sanyo HD1000
by jellojerry / May 10, 2008 3:43 AM PDT
In reply to: but

The big diff in price is a clue... the two cameras do not compare favorably... Aiptek GO-HD is only 3X zoom, plastic lens, so-so sound quality. Sanyo HD1000 is 10x zoom, glass lens, good sound. Sanyo is mid priced compared to Sony and Canon which are over $1000, some $1400.

Google HD camcorders and read all the reviews... educate yourself before you make a decision. Aiptek is fine for YouTube uploads and casual video.

720p vs. 1080i: I shot both and compared. I could not tell the difference on my Pioneer Kuro 6010 HDTV. So... I now shoot 720p for more video per SDHC card. Of course, when I burn video to a DVD, my HD DVD player is outstanding at upconverting the image to 1080p. As you know, Blu Ray players are NOT selling well because of cost and the fact that a $99 upconverting DVD player will make 480i standard def movies on DVD look fantastic. Your 720p video from either the Aiptek or Sanyo will upconvert nicely for viewing on an HDTV.

Wanna view your HD video on your PC or Mac? Forget it. Oh, it will display, but kinda jerky. I have a dual core pentium D 3.2 Ghz with 2 Gb of memory and the 720p is NOT smooth; OK for editing but not viewing enjoyment. You will need a KILLER computer to use it as your primary HD video viewer. Even then, you'll need to shut down lots of progs running in the background. Don't buy an HD camcorder unless you plan to view video on an HDTV. If you don't have an HDTV, get a standard def camcorder.

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h.264 samples
by gordonrp / May 29, 2008 5:16 AM PDT
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Could be just me, but
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / May 29, 2008 7:00 AM PDT
In reply to: h.264 samples

The 1080p has frame rate problems with viewing. The other two look good though.

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by gordonrp / May 29, 2008 7:10 AM PDT
In reply to: Could be just me, but

Yeah, you need a very fast connection to watch the 1080p version as the file is about 200MB. You can however click play, click pause, let it load, then click play about 10 minutes later if you're really curious... but there is not much to see.

H.264 looks great even at the 480p setting IMO, atleast for high res web video.


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