Cast for two

Saturday, September 29, 2007

HD videocamera's that record on Flash cards

It looks that in the near future MPEG-4 AVC video will be possible along the three main steps of a web video production flow : 1) capturing, 2) editing and 3) presenting on the web.

  1. In the coming months, a lot of new consumer and prosumer camera's will be released on the market, aiming at the Christmas shopping window, that capture H264 video in HD resolutions (720 lines or more). Interesting is that some record straight to non-volatile flash memory. This allows for smaller camera's that can be made cheaper, more low power, smaller and more robust because of less moving parts. Flash cards become affordable. For example a 4 GB class 6 SDHC card can be bought for around 50 euro. An 8GB card with the same speed cost less then 100 euro. Another big advantage is that they can be mounted as an extra drive to the computer for editing. This completely nullifies the time ingest take with tapes.
  2. Also editing software get ready for MPEG-4 AVC: Imovie 08, Final Cut Pro 2 and Adobe Premiere CS3 support it.
  3. Adobe's upcoming release "moviestar" allows for playback of MPEG-4 AVC/AAC in the browser with hardware acceleration using Flash 9. (Earlier post about this news)
With the advent of MPEG-4 AVC/AAC camera's, editors and ubiquitous web playback, it's time to explore a new innovative workflow optimized for video on the web. Let's start with a look to the camera's:
  • Hercules Webcam Dualpix HD
  • Price: 49,95 euro, available in Fnac
  • Format: 1280x960p30
  • Website from manufacturer
  • Remark: altough this camera allows for 1280x960p30, in practice limited bandwith, disk or processor speed may be require to lower the video size. The HD stands for Hercules DualPix and NOT for High Definition. Don't fall in marketing trick (like I did).
  • De Aiptek GO-HD 720p
  • Sample1
  • Price: $299
  • Format: 1280x720p30
  • Sensortype: 1x 5MP CMOS, size unknown ?
  • Video Codec: MPEG-4 Part 10 AVC/H.264
  • Audio Codec: AAC, Stereo, 48,000 kHz
  • Capture bitrate: +/- 4Mbits/second
  • Container format: Quicktime Mov
  • Kodak Easyshare Z1275
  • Price: 230 euro
  • Specifications from manufacturer
  • Sensortype: 1/1.72 in. CCD
  • Format: 1280x720p30 , 30 frames per second
  • Video codec: MPEG-4 Part 2
  • Audio codec: μ-Law 2:1, Mono, 16,000 kHz
  • Container format: Quicktime Mov
  • Capture bitrate: +/- 8Mbits/second
  • Available: september 2007
  • Sanyo's Xacti DMX-HD700
  • Price: $609
  • Sensortype: 1/2.5 inch, 7.38-megapixel, CCD
  • Format: 1280x720p30 MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 video, 30 frames per second
  • Bitrate: [HD-SHQ] 1280 x 720 (30fps, 9Mbps), [HD-HR] 1280 x 720 (30fps, 6Mbps), [TV-SHQ] 640 x 480 (30fps, 3Mbps ), [TV-HQ] 640 x 480 (30fps, 2Mbps ), [Web-SHQ] 320 x 240 (30fps)
  • Available: end of October 2007
  • Mac OS compatible
  • Sanyo Xacti HD1000
  • Price: $800
  • Format: 60 fields/s for 1080i or 60 frames/s for 720p 12Mbps or lower modes.
  • Sensortype: 4MP 1/2.5" CMOS (!) sensor
  • Video codec: MPEG-4 Part 10 AVC/H.264
  • Audio codec: AAC, Stereo (L R), 48,000 kHz
  • Bitrate: +/- 12Mbps for 1080x720p60
  • Containter format: MPEG-4 system file with .mp4 extension
  • Available: november 2007
  • Sanyo Belgium
  • Panasonic HDC-SD5
  • Price: $900
  • Format: 50 fields for 1920x1080i50, HG: 1.920 x 1.080, HN/HE: 1.440 x 1.080
  • Sensortype: 1/6 inch 3xCCD-beeldsensor
  • Format: 1920x1080
  • Video codec: MPEG-4 Part 10 AVC/H.264 (compatibel with AVCHD-standard)
  • Audio codec: Dolby Digital (Dolby AC3)/ 2-channel
  • Bitrate: HG: ca. 13 Mbps (CBR), HN: ca. 9 Mbps (VBR), HE: ca. 6 Mbps (VBR)
  • Available now
  • Sony HDR-CX7
  • Price: $1200
  • Format: 1920x1080i60, AVCHD, 1280x720p60???
  • Sensortype: 1/2.9 inch ClearVid CMOS
  • Video codec: MPEG-4 Part 10 AVC/H.264 (compatibel with AVCHD-standard)
  • Audio codec: Dolby® Digital 5.1
  • Bitrate: HD XP (15Mbps), HD HQ (9Mbps), HD SP (7Mbps), HD LP (5 Mbps), SD HQ (9Mbps), SD SP (6Mbps), SD LP (3Mbps)
  • can record 3 seconds at 240 frames per second
  • Remark: USB on dock only
  • Available: september 2007
What camera would you buy ?

Technical remark: some camera's deliver a .mp4 file and others deliver AVCHD
. In AVCHD, the compressed audio and video data are encapsulated in a MPEG-2 Transport stream, called BDAV. In that case, the essense (the video and the audio stream) are MPEG-4 but they are encapsulated as payload into a MPEG-2 stream. Some editors/tool handle mp4 files but barf on AVCHD MPEG-2 streams. Conversion from a AVCHD file to a mpeg-4 file is possible but adds another step to the video productionflow.

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