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By: Danette Mckay
Digital camcorders have come a long way since their early days. New camcorders are smaller, cheaper and better quality than their old ancestors. Here are some random things about the digital camcorder that are useful to know.

Digital camcorders like the Canon Camcorder use a digital sensor in order to capture the video. In the old days camcorders used film to capture video. The film would move at a certain speed, 24 or 30 frames per second, and each frame on the film would capture a moment in time. With new electronic digital camcorders film is not used anymore. Instead a light sensor also known as a CCD is placed behind the lens. The CCD captures the picture on a large number of tiny light sensors also known as pixels. After a picture is successfully captured on the CCD the CCD is emptied electronically. The long series of pixel values is transferred to internal memory for further processing and the CCD is ready to take another picture.

The further processing includes compressing the picture and writing it to a file on either built in or more likely removable memory. Camcorders like the Canon Camcorder usually save the video in a compressed MPEG format. As opposed to JPEG format which compresses a single picture the MPEG format compressed motion pictures and on top of what JPEG does it also takes advantage of the similarity between frames to further save space.

Capturing color is another task camcorders need to cope with. The Canon Camcorder use what is know as a single CCD system. A single CCD is used to capture color pictures. This is done by actually having each pixel built of three pixels one for each prime color. Each such pixel uses a tiny filter to capture just its intended prime color. Other camcorders unlike the Canon Camcorder use what is known as a three CCD system. In that system there are three CCDs in the camera and each one is fed through an optical filter to see just one prime color. The 3 CCD system is more expensive and is bigger but results in more vivid color and better quality.

The fact that the Canon Camcorder uses solid memory to save the video and a CCD system to capture the video frames means that there are no mechanical moving parts in the camcorder. The only moving parts in camcorders these days are the lenses elements used for zoom and focus. The result is that modern camcorders are getting very small, are cheaper and more reliable as there are less parts that can break.

The Canon Camcorder can also be directly connected to a TV to playback video or it can be connected to a computer using such connections as the fast USB2 in order to transfer the video files to the computer hard drive. With old film based camcorders you had to spend a long time developing the film before the video could be played back. With camcorders like the Canon Camcorder you can watch the video instantly right after it was taken using a small LCD screen in the camcorder. This allows you to correct the composition, lighting and achieve much better quality videos.
Danette Mckay explains about this subject in more depth at flip video
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