Movie Making Manual/Cinematography/Cameras and Formats/Electronic Capture and Storage

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Electronic capture and storage

A Panasonic VariCam HD camera on sticks

WikiPedia articles:






Tech specs

  • Chroma subsampling: DV or MiniDV(NTSC) = 4:1:1
  • Chroma subsampling: DV or MiniDV(PAL) = 4:2:0



Recording DVcam onto optical disk

DVCpro, DVCpro50 and DVCproHD

Panasonic's formats.

They all use exactly the same tape medium but the tape runs faster through the mechanism for the higher quality formats.

Tech specs

  • DVCPRO = 25Mbit/s 4:1:1
  • DVCPRO50 = 50Mbit/s 4:2:2
  • DVCPRO100 = 100Mbit/s 4:2:2


Recording of DVCpro, DVCpro50 or DVCproHD onto PCMCIA-sized solid state memory cards.

P2 to hard disk


  • Panasonic AJ-HDC27 - DVCproHD, variable frame rate




Tech specs

  • Chroma subsampling = 4:2:0
  • Bitrate = 25 megabits per second

the 'prosumer' high definition format, recording high definition video onto miniDV tape using MPEG2 compression


Tech specs

  • Chroma subsampling = 3:1:1
  • Resolution recorded to tape = 1440 x 1080


  • Sony HDW-F900, 1920x1080 sensors
  • Sony HDW-750P
  • Sony HDW-730s


Tech specs

  • Chroma subsampling = 4:4:4




  • Post production is often done uncompressed
  • It's now becomming possible to capture uncompressed, too

Preface: data versus video

Formats like 2k and 4k are considered "data" rather than "video". A scanner which produce 2k files from film negative are called "data scanners" as apposed to "telecines". Why? The main difference between "data" and "video" is that "data" doesn't use any chroma subsampling and is always RGB (as apposed to a video colour space like YUV). I.E. data is always 4:4:4 RGB.

Advantages of using uncompressed

  • No compression artifacts
  • Maintain full latitude (useful if the footage will be graded)
  • Very little processing required

Disadvantages of using uncompressed

  • Requires lots of storage
  • Requires very fast hard disk

Uncompressed formats

  • HD <= 1920x1080
  • 2k = 2048x1556
  • 4k =
  • 6k =
  • 8k =

see Table of Formats for more details.

Film style electronic cameras


Arri D-20

  • 1920x1080

Panavision Genesis

  • 1920x1080

Films made with the Genesis

  • Scary Movie 4
  • Superman Returns


Dalsa Origin

  • 12-stops lattitude
  • 4k resolution

Direct to Disk Recording (DDR)

Hard disks for use with DV cameras

  • Formax Oxygen (250GB hard disk, good value for money, plugs into a DV camera)
  • FireStore
  • DVRack software turns a laptop into a hard disk recorder and monitoring system

Hard disks for the JVC GY-HD100 HDV camera

  • JVC DR-HD100 recorder records audio, timecode, video, all over firewire. 40 and 80GB capacities for >3 and >7 hrs of HDV recording.
    • HD or SD recording
    • SD DV25 as .dv, AVI type 1 or 2, 2 type 24p, QuickTime 30i or 24p (and other AVI formats as well for Matrox etc.), in HD it records 720p24, p25, p30 .m2t files for NLE systems

Hard disks for the Panasonic HVX200 DVCproHD camera

  • Focus DTE FS100DTE

Miniature / covert cameras