That?s a great question?.if you were to hand two identical tapes to an expert, one made using MiniDV equipment and the other using professional-grade digital or analogue equipment, he would be able to tell almost immediately which was which. This is because of compression artifacts in the image that are not difficult to find if you conduct a careful search for them.
If you were to hand both tapes to an end user - the type of person who will actually view your production - he would almost certainly consider the end result more than acceptable.
You can see the differences if you take a picture of a test pattern or an image with strong diagonal lines, which the MiniDV format is not that good at rendering due to the way it compresses information. You'll find the diagonals are somewhat fuzzy when compared to the tack-sharp quality of the rest of the picture.
The format in general is so good that news-gathering operations such as ABC News and CNN have made extensive use of standard "consumer-grade" MiniDV cameras. Some very professional work, particularly in the documentary area, is being done with these cameras.
The bottom line is that unless you're making a sitcom or Movie of the Week for television, people aren't likely to notice the quality differences. If you're making an industrial video people are likely to notice how much better your products look than those created on older equipment.
Last update: 01:13 AM Monday, October 17, 2005