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What do I need? I am in the UK, so does that mean my video camera will be PAL format, or does it not work like that?
Can I record a PAL format video and then use some tool to convert to NTSC format?
Or is the output from the camera in some independent format?
I'm very confused.
You can buy a PAL video camera and record everything in PAL. You will need a special converter to convert it to NTSC. My dad does this for money. Don't be cheap and buy a good converter if you want to do it through hardware. Cheap ones all they do is cut out number of frames and your picture becomes jumpy. The more expensive ones try to compensate a little by deleting frames but still smoothing out the picture.
You can also do it on the computer. There is software to do that. I don't know how good it is. Never tried.
If you want best quality you will need to record in both PAL and NTSC separetly.
Also research on the DVD burner. I know there are some differences in the cheap ones Certain DVD players won't play some formats of DVD. I am not sure at the moment at what it is, but I can ask my dad, he knows all about it.
You will need a good capture card from somebody like Pinnicle and a computer up to the job. Ideally you would need a separate hard disk to store your video footage on to give best quality.
As regards software a cheap option is Adobe Premiere and it can come with capture cards so search around. In Premiere you can edit in PAL or NTSC, but you cannot conver PAL to NTSC in Premiere. It may be possible to convert imported PAL video files to .avi and then to conver the avi to NTSC but you will need to check this out and make sure you don't loose quality.
As regards DVD players, I could be wrong, but why should a DVD player care whether a PAL or NTSC DVD is recorded on it, only the player. Check this out.
If you have any questions I used to work in Video in my previous life.
I'm confused when you say I will need a capture card. I'm not capturing footage from existing DVDs or TV. I am filming the source myself from a digital camera. I thought you just transferred these to your PC via a USB lead.
By capture card I mean a specialist card that will allow you to transfer video files from your dv camera to your computer. The USB capture is new to me, but I have done a little research on your behalf and pinnicle do offer one which could suit you costing $199
Sorry about the confusion.
As for sending out DVD's to people, I've played with various bits of softwar for it, there is at least one (sorry, can't remember the name right now) that can encode proper DVD's with no problems, and chances are the software that comes with the camcorder can save as mpeg2 - in other words, almost ready for VCD. Most (and I mean most, *not* all) modern DVD players also support VCD, so if it's less than half an hour of video, then that is also an option.
Your best bet is to check out the online stores that give a list of features for various different camcorders, make your choice, then go and find somewhere to buy it cheaper - the best info isn't always the best price. In my case I happened to buy a Sony HandyCam, which I can heartily recommend, and after one of my work collegues suffered a dead camcorder I lent him mine for a week, and now he's put one of them on his shopping list. The only downside to it (bought in january) is that the software that came with it is relatively crap - hopefully it's been improved since.
As for what you want stylewise, personally I prefer a camcorder that *feels* like a camcorder - fills your hand, and feels pretty solid, hence I went for Digital-8, the other alternative is DV - both record the same resolution, and both can output the same stuff to computer. The only real difference is in size and price. Make your own mind up what you want, don't let someone tell you one is "better" than the other, because they're so close to each other that it really is down to personal choice - and if you go for Digital-8 then you probably save £400+ for the same features, which can then go onto other accessories - lights/tripod/etc, on the other hand, if you like DV more, then you're not wasting your money either ;-)
Hope this helps a bit more,
I will ask my dad tonight about it. But, yes, I was talking about -R/+R, I just forgit how it was called :) I know that some players can't play certain DVDs.
And I know for sure DVD players care if it is PAL or NTSC. I am Russian, but I live in Canada. I ordered some PAL movies over internet and they didn't work in my NTSC dvd player.