Hdd: the Evolution of Camcorders Continues

By: Christine Peppler

For those of us who have lost precious home movies on removable media that becomes damaged or inoperable, who have misplaced those same disks or flash media never to be found again, or who have missed capturing an important moment because we forgot to bring additional storage media, it is time to rejoice.

The age of the hard disk drive camcorder has dawned. Finally.

The first offerings were introduced nearly a year and a half ago. JVC and Sony have led the way with camcorder models which offer 30GB hard drives. Although even greater feats are surely in the future for the newest members of the camcorder family, these forerunners certainly offer some impressive advantages for home movie makers.

&bull Large storage capacity.

Depending upon the recording mode, a 30 GB HDD camcorder can capture and store up to 7-21 hours of film without stopping to insert alternate media or to download to computer.

&bull Cost efficient.

Current HDD camcorder models start around $500 and therefore, are at the mid to high end of the market. However, savings are to be had as the purchase of mini DV tapes, media cards, compact flash, and the like are no longer necessary.

&bull A fix for the forgetful.

For those who forget to tote along separate storage media an HDD camcorder can be a life saver. In addition, for those who have inadvertently filmed over existing movies, the HDD camcorder will eliminate these heartbreaking moments as they automatically begin recording where the film left off.

&bull Functions that make working with movies easier.

Current HDD camcorder models have received acclaim for allowing users to easily sort through footage without the need to rewind or fast forward. Images appear on a thumbnail grid and can be sorted, deleted, rearranged, and dubbed directly on the camcorder.

Obviously, even a great hard drive does not have infinite storage and certainly damage to it can occur, so back up will continue to be necessary. Current JVC models tout a shock absorbing suspension system to protect the hard drive and even a sensor that can shut power off when the camcorder is in the process of being dropped but in the case of prized footage, it's better to be safe than sorry. Downloading to a PC which allows further editing and storage or burning to DVD is advisable. Hitachi is said to be developing a model that will allow users to burn directly to DVD from the camcorder; no PC required.

It appears that everyone should stay tuned as bigger and better things are surely in store for HDD camcorders. However, for consumers currently shopping for their next device, a hard disk drive model is certainly worthy of consideration today; not only for HDDs future as the leader in the camcorder industry but also for the features they currently possess that make home movie making a joy.

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