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Videotape Resolution Quality


Resolution of Your Video Originals

The quality of your DVD transfer will depend on the quality of your original. 


VHS Videotape


VHS Videotape is analog (not digital) and has 240 lines of resolution.  VHS tapes have the large case (4"x7 1/2").  VHS tapes will lose some picture quality when being transferred to digital formats.


8mm Videotape


The analog variety has about 240 lines of resolution.  It is about the size of a deck of cards which is a more compact case than VHS case and therefore can be put into a smaller camera.  It is not digital so can not be used on a computer, in a DVD player, or easily edited in a video editing program.  It can be transferred to a DVD and later edited.  It will lose some quality when transferred to digital form.


Hi8 Videotape


Hi8 videotape has about 400 lines of resolution giving it almost twice the picture quality of typical 8mm videotape.  The case is the same size as 8mm videotape.  It is not digital so must be treated as other analog 8mm videotape.  Hi8 tapes are very susceptible to dust.  Store them in covered containers.  Some suggest taping the case closed for long term storage.   


Digital 8 Videotape


Digital 8 videotape has close to 500 lines of resolution therefore it has twice the picture quality of analog 8mm Videotape.  Digital 8 Videotape marked Hi8 can also be used in a Hi8 camera but the recording will be analog and the recording time will be longer. The case is the same size and looks very much like other 8mm video formats.   A digital tape cassette will be labeled as digital.  Since it is digital it does not lose picture quality when it is transferred to a DVD.  You may record in LP (Long Play) to extend recording time, but you will get better picture quality in SP (Standard Play).  Look for the Digital8 logo on the wrapper.


MiniDV Videotape 


MiniDV videotape has 500 lines of resolution.  This tape has a case about half the size of an 8mm videotape (2"x3"). It is digital so it does not lose picture quality when being transferred to a DVD.




Digital Video Discs look like CDs.  They are 4 1/2" in diameter.  DVDs have a larger storage capacity than CDs and therefore can hold video images as well as sound in digital format.  DVDs are labeled as storing 4.7GBs of data.  In truth they might hold a bit less or more than that, depending on the encoding.  CDs hold only 700MBs of data.    DVDs can be played on DVD players and computers that are equipped to play DVDs.  A projector designed to work with a computer can project a DVD presentation.


Analog vs. Digital

Analog formats will lose some quality when being transferred to DVD.  Digital formats can be edited and transferred without losing any picture quality per frame, however you will generally have a shorter recording time.  Digital is preferred for it's superior resolution.


Long Play vs. Standard Play

You can record analog & digital tapes at either speed (LP or SP).  You will trade picture quality for a longer recording time if you choose Long Play.


Recording Quality Video Footage

As a general rule of thumb your video will be better if shot in bright lighting with a tripod at Standard Speed. 



Digital Echo