How High-definition Camcorders Work

By: Jennifer Horton

Editing and Playing High-definition Camcorder Footage

You can connect your HD camcorder to your computer to edit the footage.
You can connect your HD camcorder to your computer to edit the footage.
Andy Crawford and Dave King/Getty Images

There's nothing like reliving life's greatest moments in high definition. Before you can watch your life in astonishing detail on that giant screen, you'll want to transfer the video from the camcorder to your television or your computer. HD camcorders come with a place to attach a video cable to connect to your HDTV. Sometimes the cables aren't supplied, so you may have to buy one at the electronics store. Just connect and play. In addition, most HD camcorders also come with a FireWire output and/or USB port for connecting the camcorder to your computer. You can usually hook the camcorder up to a standard television set as well, typically using the same cable.

If you're an aspiring Spielberg, though, you may want to tweak your video footage before displaying it. Editing high-definition video is actually similar to editing standard definition video, which you can learn about in How Video Editing Works. The main difference you'll encounter when editing HD video is the size of the files. They're mammoth. The higher the quality of the picture, the more size the information takes up, so understandably HD data takes up a lot of room. In addition, since both HDV and AVCHD use high compression, decoding that information requires a powerful computer processor.


Luckily, several software applications compatible with HD facilitate the editing process. Many camcorders supply their own software, but other options include Apple's iMovie HD and iDVD HD, Pinnacle Studio and Adobe Premiere Pro. You may have to search around to find one that works with your particular camcorder and computer, but odds are there's one out there or soon will be.

If you're not into editing but still want to make minor changes to your videos, like combining or deleting scenes, some cameras, like the Hitachi DZ-BD7HA, allow you to perform these minor edits directly on the device. This particular Hitachi model can record directly to a Blu-ray disc, which you can instantly play on a regular Blu-ray player.

As the technology behind high-definition camcorders evolves, more impressive equipment will keep appearing on the horizon. Until then, there's plenty of gear to keep you and your creative genius entertained. You can learn more about HD camcorders and related technology by exploring the links below.

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More Great Links


  • Adobe Systems Incorporated. "Understanding and Using High-Definition Video." 2004. (June 13, 2008)
  • Harris, Tom. "How Camcorders Work." HowStuffWorks. 2008. (June 13, 2008)
  • Stafford, Alan. "Corel Ulead VideoStudio 11 Plus and Pinnacle Systems Studio 11 Ultimate." June 27, 2007. (June 13, 2008),133300/article.html
  • Stafford, Alan. "High-Definition Camcorders Make Video Pop." PC World. August 2007.
  • Waring, Becky. "How to Choose a Future-Proof Video Camera." PC World. May 7, 2007. (June 13, 2008),145439/article.html
  • Wilson, Kim. "High Definition Camcorders: Your Vacation in Hi-Def." E-gear. June 2008.
  • Wilson, Tracy. "How HDTV Works." HowStuffWorks. 2008. (June 13, 2008)