VIDEO – HD camcorder shootout: Can you tell the difference?

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VIDEO – HD camcorder shootout: Can you tell the difference?

Los Angeles (CA) – Is a multi-thousand dollar camcorder really that much better than a budget cam? Well, that’s the question we tried to answer over the weekend when we pitted our brand-spanking new JVC-HD110 shoulder camcorder against three other cams. For half-an-hour, we filmed jumbo jets taxiing and taking off at the busy Los Angeles International Airport. The resulting rendered clips are below … can you tell the difference?

All the camcorders we own (left to right, JVC HD110, Panasonic DVX-100B, Canon HV20, Canon HG10, Sony DCR-HC28)

Note – The Panasonic was not used in this shootout 

We pitted the JVC-HD110 against high-definition handycams the Canon HV20 and Canon HG10. Just for kicks we also threw in our trusty standard-def Sony DCR-HC28 camcorder (we usually use it as a import deck for our Panasonic DVX-100B). We recorded at 30p on the JVC-HD110, 24p on the HV20, 24p on the HG10 and NTSC 29.97 on the Sony standard-def cam. All camera settings were kept on auto.

Location – Los Angeles International Airport

We recorded the footage at Clutter’s Park (also known as Imperial Hill) on the south side of the airport. The park is a favorite of plane spotters and you’ll often see groups of Canon-toting people snapping pics of their favorite jets as they take off from the southern runway. Google Maps link here.

All the video clips were captured, edited and spliced together in Sony Vegas 8.0b. No color correction or other enhancements were done. We then rendered the final clips in 420 by 315 pixels and H.264 format (2-pass variable bitrate 650 kbps average/1000 kbps max with 48 kbps audio)

Brief tech specs 

Before viewing the clips, we’d like to point out that this was a completely unscientific test because we didn’t shoot exactly the same footage with all the camcorders. In addition, the recorder frame-rates were all different. However, the resulting footage – to our surprise – is somewhat close when reduced down to the maximum resolution that site layout can handle, 420 by 315 pixels.

We rendered a short clip from each camera. Can you tell which clip corresponds to which camera?

Test Video #1


Test Video #2


Test Video #3


Test Video #4


Tomorrow we’ll tell you the camcorders that made each clip. One of the videos should be obvious if you under how aspect ratios differ between standard and high-def camcorders.