Video digitizers are devices that convert analogue images or videotape to a digital file. They include digital video cameras, video decks that connect directly to a computer and DVD recorders with VHS decks that quickly digitise the content on old VHS videos for playback on a DVD player or computer.
One of the biggest advantages of any video digitizer is ease of playback. With more and more home theatres and classrooms upgrading to digital playback equipment like computers, DVD players and video projectors, analogue video can be difficult to accommodate. In addition, a new generation of portable media players, including laptop computers, portable DVD players and tablet computers only offer the option for digital playback. Video digitizers convert video content to the most easily-accessible form, while also making it easier to transfer from one playback device to another.
Video digitizers give video editors a huge advantage. Using a computer-based non-linear editing program to manipulate digital files is the standard for the professional film and video industry. It is also common on home computers where software that comes with new computers or digital video cameras lets users make basic cuts and edits.
Professional video editing of digital files can reproduce complex chemical printing processes with a few clicks of a mouse. It also gives filmmakers the chance to insert special effects and computer graphics in less time. Finally, video digitizers allow editors to save multiple versions of a video before committing to a final cut, rather than needing to physically join the film in a single pattern as in a conventional, analogue editing process.
Video digitizers open up many different options for exporting. This allows video makers, editors and exhibitors to choose the file size and type that's best suited for the application. For example, someone who runs a website can format the video to playback over the web at a reduced size or quality, while other file types are better for home video or theatrical exhibition on a big screen.
Video digitizers are a useful tool for archiving and storing video footage. Analogue tapes wear out over time, stretching and acquiring magnetic debris from recording and playback heads. Analogue video also degrades with each successive copy in a process known as generation loss. Digital video suffers from none of these problems, allowing video librarians and historians to produce identical copies for secure storage or to ensure that a collection of videos remains on a relatively new piece of media, like a fresh CD, DVD or hard drive.