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Problems With HDD Camcorders

Problems with HDD Camcorders / Transferring HDD video to DVD

As wonderfully convenient as a HDD (hard drive) video cameras seems to be, it’s become very obvious that getting the footage onto a DVD is no easy task for many users.

One of the biggest demands our video transfer service gets these days is retrieving video and audio footage from HDD cameras, in some cases editing in (but usually not) and transferring this footage to a DVD or Blu-Ray (BD) so that the footage can be used.

Unfortunately HDD video camera do not follow a standard, generic procedure when it comes to transferring their contents. Different video formats, cables and digital interfaces means the process isn’t simple and usually requires some video experience beyond the simple point and shoot process that the filming requires.

Fortunately the progression of camcorders to the HDD format isn’t all bad. Generally speaking the hard drive format is a fantastic step forward offering high quality footage (usually available in 1920 x 1080p high definition). Below are some of the pros and cons that this format offers:

HDD Camera advantages

  • Holds a lot of footage (usually more than other formats) inside the camera. Some brands offer more than 30 hours of footage before transferring to a computer
  • No tapes to load and unload
  • No risk of losing tapes, or the hassle of labeling or archiving them
  • No ongoing costs for purchase of new tapes
  • Usually have onboard editing capabilities
  • A reliable storage format when compared to DVD RW

HDD Camera disadvantages

  • Sometimes difficult to convert to DVD or Blu-Ray
  • If the internal hard drive is filled, the camcorder is useless until the footage is transferred. Tape / disc based units can just be loaded with new media.
  • Hard drives spin very fast and use more power than miniDV or DVD RW systems. This results in greater power consumption, increasing the cost / weight / size
  • Drive is subject to crashing or head failure which can result in lost footage
  • Most hard drive camcorders use a degree of compression which means lower quality than tape based media (uncompressed)
  • The structure of the hard drive in HDD camcorders means that the cameras are heavier than tape based systems.
  • Due to the extra complexity, HDD camcorders are usually more expensive than miniDV or DVD RW based systems
  • The main formats of camcorder – miniDV, HDD and DVD RW each have their benefits. Our many years of experience in the consumer video transfer market gives us a unique perspective of how well consumers have embraced each format and the problems they face.


With the overwhelming number of frustrated customers resulting from either failed DVD RW discs or complicated HDD systems, it is our opinion that the miniDV represents the most reliable, convenient and fool proof method of archiving and using recorded video footage currently available to consumers.