Digital video has now become daily vernacular of not just Hollywood film studio execs, but multimedia designers, businessman, and educators. Just a few years ago, digital video was an exclusive technology, affordable to only those who had deep pockets. As with most developing technologies, prices have dropped and the DV market has expanded exponentially. Most computers sold today are equipped with video cards which can capture up to half-screen video. Non-linear DV editing programs can cost as little as $150 dollars.
Digital Video is now in the hands of the masses.
Analog video (video on tape) is a linear medium; one can only go back and forth in the data. VCRs and television programs follow this linear route. Digital video (video that has been converted to a format that allows it to be played/worked with on the computer) is non-linear allowing instant access anywhere in the data and greater creative/editing control. Editing video used to be a laborious, linear job. Editors had to construct narratives sequentially and assemble them as each shot was needed. Changing or switching one shot with another was a difficult proposition - editors had to re-edit the entire piece. Digital video allows for complete creative control throughout the editing process. Even though digital video's final output is usually a linear sequence (making the technique of storytelling the same as in the analog medium), building it can be non-linear. Swapping scenes, audio clips, and titles can be done seamlessly and instantaneously.
Within the digital medium, there are many choices on the output of video. CD-ROM, web-based, and analog video have three different individual production techniques. Full-frame video requires more expensive digitizing equipment and more hard drive space. Such systems which handle broadcast television quality DV can cost $8,000 dollars just for the video card and fast hard drives. Recently, the one thousand dollar mark has been broken for full-frame video capture and display. But here lies the first compromise: the image quality is not nearly as good when one uses cheaper digitizing equipment. One can instantly begin to pear down the expectations of DV depending on what the final output is. If CD-ROM video is the end product (quarter-screen DV is the final output), a $400 dollar video capture card and 2.5-5 gig hard drive is acceptable. If web video is the end product (quarter to eighth-screen DV is the final output), a $300 dollar video capture card and 2 gig hard drive is acceptable. Most multimedia video can produced with an initial equipment investment of $650 dollars.