Well maybe not quite yet, but there are more and more cameras coming out that no longer use tape. They record the video onto a little memory card or hard drive. With the ones that contain a memory card you just pop the memory card out of the camera, put it in your card reader and copy the video files across just like your digital still camera.

When these video cameras first started to appear the video quality was a little lacking but they’ve been getting better every day and Sanyo are now coming out with a high-definition (720P) version (pictured below).

One of the fun aspects of working on the Movie Maker team is that quite often we get a chance to try out new video cameras. I recently took one of the Sanyo standard definition cameras out for a spin. It recorded at 640x480 in MPEG-4 and although the quality of the video (especially in low-light situations) wasn’t the greatest, the form factor of the device was just amazing. I took it to a couple of meeting and as soon as people saw it they wanted to pick it up and try it out. I found myself taking little bits of video here and there that I wouldn’t have normally taken because it was just so easy and I could copy the file across to my computer in seconds.

One of the arguments I hear from people about these cameras is that you don’t have a tape which you can keep on the shelf as a backup of a video. I understand the argument but I don’t think it’s an overriding concerning, at least not for me. You have the same issue with digital photos and I suspect most people don’t print out all their digital photos as backup. It just raises the importance of ensuring you have good backups of our computer data. Fortunately Windows Vista has a new Windows Backup feature, that I’m looking forward to trying out.

What do you think? Do you always see yourself using video tapes for the foreseeable future or are you feeling the lure of these new devices?