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AVCHD Format Discussion
Inexpensive High Definition H.264 encoding to DVD, Hard Disc or SD Card.


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Old April 6th, 2007, 03:56 PM   #1
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I don't get it, HDV on HDD or miniDV

Hi guys,

Long time no hear... My Canon XM2 broke down today - the infamous "remove casette"... Time for an upgrade that will fit my 1080p Plasma screen!

I've scanned the Canon and the Sony site without getting any REAL info on WHICH format the HDV material is stored in. So I went here - where info often come in bus loads :-)

If I understand things correctly it looks like this:

1. Saving HDV to HDD uses some MPEG4 (AVC) format that is hard to edit.
2. Saving HDV to miniDV gives me what? MPEG2? easier to edit? Do I transfer HDV via DV? or USB2? or both?
3. Saving HDV to standard DVD gives me headace :-) Will these in-camera generated DVD:s contain HDV video that I can view using a regular DVD player fitted with HDMI?

I'm mostly doing homevideos(family stuff) - sometimes weddings(I'm more a still photographer). My profile looks like this:

1. Price point, about 10.000 SEK that is about 1350 USD
2. I want to be able to edit the material without several conversions - ie keep the straightest line possible
3. Storage media: HDD would be cool, but I do have lots of miniDV tapes - so I'd be most happy with a HDV miniDV cam.

please guide me :-)

Best regards,

Lars Siden

Sweden
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Old April 6th, 2007, 05:43 PM   #2
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1) Yes
2) Yes, you end up with MPEG2 on tape, which is fairly easy to edit. You up- and down-load footage between the camera and the computer over firewire, in much the same manner as for DV avi's.
3) No experience, sorry.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 07:15 PM   #3
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HD video burned on a HDTV-DVD camcorder is MPEG-4 AVC.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 11:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars Siden View Post
If I understand things correctly it looks like this:

1. Saving HDV to HDD uses some MPEG4 (AVC) format that is hard to edit.
2. Saving HDV to miniDV gives me what? MPEG2? easier to edit? Do I transfer HDV via DV? or USB2? or both?
3. Saving HDV to standard DVD gives me headace :-) Will these in-camera generated DVD:s contain HDV video that I can view using a regular DVD player fitted with HDMI?
Officially HDV is only HDV when it's recorded on tape, but that's a technicality. When you record/copy HDV to a hard drive, DVD or whatever it's still in MPEG2 form, which is tough to edit with older computers but not too bad with recent ones. AVC-HD is a completely different recording format (different cameras) which uses MPEG4 compression to pack HD data into an even tighter data stream than HDV, making it even harder to edit. (Plus there's almost no support for it in current editing applications.) As far as playback is concerned, there's no way to play HD video from a standard DVD player: you have to downconvert to widescreen SD MPEG2 first. For HD playback you need a computer or special HD-capable disc player.

As far as cameras in your price range are concerned, I'd recommend the Sony HC1/HC3/HC5/HC7 series. I have the HC1 and it's a great little run-around camera, with the exception that it definitely needs supplemental lighting in dim settings. I use it occasionally at weddings but only when the lights are on.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 02:17 PM   #5
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Thank you all for clearing this up!

Playing back HDV will be a pain in the backside :-) sounds like the best way right now would be to get some nifty streamdevice with HDMI that I can connect to my network using cable or maybe WiFi(don't know the needed bandwidth for mpeg2 HDV).

I'll probably hold my horses for about 2 months before I buy a new camera, both Sony and Canon will release their spring 2007 models here in Sweden late April and May.

// Lazze
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Old April 7th, 2007, 03:25 PM   #6
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Looking around brings attention to Canon HV-20 - looks like a nice cam with a good pricing point.

The Sony HDR-HC5 or HC7 also looks good - I'll await their apperance in Swedish stores so I can "feel" them!

// Lazze
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Old April 10th, 2007, 11:15 AM   #7
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I have early JVC HD-10.
I have early Sanyo HD-1
I just got Zoom H4 for audio.

Last two use SD card. THAT is the future! Hard drives are OK, but are not removeable, and make noise. If they fail, they could take a lot down with them. The Zoom H4 has NO moving parts, and the built-in stereo mikes work well, with NO mechanical noise to contend with.

I am having trouble with firewire on the JVC, which leaves me with no way to transfer existing tapes.

SD card:
CANNOT inadvertantly record over previousl material.
Needs no capture - simple file copy.
Play back last shot - hit stop - hit record instantly
Because it's removeable, it stands a good chance of surviving a death blow to a camera .
And they are getting really cheap!

I would even prefer to have no built-in memory.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 01:38 PM   #8
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Two more questions:

1. When recording HDV onto the miniDV tape, will I still fit 60 minutes?
2. If I record HDV, can I "transfer and convert" to SDV and edit it as standard DV AVI directly?

TIA!

// Lazze
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Old April 14th, 2007, 02:18 PM   #9
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1. The same one hour fits because the same basic data rate applies.

2. Many of the cameras allow you to shoot HDV but capture DV. You can edit the way you always did, but you will have the HDV footage if you ever want to go back and create a HDV project.

Distributing HD is not that far off in the future. I do it now with Windows Media 9 and a special HD capable DVD player.
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Old April 15th, 2007, 02:39 PM   #10
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Steven,

Thanks!

Now I'm about ready to go shooting.....NO - shopping I mean :-) Hopefully the HV-20 will reach sweden in about 10 days.

Just need a Quad Core CPU as well...

//Lazze
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Old April 21st, 2007, 02:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Kennett View Post
...
Last two use SD card. THAT is the future! Hard drives are OK, but are not removeable, and make noise. If they fail, they could take a lot down with them. The Zoom H4 has NO moving parts, and the built-in stereo mikes work well, with NO mechanical noise to contend with.
...
David,

Sorry to ask such noob ?'s, but can you record 30 minutes of HD on an SD card? If so, what size card would that require and what's its ballpark price?

Thanks very mcuh.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 10:47 AM   #12
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Peter,

Sorry for the delay! Just been busy elsewhere.

The Sanyo HD1 does highest quality 720p30 at about 9Mbps. This gets about an hour on 4 gig card. Standard def is still lower rate. This is a pretty low data rate, but the MPEG4 compression does considerably better than MPEG2. At this point I must still convert to MPEG2 as I edit with Ulead MSP7. Editing alternatives should get better.
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