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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old October 13th, 2009, 04:22 PM   #1
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advice needed to video camera virgin

Hi
Firstly hello to everyone, it's my first time on the network :)
I've never owned a video camera and I don't have a clue where to look for information and advice. The video camera needs to be Mac compatible (it's crucial), not too basic, I need to film webinars and presentations as well as my friend's tango lessons (and my cat of course:) but it can't be too professional, too complicated in handling, too expensive or too big either.
I hope I'm not too vague but I really don't know where to start.
Many thanks
Anna :)
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Old October 13th, 2009, 05:16 PM   #2
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Do you have a budget in mind?
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Old October 13th, 2009, 08:16 PM   #3
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Tango lessons? You should pay for me to take some and record them. The result would be a lot more, well... comical.

Perrone asks the first big question, but there are others:
- Hi Def or Standard Def?
- How much editing will you do and with what?
- How much manual control do you want now and in the future?
- How big is too big?

These questions will uncover others, so give us as much detail as you can.

You also need to factor some other bits into the budget for your overall kit. You'll want a tripod. Look into the Libec. Internal camera microphones are notoriously manky at almost all levels. Budget at least over a hundred pounds for one of those.

Your ultimate choices will depend on whether you want to upload basic clips to YouTube or you want to grow into producing more sophisticated pieces.

It really doesn't take much to produce "Hamster On A Piano". That is, of course, you're using Richard Hammond, then it will be much more dear.
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Old October 13th, 2009, 10:47 PM   #4
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budget

Dear Tripp and Perrone
I don't think i can go over 1000 in total and even this hurts :(
I would like a Higher Definition, if I'm forking out a large sum of money I think it's better to spend a bit more and get better quality, I'm not saying it's once in the life time purchase, the technology moves on but I definitely won't be buying a better model every 2-3 years. I'm not sure what I'm going to use to edit (any Mac compatible suggestions welcomed), as I don't know what's in there, i would like to start with simple editing software (preferably free on MAcs or on the cheaper side of the spectrum). At the beginning my main editing will be cutting and adding text (i think i can use iMovie for it but again happy to listen). too big is bigger than 4 pint milk bottle in the horizontal position. As to the manual control, I'm not a small pint reader so I don't think I can go for something too manual but I'm not an idiot either, I hope:) and I can be capable of some use of little gray cells in the future if needed.
I think my cat ;) deserves more than a YouTube filmed on the mobile phone so definitely something capable of more sophisticated effects but not necessary Oscar winning cinematography either. I think a good quality is good enough.
I hope it helps :)
Thank you again for your responses
Anna
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Old October 14th, 2009, 04:18 AM   #5
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Maybe have a look at a hybrid camera such as the Panasonic lumix gh1. It sounds like this is for non-professional work so it may be a good all round solution. ie stills and video. You will find that iMovie will work with it OK, plus other Mac applications.
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Old October 14th, 2009, 06:54 AM   #6
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I favor Canon cameras so I'd recommend any number of their HD offerings. If you will do a lot of editing of your footage, I'd recommend the HV40, or the HV30 if you can still find one. For a CMOS camera, it's very capable. If you prefer tapeless, the HF line has several offerings in your price range. The issue with tapeless is that you need a very powerful computer to edit effectively.

If you stay SD, things get simpler. Tapeless is the way to go. I have three JVC Everio flashcams that come with software that facilitate direct uploading to YouTube or writing to DVD. It doesn't get any easier. I don't care for the manual controls but I can deal with them since I mostly set and go.

There are probably other good offerings from Sony, Panasonic and others. I haven't heard of any "bad" cameras from any of them. From a personal perspective, I have a four year old Panasonic GS400 and find their controls wildly confusing and counterintuitive. Sony's are slightly less so. I find Canon the best, but that's really just a personal preference. You might want to go down to your local High Street shops and play with some display models.

HTH.
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Old October 14th, 2009, 05:37 PM   #7
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thank you for the advice

I think i need to make a trip to a camera shop and see what they'll try to sell to me and why, then comeback for more detailed advice.
Just one question, someone mentioned that camera with tapes are still popular and worthy purchase. have i got it right? I've thought that those hings are well in the past with Sony's walkman...
Many thanks
Anna
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Old October 14th, 2009, 07:04 PM   #8
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For HD in your market segment tapes are reaching the end of their natural life. What keeps them viable is that there are some technological hurtles that tapeless video hasn't surmounted quite yet. The key one for you is that AVCHD takes tremendous processing power to edit in its native form so you'll need a very burly machine. Either that or you could transcode (read convert) to a lossless intermediate. Not being a Mac guy I know very little about what's available for you but I have heard of ProRes. It might be an option if you're willing to add it to your workflow.

The other issue is archiving footage. Storing it on hard disk isn't really a safe option as they don't last forever and can fail. DVD or BluRay will work well. You can store over 4GB of HD video on a DVD as data. DVDs are cheaper than tapes. BDs are too, on a cost/GB level.

The issue here really is complexity. If you are comfortable learning and dealing with this then you can easily leave tape behind. I use some tape and some tapeless depending upon the project I'm working on. I'm guessing in about two years tape will be dead for me.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 01:00 PM   #9
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Thanks

Thanks, I'll let you know how I'm doing soon, i hope :)
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