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Old December 11th, 2006, 07:50 AM   #16
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Thanks for your tips guys.
I have a canon Mini Dv Camrecorder : canon MV830.

Its conked out on me but the good news is that I have'nt had it quite a year so the warrenty is still in place so i am going to send it back to get it repaired but I may have to wait three to four weeks for it.

I found the LP mode on this cam to be very good plus on my JVC cam the long play qualilty is equally good.

But I will revert for the SP mode in important recordings.

You mentioned Digital 8 cams , are you saying that they are better in low light conditions and is it fairly similar to Mini DV's quality wise or would you say it leaned more to the VHS quality?

Plus are Digital 8 tapes a bit more expensive th the mini DV tapes?

Lastly what about the HHD Camrecorders that promise you can record for 40 hours or so , just wondered are there SP modes better quailty then the Mini DV's and are these too good in low light?

Dave
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Old December 11th, 2006, 08:22 AM   #17
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Dave,

Apart from HDV and upward, there are basically two sorts of camera's:

1. PSP, Point, Shoot and Play, which applies to DVD and HD camera's

and

2. CSEP, Compose, Shoot, EDIT and Play, which applies to DV and D8 camera's

Camera's in the first category mostly lack the capability to compose your image in terms of manual settings, so you are often required to use automatic settings, which is always a compromise. Secondly, they are not fit for editing.
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Old December 11th, 2006, 09:07 AM   #18
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I am thinking of investing in a Digital 8 cam too, are they fairly decent quality wise? Plus do you get that same awful grain in the more cheaper Mini DV's , the worst grain I have seen is in the Panasonic budget cams.

There is also the 3CCD option I have heard they too deliver very good quality footage but of course much more expensive.

dave
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Old December 17th, 2006, 03:41 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Mwaniki
I am thinking of investing in a Digital 8 cam too, are they fairly decent quality wise? Plus do you get that same awful grain in the more cheaper Mini DV's , the worst grain I have seen is in the Panasonic budget cams.

There is also the 3CCD option I have heard they too deliver very good quality footage but of course much more expensive.

dave
Digital8 is a format that is going away. Sony was the only major player that made cameras in this format (they originated it) and if you look at what is in the stores you will see very few (if any) digital8's.

Quality is comparable to miniDV assuming camera quality to be the same, and Hi8 tapes will work just fine if no Digital8 tapes are on store shelves (they just basically re-packaged Hi8 tapes for Digital8 use.

If you are not going HDV or HD, the 3CCD option could be the best bet. I have both Sony Digital8 and Sony miniDV consumer grade cameras and video done on my new Panasonic PV GS500 almost look twice as sharp with more color clarity.

Hope this helps.
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Old December 19th, 2006, 08:36 PM   #20
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The Digital 8 and MiniDV formats are exactly the same quality. Both use the DV codec. The only difference, as the poster above me mentioned, is that there are few cameras that record on Digital8, and they are consumer level. Don't go Digital8. It isn't an investment, as the format is dying and it's easier to find good quality MiniDV cameras.
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 02:38 AM   #21
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Mini DVD camcorder questions, help please

Just because I make videos, everyone seems to think I know everything about everything! I DON'T! Which brings me to the (rather rambling) question(s).
A family near me in UK are moving to the US. They want to buy a small camcorder to shoot and show videos here AND in the US.
1) Now I know about PAL and NTSC, but I don't know about the recording format of these things on mini recordable DVDs. I gather it is MPEG-4, but that is irrelevant to the PAL/NTSC debate.
2) They would be happy to watch the videos on a laptop with screen or projector, BUT laptops tend to warn about only using full size DVDs!
3) Assuming the above cameras are designed for consumers, how do you chop and join your favourite clips?
4) Am I right that if they buy at NTSC camera it will work with UK kit, but not vice versa?
Sorry for the rambling nature of this, but my local reputation depends on me finding at least a partial solution.
Thank you all,
NigelCH
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 03:03 AM   #22
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DVD camcorders work in the MPE2 mode, same as bought DVDs.

If the family are going to live permanently in the US, then I'd recommend they buy an NTSC camcorder. Then the films they produce can be shown practically anywhere, and if shipped back here to the UK they'll play well here too. The discs made by the cmacorder will be region free, of course.

If they want to edit their MPEG2 footage a rough job can be done in camera. But if they get serious about it then of course there are NLE programs that will handle the footage.

I make PAL DVDs for my brother in (NTSC) Canada and he says they play just fine, but don't take this as a recommendation to stay with PAL equipment.

tom.
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Old January 24th, 2007, 03:00 AM   #23
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additionally...

Anyone have any experience of using mpeg2 mini DVDs in laptops to show video?
N
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Old January 24th, 2007, 12:05 PM   #24
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IMHO - I would think that if they are looking to purchase a minidvd camcorder, it should ONLY be for the convenience factor of 'pop n play'.

If they are anticipating doing any editing to the footage beyond the absolute minimum of simple trimming and rudimentary titling, they are likely to be in for numerous bouts of hair pulling. These models are not really intended for post production work.....but I will get to your editing options in a moment.

As far as the NTSC/PAL options, from what info I have been able to find from my own snooping around this past year, I would probably suggest purchasing the NTSC format. It seems that PAL machines in the UK are 'smarter' about playing the NTSC format - especially if they are using a playback machine that is 3 years old or newer.

In contrast, only a very few number of NTSC machines are able to correctly recognize and playback a PAL disc - even with freshly minted decks. I have 7 in my home right now - 5 of them less than a year old, and only 2 will play a PAL disc. My understanding is that this is common in NTSC land....for now.

As far as form factor - the minidvds are limited in what type of decks they can be played back through because of the miniature form factor. They can be played back through the camcorder itself, and they can be played back in a home deck that either has a center-cut tray designed to hold the minidvd, or has the center punch hub mount that properly accomodates the minidvd.

They can also be played back in a computer system that has a tray load dvd deck that also has the center-cut or center punch, as long as the software will also play back the data....and the same applies to SOME laptops - mostly older ones....

HOWEVER, it is important to note that over the last couple of years most (if not all) laptops (and many desktops) have now gone to the slot-load form factor for their dvd drives.

Inserting your minidvd disc into the slot-load drive will be a bad thing - generally requiring delicate and precise 'surgical extraction' to rectify - either by a knowledgable user or by a service tech - and of course physical damage could be done to the drive itself, which could sometimes warrant drive replacement.

From time to time, I recieve such discs from clients who bought such camcorders, and hire me to extract and edit the data on my system. My main system is a laptop that has a slot load drive. My solution?....I have an external LACIE tray load drive that accomodates the minidvd disc nicely.

As far as editing?.....
Some of these camcorders come with a proprietary rudimentary editing application that is designed to pull the data from the camcorder (over usb 2.0) and offer the ability to trim the video, add some effects and transitions and some titling, stuff that would serve most folks just fine. (In some cases, you will find some of these features in the camera itself, but they may be very limited). I could be wrong on this, but from what I've seen, these proprietary apps tend to be 'Windows only'...and are generally considered very 'clumsy' (sp?) or non-intuitive...but since they are hawked by camcorder manufacturers, (not software developers), that is to be expected.

As far as editing the video in more traditional or recognized edting applications?....Reportedly there are a few (1 or 2?) applications that can recognize the mpeg 2 data directly off the disc, but not all of them - owing to the fact that the way the data is muxed for the dvd encryption makes it something alien to what editing apps are generally able to recognize.

I am pretty sure that if an editing app CAN natively read the data, it would be a Windows app, but I can't remember which of the popular ones can do it. Perhaps users of Premiere Pro or Vegas can sound off on this one. I am pretty sure none of the typical consumer level apps will be able to do it, and apps on the Mac platform cannot either.

In any case, what is typically needed as a go between is an extraction application that can extract the data and convert it into a data file that is natively read by the application. There are countless apps that can do this on both the Windows and Mac platforms, many freeware downloadables, many shareware apps, and even boxed apps you can buy at the store, for which you are generally paying for a more intuitive interface that makes the process easier. These apps read the dvd data, allow control over which segments to extract, and then allow you to extract and export the data to a format (such as avi or qt) that is natively read by most consumer and pro level edting applications for Mac or Windows- depending upon your needs.

Important to note here however is that since it is extracting the data from a compressed mpeg 2 source file, it is effectively 'up-rezzing' the video to conform to the editing application's dv format, which means that it is usually not as sharp, clear, or 'high resolution' as what would have originally been shot on ....say...a mini dv tape for instance.


------------

So, in closing, I repeat that if they are looking to buy a camcorder, consider what they want to do with it. For the convenience of simple playback in most situations, certainly the minidvd format might be in order.

But if they are looking to do much post work on it, I would stongly consider moving towards a minidv tape format. They can find lots of very totable camcorders that shoot on minidv. Not as simple for the quick pop n play (other than hooking the camcorder to the television input ports) but TONS easier in terms of capturing to an editing deck for post production.)

Hope this helps.
-Jon
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Old January 24th, 2007, 01:30 PM   #25
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gosh!

Absolutely comprehensive reply, thank you SO much. I don't think they want to edit, maybe just chop the crap, so that is OK. The form factor info is invaluable, couldn't find it anywhere else!!!!!
Thanks again,
N
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Old January 25th, 2007, 01:05 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Nigel Cheffers-Heard
Absolutely comprehensive reply, thank you SO much. I don't think they want to edit, maybe just chop the crap, so that is OK. The form factor info is invaluable, couldn't find it anywhere else!!!!!
Thanks again,
N

right on.
-Jon
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Old May 19th, 2007, 12:04 AM   #27
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Best DVD camera under 1000

I will be teaching some at-risk kids video shooting and editing techiques this fall. They will be putting together a commercial that will air locally to promote their community center. We have a grant, but it's small.

What I need is a camera with the best definition possible for under 1K. I also want a DVD recording format because the computers that were donated to use don't have firewire. But they do have DVD burners (they are barely useable, but beggars can't be choosey).

So that's why I need a DVD type camera, otherwise I would open up the selection to minidv.

All this being said, what's the best camera out there for my buck. I need the camera to have audio input ability; 1/8 inch plug is fine.

And if it shoots native 16:9, all the better, but not a deal killer.

One more question, am I better off with a low-end High Definition camera, or a middle-end Standard Definition camera?

Thanks everyone.

Al Diaz
www.advideoproductions.com
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Old May 19th, 2007, 08:16 AM   #28
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I also want a DVD recording format because the computers that were donated to use don't have firewire. But they do have DVD burners (they are barely useable, but beggars can't be choosey).
A PCI Firewire cards cost about $20.[Of course if you have to buy one for each PC]

I think it will give you more options, especially speed in transferring the material to the computer for editing and the ability to export your finished cut back to tape as a master.
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Old May 19th, 2007, 09:03 AM   #29
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Since you want to teach editing techniques, that rules out a DVD camcorder, since that material is not suitable for editing. Better look at a mini DV camcorder and a number of low cost PCI fire wire cards. The PC's you use are so old that they don't have fire wire on board, so the assumption is that the CPU is pretty outdated as well. MPEG material would definitely choke your PC's.
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Old May 19th, 2007, 09:10 AM   #30
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I agree, a $20 firewire card will open a lot more camera options that strictly DVD cameras will. And I believe DVD cameras will record in MPEG2 format, which then needs to be ripped from the disc before editing is possible? And the higher compression will result is lower quality end videos, I think. (record to MPEG2, transcode to something editable, then transcode back to MPEG2 for dvd output)

You can get great results with cameras around $300 if you have decent lighting or shoot outdoors, etc. I would say if your camera budget is $1,000, spend $500 and use the 'extra' money for other stuff to improve your production quality.

Some things that come to mind:

* New DVD burner(s). You can get 18x burners for around $35 or so. Very simple to install, just open the computer's case, unscrew and unplug the current drive, plug in and screw in the new drive, put the case back on and power up. Nothing more to it. :)

* A firewire cable. You'll need a 4 pin on the camera end and a 4 or 6 pin, depending on what the card needs. Don't get the $20 or $30 ripoff ones in most stores. You can get a decent cable for $8 or less. They can be found online, sometimes with free shipping, or at local computer shows. You can get the DVD burner there too, as well as a spindle of discs.

* Handheld reflector for bouncing overhead lighting into a person's face, so the eyes look better, there's no caveman eyebrow shadows, etc. This might run $40 or $50. A 5 way, zippered model would be the most flexible.

* SignVideo or Beachtek (more expensive, otherwise the same) XLR to 1/8" mic adapter. They run about $100-150.

* A microphone (like a $50 or less Radio Shack omnidirectional) and the adapter above will make a great interview setup. I see that mic on TV all the time. It's a taupe/gold color, nearly indestrucible. Omnidirectional so there's less proximity effect (increased bass when held closer to the mouth), less wind noise when shooting outdoors, and less handholding noise too.

* An XLR mic cable, should be around $10. Music stores are notorious for marking up cable prices. They'll typically charge $20-30 for an XLR cable, when their cost is next to nothing. Then they can bundle it with something and call it a 'deal'. Really they're just ripping you off less and that counts as a deal in their eyes. ;)

* A decent tripod. This will improve the shots immensely. No one wants to watch shaky video footage. It also lets you do effects like the transporter on Star Trek. Have your actors stand in place for a few seconds with the camera recording, then have them walk off camera. Don't touch the camera at all. Then stop the tape and when you edit, just use the standing-still section and a dissolve with the no-people-on-camera section. Instant magic to keep their attention and spark some creativity. :) You can get tripods for as little as $50 or so, but the more money you can spend, the smoother the movements will be. If you don't use it for movement (just fixed shots) a really cheap model will work fine. A more expensive unit will probably last longer, as well as give you nicer shots. Expect to spend around $100-200 for a nicer model.

* A Do It Yourself $14 Steadycam for handheld shots, found here:
http://steadycam.org/
This does a great job with some practice, it's super cheap and you can build it in an hour or less. Just need a drill and some vice-grips or something else to grab onto the parts strongly. You'll see it used in my link below.

I would go with standard definition, because it's less expensive, and DVD's and standard television won't benefit from the extra resolution. High Definition is also more demanding in some stages of editing on the computers involved. Editing is slow enough and challenging enough as it is, so there's no point to giving the kids even slower rendering times to make them lose interest.

I think if you can get a basic camera for $300 or so, you'll have a lot of money to play with to really improve your productions. My Canon XL2 is nice, but without a tripod and without lights, and without a microphone, and without a reflector, it really is limited and uncomfortable to hold for a long time.

Here's a video I shot last summer with a Canon ZR70MC camera, which was about $300 4 years ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrXXcyyrTqE

The picture quality is a little rough because of the Windows Media to Flash Video conversion that YouTube did. I need to upload a better quality WMV file. I used a $14 steadycam I built for all the shots, no tripod was used. I did the music in Sony Acid, recorded the vocals with a $60 Peavey mic in a bedroom directly into my laptop (via the SignVideo XLR converter mentioned above), and edited it with Premiere Pro 2.

This video is from a DVD teaching elementary students about health and fitness, which goes along with a stage show our company has touring around Florida during the school year.

This should get you started and I can help you out with links and whatnot. My advice is, even the really cheap cameras these days give you a pretty darned good picture. You don't need all the bells and whistles of the more expensive units, which may not have a much better picture. If you can find a camera with a built in stabilizer/shake reduction/steadyshot, go with that. It will help with everything you shoot. I believe the ZR70MC has that in it, I don't remember now.

This should all add up to less than $1,000 (I didn't do the math, but I think it should). You'll get much better results using a low end MiniDV camera with a lot of accessories than just an expensive camera in a shaky hand. ;)

Eric
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