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Old May 19th, 2007, 09:18 AM   #31
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I just reread the original post. I'm not exactly sure about the 'barely usable' DVD burners? Or is this in regards to the computer itself? If the DVD burner works fine, don't replace it unless it's like a 1x burner or something, which will take 1 hour to burn a 1 hour video. I have 2 4x's here and they're plenty fast for most of the stuff I do, at about 15 minutes for an hour disc.

If you can give us the specs on the computer, perhaps some other ideas may be possible.

Odds are you'll want to add more RAM to these computers. That's a cheap upgrade and will give you a big performance boost. You may need more hard drive space as well, as DV format video uses 13 gigs/hour of footage.

Here's a 320 gig hard drive for $60 with free shipping. :)
http://shop2.outpost.com/product/4987821
It says 300 but they normally sell with 'an extra 20 gigs free', and it's actually a 320 gig drive.

A CPU upgrade may be a possibility as well, depending on the motherboards you have and the CPU's they have on them. New chips may be as cheap as $30 and give you a little extra horsepower.

I think more RAM will be the main thing that will give you a nice boost for little money though.

Eric
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Old May 19th, 2007, 10:58 AM   #32
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What are you going to use as NLE. IF you have something like Premiere Elements or Ulead Moviefactory or Womble DVD or Pinnacle Studio they will edit straight from the DVD disc, author a DVD as output including AC3 audio and are quite good for a real beginner. All have trial downloads for you to try and might have good educational prices too.
Almost forgot the camcorder. The Sony DCR-DVD508 has mic input as well as LANC control for tripod use on Sony tripod. You could buy this DVD camcorder, a Sony tripod and one of the above NLE's for less than the $1000 budget.

Ron Evans
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Old May 20th, 2007, 10:17 PM   #33
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Thanks everyone.

Eric, what I meant by "barely useable" was that the computers overall are barely useable. They have a Pentium 4 - 1.6 ghz processor. I will be boosting the ram to 1 gig (I can't afford more), and the graphics card is pretty slow (64 MB). I plan to install my version of Premiere Pro 1.5 to see if the systems are adequate. I don't expect super fast computers, but we can't afford to by new systems. This will have to do.

I do thank you guys for the advice on buying the Firewire cards and going with a MiniDV format. I like that idea because I too am sold on miniDV. I own a Canon ZR 65 and it works great in daylight situations. I also own a Canon XL2, but there is no way we can afford those.

Thanks everyone. I will stick with MiniDV and pencil out the feasiblity of adding RAM and Firewire cards to the computers.

AD
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Old May 20th, 2007, 10:27 PM   #34
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Okay, you may be able to run a faster P4 cpu on those motherboards. It might cost $50 or something to increase performance quite a bit.

Maybe a $30 or $40 video card would help.

RAM shouldn't be too pricey.. Here are some sites I check often:

www.slickdeals.net
www.newegg.com
www.frys.com
www.tigerdirect.com
www.zipzoomfly.com

You can usually find 2 gigs of ram for $100 or less.

How many systems are we talking about here?

Keep in mind if the computers are on a network, you wouldn't to buy firewire cards for each computer. You could just copy files over the network.

Is there a possibility of getting other grants? Or a funds-matching donation from another company? What about a fundraiser? Car Wash? There are a number of things you could do to earn a couple hundred dollars or more, whch would go a long way to improving your setup there, and it might bring the kids together a little bit more as well, which will result in better looking productions. :)

Eric
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Old May 21st, 2007, 07:50 AM   #35
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I forgot to mention in my earlier post that if you do go with a DVD camcorder you will not need to capture as the disc will just play in the DVD drive of the PC. One less thing to buy, install, worry about. The kids also will not be able to write over video they have already taken by mistake,which can happen with tape. You will need to actively delete video on a the DVD-RW discs( the most useful to use as they do not need to be finalized and will read immediately on the PC drive, DVD+RW can be read but must be finalized in the camcorder before being read on the PC( they play in a set top player without being finalized though, they can be unfinalized in the camcorder). Further, cuts only editing can be done in the camcorder itself, no computer needed. If you do edit in the camcorder take a copy first on the PC( Nero will make an exact copy) so that it will always be possible to start again. Quality will not be as good as DV but a lot less trouble and if you use Womble for instance there is no recoding except for the pieces that have had effects applied so that the original quality is preserved and load on PC is minimal. At the high data rate the Sony 505 or newer 508 is pretty good.

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Old May 24th, 2007, 10:12 AM   #36
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I picked a camera

After long consideration, I think we will be purchasing the Panasonic PV GS500 camera. I wish we could afford more, but buying this camera will allow us to invest about 300 in sound equipment (boom pole, mic, cables...). It's a minidv format.

I don't want to buy a DVD recording camera because of the compression. Though I do have a question: Do all DVD cameras compress? Or do some record in uncompressed format?

Thanks guys.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 11:48 AM   #37
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Yes

The answer is right there in the name: DVD camcorder. The final product is a regular DVD in mpeg2 format, compression being around 5 MB/sec. DV is also compressed but intraframe only and at much higher bitrate, 25 MB/sec.

Higher end consumer/prosumer cameras have an uncompressed, analog output to be used for direct to computer (or deck) recording where you decide the amount of compression desired.
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Old March 30th, 2008, 03:18 PM   #38
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Questions about DVD style camcorder

I assume a Sony HandycamŽ DCR-DVD101 DVD Camcorder encodes the recorded video to the mini DVD in MPEG-2 format (on the fly). I make this assumption because the specs indicatate, once the disk is "finalized", that you can play it in any "standard" DVD player.

So what if you want to edit the video? Converting the MPEG-2 files back to AVI or MOV would likely cause more deterization of the video quality. It may be just as easy to capture video from the camera (via firewire) to P-Pro). However, the camera has USB-2 only.

How do folks edit video shot with these types of cameras? Also, is the video compressed 5:1 before it is further compressed to MPEG-2?

Thanks
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Old March 30th, 2008, 04:06 PM   #39
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If you want to edit your video, then there's no real benefit to a DVD camcorder. Most folks who choose a DVD camcorder do so for the relative convenience of the format (in my opinion it's not all that convenient).

I think you're much better off with a camcorder recording to DV tape, or one of the other tapeless options such as built-in hard drive or removable flash memory.
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Old March 30th, 2008, 05:10 PM   #40
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Chris,

I could not agree more. I met a guy today at a birthday party who had one of these cameras. He told me that he would like to be able to edit some of the video that he shoots. He really just wants to use it for family videos.

Once he "Finalizes" the mini DVD he can play it on a DVD player. Every single record Start and Stop is treated like a new chapter on the DVD. He finds this to be a bit harsh to watch. Also, not everything recorded is something he wants to sit through (i.e. bad shots ect.) Anyway.... I told him that I would look into methods of capturing video to his PC.

Unfortunatly people are drawn to the DVD style cameras (in my opinion) because they don't want the hassles of capturing to their PC's, creating DVD's, etc. It looks like this person should have bought a MiniDV Tape camcorder. Most people looking for a camcorder, to record their family videos, have no clue. They're at the mercy of the clerk at Best Buy. They just want to point, shoot and play.

Since quality is not really an issue with this person, I suppose he could just capture via an A/D converter through the S-Video and Headphone jack on his camera before he "finalizes the DVD". Kind of a nasty approach. The camera does have USB2. Not sure if you can capture using USB2. I have always used Firewire.

Thanks
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Old March 30th, 2008, 10:12 PM   #41
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You can convert the VOB sets on a DVD, to MPEG files, with this:

http://software.badgerit.com/Releases/VOB2MPG.zip
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Old March 30th, 2008, 10:17 PM   #42
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Robert-

Thank you. However, can you import the MPEG files into a NLE and work with them?
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Old March 30th, 2008, 10:24 PM   #43
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That depends on the NLE. If you need an easy way to transcode the MPG files to AVI files, you can use VirtualDubMod to open the MPG files, and then re-compress them using any VFW codec on your machine (you can also transcode to uncompressed) saving the files as AVIs:

http://virtualdubmod.sourceforge.net/

If you want to convert them to DV, you can get Panasonic's VFW codec here:

http://users.tpg.com.au/mtam/install_panvfwdv.htm
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Old March 30th, 2008, 10:28 PM   #44
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Robert,

Thanks for the info. Unfortunatly this guy really needs a quick easy way to capture. But, if there is really no choice... virtualdub is a great way to do it. What do you think about the S-Video or USB2?

Thanks again!
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Old March 30th, 2008, 10:54 PM   #45
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It would be a lot quicker to pop the DVD in you computer and run VOB2MPG (and even then transcode with VirtualDubMod if needed).
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