Your next Camcorder?

A forum to share ideas and opinions on the equipment and technical aspects of film, video and AV making.
ned c
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by ned c »

There are NO recording systems that cannot be edited with frame accuracy; the ability to do that is determined by the editing software and the power of the computer used. There is excellent software capable of editing frame accurate HDV and AVCHD for around GBP 75 and a computer capable of using the ability of this software can be purchased for around GBP700 or if you are skilled then you can build one for GBP500 as Billy suggested. My Panasonic SD 100 (AVCHD) cost the equivalent of GBP300 and has mic in and headphones and full manual control.

However; surely as a member of a video club you can work as a production group and share equipment, particulary for editing. Don't give up; film making is about creativity and although equipment is a part of the equation it is not the most important part. You can still work in Standard Definition as SD camcorders are still being sold and SD entries are accepted in all the Festivals.

Whilst it is nice to be at the cutting edge of technology it really isn't all that important.

ned c
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ADBest
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by ADBest »

The last two posts are beginning to get my range.

For me HD can wait until the next camcorder upgrade. The people who watch my stuff do not have HD players and are unlikely to obtain them in the near future. HD writers are still expensive but falling in price. What I am looking for is a quality equal to that produced by a current, or recent, £1000 mini DV SD camcorder.

Billy’s suggestion of buying a High Definition camcorder and editing in Standard Definition sounds like an interesting proposition requiring the minimum of new investment. Are there any transcoding problems hiding in the woodwork? Billy suggests that the Canon HV30 camcorder would download to Premier and I would get the benefit of the 16:9 format which is now almost universal.

The Panasonic HDC-SD100 suggested by ned c does not appear to be available in this country but the HDC-200, at a price of about £600, is, but it records in AVCHD. Would it be possible to download this as SD and could the camcorder do the work or would I need additional software to do the transcoding?

The Panasonic would of course require SDHC cards which cost about £25 for 16GB. I know the storage capacity for SD is 5 minutes per GB and I have seen the figure for HD somewhere and know it to be a good deal less so I would probably need two cards.

The Canon HV30 suggested by Billy I have seen at about £670 but it is not clear on the spec on the Canon web site what media it records to.

Both camcorders would fill the bill I think and the 3MOS system on the Panasonic is particularly interesting. Neither appear to have optical viewfinders but that would be a reasonable penalty to pay if all the other issues are sorted.

DV in and out on the Canon are attractive features and particularly analogue-in also. However my old Sony Digital 8 DCR-TRV240 can handle most SD data movement.

Thanks for all the help.

Arthur
tom hardwick
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by tom hardwick »

Hi Arthur - we're homing in by the sound of it.
Yes, 16:9 has become universal simply because all decent-sized TVs now sold (and sold for the last 10 years) are 16:9. All modern camcorders are 16:9 as well, and most of the HD cameras will do an internal, on-the-fly downconvertion of the HDV footage so that SD is fed into your computer for editing and DVD production.

All the cameras I know will let you film in the 4:3 mode too if you wish, but you use a much smaller portion of the chip(s) and lose wide-angle coverage, too.

The Canon HV30 records to bog-standard MiniDV tape in HDV or DV. It uses a big CMOS chip (bigger than that used in a lot of other cameras, including mine), has a fine Canon lens and these two points have earned it a glowing reputation. But the fact that it records to tape has probably signed its death knell. So - you could film in HDV or SD and still edit on your current set-up, that's for sure.

I film with my Z1 in the SD mode for a lot of the projects I know will only be required on DVD and not on Blu-ray (BDR), so I suggest you could do the same. I film exclusively in 16:9 though.

tom.
tom hardwick
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by tom hardwick »

Ned, the Canon HF10 doesn't have a ½" chip - only the Sony EX1 and 3 have a chip so big. The HF10 is built around Canon's new 1/3.2in CMOS sensor, with 3.3-megapixels. This is smaller than the 1/2.7in unit used in the HV20, HV30 and HG10, which will put it at a slight disadvantage in low light. The full resolution of the CMOS is only used when taking digital stills, which can be captured at up to 2,048 x 1,536 pixels. Even HD video only requires a maximum of 2.07-megapixels.

But I can't emphasise enough the advantage of bigger chips, and in the same way that bigger loudspeakers 'ease' the sound, so too do bigger chips improve the photographic potential of a camcorder - and especially so in the differential focus mode. A lot of folk thing that a 30x zoom feeding tiny 1"/5 chips will give the potential of having less dof than a 10x zoom feeding 1"/3 chips. Well, it ain't so.

tom.
ned c
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by ned c »

Hi Tom, I checked a copuple of sources and both give the Canon Vixia HF S10 as having a 1/2.6" CMOS sensor.

http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Ca ... -36042.htm

This was one of them.

Ned
tom hardwick
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by tom hardwick »

I too checked Ned, but I looked up the review of the HF10, not the HF S10 Vixia - whatever that is. http://www.trustedreviews.com/camcorder ... on-HF10/p1
daveswan
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by daveswan »

A few random points.
When I went HD, I went all the way to a Panny HVX200,even though I needed a big loan to get it. Why? First manual controls, sadly lacking in any cam under £2k+, second, an I-frame only codec, DVCProHD (In PAL, 1440x1080 unlike NTSC 1220X1080), with the added inducement of over / under-cranking.
When I've edited HDV, I've found transcoding to DNxHD 120 TR much better than trying to edit natively, Storage? who cares? Terrabyte drives are £100 or less.
Editing I-Frame only is much less computer-intensive than Long-GOP, even 100 (DVCProHD) or 120 (DNxHD) Mbps.
For big chip, look at the new breed of vDSLRs eg Canon's 5DII, with a 40 Mbps AVCHD codec, which can, in the right conditions give a Red One a run for it's money.
I no longer thing Canon will bring out a 24 / 25 fps mod for the 5DII, unless it's a paid-for send-it-in job, better lo live with the 30fps in Blu-Ray and do a frame-rate conversion (All of them kludges) for PAL DVD, MPEGSreamclip is free and well-regarded.
Umpf..well I've rambled on quite long enough so I'll say cheerio for the moment,
Dave
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billyfromConsett
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by billyfromConsett »

When transcoding HDV to something a low CPU computer will find easier, do you then NEED a raid, due to disk speed issues not required for 25Mbs codecs or less - like HDV or AVCHD?
tom hardwick
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by tom hardwick »

I regard the need for a raid as being directly related to your past experience with hard drives and their life expectancy. If you're paranoid about backup and want the hardware to do it for you, a raid system is the way to go. For the rest of us it seems somewhat unnecessary - but note as Dave says - terabytes are £100 and dropping so it's getting to be a case of 'why not?'

tom.
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billyfromConsett
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by billyfromConsett »

tom hardwick wrote:as Dave says - terabytes are £100 and dropping so it's getting to be a case of 'why not?'
tom.
Well on my rig, the disk read speeds, as measured by HDtach, were actually lower on the raid - they got about 35Mb/s - compared to about double that of the single drives. So I took the raid down.
Paranoia wise, I did worry about one the raid disks going down, which would then lose the data of both disks.
daveswan
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by daveswan »

I would think, and am thinking in terms of a RAID 5 array, a good combination of speed and recoverability if one drive goes down, you can do it with four drives in an enclosure, or else buy special RAID 5 devices. This is especially important if you shoot to a card format, and have no archive tape to fall back on.
As far as speed goes, my terrabyte eSATA drive on my Laptop is plenty fast enough for 120 Mbps, but not for 185-220 Mbps.
Dave
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billyfromConsett
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by billyfromConsett »

Well in my case, I shoot with a Z5 Sony, onto both miniDV tape and CF media. The tapes get left in a packet afterwards and the CF cards get copied onto a single drive in my 3 drive rig. OS drive is a 500gb sata, media and renders disk is a 400gb sata and captures go on a 1tb sata drive.

I have axed the raid0, as it was slower, and edit with Adobe CS4.

The read/write speeds of a single sata drive - 65Mbps - seem fast enough for this. Big numbers from an esata seem un-necessary for the kind of data-streams that 99% of people in non-commercial movies will need.
tom hardwick
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by tom hardwick »

I see you can get a Samsung 1 TB HDD for less than £56 now, tax paid and delivered to your door.
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/168123
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ADBest
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by ADBest »

Just like to thank everyone for the help so far and particularly Billy who has been particularly helpful off-forum.

We must all find a compromise between interest and cost with an eye on the state of flux of the technology. At the moment I am down to a short list of two and the choice is not easy.

The Canon HV30 looks to be a strong possibility providing 16:9 standard definition output on mini-dv tape that I can handle with my present computer set-up and editing system.

At about the same price I have the opportunity to purchase a second hand Canon XL1. This from a friend who now has a Canon XM2. This would produce high quality, standard definition, to mini-dv tape but would commit me to 4:3 until my next upgrade. Most club members are still working in this format so it is not a great drawback and this option would give the technology time to settle down and my computer chance to catch up by natural evolution with the spec required for HD work.

I keep reading that the demise of tape is nigh but must say that I have serious reservations about subjecting hard drive or DVD devices to the sort of treatment to which my camcorder is sometimes subject. Memory cards must also be copied to computer hard drive storage, not just for the editing stage but for long term archive. I have 10 year old tapes which are as good as the day I used them and 5 year old DVDs that are faulty – and I have never had a hard drive in my computer that has been asked to last for as long as 10 years, they are generally overtaken by advances in the technology. Tape has at least something going for it.

Today is my birthday and I have converted one of the presents into IAC membership that way I will not miss any more of Tom’s technical articles.
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Dave Watterson
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by Dave Watterson »

Happy birthday ! And thanks for using part of your gifts to join IAC. Besides the magazine (and the website) there are events both national and regional ... try to get along to one or two. We're a friendly bunch and there's no fun like discovering a new technique or trick at a workshop, training-day or festival.
Cheers
Dave
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