Your next Camcorder?

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ned c
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by ned c »

The Canon XL1 is a fine camera, I owned an XL1s for a number of years and it gave superb results. Take a good look at the focus of the XL1 as the early versions experienced problems holding focus through the zoom. However; I would go for the Canon HV30, it meets your present needs and will carry you into the next phase when you decide to go HD. Tape is going to be with us for some years as Sony introduced two tape based professional HDV cameras at this year's NAB show; much to most people's surprise. Even when tape based cameras depart the scene tape will still be around, you can still buy Hi8, VHSC and VHS tapes although all are now obsolescent.

Congratulations on joining the IAC and happy birthday.

ned c
Mike Shaw

Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by Mike Shaw »

Adbest - I share your concerns over the forecast demise of miniDV tape as the shooting and storage medium. From what I have seen so far, camcorders with hard drives use a compressed format of some kind to squeeze more into less space. Last week I helped someone with such a camcorder try to download the files into their editor - a very expensive editor (prosumer) - but it couldn't handle AVCHD files. They had to be converted - using the converter program thoughtfully provided by the camcorder manufacturer. Everything went fine - the converted program loaded smooth as silk into the editor. Just one small snag ... every fourth frame was a repeat of the frame before it, with the result that the video played with a slight 'jerk' to it. What do you do - spend hours removing every repeated frame, or try to find another conversion method, or lash out on a brand new editor that can handle AVCHD direct.

All these weird and wonderful compressions may be fine, but for me, I'm future proofing myself as best I can by buying miniDV tapes by the ton to run on my three miniDV tape camcorders bought over the years TVR900, HC7 and FX1). They have and do everything I could possibly want. The editor I use (Liquid) I am more than satisfied with. My miniDV 'master' tapes and capture tapes (I never re-use them .. so everything I shot is always available) are stored away and have never (rapidly touches wood, whistles and crosses everything sight) caused any problems.

Hard drives may be the way to go - but I'd only be interested (which means never, most likely), if they captured DV like the tapes AND the spare drives or plug-in memory were as cheap per gig as miniDV! (miniDV - roughly 4 gigabytes of pure AVI for just over £1 a time). 4gig -+R DVDs are cheaper, at around 30 pence or so each - but do camcorders use those? Not to my knowledge.

Sometimes I absolutely hate 'progress'!"
ned c
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by ned c »

Mike, it would be helpful if you could let us have details of the camcorder, the edit software, details of the computer and the camcorder software as perhaps these are something to be avoided.

thanks

ned c
Mike Shaw

Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by Mike Shaw »

Sure thing. The camcorder was (is) a Sony (don't know the number) - a small compact little job that saves down to a hard drive or memory cards as AVCHD.

The 'conversion' software' was a Sony program that came with the camcorder - and it offered a wide choice of formats to convert to. I can't remember them all now.

The software was Avid Liquid 7.2 - which was discontinued support wise about 18 months ago, without AVCHD as an accepted format. (It's the editor I use - hence the request for my help). Supposedly, Avid is developing a replacement program - without the 'broadcast editing capabilities' of Liquid (it has features which made it an ideal editor for broadcast companies to use - in fact, that's where part of the origins of Liquid lay (Fast) until bought out by Pinnacle and commercialised for a lower level prosumer market. Then Avid took over Pinnacle, and as Liquid was better than and cheaper than and so conflicted with one of their own products - it got killed off.

Computer in use on that occasion was a laptop: the whole purpose of the small camcorder and the laptop was that the lady had been asked to shoot and edit an important film by a chap in Switzerland, and she needed to take out the edit to show him (he has the dreaded C) how it was going. It is a well specced laptop - but other than that I can't say what make. The small camcorder was bought because she had to take a stack of gear out there, and needed to get some extra filming in as well.

The problem really centred around Liquid not being able to recognise AVCHD files - something most of today's editors can do.

None of that seems to offer much that's new. Sorry 'bout that! All I can say is, whilst (for me) Liquid is a superb editor (to my mind a thousand times more advanced, more stable and better to use than Premiere - but I am very biased!), since it is no longer supported it isn't worth going down that road unless youi're going to stick with legacy stuff to go with it. I'm not even sure it can burn blueray (something else I'm not likely to get into for a while - and when I do, I'll edit in Liquid and burn my HD edits using a different program).

I'm hearing good reports on Edius ... Liquid users who have switched say its nearly as good editing wise, but can handle the latest formats. And burn bluray... But, my Liquid 'aint broke' so I'm not figuring on fixing it just yet ...
tom hardwick
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by tom hardwick »

An XL1 and HV30 are such different beasts, but as others have said - in 2009 I'd go for the HV30 every time. The XL1 is an easier camera to use on the go as there's far less menu fiddling to be done to access the manual controls, but the two cameras are years apart in technology, and even though 'club members shoot in 4:3' I'd not say this was a good enough reason to base a camcorder buy on it. The HV30 will shoot much better 4:3 should you really wish to use this format.

If I was teaching 'video photographic techniques' then the XL1 would be by far the better camera to use, as the manual ND filters, the direct access to shutter speeds, gain zoom and focus rings and so on help you keep solid control of the situation. And when cameras and subjects start to move, that's an important and desirable attribute.

Our screen aspect ratio (much more about this in my upcoming Positive Image, BTW) has most definitely settled on 16:9, so to shoot in anything but is asking for trouble (distortions, loss of resolution and so on). But the medium we shoot on doesn't matter a hoot - whether it be tape of HHD or flash memory or DVD.

I have great confidence in tape but I can also understand the salesan's love of solid state and his ability to deride tape and make it seem quaintly old fashioned. That's because most tape memories are of the analogue variety (VHS, open reel, cassettes), whereas we're talking digital recordings here - a different beast.

tom.
ned c
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by ned c »

Thanks Mike; I know how you feel as I started my NLE with EditDV which developed into a great program as Cinestream 3 but was abandoned after being owned by three different corporations. May I recommend giving consideration to Final Cut Pro or/and Final Cut Express on an iMac or Power Book. Well supported, enormous user base with excellent communication and lots of good info sources. FCE does almost everything FCP does but is not part of an integrated suite of software.

There are a number of inexpensive NLE programs for PCs that handle AVCHD, I have used Sony Studio Platinum successfully.

ned c
daveswan
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by daveswan »

Mike, hi..
Have you tried MPEGstreamclip to convert your footage? I've only tried it out od 5DII to see if I could convert 30>25fps, but it has a good rep as a do-anything converter.
Sony Vegas pro 9 supposedly handles AVCHD well, unlike my Avid MC which turns its nose up at such a lowbrow format :mrgreen:
Dave
Mike Shaw

Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by Mike Shaw »

I'll pass that on to the lady with the AVCHD ... for me, no AVCHD. Not now, not ever.

I was tempted - by a special 'upgrade' price on the demise of Liquid - to move up to Avid's MediaComposer, but didn't. I wonder if that was a lost oportunity? It probably does more than I need.

FCP - heard lots of good reports about that, but there is one thing against it for me, and that is it needs an Apple - and I would find an Apple a bit restricting program wise for what I do). Not that I'm a great admirer of Bill Gates' hash up, but there are more program opportunities with a PC.
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billyfromConsett
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by billyfromConsett »

Mike Shaw wrote:I'll pass that on to the lady with the AVCHD ... for me, no AVCHD. Not now, not ever.
I've seen some clips on a Samsung monitor from a friend's Sony AVCHD cam. The detail quality was rather brilliant. The next cam I get will be AVCHD on solid state - the clips will fit in with HDV media at times or will be used for holidays when I'm simply not going to take a Z5.
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ADBest
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by ADBest »

My next camcorder will, after much help from this thread, and particularly Billy, be a Canon HV40. The recommendation was for a HV30 but these seem to have disappeared from the market.

I found the XL1 too heavy to handle and did listen to the advice of Tom and Ned-c.

The HD picture from the HV40 direct to TV via a Component connection was quite stunning. I never thought that a consumer cam could ever produce such quality, (and that on a 40" screen).

I have been wrestling in vain all day to try to get my HD footage from the HV40 into Premier Pro 1.5. Premier sets project and clip windows to 16:9 but does not set the capture window and although I have managed to get device control to work from the computer I have not so far succeeded in capturing any footage.

Billy only lives half an hour away and has been most helpful. I see from todays posts that he is back from holiday so I will be in touch.

On a separate subject I read a very interesting article in the August edition of 'Film and Video Maker' by Mr Jennings concerning club membership. I would like to contribute to such a discussion but realise that cross thread discussions are not a good idea. If Dave Watterson reads this then perhaps he would advise on whether a suitable thread exists or whether a new thread should be created.
tom hardwick
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by tom hardwick »

The HV40 and Sony's HC9 (both discontinued by the look of it) are hot competitors, top of their game fighters in this arena. There must be those here who chose the Sony over the Canon - care to tell us why?
Mike Shaw

Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by Mike Shaw »

I had a Canon Hi8 - UX something or other which had the handy thing of focusing wherever you looked in the viewfinder. Except after a while I found I was focusing on things I looked at arbitrarily to see what was happening in the scene ... so switched it off in the end. Then came digital and I bought a Sony TVR 900 which at the time seemed to be one of the best and very highly rated - and which I still have. Superb machine for me - and a better build than the Hi8 Canon (just a feeling, not a statement of fact). So I stuck with Sony. Next was the HC7 with 'slomo' shooting - but that was a booboo (slomo also meant an equal reduction in quality - you only get to read about that in the manual!) I still use it occasionally, but don't like having to control everything from the screen (I prefer nearly always to use the viewfinder especialoly on bright days outside!). So I went next for a Sony FX1. And additional chargers etc are all Sony. So I stick withj the brand. Are they better/best? I don't know. They suit me and I'm comfortable using the FX1.
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ADBest
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by ADBest »

My problem of importing footage captured in HDV by my Canon HV40 camcorder has been solved for me by Billy (from Consett) and I thought it might be a good idea to post the question and the answer for the benefit of other new HV40 users.

E-mail to Billy:-
Presently locked in conflict with, and between, the Canon HV40 and Premier Pro 1.5.
Have you any comment on the following?

***(For Premier settings see below)
The Premier Capture window talks to the HV40 if I set the Cam PLAYBACK STANDARD to “DV”
However the Cam screen then displays:-
“Playback standard locked Playback is restricted”
Looking this up in the Cam user manual “List of messages” it tells me:-
“Current camcorder settings do not match the HDV/DV standard of the recording you tried to play back. Change the [PLAYBACK STD] to match the recording standard of the tape.” (The recordings were in HDV).
If I change the PLAYBACK STD to HDV then Premier stops talking to the Cam.

***Premier Project settings
After selecting DV-PAL Widescreen 48kHz in the Premier Project settings:-
Description is shown as: “For editing with Firewire DV equipment Widescreen PAL video (16:9 interlaced) 48kHz (16 bit) audio.
Video settings are shown as:-
Frame size 720h 576v (1.422)
Pixel aspect ratio D1/DV PAL Widescreen 16:9 (1.422)
Lower field first

-------------------------------------------------------------------
Billy’s solution captured to my ‘How to’ filing system:-

Method 01.16 – Setting up the Canon HV40 to export in Std Def
Having recorded footage to the Canon HV40 in HDV it is then necessary to output to Premier Pro 1.5 in standard definition. To set up the Cam to do this proceed as follows.
In the HV40 MENU go to the “PLAY/OUT setup 1”. Using the joystick navigate to “PLAYBACK STANDARD” and select “A” (for auto).
Then go to the MENU option “PLAY/OUT setup 2”. Using the joystick navigate to “DV OUTPUT” and select “DV LOCKED”.
The footage can then be edited in Premier in the normal way with the Premier settings as described earlier.
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ADBest
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by ADBest »

Following the excellent advice received via this forum I have now completed my first project using my new Canon HV40, recording in 16:9 format. Using the facility to capture in standard definition I have edited in Premiere Pro in the normal way.

Everything proceeded as normal and the .avi file produced by Premiere, when re-imported into Premiers played perfectly.

Then imported the avi file into Encore and created DVD. Problem. 'Stills' either failed to show or they were made up of horizontal bands. Went back into Photoshop and made sure that all stills were close to 1024 pixels wide by 576 pixels high. Made new avi file in Premiere and imported into Encore with the same result.

Finished up saving the movie to the Cam mini dv tape and then played the tape direct to my Sony HD/DVD recorder, which I have from my pre-Sky+ days. Recorded perfectly. Only disadvantage is that Sony has a very uninteresting menu page which displays when the DVD is inserted.

Wondered if anyone has any ideas as to what is going on. The problem has just appeared since I started using the 16:9 format.

Just why an avi file that Premiere plays satisfactorily cannot be played in Encore preview, ie before trans-coding, is a mystery. I came to the conclusion that there must be a setting in Encore that must be changed for 16:9 but the video is handled perfectly it is just the stills that either fail to show or are horizontally banded. Have so far been unable to find any relevant setting.

I don’t know if it helps but the finished Encore DVD has the video time line shortened by the length of the missing stills but the audio track, (commentary and music), retains its proper length. The result is that the video and audio on the finished DVD are out of sync.

Reading the Film & Video Maker magazine this would appear to be a question for the IAC’s NLE Group forum but I cannot find any link to this on the website.

Hoping someone will come to my rescue.

Arthur
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Dave Watterson
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Re: Your next Camcorder?

Post by Dave Watterson »

Hi Arthur

Details on joining the NLE email group have been sent privately. That is only for IAC members, whereas this forum is open to all.

In Adobe Encore it is wise to right-click on the imported avi file and choose "interpret" and set it to the appropriate format before going further. That ensures that Encore handles it in the correct format.

What format were the stills in? Adobe handles many but not all formats.
What resolution were the stills in? Did you really mean they wre just 1024x576 pixels?

Cheers

Dave
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