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Camcorders


Nick Ferraro
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Anyone done any research on camcorders recently? I'm trying to figure out whether to go with the DVD or Hard Drive format. Any brand advice?

I have a sony DVD one and I love it... bought it a couple of years ago though so I dont have any suggestions based on the available models now...

I know they make some nice HD camcorders that dont cost too much

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Anyone done any research on camcorders recently? I'm trying to figure out whether to go with the DVD or Hard Drive format. Any brand advice?

Honestly, at this point in time i am staying away from both formats. The dvd ones I guess are cool if you have absolutely no desire to edit and play with them on your computer but just want to pop them into your dvd player. The quality is also not as good as miniDV. The hard drive format does have some promise but ther are a few things you need to look into and realize. First, you need to make sure your editing software will support the file your particular camera creates. What you need to realize, and the reason I have not gone tapeless in my workflow, is that you do not have any backup to store for later use. If you record something, you have to drop it into your computer and never toss it, and hope your hard drive never gets fried. Also, that file will take up a TON of space on your drive to store. And when you are filming or any time from when you are filming to when you load it to your computer you are suseptible to losing that data on the drive. Hard drives go bad all the time. And if there is a hard drive malfunction while recording, you will lose everything on there. Tape is much safer, even if there is some glitch when you are shooting, with tape you will at least be able to salvage everything leading up to that.

My advice would be to stick with miniDV and buy the best one i can afford if I am thinking of possibly editing the footage in software to create dvds or web clips or whatever. Or the dvd cameras if i NEVER am going to plug it into a computer. I would not by a harddrive camera in either instance.

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Honestly, at this point in time i am staying away from both formats. The dvd ones I guess are cool if you have absolutely no desire to edit and play with them on your computer but just want to pop them into your dvd player. The quality is also not as good as miniDV. The hard drive format does have some promise but ther are a few things you need to look into and realize. First, you need to make sure your editing software will support the file your particular camera creates. What you need to realize, and the reason I have not gone tapeless in my workflow, is that you do not have any backup to store for later use. If you record something, you have to drop it into your computer and never toss it, and hope your hard drive never gets fried. Also, that file will take up a TON of space on your drive to store. And when you are filming or any time from when you are filming to when you load it to your computer you are suseptible to losing that data on the drive. Hard drives go bad all the time. And if there is a hard drive malfunction while recording, you will lose everything on there. Tape is much safer, even if there is some glitch when you are shooting, with tape you will at least be able to salvage everything leading up to that.

My advice would be to stick with miniDV and buy the best one i can afford if I am thinking of possibly editing the footage in software to create dvds or web clips or whatever. Or the dvd cameras if i NEVER am going to plug it into a computer. I would not by a harddrive camera in either instance.

I have a DVD camcorder and I load the video onto my PC and edit it just fine... what are you talking about?

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Honestly, at this point in time i am staying away from both formats. The dvd ones I guess are cool if you have absolutely no desire to edit and play with them on your computer but just want to pop them into your dvd player. The quality is also not as good as miniDV. The hard drive format does have some promise but ther are a few things you need to look into and realize. First, you need to make sure your editing software will support the file your particular camera creates. What you need to realize, and the reason I have not gone tapeless in my workflow, is that you do not have any backup to store for later use. If you record something, you have to drop it into your computer and never toss it, and hope your hard drive never gets fried. Also, that file will take up a TON of space on your drive to store. And when you are filming or any time from when you are filming to when you load it to your computer you are suseptible to losing that data on the drive. Hard drives go bad all the time. And if there is a hard drive malfunction while recording, you will lose everything on there. Tape is much safer, even if there is some glitch when you are shooting, with tape you will at least be able to salvage everything leading up to that.

My advice would be to stick with miniDV and buy the best one i can afford if I am thinking of possibly editing the footage in software to create dvds or web clips or whatever. Or the dvd cameras if i NEVER am going to plug it into a computer. I would not by a harddrive camera in either instance.

I had a good mini-DV and I have had a good DVD for a few years and the DVD quality is definitely better PLUS the mini-DV Camera broke and I lost a tape b/c of it. My brother had a mini-DV camera and his did the same thing so i assume it's only a matter of time w/ the mini-DV.

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Honestly, at this point in time i am staying away from both formats. The dvd ones I guess are cool if you have absolutely no desire to edit and play with them on your computer but just want to pop them into your dvd player. The quality is also not as good as miniDV. The hard drive format does have some promise but ther are a few things you need to look into and realize. First, you need to make sure your editing software will support the file your particular camera creates. What you need to realize, and the reason I have not gone tapeless in my workflow, is that you do not have any backup to store for later use. If you record something, you have to drop it into your computer and never toss it, and hope your hard drive never gets fried. Also, that file will take up a TON of space on your drive to store. And when you are filming or any time from when you are filming to when you load it to your computer you are suseptible to losing that data on the drive. Hard drives go bad all the time. And if there is a hard drive malfunction while recording, you will lose everything on there. Tape is much safer, even if there is some glitch when you are shooting, with tape you will at least be able to salvage everything leading up to that.

My advice would be to stick with miniDV and buy the best one i can afford if I am thinking of possibly editing the footage in software to create dvds or web clips or whatever. Or the dvd cameras if i NEVER am going to plug it into a computer. I would not by a harddrive camera in either instance.

Assuming I ensure that the formats match on both the camera and my computer, and I am doing the right things in terms of backing up my videos, is HDD in itself the better choice?

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Assuming I ensure that the formats match on both the camera and my computer, and I am doing the right things in terms of backing up my videos, is HDD in itself the better choice?

Well, if the editor you use will be able to use the footage your cam outputs without having to digitize, and you don't mind having only that digital file as your backup, than a hard drive cam is fine. The big benefit of a hard drive cam is that the media is immediately available to you without having to capture and digitize the footage. One other thing to think about, how much footage you can store on that cam before having to either delete or feed your computer footage, but this is a pretty obvious point so I assume you have thought about that.

One other thing, this site may reach beyond the consumer market, but it is a good board with very knowledgeable people, http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/index.php

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Well, if the editor you use will be able to use the footage your cam outputs without having to digitize, and you don't mind having only that digital file as your backup, than a hard drive cam is fine. The big benefit of a hard drive cam is that the media is immediately available to you without having to capture and digitize the footage. One other thing to think about, how much footage you can store on that cam before having to either delete or feed your computer footage, but this is a pretty obvious point so I assume you have thought about that.

One other thing, this site may reach beyond the consumer market, but it is a good board with very knowledgeable people, http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/index.php

Good stuff - thanks!

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Good stuff - thanks!

One other thing dude, they are putting out some of these direct to dvd players with hd now, and i think hard drive cams with hd as well. IT would be really important to look into how well your editor of choice handles that file format from that camcorder, and what the minimum specs are to run the editor with that format.

I have all pro equipment, and I shoot a format called hdv, which is a compressed hd format. Most of the bigger editing programs can now handle hdv, but they need a LOT of horsepower to edit it natively. Most of the cheaper or free editors, like apple imovie, will take the hdv and transcode it into another format, which can mess with quality.

Anyway, just wanted to give you a heads up on the hd thing which I am sure the local salesman over at bestbuy will try to dazzle you with. Your best bet is to read online reviews from knowledgeable people, nail don the model you want, then just order online or go to the store and pick it up, because the salesmen know nothing, unless you live near nyc, in which case B&H is pretty good.

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Anyone done any research on camcorders recently? I'm trying to figure out whether to go with the DVD or Hard Drive format. Any brand advice?

Hey Nick, that footage I saw of your wife on the internet last week looked pretty good. Surprised to hear you don't own a camera.

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