What video camera do you use? - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Kimberley, BC, Canada.
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Default What video camera do you use?

I'm looking for an economical but quality video camera, is there such a thing? My DSLR doesn't do video.

WBP
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 09:47 PM
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For recreational use I use Canon HV30...shoots to mini-dv tape. Does 1080p 24frames per second or 30 fps.

No complaints of it so far. Best quality i could find in something reasonably small. But it is tape which is obviously becoming a bit old school now.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 10:14 PM
High on the Mountain Top
 
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I use the HV 20, the predecessor to the HV 30. It's been great, no complaints. The tape is getting a bit old school, but at least it's "field expandable" by purchasing another tape. It doesn't do so hot in poor lighting conditions, you have to open the aperture or increase exposure. But with proper light it looks flawless, better than a lot of the HD channels even.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 11:22 PM
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I've been using a panasonic ZS3 for my videos for a couple of months. It does quite well in good light, allows you to use the optical zoom (25-300mm equivalent) and stabilizer while shooting. Few manual controls for video. I got it because it's light, compact and has a wide angle lens. I also carry it as a backup still camera. The screen is extremely nice too.

I do find that the AVCHD files have a lot of artifacts and are a PITA to work with (I've had to start uisng Vegas Pro to edit and convert instead of Premiere). The files also require huge amounts of processing power just to play back - my netbook will play motion jpg files from the camera in 1280x720 just fine, AVCHD files in the same resolution are completely unwatchable. Also rendering files even with a quad core system with 3gb of ram is sluggish to say the least, and this is not even in full HD!

Motion JPG files (.mov) are fortunately available albeit are bigger for a given duration.
I often use the WVGA mode which is 852x480 at 30fps - the bitrate is quite high and it looks great on a computer screen.

LD has it on sale for $350 right now, which I think is an awesome deal for the camera. It sounds like it fits your bill too. Look for some sample vide on youtube - you won't get full quality footage but you can compare with other camcorders.

Benoit
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 12:27 PM
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I was under the impression that AVCHD was superior? It could just be a marketing snow job though.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 12:37 PM
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quote:Originally posted by Matt

I was under the impression that AVCHD was superior? It could just be a marketing snow job though.
When I was looking at getting a smaller high-quality camera...I did look at some AVCHD ones....I even tried out some footage from one. My regular computer that I edit HDV in (5,5GB ram, G5, 2 GHZ dual processor) couldn't handle the footage. Because it is extreme compression of HD size footage, it takes a lot of procesor power to play it back or edit it. I found I needed to convert it to another format to use...and the converting took around 15-30 times real time. This means a full day for 1 hour of footage. It was at least 15 times faster for me to suck it up and import HDV footage from a tape, that at least happens at 1x real time.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Matt

I was under the impression that AVCHD was superior? It could just be a marketing snow job though.
What AVCHD has going for it is that becausse it's much more compresed than DV (what tape-based camcorders record as), it takes up much less real estate on your hard drive. In the ZS3, this translates to about twice the recording time. Quality loss is not too noticeable but you do see a lot of artifacts and glitches.

Another example of processing power - my computer has a 2.4ghz quad core processor and 3 gigs of ram, and converting a 1-minute movie takes around (edit: sorry I meant 3 minutes!) ... This sucks, and for this reason I will be using motion JPG from now on. What's more, if you convert your AVCHD files to another format to edit or play them back more easily, you'll lose some quality.

The other downside of AVCHD and flash-based camcorders is that even on a 32gb SD card, you can only fit about the same as on one DV tape. The flash card costs $120, the tape $5. On the flipside, anyone who has ever searched a pile of DV tapes for one specific piece of footage will tell you it's a royal PITA!

Benoit
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 08:33 PM
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1 hour of mini-DV takes about 20-22GB of space on my hard drive. With the hassle AVCHD sounds like, I think I'll stick with HDV. Hard drives are cheap, time isn't.

There's a bit of a trade off when it comes to compression: compression factor, quality, and computational efficiency. It's kind of difficult to get all three. Maybe when AVCHD was developed flash cards and compact hard drives didn't have the capacity that they do now, so the focus was on compression ratio above all else.

I agree, searching tapes for footage sucks. What sucks even more is when you accidentally tape over footage! I've resorted to a log book to keep track of which tapes have been captured and such.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Matt

1 hour of mini-DV takes about 20-22GB of space on my hard drive. With the hassle AVCHD sounds like, I think I'll stick with HDV. Hard drives are cheap, time isn't.
20GB!!!! What are your import settings?

If you import (capture settings) as NTSC-DV or HDV you should have file sizes from 10GB-12GB per hour of footage.

I think it's only if you select HDV prores 422 that you would get file sizes that large. What software do you edit on?
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 01:02 PM
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Sorry that was a typo (or braino), I meant to say 10-12. I use ArcSoft. It's not production studio grade software like Adobe, but it's easier to use and has some useful features that Adobe Premiere doesn't have, the main one being scene splitting in high definition.
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