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Old Nov 29, 2012, 01:25 PM   #1
danielwerner
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What camcorder should I buy?

Hi,

I'm thinking of buying a camcorder and can't for the life of me understand which one to get.

Criterias:

1. It needs to work with iMovie '11, flawlessly. I mean, I don't want to spend my time converting every file, and I don't want endless importing times, and I definately don't want laggy or CPU-heavy editing. I don't understand which file format it should support, some say AVCHD and some say H.264, but what I understand those are the same since AVCHD is encoded in H.264. Wtf.

2. Not cost more than 500 dollars, preferably not more than 350.

3. Be able to record 1080p (I will mostly use it for Youtube, but I still want it to be somewhat future proof).

4. Be good, nice reviews and so forth.

What I've managed to find is that I need the camcorder to be able to record in h.264 formats. I've previously recorded via my iPhone 5 and my HD webcam (via Quicktime) so both of them export in h.264, right?

The problem is that all product specifications say that AVCHD and h.264 are the same thing. How do I find a reasonably priced camcorder which records and exports in this format? I just want to eject the SDHC-card, insert it in the mac, and just edit away in imovie with ease.

Anyone with personal experience of what works? Thanks alot!

Last edited by danielwerner; Nov 29, 2012 at 01:40 PM.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 01:31 PM   #2
aerok
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielwerner View Post
Hi,

I'm thinking of buying a camcorder and can't for the life of me understand which one to get.

Criterias:

1. It needs to work with iMovie '11, flawlessly. I mean, I don't want to spend my time converting every file, and I don't want endless importing times, and I definately don't want laggy or CPU-heavy editing. I don't understand which file format it should support, some say AVCHD and some say H.264, but what I understand those are the same since AVCHD is encoded in H.264. Wtf.

2. Not cost more than 500 dollars, preferably not more than 350.

3. Be good, nice reviews and so forth.

Anyone with personal experience of what works? Thanks alot!
What would be the purpose of the camcorder? That would help us help you
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 01:39 PM   #3
danielwerner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aerok View Post
What would be the prupose of the camcorder? That would help us help you
Mostly Youtube really, but in a semi-professional way. I'm recording humor videos with pretty heavy editing and good quality.

Oh, and I forgot. It needs to be able to record 1080p. I know, it's Youtube, but I want it a bit futureproof.

----------

What I've managed to find is that I need the camcorder to be able to record in h.264 formats. I've previously recorded via my iPhone 5 and my HD webcam (via Quicktime) so both of them export in h.264, right?

The problem is that all product specifications say that AVCHD and h.264 are the same thing. How do I find a reasonably priced camcorder which records and exports in this format? I just want to eject the SDHC-card, insert it in the mac, and just edit away in imovie with ease.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 01:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielwerner View Post
Mostly Youtube really, but in a semi-professional way. I'm recording humor videos with pretty heavy editing and good quality.

Oh, and I forgot. It needs to be able to record 1080p. I know, it's Youtube, but I want it a bit futureproof.
The VIXIA HF R32 is not too bad for the price, I would still suggest you save money and buy a DSLR like a D5100 to have all the flexibility.

The VIXIA does AVCHD - 1920 x 1080 - 24Mbps
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 01:44 PM   #5
danielwerner
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Originally Posted by aerok View Post
The VIXIA HF R32 is not too bad for the price, I would still suggest you save money and buy a DSLR like a D5100 to have all the flexibility.

The VIXIA does AVCHD - 1920 x 1080 - 24Mbps
But the AVCHD format, does that work well with iMovie? Some say yes, some say no, and other say yes after a lengthy conversion.

Personally I'm looking at the Sony HDR-CX250. That records in AVCHD though, so therefore I'm a bit worried.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 01:50 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by danielwerner View Post
But the AVCHD format, does that work well with iMovie? Some say yes, some say no, and other say yes after a lengthy conversion.

Personally I'm looking at the Sony HDR-CX250. That records in AVCHD though, so therefore I'm a bit worried.
I don't know about the Sony but I know the Canon AVHD works perfectly with iMovie, the only problem is that the battery kinda sucks.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 02:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielwerner View Post
But the AVCHD format, does that work well with iMovie? Some say yes, some say no, and other say yes after a lengthy conversion.

Personally I'm looking at the Sony HDR-CX250. That records in AVCHD though, so therefore I'm a bit worried.
I have three comments for you:

1. You need to know that a video consists of a codec and a container. The codec is the way it is compressed, and H.264 is the most common compression format around right now. AVCHD does encode in H.264, and .mp4 files will most likely also contain this. So, AVCHD and H.264 are kind of the same. AVCHD is a container, and it is always filled with H.264 data. It is (that's the downside) not easily playable and kind of a weird container format and consists of a folder structure instead of just one file. But it does (that's the upside) support a lot of metadata that other containers don't, like framewise timecode.

2. iMovie does not support editing in a so-called "interframe" codec. It will convert any footage on import that isn't already encoded in a "ProRes" codec. There are very few camcorders that record in ProRes, and none of them are in your price range that I know of. So, you will either have to live with converting on import and getting big files on your editing hard drive, or you will have to get another editing software. Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro X will both edit interframe codecs natively and import AVCHD or .mp4 files very quickly and without re-encoding if you want them to. Sorry, but here what you want doesn't exist.

3. I second the Canon camcorder out of the cheaper models. In mid-range, they do get a lot of competition, but in the very cheap segment, they are pretty strong. I have a VIXIA R26 for behind the scenes and trips and with enough light it's very watchable. I wouldn't go DSLR if it's mostly for youtube. DSLRs are great to get an amazing look for short films and are awesome in low light, but they have crappy sound (so you would have to add something external) and have to be handled (focus) by someone all the time. For vlogs and point-and-shoot style, they are not the best choice.

Just my two cents.
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