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Old Mar 30, 2013, 06:18 PM   #1
TimothyJohn
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Please Recommend DSLR or Camcorder, and Mac Editor for Music Ed and Demo Vids

Hi everyone- I'm a new member and long time reader of MacRumors.
I originally posted this in another thread, and simsaladimbamba strongly suggested I start a new thread.

I have been using a Canon HV20 for for some years. As far as archiving, I gave up long ago and basically use the tapes as archive. When I want to share these family vids with extended family, I use iMovie, deal with the expansive file, edit, then share by using iDVD. Then I delete the files from my Glyph ext drive to save space.

I would now like to expand my music audio production to include video. I would like to shoot music vids of educational value and demonstrative purposes for uploading to YouTube. I asked for online advice on other sites, and many suggested trying Adobe Premiere Elements 11 instead of iMovie 11. I was able to get a copy for $60, so I tried it. While it does import the mpeg1 files from the HV20 without converting, I wind up with one large 1 hour clip. The windows version evidently provides for separating clips, but not the mac.

If anyone would like to spare the time, please advise me from this point of view.
Assume that I am starting from point zero. What DSLR or camcorder would you recommend to shoot music performance vids? (Not concerts-just teacher lessons and product demonstrations-video recorder on a tripod, no zooming- and perhaps an ext mic for better audio quality). Hopefully in as high a quality as possible for upload to YouTube and DVD production? I've gotten suggestions including Panasonic's Lumix series, Canon's T4i, and various Canon and Sony camcorders. Am I looking to shoot AVCHD? MPEG-4? Or should I try to find something that still does MPEG-2? DSLR's would be more attractive to me because I could double its use as a still camera. And HD looks great, of course. But what would be an excellent compromise between workflow and final product quality?

And in terms of editors, I now have iMovie 11 and Premiere Elements 11 for mac, but I could get my hands on FCP X, or Media Composer 6.5 with my educator's discount if it would help. I'm looking for the most streamlined workflow with the best results. And, I have no archive that needs to be updated or converted. And bear in mind, I'm not looking to become an indy film maker. 99% of editing would be in the form of trimming beginnings and endings and perhaps adding transitions and titles. And perhaps bringing in a higher quality sound recording to sync.

I do a lot of audio production, right on up to ddp and cd production. I have a quick and effective workflow that yields high quality results. I'd really like to expand into the video side. You could say I'm chomping at the bit!! But I've been stumped. I'm learning, but still haven't gotten the train on the tracks, so to speak.

And budget? Say under a grand total, figuring $300 if I need to get Final Cut X or Media Composer 6.5. So $700 for a DSLR and lens or camcorder.

Thanks again!!

Tim
17" Macbook Pro 2.3 Ghz i7, OS 10.7.5, 8gb ram.
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Old Mar 31, 2013, 05:00 AM   #2
floh
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Hi Timothy!

First of all: Boy, you will get a huge amount of opinions on this thread. I recommend you to filter out those opinions and try to focus on the "arguments" given. Because it is hard for people (including me) to stay objectively if you talk about the filming and editing equipment they have paid money for and don't want criticized.

Now that I got that out of the way, here are some thoughts:

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyJohn View Post
many suggested trying Adobe Premiere Elements 11 instead of iMovie 11.
I would say: Stick with Premiere Elements. Don't spend money on an editing suite. For four reasons:
1. Your (only) problem of one long clip will go away if you get another (non-tape) camera.
2. The "better" software is really meant for professionals and filmmakers. It will steepen your learning curve and you won't need a quarter of the features.
3. Premiere (Elements) caters very well to audio guys, since they don't feature a "magnetic timeline" like FCPX but rather have the user think in tracks and layers, just like most (if not all) DAWs and mixing consoles.
4. On the other side of things: iMovie has trouble importing AVCHD and it will always transcode your files, creating huge sizes, which you don't need for simple trim edits and a little more. And other free software like Lightworks is for filmmaker hobbyists that don't have money but lots of learning and tweaking time on their hands. You don't sound like one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyJohn View Post
What DSLR or camcorder would you recommend to shoot music performance vids?
Many will disagree, but I would go with a camcorder, for three reasons:
1. They are meant for filming and come with some major benefits, including a usable autofocus, better sound recording capabilities (I'll get into that later) and better software controls for video.
2. A DSLR will not record a long clip. Ever. It will shut itself off after at most 30 minutes. Most will already stop at 12 minutes (because of file size) or earlier because of overheating issues (Canon DSLRs). If you ever plan on shooting a clip that is a little longer (like a lesson with a student), you will want to have a camcorder.
3. The key advantages of a DSLR for filming are: They double as still cameras and they have interchangeable lenses. The first argument is nice and to consider. But the second is the reason many filmmaker will recommend DSLRs and it will probably not help you at all. Interchangeable lenses are expensive, so that's additional cost. They have (in combination with the big sensor) shallow depth of field, which you don't want and need for educational videos. They create a very filmic and stylish look, which you don't need either. So all those nice advantages count for nothing. Unless you are planning on making "music videos" like on MTV (that wasn't clear in your post). Then they will create exactly the look you want, and you don't want longer clips anyways. In this case, my point is invalid.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyJohn View Post
Am I looking to shoot AVCHD? MPEG-4? Or should I try to find something that still does MPEG-2?
Don't go MPEG-2. There is no advantage in it. Other than that: In my opinion, it doesn't matter. While some people will say that AVCHD is a pain in the a$$ as a container (and they are correct), you will only see it once on import and it will look roughly the same as MPEG-4 files. So unless you want to do a lot of manual tweaking before importing into your NLE or you want to use iMovie, go with either format (they just differ in "containers" anyways, the codec and quality are exactly the same).

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyJohn View Post
I do a lot of audio production,
Ah, sound...

In this case, you will hate the internal mic of anything you purchase, even high quality camcorders. If you are mostly interested in recording yourself speaking, try to attach a Lav mic or something, it will greatly help you. If you want to include the instruments, get a good condenser mic for your camera in addition.

Generally: DSLR sound recording is really bad. I'm not just talking about the internal microphone (which is terrible), but about the mic preamp and AD conversion. Even if you plug a great microphone directly into your DSLR, the sound will suffer badly. That's why most DSLR filmers will add an external sound recorder to their setup.

Camcorder sound is slightly better, but for a musician may still be unusable. So try to get an external mic that suits your needs. Since you are an audio guy, I'm not trying to consult you there...

Personally, I own a camcorder (Canon HF-S10) and a DSLR (Canon T3i) with some lenses. I edit on FCPX, but have used Premiere as well. So I like all options, just for different purposes. DSLR for artsy films with lots of manual control, camcorder for easier point-and-shoot and longer recordings.

All of this put into a recommendation from my end would mean:
Get for example a Canon VIXIA HF-G10 camcorder. If you search and wait a little, you will certainly find one at less than $800, especially since the newer model HF-G20 just came out or was announced or something.

If you still have money left, get the Canon DM-100 microphone. It provides very decent quality and is easily mounted on the camcorder.

Hope that helps.

Last edited by floh; Mar 31, 2013 at 06:05 AM.
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Old Mar 31, 2013, 07:04 AM   #3
daybreak
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FLOH, you must have spent hours writing all that. Well Done!. I hope [eople will take note of what you have posted.
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Old Mar 31, 2013, 10:27 AM   #4
TimothyJohn
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Thank you floh!

Quote:
Originally Posted by daybreak View Post
FLOH, you must have spent hours writing all that. Well Done!. I hope [eople will take note of what you have posted.
+1
floh, Thank you very much!! Indeed, I've taken it all in.

Coincidently, I have come across the Canon you mentioned, as well as the Canon VIXIA HF M50. What intrigues me about these is the 2.37 Megapixel 1/3" CMOS Pro image sensor. So far, the M50 comes in around $500, and the G10 around $1000.

In addition, I came across this video, showing the differences in uploaded YouTube quality, featuring two M50's. One recording in Mpeg-4, and the other simultaneously in AVCHD. Both edited in FCP 7. Very enlightening!! Now the M50 and G20 have the ability to capture in both AVCHD and Mpeg-4. According to B&H, the G10 only in AVCHD.

Re: DSLR, your advice is spot on! Many of the drawbacks for the DSLR route are serious ones. And ones I need to consider. In fact, a fellow from another post (a wonderful musician and videographer!!!) recommended the new Lumix GH3 specifically for the ability to shoot long clips. ($1250-body only).

So you're correct. I won't be shooting "music videos" like on MTV. Sound quality is important. I have an ext mic that would be used, as well as the ability to record to computer, using one of a few options, then synch'ing the .wav or whatever during edit.

I have been learning about FCP X, and Media Composer 6.5. Both are very feature intensive. So being able to use PrEl 11 would be great.

Could you say what the advantages of the G10 would be over the M50?
Would they be worth $500? Or maybe $300 when the price falls?

Again, floh, Thank you very much!!

Tim
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Old Mar 31, 2013, 01:33 PM   #5
Menneisyys2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyJohn View Post
+1
floh, Thank you very much!! Indeed, I've taken it all in.

Coincidently, I have come across the Canon you mentioned, as well as the Canon VIXIA HF M50. What intrigues me about these is the 2.37 Megapixel 1/3" CMOS Pro image sensor. So far, the M50 comes in around $500, and the G10 around $1000.

In addition, I came across this video, showing the differences in uploaded YouTube quality, featuring two M50's. One recording in Mpeg-4, and the other simultaneously in AVCHD. Both edited in FCP 7. Very enlightening!! Now the M50 and G20 have the ability to capture in both AVCHD and Mpeg-4. According to B&H, the G10 only in AVCHD.
Just don't forget the

1, G10's lens starts at 30.4mm equiv, unlike the much narrower (around 40mm) M50. You may find the latter just too narrow, particularly when shooting indoors where you just can't go further back from your subject. Good(!) wideangle converters are both expensive and heavy/large. Cheaper / lighter / smaller ones generally heavily decrease the image quality.

2, the G10 is an old model superseeded by the G20; therefore, its price, particularly second-hand, will surely drop.

All in all,

1, knowing how I hate narrow lens for generic shooting, I'd definitely go with a G10. It'll surely come down in price.


2, if you can put up with a narrow lens, go with the M50.
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Old Mar 31, 2013, 01:43 PM   #6
Menneisyys2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyJohn View Post
Assume that I am starting from point zero. What DSLR or camcorder would you recommend to shoot music performance vids? (Not concerts-just teacher lessons and product demonstrations-video recorder on a tripod, no zooming- and perhaps an ext mic for better audio quality). Hopefully in as high a quality as possible for upload to YouTube and DVD production? I've gotten suggestions including Panasonic's Lumix series, Canon's T4i, and various Canon and Sony camcorders. Am I looking to shoot AVCHD? MPEG-4? Or should I try to find something that still does MPEG-2? DSLR's would be more attractive to me because I could double its use as a still camera. And HD looks great, of course. But what would be an excellent compromise between workflow and final product quality?
It concert shooting involves a lot of camera movement and you don't need shallow DoF, I say definitely go with a quality camcorder like the M50 (or, if you want to shoot from a close(r) distance, the G10 - see my earlier post on the lens' minimal focal length.)

With the M50 / G10, you won't record absolutely ugly and distracting moire / aliasing effects because of the line skipping almost all current DSLR's / mirrorless cameras use.

Just take a look at the ugly aliasing / moire in even the prosumer, pretty new Sony NEX-6 shot at a concert: http://movies.dpreview.com.s3.amazon...nex6/00000.MTS (70 MB file, linked from http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sony-alpha-nex-6/14 ). And it's one of the better cameras for shooting videos; for example, the Canon G1 X is absolutely rubbish aliasing / moire-wise - see http://s3.amazonaws.com/movies.dprev...x/MVI_0578.MOV (50 MB file; linked from http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canong1x/9 ) Basically, in the sub-FF price category it's only the Panasonic GH series that don't suffer from these problems.

If you don't shoot from hand but from a tripod AND can compose your shots before shooting (that is, careful planning), these effects won't be THAT problematic. Moire can, for example, be easily avoided by zooming in/out or moving forwards /backwards just a bit. But it requires shooting beforehand and sticking with those settings all the time, should be there problematic objects on the scene like the grid on the floor in the NEX-6 video (shot by hand) above.

Last edited by Menneisyys2; Mar 31, 2013 at 02:02 PM.
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Old Mar 31, 2013, 02:11 PM   #7
floh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyJohn View Post
One recording in Mpeg-4, and the other simultaneously in AVCHD.
Just shortly: AVCHD and MP4 are just containers, they wrap up the video and audio streams in a package. The (video) codec inside both these containers is identical and it is called "H.264". The only difference quality-wise could be that a camera records one format in a higher bitrate than the other.

The MP4-container is a little nicer to handle since it is one compact file, whereas AVCHD is a folder structure that looks strange unless you are an editing software. But AVCHD has nice advantages: It can record infinitely long videos without the 4GB limit, it can save timecodes for every frame and it can handle more metadata (lens and focal length, GPS position, ...) than MP4. But as I said, it doesn't matter in the end.

If you want some more info on codecs and containers, I actually made a video on that topic, primarily for this forum:



Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyJohn View Post
I have an ext mic that would be used, as well as the ability to record to computer, using one of a few options, then synch'ing the .wav or whatever during edit.
That might be worth a look. I've been very happy (and pretty surprised) with the Canon DM-100 (if you get a Canon camcorder). Many times now, I prefer it in comparison to my Sennheiser ME67 and my Beyerdynamic MCE 86. The signal/noise ratio is mindblowing, and I did not expect this kind of quality from a Canon microphone...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyJohn View Post
I have been learning about FCP X, and Media Composer 6.5. Both are very feature intensive. So being able to use PrEl 11 would be great.
My two cents: Don't get the Media Composer. I have only played around with it a little, but it seemed complicated and slow in comparison to FCPX and Adobe Premiere Pro. Adobe offers very nice student/teacher discounts too (while Apple's discounts suck, i.e. there are none for software), which puts all three programs in a similar price range.

Media Composer has its well deserved place in the industry, but I wouldn't recommend it to a beginner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyJohn View Post
Could you say what the advantages of the G10 would be over the M50?
Would they be worth $500? Or maybe $300 when the price falls?
Well, the M50 seems to not be available here in Germany, so I can only compare it to similar models (like the M56). But the main differences seem:

- Peaking / Zebra / Histogram availability
- with/without Viewfinder
- Manual focus/aperture ring
- Display resolution (922k vs. 230k)
- Wide angle starts at 43 vs. 30 mm (as mentioned before)

The first two are probably no problem, since they cater to the semi-pro segment. A manual focus ring is something very nice, but you probably won't need it either. The display resolution is a bit more critical since you can't properly preview the sharpness and exposure on a bad screen. But if you are planning on mostly shooting autofocus and autoexposure, you should be fine, too. The wide angle is the worst of the problems, since it is tough to film inside a (not so huge) room. But I'd say that this is not worth 300 or more dollars. I would just go with the M50 for now, and if you notice that the wide angle is really to narrow for your purposes, you can return it. I don't think you'll notice a big difference in video quality if you have enough light in your room.
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Old Mar 31, 2013, 10:24 PM   #8
TimothyJohn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floh View Post
Just shortly: AVCHD and MP4 are just containers, they wrap up the video and audio streams in a package. The (video) codec inside both these containers is identical and it is called "H.264". The only difference quality-wise could be that a camera records one format in a higher bitrate than the other.

The MP4-container is a little nicer to handle since it is one compact file, whereas AVCHD is a folder structure that looks strange unless you are an editing software. But AVCHD has nice advantages: It can record infinitely long videos without the 4GB limit, it can save timecodes for every frame and it can handle more metadata (lens and focal length, GPS position, ...) than MP4. But as I said, it doesn't matter in the end.

If you want some more info on codecs and containers, I actually made a video on that topic, primarily for this forum:

YouTube: video



That might be worth a look. I've been very happy (and pretty surprised) with the Canon DM-100 (if you get a Canon camcorder). Many times now, I prefer it in comparison to my Sennheiser ME67 and my Beyerdynamic MCE 86. The signal/noise ratio is mindblowing, and I did not expect this kind of quality from a Canon microphone...



My two cents: Don't get the Media Composer. I have only played around with it a little, but it seemed complicated and slow in comparison to FCPX and Adobe Premiere Pro. Adobe offers very nice student/teacher discounts too (while Apple's discounts suck, i.e. there are none for software), which puts all three programs in a similar price range.

Media Composer has its well deserved place in the industry, but I wouldn't recommend it to a beginner.



Well, the M50 seems to not be available here in Germany, so I can only compare it to similar models (like the M56). But the main differences seem:

- Peaking / Zebra / Histogram availability
- with/without Viewfinder
- Manual focus/aperture ring
- Display resolution (922k vs. 230k)
- Wide angle starts at 43 vs. 30 mm (as mentioned before)

The first two are probably no problem, since they cater to the semi-pro segment. A manual focus ring is something very nice, but you probably won't need it either. The display resolution is a bit more critical since you can't properly preview the sharpness and exposure on a bad screen. But if you are planning on mostly shooting autofocus and autoexposure, you should be fine, too. The wide angle is the worst of the problems, since it is tough to film inside a (not so huge) room. But I'd say that this is not worth 300 or more dollars. I would just go with the M50 for now, and if you notice that the wide angle is really to narrow for your purposes, you can return it. I don't think you'll notice a big difference in video quality if you have enough light in your room.
Wow!! You've got me really narrowing this down. The wide angle is a definite consideration. Figure the camcorder back 4-6 ft away. Can it frame two musicians seated close, but at a comfortable position relative to one another. Often times, two musicians will share a condenser mic with a figure 8 pattern. If I was to continue to use my Canon HV20 for these projects, I'd get the wide angle add on lens WD-H43. Wide angle is definitely a consideration.

And regarding Mpeg-4. Is this the same as .mp4? I did watch the video you embedded (thanks!) and recognize .mp4 as a container. But the way the specs are laid out at B&H, I'm led to believe that mpeg-4 is analogous to H.264, a codec and not a container. But if what you're saying is correct, and mpeg-4 = .mp4, then the advantage for .mp4 is faster importing into Premiere El 11. The comparison vid I linked to claimed that the import/render/upload times were much faster with mpeg-4 than with AVCHD. As you could see from the results, the quality suggests that the extra time AVCHD required was not worth it. Unless you could shed more light. And as you said, AVCHD allows for timecode, and allows for unlimited clip length.

You time and attention is much appreciated!

Tim

Last edited by TimothyJohn; Mar 31, 2013 at 10:25 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old Apr 1, 2013, 01:03 AM   #9
floh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyJohn View Post
Figure the camcorder back 4-6 ft away. Can it frame two musicians seated close, but at a comfortable position relative to one another.
The minimal focal length on the camera (according to specifications) is 43.4mm equivalent, which is almost exactly 45 horizontal opening angle. This makes the math go like this: If you are 6 feet away from your subject, the camera will film (0.7*6) = 4.2 feet from the very left to the very right of the frame. This sounds a lot, but you will have to try and see. Those 4.2 feet become very narrow: If you want to have all of the two people in the shot (each is 1.5 feet wide), they will be at 1.2 feet distance, which can already be uncomfortable for a teacher-student relation. You can measure things all day long, in the end, you'll have to try it out.

EDIT: For your information: My Canon HF-S10 also only has a wide angle of 43.6mm equivalent. I am mostly fine with it, but for extreme cases I have a wide angle converter. It is made by "Raynox" and was much less expensive than the original Canon one. Of course it takes away some light but if that's no problem for you, it works fine. For example, I filmed the crane shot in this video fully zoomed out and with the wide angle:



Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyJohn View Post
And regarding Mpeg-4. Is this the same as .mp4?
Well, almost. This might get technical.

The specifications of the camera say that you can choose between AVCHD and MPEG-4 recording. That is nonsense. AVCHD is one of the MPEG-4 definitions, so there is no meaning in this. But the manual (Oh yes, I downloaded the manual from Canon) states correctly that you can either record in AVCHD or MP4. This makes sense, since they are two different containers.

The container part: MP4 is a container format that you can directly upload to youtube or show on your computer (btw: if you're running Mountain Lion, you can also just play back AVCHD, but that's a different story...). AVCHD is meant to be imported into an editing software first, edited, and then exported. If you edit your video anyways, it makes no difference.

The technical part: MPEG-4 is a large grouping of many definitions. One of these definitions is the MP4 container, another one is the (newest) H.264 codec. Both recording formats on the mentioned camcorder (according to the manual) use the H.264 codec, one uses an MP4 container and the other uses an AVCHD container. From a quality point of view, it shouldn't matter which "format" you pick on the camera.

The quality part: But, of course, it does matter: While the used codecs are the same, the bitrate and resolution (and therefore the quality) differ. In MP4 mode, the camcorder records 1280x720 pixels at a bitrate of up to 9 Mbit/s, in AVCHD it records at up to 1920x1080 pixels at up to 25 Mbit/s. This means that AVCHD offers better quality on all settings. These phrases are directly from the Canon HF-M50 manual:

"Movies are recorded in AVCHD, which is designed for playback on HDTVs. Select this recording standard if you plan to show off your movies and you want to impress your audiences with fantastic picture quality."

"By recording movies in MP4, your movies are smaller in size but retain high quality. This is especially useful for playback on portable devices or sharing on the Web."

The workflow part: Sorry, but I was a little annoyed by that poor girl whose video you linked to. She means well but has no idea what she's doing. There is one important lesson you can learn from this video though: Yes, the MP4 part looked a little nicer at times, and that was ALL due to the lighting. The angle it was filmed in made for a more interesting lighting situation. So: Nice lighting matters more than the greatest recording quality in making a film look good. That is a very important lesson!!!

Apart from that, the woman had at least three major flaws in her test:
1. She edited in FCP7, which will convert the files on import into ProRes codec. Neither FCPX nor Premiere Elements will do that, they will just copy the files (if even that) and play them back instantly. This means that her statements on import times are moot.
2. She allowed the timeline to switch to a resolution of 1280x720 when she first placed the MP4 footage on it. This means that the timeline, export and youtube resolution were native to the MP4 format, but the higher definition AVCHD had to be scaled down. That is the reason why FCP7 had to render the AVCHD footage before being able to play it back. And it also destroyed one of the main advantages of the codec.
3. She uploaded the video as is to youtube in 720p. Not only does that setting ignore the 1080p that came from the AVCHD recording, but youtube butchers your video quality terribly in comparison to what you see on your screen. The only senseful comparison would have been to try and intensely color grade, zoom in, film grey gradients, and do other stuff to the footage in which you could see even on youtube if there is a major difference between the recording formats.

I am starting to ramble. The main points here are:
1. AVCHD will look better on this camcorder. If you import into an NLE anyways, I would use it.
2. If you upload to youtube at 720p, it really doesn't matter that much.
3. Importing the footage will take very little time, no matter what container you use.
4. Obviously, lighting is way more important than the choice of recording format.

Hope that explains things a little. Good luck!

PS: My fellow countryman Goethe said "Grau, teurer Freund, ist alle Theorie...", which basically means: You can analyze the specs all you want, in the end you will have to order the camcorder and try it out. If it doesn't work for you, you can return it in most stores. Yes, Goethe was a big fan of camcorders.

Last edited by floh; Apr 1, 2013 at 01:53 AM.
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Old Apr 1, 2013, 11:35 AM   #10
TimothyJohn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floh View Post
The minimal focal length on the camera (according to specifications) is 43.4mm equivalent, which is almost exactly 45 horizontal opening angle. This makes the math go like this: If you are 6 feet away from your subject, the camera will film (0.7*6) = 4.2 feet from the very left to the very right of the frame. This sounds a lot, but you will have to try and see. Those 4.2 feet become very narrow: If you want to have all of the two people in the shot (each is 1.5 feet wide), they will be at 1.2 feet distance, which can already be uncomfortable for a teacher-student relation. You can measure things all day long, in the end, you'll have to try it out.

EDIT: For your information: My Canon HF-S10 also only has a wide angle of 43.6mm equivalent. I am mostly fine with it, but for extreme cases I have a wide angle converter. It is made by "Raynox" and was much less expensive than the original Canon one. Of course it takes away some light but if that's no problem for you, it works fine.
According to the specs, the lens on the M50 is the same as the one on my HV20!! "f = 6.1 - 61mm, f/1.8 - 3.0" So I can experiment. But as I said, I always thought I'd like to get the WD-H43 lens. Its price on sale was never quite low enough, or it would be out of stock. It is still very much in demand as it is not on sale, and out of stock. Complaints usually are about the weight, the resultant change in balance (with the HV20), and the lack of threads for using filters. Which Raynox are you using? For indoor lessons, jams, and product demos, I'd use the wide angle almost constantly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by floh View Post
The specifications of the camera say that you can choose between AVCHD and MPEG-4 recording. That is nonsense. AVCHD is one of the MPEG-4 definitions, so there is no meaning in this. But the manual (Oh yes, I downloaded the manual from Canon) states correctly that you can either record in AVCHD or MP4. This makes sense, since they are two different containers.

The container part: MP4 is a container format that you can directly upload to youtube or show on your computer (btw: if you're running Mountain Lion, you can also just play back AVCHD, but that's a different story...). AVCHD is meant to be imported into an editing software first, edited, and then exported. If you edit your video anyways, it makes no difference.

The technical part: MPEG-4 is a large grouping of many definitions. One of these definitions is the MP4 container, another one is the (newest) H.264 codec. Both recording formats on the mentioned camcorder (according to the manual) use the H.264 codec, one uses an MP4 container and the other uses an AVCHD container. From a quality point of view, it shouldn't matter which "format" you pick on the camera.

The quality part: But, of course, it does matter: While the used codecs are the same, the bitrate and resolution (and therefore the quality) differ. In MP4 mode, the camcorder records 1280x720 pixels at a bitrate of up to 9 Mbit/s, in AVCHD it records at up to 1920x1080 pixels at up to 25 Mbit/s. This means that AVCHD offers better quality on all settings. These phrases are directly from the Canon HF-M50 manual:

"Movies are recorded in AVCHD, which is designed for playback on HDTVs. Select this recording standard if you plan to show off your movies and you want to impress your audiences with fantastic picture quality."

"By recording movies in MP4, your movies are smaller in size but retain high quality. This is especially useful for playback on portable devices or sharing on the Web."
My goodness. I feel I should send you a bottle of wine or something! After your last post, I had the feeling the specs on B&H's site were inaccurate. Thanks!! I was recommended to use Adobe Pr El 11 specifically because it does not convert on import; that you can save the file as is. This of course avoids the gigantic files iMovie creates when it imports. So, there's really no advantage to choose .mp4 when shooting. Shoot in AVCHD. Edit in AVCHD. Save in AVCHD. Convert to other containers such as .mp4 when it is time to post on YouTube, burn a DVD, place clip on iPod, etc. I think I have a workflow---Yeah!!!!

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Originally Posted by floh View Post
The workflow part: Sorry, but I was a little annoyed by that poor girl whose video you linked to. She means well but has no idea what she's doing. There is one important lesson you can learn from this video though: Yes, the MP4 part looked a little nicer at times, and that was ALL due to the lighting. The angle it was filmed in made for a more interesting lighting situation. So: Nice lighting matters more than the greatest recording quality in making a film look good. That is a very important lesson!!!

Apart from that, the woman had at least three major flaws in her test:
1. She edited in FCP7, which will convert the files on import into ProRes codec. Neither FCPX nor Premiere Elements will do that, they will just copy the files (if even that) and play them back instantly. This means that her statements on import times are moot.
2. She allowed the timeline to switch to a resolution of 1280x720 when she first placed the MP4 footage on it. This means that the timeline, export and youtube resolution were native to the MP4 format, but the higher definition AVCHD had to be scaled down. That is the reason why FCP7 had to render the AVCHD footage before being able to play it back. And it also destroyed one of the main advantages of the codec.
3. She uploaded the video as is to youtube in 720p. Not only does that setting ignore the 1080p that came from the AVCHD recording, but youtube butchers your video quality terribly in comparison to what you see on your screen. The only senseful comparison would have been to try and intensely color grade, zoom in, film grey gradients, and do other stuff to the footage in which you could see even on youtube if there is a major difference between the recording formats.
I appreciated her little experiment. She spent a lot of time, and inadvertently proved that the quality is virtually the same, because the codec is the same, H.264. But as you said, the AVCHD container allows more metadata, longer clip length, etc. Her import and upload times were affected by her process, FCP 7's rendering, and YouTube's "compression". All avoided by a good workflow, and use of a NLE that does not convert; and that edits in the native codec.
Again, if AVCHD is imported as is, and if simple editing such as trimming begin and end points is possible without converting the file; I can get to work. Only when I decide to burn a DVD, or post on YouTube, or put the file on my iPod in iTunes do I have to convert. I would shoot at the highest resolution possible. When it's time to prepare clips for use in lessons or YouTube, then I convert the clips.


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I am starting to ramble. The main points here are:
1. AVCHD will look better on this camcorder. If you import into an NLE anyways, I would use it.
2. If you upload to youtube at 720p, it really doesn't matter that much.
3. Importing the footage will take very little time, no matter what container you use.
4. Obviously, lighting is way more important than the choice of recording format.

Hope that explains things a little. Good luck!
You've explained a great deal! I am very thankful. At this point, all I have to do is decide which camera. Canon M50, G10, G20, or one of the Lumix series; GH2 (used), GH3 (pricey), or G5.
I am definitely leaning towards the Canon (I need to account for wide angle-G10, G20, or WD-H43, or Raynox). But Mr. Guidry's advice and work re: the Lumix is compelling.

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Originally Posted by floh View Post
PS: My fellow countryman Goethe said "Grau, teurer Freund, ist alle Theorie...", which basically means: You can analyze the specs all you want, in the end you will have to order the camcorder and try it out. If it doesn't work for you, you can return it in most stores. Yes, Goethe was a big fan of camcorders.

Tim
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Old Apr 1, 2013, 03:14 PM   #11
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Which Raynox are you using?
That would be the "Raynox HD-6600". It comes fitting to different sizes so you have to make sure to order the right one. I tried some back then and found that many would either create very noticeable vignetting when the camera is completely zoomed out (and that's where you would want to use the converter). A Sony model (can't remember the exact name) created very strange color fringing at the borders of the image. I did not even look at the Canon since it was out of my price range. But the Raynox worked fine for me (that's why I posted the video, so you can see that there is no vignetting or color fringing going on).

Other than that: Yes, the Lumix is compelling. I would not invest the money and go with the much cheaper M50, it will make you very happy. But if you can spare the cash, the Lumix is a great camera that people (including me) will envy you for.

Good luck deciding!
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Old Apr 1, 2013, 03:51 PM   #12
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For indoor lessons, jams, and product demos, I'd use the wide angle almost constantly.
Then, you really should consider going for a (semi-)wideangle camcorder right at the beginning. I wouldn't go for a system where you constantly need to use add-on WA converters for almost the same price if I had the choice.

On the G10/G20, you can add the additional WD-H58W. It makes the 30.4 (semi-)wideangle into 24mm, which is already truly wideangle.

----------

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You've explained a great deal! I am very thankful. At this point, all I have to do is decide which camera. Canon M50, G10, G20, or one of the Lumix series; GH2 (used), GH3 (pricey), or G5.
Are you sure the G5 delivers exactly the same video IQ as the GH series? (I haven't read dependable reviews in this respect. I'd, however, be astonished to see a budget model performing as good as a model costing three times more.)
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Old Apr 1, 2013, 04:12 PM   #13
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That would be the "Raynox HD-6600". It comes fitting to different sizes so you have to make sure to order the right one. I tried some back then and found that many would either create very noticeable vignetting when the camera is completely zoomed out (and that's where you would want to use the converter). A Sony model (can't remember the exact name) created very strange color fringing at the borders of the image. I did not even look at the Canon since it was out of my price range. But the Raynox worked fine for me (that's why I posted the video, so you can see that there is no vignetting or color fringing going on).

Other than that: Yes, the Lumix is compelling. I would not invest the money and go with the much cheaper M50, it will make you very happy. But if you can spare the cash, the Lumix is a great camera that people (including me) will envy you for.

Good luck deciding!
The G5 doesn't seem to have an ext mic input . So that leaves the GH3. But their lenses are very expensive as well. That would put me over $1500. Yikes!! So it seems to come down between a hopefully soon to be on sale G10, or the M50 with a wide angle lens. Can't thank you enough. If it helps to know, you just helped me tackle a problem I've been dealing with since I first started editing and sharing HV20 clips. It got to the point where I no longer was interested in shooting any music related material. I just shot family events and used the tapes for archiving. But as I said, I've been chomping at the bit to get something going. I'll retire the HV20, and boy do those Canons look nice! Can't wait!!

Tim
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Old Apr 1, 2013, 04:40 PM   #14
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Then, you really should consider going for a (semi-)wideangle camcorder right at the beginning. I wouldn't go for a system where you constantly need to use add-on WA converters for almost the same price if I had the choice.

On the G10/G20, you can add the additional WD-H58W. It makes the 30.4 (semi-)wideangle into 24mm, which is already truly wideangle.
Point well taken, especially if the G10's price comes down. It's already listing around $870 lowest on Google. And your suggestion re: the WD-H58W is definitely intriguing. And in all honesty, I think I'd be happier with a G10 or 20. Come to find that the M50 and my HV20 have that same narrow lens, and I always felt limited by it. Did some test shots today using the HV20; and decided I really would want the wide angle converter all the time if I chose the M50.

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Are you sure the G5 delivers exactly the same video IQ as the GH series? (I haven't read dependable reviews in this respect. I'd, however, be astonished to see a budget model performing as good as a model costing three times more.)
No it doesn't; in competition with DSLR's however, it's pretty nice. But I found the G5 doesn't have an external mic input. That would be a deal breaker. The GH3-which does everything-with lens is around $1500 at least, $1600+ considering a wide angle or pancake. Too much!! Say a G10 for around $700-800, now we're talkin'! At this point, a Lumix would be a complement to the video scenario, as well as a primary still shooter. So it would be in competition with Canon's T4i, Nikon 3200 or something, etc.

Thanks for your input!

Tim
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 03:16 AM   #15
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No it doesn't; in competition with DSLR's however, it's pretty nice. But I found the G5 doesn't have an external mic input. That would be a deal breaker. The GH3-which does everything-with lens is around $1500 at least, $1600+ considering a wide angle or pancake. Too much!! Say a G10 for around $700-800, now we're talkin'! At this point, a Lumix would be a complement to the video scenario, as well as a primary still shooter. So it would be in competition with Canon's T4i, Nikon 3200 or something, etc.
Are you sure you meant the Pana G10? It's an old model, with a substandard sensor, certainly not worth the $525...$600. I'd stay away from it - current models deliver FAR better still IQ, even at lower price points and even some newer m43 cameras.

----------

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Originally Posted by TimothyJohn View Post
The G5 doesn't seem to have an ext mic input .
If you don't need 60 fps, the GH2 is also a very good choice - and it can be hacked.

Quote:
So that leaves the GH3. But their lenses are very expensive as well.
The Pana 12-35/2.8 is indeed very expensive (the directly comparable Oly 12-50 kit lens, while much cheaper and weather protected, is optically pretty mediocre). However, there are some GREAT and still cheap(ish) m43 lens; for example, the 20/1.7. If you don't need quick / quiet focussing (that is, you only shoot stills with it or videos without changing focus during shooting), it's an excellent lens.
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 03:17 AM   #16
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Are you sure you meant the Pana G10? It's an old model, with a substandard sensor, certainly not worth the $525...$600. I'd stay away from it - current models deliver FAR better still IQ, even at lower price points and even some newer m43 cameras.
Nope, he's talkong about the Canon HF-G10. It is also an "old" model, meaning it is superseeded by the new HF-G20, but it's still worth the money. Those model names get pretty confusing by now...
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 04:15 AM   #17
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Nope, he's talkong about the Canon HF-G10. It is also an "old" model, meaning it is superseeded by the new HF-G20, but it's still worth the money. Those model names get pretty confusing by now...
Yup, I've mistaken it for the Pana G10 stills camera as we were talking about Pana cameras. The HF-G10 is indeed a VERY good buy (this is why I've recommended it too above), as opposed to the Pana G10 - the latter would be a VERY bad buy, particularly at its current price point.
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 09:02 AM   #18
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Thanks to You Both!!

Now choosing vs. not choosing.

An M50, with its narrow lens, comes in around $650+ with a wide angle.

A HF-G10 is pricing at around $870-the lowest. B&H has it around $1000 still. I would hope to get it from there, or Adorama, because I have a relationship with them, and trust their return policy. So I'd have to be a little patient, and see if the release of the G20 does indeed drive the price of the G10 down. Because if not, I "might as well" go for the G20, only currently $80 more.

And speaking of "might as well", if I go the Canon camcorder route, I'd still like to acquire something that does stills. I used to own a 35mm Nikon. I miss the immediacy, the ability to bracket, to shoot 3-5 fps, to easily switch iso, etc. I don't miss the developing costs and the scratches on my negatives when I would print enlargements. And I don't miss the inconsistencies in terms of color quality of prints.

So, on the cheaper side of things, a decent Canon or Nikon is gonna cost $450 to $650 with lens. So added to the Canon HF-G10 at say $800, we're talking $1300-$1500. So then, "might as well" get the GH3; pending in-depth, hands-on reviews. The phrase, "might as well", has gotten me into trouble more than a few times:

"Hmmmm. M50 is $500. $650 with wide-angle, 'might as well' go $800 for G10.
But, need DSLR, can't stand my point and shoots.
At $600-700 with lens, total is $1400-1500;
So? 'might as well' get the Lumix GH3".


See what I mean? If I'm not careful, I could "might as well" myself from $500 right on up to $1600.

Wish me luck.

Tim
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 09:20 AM   #19
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Wish me luck.
Good luck! All your options are great cameras and will hopefully cause you lots of fun.

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An M50, with its narrow lens, comes in around $650+ with a wide angle. [...]
I want to remind you that you started out wanting to spend less than 1k in total, $300 of which were reserved for an editing software. This would leave the M50 as the only option.

Maybe don't be too generous with your hard earned money yet and just get this one for now? I know this hurts, since a stills camera would also be really cool, but the upgrade to the G20 will not give you lots of benefits if you are not planning to go into producing semi-pro short films, and for the cost of the GH3, you could buy an additional Canon T3i or something for stills and still have money left over. Then you'd own a proper camcorder for long video and point-and-shoot, a stills camera and a video DSLR for artsy shallow DOF movies.

So, my advice: Get the M50. Play around with it. If you feel like spending tons more money, get a DSLR in addition. The difference between the video from a Canon T3i and the Pana GH3 is really only noticeable for almost-professionals. And as I said (and the girl in the demo video showed), you will achieve a lot more with nicely set light and a cool camera angle than you could with a RED Epic and a crappy lit and framed scene.

Just my two cents. I went that route (first got the mid-price camcorder and then the mid-price DSLR) and am very happy that, even if I now have two models standing in my closet, I am equipped for anything and can just choose what fits best instead of having one expensive Swiss-Army-knife-thingy ("eierlegende Wollmilchsau" as we would say in German).

But again: Good luck! Whatever you choose, you will have one happy child's facial expression playing around with it the first time.
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 09:56 AM   #20
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So, on the cheaper side of things, a decent Canon or Nikon is gonna cost $450 to $650 with lens. So added to the Canon HF-G10 at say $800, we're talking $1300-$1500. So then, "might as well" get the GH3; pending in-depth, hands-on reviews.
Regarding the GH3,

Pros: convergence! (Two devices in one; no need to purchase separate optics / WA etc. converters, batteries, external microphones for two, accessory-wise, incompatible camera systems separately etc.)

Cons:

- in stills mode, it's still about a stop worse, noise-wise, than IQ-wise the current top APS-C DSLR / mirrorless cameras, including even super-cheap models like the Nikon 3200 or the Sony NEX-3N (the latter doesn't have dependable reviews yet; however, it is bound to have the same sensor as the NEX-6). (However, it's also a stop better both SNR- and DR-wise than the GH2.)

- DR-wise it might also be worse than those cameras. (No dependable reviews in this respect, as opposed to noise, which is easy to assess using DPReview's recentky-posted comparison tool.)

(In video mode, it's of course better than any else non-fullframe stills camera. The above only refers to stills.)

- should you want to get it with the excellent 12-35 (instead of the slower / weightier / more battery-unfriendly 14-140 costing 1370 UK pounds ( http://www.idealo.co.uk/compare/3541...-dmc-gh3h.html ) or without a kit lens at all for $1500), you'll end up having to shell out, right now, $2800. It's that much on Amazon now - see http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-Lumi...words=DMC-GH3A .
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 10:46 AM   #21
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Good luck! All your options are great cameras and will hopefully cause you lots of fun.



I want to remind you that you started out wanting to spend less than 1k in total, $300 of which were reserved for an editing software. This would leave the M50 as the only option.

Maybe don't be too generous with your hard earned money yet and just get this one for now? I know this hurts, since a stills camera would also be really cool, but the upgrade to the G20 will not give you lots of benefits if you are not planning to go into producing semi-pro short films, and for the cost of the GH3, you could buy an additional Canon T3i or something for stills and still have money left over. Then you'd own a proper camcorder for long video and point-and-shoot, a stills camera and a video DSLR for artsy shallow DOF movies.

So, my advice: Get the M50. Play around with it. If you feel like spending tons more money, get a DSLR in addition. The difference between the video from a Canon T3i and the Pana GH3 is really only noticeable for almost-professionals. And as I said (and the girl in the demo video showed), you will achieve a lot more with nicely set light and a cool camera angle than you could with a RED Epic and a crappy lit and framed scene.

Just my two cents. I went that route (first got the mid-price camcorder and then the mid-price DSLR) and am very happy that, even if I now have two models standing in my closet, I am equipped for anything and can just choose what fits best instead of having one expensive Swiss-Army-knife-thingy ("eierlegende Wollmilchsau" as we would say in German).

But again: Good luck! Whatever you choose, you will have one happy child's facial expression playing around with it the first time.
I've all but ruled out having to get FCP X or Media Composer. It's my understanding that I can shoot in AVCHD, import, archive and do basic editing in Adobe Pr El 11, without converting anything. And depending on type of viewing, sharing or uploading, convert as needed. So my budget can go 100% for camera/lens.

Tim
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Old Apr 3, 2013, 07:47 PM   #22
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So. a fellow musician was able to lend me an XA10. I put in a 16gb SDHC, and already started fooling around with it. It is very similar to the HF-G10. Lense, sensor; but added bells and whistles: IR, night shooting, 2xXLR inputs with 48v phantom power, 2-ch mixer. Pretty cool, but I'm interested in the HF-G10 functionality.

Should I shoot in 60i, or 30p? And the 5min worth of clips I shot and transferred to Adobe Pr El 11 have this weird zebra stuff going on. Like around my wife's eyeglasses frame, pages of books, etc. Any ideas?

Anyway, extremely generous offer from my friend, and I have a few days off to put it through it's paces. For now, I have it set at PF30, not 60i, and 17Mps, (not 24).
If possible, I'll try to put something up on YouTube soon.

Thanks to everyone so far!!

Tim

Last edited by TimothyJohn; Apr 3, 2013 at 09:26 PM. Reason: add Link
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Old Apr 4, 2013, 02:51 AM   #23
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The Canon VIXIA HF G30 camcorder has just been announced:

http://www.slashgear.com/canon-vixia...lity-03276300/

It's way better than the G20 (for example, it starts at 26.5mm equiv; has 60p(!) recording etc.) and still maintains the same price range. I'd definitely prefer this to any previous G-series camcorder.
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Old Apr 6, 2013, 12:29 AM   #24
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I hope I'm not too late to this great party

For Tim, if saving money is a must or best bang for the buck, I have found that if you go the FCPX way, look into Costco, Sams Club or Target for iTunes savings since I saved a ton this way fwiw. When I bought mine I got $400 worth for $280 and saved a bit less the second round after Xmas but every bit helps.

Just to add to what floh has here is a link to a nice audio combo for about $170 and the mic has given me good results in the past for what it is and my needs.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...cote_lyre.html

Hope that adds to everything great all the others have added to this thread
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Old Apr 7, 2013, 09:22 PM   #25
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Initial Success!!

I used the XA-10, and recorded myself playing a short Prelude by J.S. Bach on the piano. I trimmed the beginning and ending, and uploaded to Facebook. For these initial try's, I'm going to keep the access to friends. It uploaded and plays without a hitch. Fantastic. With the SD card, I really like having the ability to see all the clips, select which ones I want for a given project, etc. Plus I like being able to take the SD card out of the camcorder, and just pop it into the expesscard reader on the Macbook Pro.

But then-----------A friend is renovating his next home. Has a nice chunk of land, which also needs work. He invited me to come out with my chainsaw to "have at it", and claim some firewood. So he shows me around his house before we get to the fallen trees, and asks me to video parts of it, to eventually put together a "before and after" movie. I shot 5-6 clips, brought them into Adobe Pr El 11, trimmed them, added a few transitions--all really quick work too, I might add; and uploaded to Facebook. No go. "Unknown Error".

So what I guessed was that Facebook wants one clip. Or one movie consisting of one clip. So? Instead of uploading, I converted to a "sharing on the computer" file provided as a preset on Ad Pr El 11. Save. Open new project, import saved movie- upload to Facebook, Voila!

I also managed to convert some of my HV20 vids, with clips separating!!! But it has not been consistent, and sometimes hours go by------and by--------and by--------tic-toc-tic-toc--------drives me nuts.

And, as I said, Ad Pr El 11 doesn't convert the file, so disk space is much more manageable. Once I get this down to a system that works consistently, I'll upload some of my music stuff to YouTube to see what you all think.

Thank you!!!!! You all have been a real help. (To be honest, at this point, I really like the idea of the upcoming Canon Vixia HF-G30, or its pro model siblings, the XA-20 and the XA-25). $$$$$ Oh well. See what I can sell off. Maybe it's possible. Very cool stuff!

Tim
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