Small non-Tape non-DVD Video Camera for Mac?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by netdog, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #1
    Hi,

    I need to get a video camera to tape consultations. Obviously, it needs to have DV out, and I would prefer a camera with decent resolution and colour, but am wondering if there are any small cameras that any of you have used that...

    1) Don't use tape or DVD (preferably SD, Memory Sticks, etc.)

    2) Have a DV out

    3) Aren't butt-ugly (preferably are beautiful)

    4) Have good output and would also be suitable for home videos

    Thanks for your help!

    Also, i need to be facing my MacBook screen, but will it accept an external iSight as well that could be used with iMovie, or would iMovie grab the internally mounted camera?
     
  2. Beligerent macrumors regular

    Beligerent

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Exeter, NH
    #2
    I was in the same boat as you. I was researching small handheld memory card camcorders that would work with iMovie. I ended up buying nothing and have decided to wait. One of the things Ive come across is format difficulties. iMovie wants to edit DV and most of these little cams record in mpeg4 or avi or something and theres alot of conversion that needs to happen once these movies are dragged into iMovie. This conversion can take up alot of time. iMovie is strictly designed for DV cams and there are many many nice ones out there but like you I lust for a tiny cam that records brilliant video to an SD card and works seamlessly with iMovie.
     
  3. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    Jan 23, 2002
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    #3
    That's not exactly true. Although I've never tried it, the latest version(s) of iMovie can work with DV, HDV, and MPEG-4. Apple's webpage explicity states that it will work with MPEG-4, provided it's "simple profile", what ever that means.

    The other verbiage on Apple's page mention that it'll work with the Solid State camcorder, meaning the camcorders that record onto SD cards and such.

    ft
     
  4. Lebowski macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #4
    the ONLY reason i would purchase a solid state camcorder, is if camera size was of the utmost importance, or if i needed something that can function in extreme conditions without worry of tape damage. thats it. for EVERYTHING else, miniDV is the best option.

    they are a PITA to convert files all the time.
     
  5. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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  6. netdog thread starter macrumors 603

    netdog

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    #6
    I see this is MPEG2 and USB. Will it dump right into iMovie? Have you done this?
     
  7. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #7
    You'll have to transcode the footage before you can import it into iMovie.


    Lethal
     
  8. tobefirst macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

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    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #8
    This article from MacWorld might be an interesting read for you.
     
  9. kingtj macrumors 68020

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    Oct 23, 2003
    Location:
    Brunswick, MD
    #9
    JVC Everio

    Ugh! The Everio is a *horrible* choice for Mac users, IMHO!

    I like the camera itself, but if you've ever tried the software they include for OS X to get the data off the camera and into a format suitable for use by iMovie or iDVD, it's awful!

    I *think* iMovie might actually "plug and play" work with one of these cameras, if it weren't for the fact that they interface via USB instead of firewire. iPhoto lets you pull still images from it automatically when it's plugged in, but that's it.

    I'm still sticking with my late 90's Sony TRV-730 Digital 8 video camera for now... Works great with iMovie/iDVD and does an impressive job of capturing video even in low lighting situations. But I wish Apple would start supporting these hard-drive based consumer camcorders soon. It's defiintely the way of the future for them.


     
  10. PegasusMedia macrumors member

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    Mar 29, 2006
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    #10
    I'm curious...why not tape? DV Tape is amazingly cheap storage for digital video. Aside from workflow requirements where that hour you save by not capturing from tape to hard drive really matters, I can't imagine why one would want to avoid tape.

    Look into the Firestore products. Specifically the FS-4. They are portable hard drive recorders that interface with any DV camera. You get 3 hours for like 700 bucks.

    But again, you can get three hours of tape for about $10.
     
  11. kingtj macrumors 68020

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    Oct 23, 2003
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    Brunswick, MD
    #11
    Avoid tape?

    Maybe because DV tape has the same disadvantages that always come with that format? You have to deal with rewinding and fast-forwarding, and run a risk of accidently recording over some of your previously saved content. Tape has a little bit of "lead time" to get rolling from a dead stop - so you might miss the first second or two of something you want to record, if you're just powering on the camcorder. Tape is known for wearing out and stretching over time. Tape heads require occasional cleaning to perform optimally, unlike hard drives. And tape mechanisms are relatively fragile and prone to breakage. (When a DV camcorder breaks down, what's the usual malfunction? Something to do with the tape mechanism in it ... feed rollers, motors, etc.)


     
  12. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #12
    The only thing I can think of is an HDD based camcorder. Someone already posted a distaste for the JVC Everio, but Sony also makes a few units. The newer model uses a format called AVCHD, and I don't know how compatible that will be with iMovie/FCE/FCP.

    However, I don't think any unit out there will meet all your requirements. DV interface generally means DV or HDV format video, and you're not going to find that in a non-tape-based camcorder. 1 hour of DV quality footage (i.e. one $5 miniDV tape) would require 13 gigs of storage on solid state memory or on a hard drive. That would make a tapeless camcorder ridiculously expensive. (Actually, HD-based units do exist, as backs for pro DV cameras or add-ons for existing DV cameras, but they are ridiculously expensive.)

    Which leaves other formats, like the HD formats, mpeg4, etc. But those would use USB...
     
  13. PegasusMedia macrumors member

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    Mar 29, 2006
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    Jacksonville, FL
    #13
    Well thanks Smarty McSmartypants.

    Step 1-Understand the problem.
    Step 2-Offer solution if possible.

    I'm asking the OP to elaborate on why his needs must eliminate inexpensive tape. There are solutions, including the one I pointed out, bit they are exponentially more costly than tape.

    In my experience, people taping consultations are not generally worried about the split second lag in acheiving tape speed and are willing to spend a minute rewinding in order to spend $10 versus $700 on a 3 hour session.

    But thanks, you've been very helpful.

    (rolls eyes)
     
  14. netdog thread starter macrumors 603

    netdog

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    #14
    It requires a huge number of moving parts that tend to need regular maintenance and fail. The media itself is prone to failure, in the moment and over time. It is difficult to shuttle. The data must be laid down contiguously.

    Essentially I would prefer to avoid DV tapes for the many of the reasons that I don't want to use a tape drive as my primary storage device for my computer.

    That said, the points made about media costs are compelling, even if a hard drive or ram based solution doesn't need the media changed, but just requires that I offload the data.
     
  15. theWholeTruth macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    #15
    Hard drives have moving parts. They fail too. RAM goes bad as well. Camera mechanisms have been around a long time...

    You are correct in not wanting your camera to also be your 'deck'. That is what will wear your heads and mechanism down; the constant shuttling back and forth.

    Those cheapo cameras you want take time to bring into a computer and you are limited by their designated space. Not as easy as switching out tapes...

    If you are dead set on avoiding tape (which is a mistake imo), pay out the big bucks and get a Pansonic with P2 card or a Firestore.
     
  16. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

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    Location:
    NY
    #16
    I have a feeling this issue will addressed in the next update of iLife. Those thing looks pretty cool but i rather use tape then use up space on my external drive. The other thing is that you don't have to import it in real time
     
  17. PegasusMedia macrumors member

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    Mar 29, 2006
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    Jacksonville, FL
    #17
    Unless you have the budget to allow for pro level products like the Panasonic P2 cards or Sony's XDCam, Firestore is the way to go.

    They will allow you to capture & offload data by interfacing with any? DV camera. A quick google comes up with $700 for three hours of space.

    A TB of storage was right at $1000 when I bought not too long ago.

    So that's $1700 until you fill that storage up and start adding more.

    Certainly a viable option.

    It occurs to me, though, $1700 could also buy an inexpensive camera, a backup camera, a good microphone, and a couple hundred tapes to get you started, and still have some money left over for a good steak dinner.

    But I'm Scottish and threrefore very cheap by nature.
     
  18. kingtj macrumors 68020

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    Oct 23, 2003
    Location:
    Brunswick, MD
    #18
    Tape vs. HD

    I didn't realize you were specifically asking the original poster for his comments. I thought you were just asking a general question about why people would be against using a DV tape-based camcorder, and I thought I gave a respectable list of answers to that question.

    Beyond that, I will say this. I find it extremely frustrating that in areas like photography and music, inexpensive computer components suddenly get greatly inflated prices. Can someone honestly explain/justify why I can, for example, purchase a 120GB laptop hard drive for about $95:

    (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822136007)

    Yet it's suddenly going to cost me upwards of $700 to "record a 3 hour session" on hard drive with a camcorder!?!

    There's an incredible amount of markup on things like digital camera backs.

    Furthermore, I'm not specifically talking about a need to record a business presentation here ... but in doing other types of recording (such as filming weddings and receptions), I've often had DV tape cost me important footage because the tape ran out in the middle of filming, and had to be swapped. A hard drive solution should realistically be able to continuously film quite a bit more than what fits on a DV tape.


     
  19. theWholeTruth macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    #19
    - Well, that's user error. How many doc camerapersons have managed to not miss footage when shooting 16mm with 100 ft. loads? Experienced shooters know when to swap tapes and can do it quickly. Size is a limitation as well for HD's and P2 cards. It will change, but tape is still a viable 1st option.
     
  20. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #20
    Linear access and real time capturing are drags inherent to using tape, but accidently recording over previously shot footage is flat out user error. That's like telling your computer to permanently delete a file and then getting mad that your computer permanently deleted a file.

    Some newer pro and prosumer cameras can continuously shot a few seconds into onboard RAM to help with that problem.

    As long as you only shoot a tape once and don't abuse the sh*t out of it you don't have to worry to much about it wearing out. But everything mechanical fails. I'd trust a master tape a helluval lot more than a master HDD. Not to mention that having 50 DV master tapes (plus 50 clones of the masters) is a crap load cheaper than having 700gigs worth of HDDs just sitting on a shelf (1.5TB if you want back ups). Once Blu-ray and/or HD-DVD recorders become common then HDD recording will make a bit more since because you can dump the footage onto discs to serve as masters & back ups. But right now there are still holes in "IT" acquisition.

    Well, plug an off the shelf HDD into your camera and see what happens. Then figure out how turn a HDD into a portal video recorder and tell me how much the R&D and manufacturing cost is.

    Again, user error. What happens when your 3hr (or whatever) HDD gets full? Is it the cameras fault that it's full, or the users fault for not addressing the storage issue during a down moment?


    Lethal
     
  21. mediababy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    #21
    One question.

    Are you planning to use this setup in a static location (doctors office?)

    If so, the solution could be fairly simple.

    Get a Canon or Sony PTZ camera (Pan tilt & zoom) & mic in the ceiling.

    Take the video out of that into a Mac with analog to dv convertor & save to hard disk.

    240 gig drive (usb2 or firewire will hold hundreds of hours of 640 X 480 footage ) | Maybe get another for backup.

    Save the videos file reference into filemaker database & you could reference the video by keyword(s), client name or dates as well.

    It is not going to be footage for a movie, but if it is just for your reference
    it looks pretty damn good & PTZ camera is still sleek & minorly sexy because you can control it from remote control.

    Whole package maybe $1800 tops if you look around ( I am assuming you already own the mac).

    I have a sony 3 chip that takes mini dv (pain,slow, mechanical parts + too many tapes).... then a casio s600 with sd (great small camera....file format is a pain to convert....great video records a couple hours if you have a 1gb card...great for trips, but not for the office (looks cool though & great colors....have to buy from european dealer or japan....american version is fugly)

    For me the best choice for a static location is the PTZ.....clients love it & I love it because no tapes... I like the PTZ alot & I can look up the video I need (out of tens of thousands) from a simple search in filemaker.

    For mixed use (Offices & Home | Vacation Use) Fuji F10 & F11 (or Fuji Z1) is a nice small mixed use camera that shoots video & is ideal for importing into IMovie......$350 I think. Just shoot & copy card to your hard disk + you can still reference them in Filemaker Pro database or Iview Media Pro for easy lookup later.

    I believe it will shoot as long as your card has space & takes beautiful lowlight photos (no flash dim conditions) & good for once in awhile home movies as well *

    1 GB XD Card is like $45 now and will easily record for 2 hours 2 gb (4 hours etc.,).

    Good Luck


    Jeff
     
  22. rjphoto macrumors 6502a

    rjphoto

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    #22
    No one seems to have addressed this part of the question.

    I would think that since the older computers could record from an external iSight as well as any Firewire camera that the new ones with the built in camera could also. I noticed in iMovie on the new iMac that you could select the internal camera as a source when you begin the project. I'll try to remember to plug in my MiniDV cam next week when I'm back across town where it is set up and see if there is an addition to the list.

    I've used my old Digital8 and my MiniDV several times directly into a laptop instead of an iSight. (Put it on a table top tripod and you're good to go.)

    I've researched the Firestore solution and like the idea for a mobile solution but for around the office the Firewire direct recording into the laptop seems to work for now.

    As for the tape vs HDD or RAM...I would go with tape.

    FWIW...you can buy DV tape that is longer than 60 min. I think they come in 80 minute length. I buy mine from a Pro Dealer for around $8 each.
     

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