Beginner's HD Camcorder

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by kainjow, Feb 15, 2007.

  1. kainjow Moderator emeritus


    Jun 15, 2000
    Ok so I'm thinking I want an HD camcorder to do some filming when I go travel this summer. I see that they can easily cost several thousand, but there are some for under $1k. What camera would be good for me for doing several short clips?

    I thought I'd get a normal digital camera, but now I think it'd be better to film things in HD. What can I expect from a low-end camera? Would a C2D iMac be able to handle processing the video?

    Or is this over the top? :eek: :)
  2. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2006
    Southern California
    get a low end non-HD camera for a few hundred, practice your shooting skills with it, then get a quality HD camera later (sell the cheapier for 75% of price)
  3. Multimedia macrumors 603


    Jul 27, 2001
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    Get A Sony HDR-HC5, HRD-HC7 or Canon HV10

    Get either a Sony HDR-HC5 for $966 or Sony HDR-HC7 for $1138 or a Canon HV10 for about $900. I recently started a new HDR-HC7 thread you should read. We're up to 45 posts since only last Saturday night just before midnight.
    DO NOT get a low end non-HD camera. That will be a waste of money and the images are super fuzzy and 4x3 vs. 16x9 sharp as a tack on your HDTV. You will be capturing memories to last you and your decendants for decades to come. The last thing you want to do is capture less than the sharpest best you can. You want to learn to shoot and edit HDV which is the present and future not DV which is now a part of history.

    Canon is missing a LANC port so you won't be able to run the zoom from a tripod external zoom controller like a VariZoom. It also is missing a HDMI out port. But it's ultra small and records excellent quality HDV images according to owner reports.

    Your C2D iMac will be great for editing with iMovie HD 6 or the upcoming HD 7. Then you can graduate to Final Cut Express HD.
  4. dllavaneras macrumors 68000


    Feb 12, 2005
    Caracas, Venezuela
    Try them out! :) Same as digital cameras, you have to try them to see which one is better for you. And I agree with Multimedia, go HD. Not doing so would be like getting a G4 right now to learn how to use iMovie
  5. gauchogolfer macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    Here's a question for you all: if I sell my current SD camcorder (a Canon Optura 60, which I like quite a lot) to buy an HDV camcorder, can I still play back the DV tapes I have now using the new machine? Basically, I always keep the original DV tapes, and want to be sure I have access to them with an HDV camcorder. Thanks for the help.

    BTW, I like the look of the new consumer HDV cameras, the technology is moving right along.
  6. Multimedia macrumors 603


    Jul 27, 2001
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    Yes All HDV Cameras Let You Play And Record Old DV As Well

    Absolutely. You can even record in DV were you so inclined to want to. Not likely you would want to once you see how great the HDV looks on your HDTV.
  7. gauchogolfer macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    Thanks for the response, I'm looking forward to learning more about HDV. First, I need to improve my home-movie skills with FCE and SD camcorder. One thing that's been tough for me is content distribution. It's easy and quick to post a photo album for family/friends to see, but making a watchable, compelling movie is so much more difficult for me. Then, you've got to find a way to get that out to everybody in an easy manner, dealing with huge file sizes.

    It's still a struggle for me to commit to putting in the time to learn all of this, given the hurdles. Any suggestions?
  8. Multimedia macrumors 603


    Jul 27, 2001
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    HDV Web Distribution Is Just As Easy And Free As DV Distribution

    You can blow down the size of an HDV movie to the same size of an SD movie. You're wasting your time playing with SD DV when HDV is already entering its third year of development. FCE is HD ready as long as you've kept it up to date. There are free tutorials on web distribution all over the web. Just google it.
  9. gauchogolfer macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    New Mac = HDV for me

    I'll have to look into the web distribution options, that's for sure. Maybe even just letting them ftp files from my home computer is easy enough, for the limited number of people who'll be involved.

    For HD work, I think an upgrade from my powerbook will be necessary, so I think I'll have to wait 'til my next machine to take the plunge. Until then I'll try and take better video with my SD camera (and better audio too). I'm a newbie at it.
  10. hogmog macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2006
    Thames Valley, UK
    Just picking on the original question about what HD camcorder, whilst I can't recommend a make/model I do recommend actually getting your hands on several first to try out:

    - ease of use - are buttons, knobs etc comfortable to use, logical, well layed out, easy to get at
    - connections - does it have the ones you want, are they easy to get at
    - does it make any mechanical noise during operation

    This last point is particularly important. A battle with Canon over the loud high-pitched whining noise made by their MVX460 (Elura 100) model established that the level of noise was acceptable (to Canon) but means I have recordings with a high pitched whine on them. Depending on circumstances the noise is audible in the background or can actually mask out foreground noise (the sound you want). Panasonic and Sony though are capable of making camcorders that don't have this problem - use them extensively at work. If I had gone to a shop could have physically comparerd models, picked up the Canon noise problem and steared well clear of it! Hence the suggestion. You can always be a bit churlish and buy your selected product over the net.
  11. kainjow thread starter Moderator emeritus


    Jun 15, 2000
    Thanks for the info guys.

    I should really go to Best Buy or Circuit City and play around with one.

    What about recording 5.1 surround sound? Do most HD camcorders record in this?
  12. Multimedia macrumors 603


    Jul 27, 2001
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    5.1 Surround Sound Recording Is Not Featured So Far • Canon HV10 Samples Online

    Sony sells a Bluetooth wireless microphone with a receiver that fits into their proprietary hot shoe claiming to record 5.1 with the sound from the mic being positioned in the center speaker for $199. I'm not sure if it's HC5 & HC7 compatible though. Sony is lately being chastized in the press for changing their proprietary hot shoe that looks the same as the last one but doesn't work with older hot shoe accessories. Weird. :eek:

    Nobody's bragging about 5.1 sound for any of the HDV cameras. It's not a listed feature. But if you really care about sound, you're going to want to get the HDR-HC7 as it's the only one with manual audio gain.

    Download all these samples of Canon HV10 HDV video on their website from this page. If you download all the 4 samples and study each one carefully, you can see how good your recordings can be and how they degrade in quality as you encode for iPod compatibility. I think the iPod version looks very good and certainly better than any SDTV I still have to watch from broadcast laggards. I now offically HATE SDTV and all SD recordings look very unpleasant to me.

    NOTE: The so called "For iPod" version is not video iPod compatible. It was improperly encoded last November so that it will not load on an iPod. The workaround is to download the 1080p sample (113MB), open in QuickTime Pro Player and File->Export...->Move To iPod with default settings. That will give you an idea of how to export your own HDV recordings too. The result is a 42.8MB H.264 .m4v file 640x359. Apparently the H.264 .mov file 640x360 Canon provides is one pixel too tall to go onto the iPod. :eek:
  13. Carl Spackler macrumors 6502

    Carl Spackler

    Apr 12, 2005
    Outer Space
    Canon HV20 does 24p

    I'd wait, what, a month or so and get the HV20 from Canon, HDMI out, mic input and 24p for about $1000.

    Impressive little camera if you ask me.
  14. gauchogolfer macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    Looks good as well. Here's a press announcement from
  15. Multimedia macrumors 603


    Jul 27, 2001
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    $1100 list. And here are all the details from the Canon HV20 site itself.

    NOTE: If you ever use or plan to use a remote zoom controller to operate your HDV camera, like a VariZoom Controller handle on a tripod, then you would have to skip this model because it has no LANC port. It's a deal breaker for me. But otherwise looks to be a fantastic buy.
  16. Mydel macrumors 6502a


    Apr 8, 2006
    Sometimes here mostly there
    Multimedia! It looks like you have extensive knowledge in "mulimedia" subject :D . I have a question. need to buy for my gf camera. She does a lot of that and wanted somthing HD but would love to get rid of the miniDV tapes. I saw lately few cameras recording to SD and HDD. What do you think of those?? Any sugestions?? Or I should just buy something old school (mini DV)? Thanks!!!
    Oh and I would like to stay i range of 1000$ or little more.
  17. shuffle1 macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2004
    HD DVDs

    Hi gang,

    Great thread, thanks for all the info. As an HDV newbie, I think I'm missing something obvious. If I capture some footage with an HDV camera, edit it, and burn it to DVD, will it play in my non-HD DVD player. I only have one of those "up-converting" players (I do have an HDTV though). I guess I figured that the only way to get the full effect of the HD footage was to play it directly from the camera to your TV, unless you have an expensive HD Player, that is. Is this right? Thanks so much for your help.


    PS: On another note, will the iLife '06 apps (iMovie HD and iDVD) work with this footage? Thanks!
  18. wattage macrumors 6502


    Oct 14, 2005
    I have those same thoughts. I own Sony HDR HC3, I have only shot 1 event in Hi Def because I don't have an HD burner in my MBP. What good does HD footage do you unless you have 2 things: HDTV and HD Burner to make that DVD??
  19. Super8Guy macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2007
    HDV Video Camcorder

    February 25 2007

    There are some consumer HDV video
    camcorders on the market now in Feb 2007.
    see: |

    Camcorder Info: Canon-HV10-Camcorder-Review
    -- no headphone jack

    Camcorder Info: Sony-HDR-HC3-Camcorder-Review
    -- no standard mic jack - no headphone jack

    I have this camera. I bought it. It shoots HDV.
    I like it.

    Camcorder Info: Sony HCR-HC1
    -- MOS chip - mic jack - headphone jack - discontinued 2006.

    I recommend it.
    See: |

    iMovie HD 6
    I often edit in iMovie HD 6.
    You can open a new iMovie in HD.
    Import your HD video from the Sony HCR-HC1.
    Edit it in iMovie.

    Then, open new iMovie in DV format.
    Select pillor box and letterbox in the preferences
    and then IMPORT the HD Video 1080i movie
    right in to the new DV iMovie and the HD 1080i movie
    shows up letter boxed. Amazingly simple.
    You can make DVD copies in iDVD and the
    DVDs are letterboxed just fine.
    That way you can mix DV and HDV video
    right in iMovie.

    Does this work in Final Cut Pro Express?
    Let me know.


    Super 8 Guy |
  20. Multimedia macrumors 603


    Jul 27, 2001
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    Catching Up - Multiple Post Replies In One Post

    The Sony HDR-HC7 is only $1150 from ProVantage. Did you go read our HC7 Thread yet? It's the most popular Digital Video Thread on here right now. OK the reason you don't want a HDD or DVD camera is simple. Video Tape is still the best and most inexpensive way to record and archive video. HDD based cameras use a much more highly compressed HD standard called AVCHD that cannot be easily moved to your computer for editing. Sony HDD cameras don't even have FireWire connectors. The DVD Camcorders force you to use expensive optical media that is way worse than Tape in the same AVCHD format that cannot be edited without a cluge transcode that takes a lot of more time.

    If you want to give your girlfriend a HDV camera you should take her to stores and share time on the web with her. Options are limited to about 4 cameras now.

    1. Sony HDR-HC7 top of the line best you can get for only a little over $1k
    2. Sony HDR-HC5 missing manual audio in/gain with a much weaker sensor.
    3. Canon HV10 is a beautiful small beauty missing HDMI out with no manual audio gain and no LANC port for driving with a remote zoom-focus controller. But it's ultra small - seriously pocket size.
    4. Canon HV20 shipping in April.
    5. Also in April will come the ultra small mp4 only 720P HD Sanyo DMX-HD2 for $699. While it's not 1080i and it's not HDV, it will be a fun option because of how tiny it is. I think the Canon HV10 is a lot more powerful though in a similar size and mini-HDV Tape format.

    Links to all these cameras are all over at this HC7 Thread (this is a link to it). It's up to 86 posts after only two weeks. As more of us receive our HC7's, Final Cut Pro 6 and 8 core Mac Pros this thread is likely to remain popular for quite some time.

    Yes it will. You play to your TV from your computer. If they are not in the same room you use an AppleTV module to play from your computer to your TV wirelessly. Of course you can play directly from your camcorder directly out its HDMI port to your HDTV's HDMI input. If you have Final Cut Studio you can produce HD DVDs that can play from any modern Mac in High-Def on your TV. Moreover, the SD quality of anything you dumb down to a SD DVD will look superior to anything you can do from SD sources. Started with High-Def leads to better SD not to mention the superior effect the 16:9 aspect ration has for all video. I view all Widescreen SD as far superior to anything 4:3 SD. The old aspect ratio just looks wrong to me now.

    You are looking at your HDTV. Hook up an EyeTV Hybrid to your Mac and you're in full blown HDTV business. Your HC3's HDMI port will connect directly to even the most modest of $399 HDTVs. Or it has S-Video and component that can go in a Dell 2407 1920 x 1200 Native HDTV res Monitor or your SDTV. The good is that when you master in HDV no matter how you dumb it down, it will look superior to any SD master and it will be widescreen SD which is far superior to 4x3 SD. You future proof your work using HDV now not later.

    No manual audio gain. No HDMI Out. Does have analog component out though. It's big plus is that it's ultra small - about the size of a pack of cigarettes or a FAT iPod. :p Will fit in any pocket easily so you can always have it with you for surprise shoots.
    This camera is discontinued and replaced by the new Sony HDR-HC5 with better sensor. Still no manual audio gain nor in.
    You're recommending a two year old camera that is a BOTTOM FEEDER with NO HDMI OUT?!?!?!?!?? :eek: :confused: :eek: :mad: :rolleyes:

    That is not a good idea. It's been replaced by the HDR-HC7 which leads me back to our most popular Digital Video thread linked to above and here. You might want to rethink that in light of these past two years of further HDV camera technological research and development and start recommending the new current HC1 replacement that has all its features plus two most important and why I NEVER recommended the BOTTOM FEEDING HC1. HC7's a top feeder with HDMI Out. HC7 is the first consumer HDV camera in history to have manual audio gain/external audio in/headphone monitor, a top feeding mechanism and HDMI Out. HUGE BREAKTHROUGH Model.
    You mean Final Cut Express HD 3.5? Yes of course.

    ALERT: Anyone with Final Cut Pro 4/4.5 Academic or Commercial can move to Final Cut Studio 5.1.4 UB for only $199 til the DEADLINE March 20.

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