Camcorder Alternatives

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by eldando, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. eldando macrumors newbie

    Nov 22, 2006
    I just got serious about making movies and was wondering if there is a cheap alternative to hooking up my camcorder to my computer every time I want to import video to my computer.

    It just sounds like a lot of wear and tear to put on my camcorder. I would like a little box connected via firewire that I can put my DV Tapes into and import to my MacBook.

    Any suggestions???
  2. mooncaine macrumors regular

    Dec 19, 2004
    Where I work, we've been capturing & converting digital video for years [analog, too, though not so often anymore], and until the VHS tapes stopped coming to us, I used a Sony DVMC-DA2 Media Converter. Excellent little box. Connects to either analog or digital video sources, and converts to digital, sending the result to your computer via FireWire.

    S-video & RCA in/outs, and a FireWire in/out. It's quite old, so you might find a good deal on one, or you may find something similar on the market today. This one works fine so I have never needed to look for another.

    But its main benefit to me is flexibility: I have to be prepared for a number of incoming video formats. You have only one, I assume.

    If you're only using miniDV tapes exclusively, for example, you can get a Sony DSR-10 [or a more advanced deck with more features]. I use a DSR-20 [and have done, for several years], and I have that hooked up now instead of the old media converter, because I rarely get a VHS tape now. My coworkers use a DSR-40 and are quite happy with them.

    Good tape decks reward good treatment: try not to use different kinds of tape cassette [because the magnetic stuff on each of them is different, and just using a different kind of tape can cause the deck's tape heads to magnetize more easily... or something like that. I was told it's best to avoid that.]. We must work with whatever tapes clients give us, so we also have the tape heads cleaned now & then, but I am lucky enough not to deal with that, and I don't know how often.
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Yes there is. Buy a cheaper DV camcorder.

    Any low-end camera will work as well as a high end camera. The tape is digital. Buy the lowest priced DV cam you can find but make sure it as a "pass through" feature because this is usefull for capturing analog video source. Yes, they make edit decks just for this purpose but DV cams are cheaper
  4. mooncaine macrumors regular

    Dec 19, 2004
    You make a good point. That's why I described my work: I do a lot of video conversion, when I do it. You can compare what I do to what you plan to do.

    If you're going to capture many hours of video, and do it often, you might want the deck because it's durable, but if a cheap camcorder suits your budget better, just realize what the tradeoff is:

    More money = a deck that can handle many hours of use

    Less money = a camcorder that will wear out sooner

    For us, a cheap camcorder would be money wasted. For you, maybe, it's a better fit. Depends on how much video you expect to run thru it.
  5. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    Except a MiniDV deck is going to run like $700+ and a cheap camera is like $150-$200.
  6. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Well it really doesn't matter what is best for you, best for ChrisA, or best for me. It matters what's best for the OP.;)

    And unless the OP needs all the extra features a deck can offer a $200 MiniDV camera will serve his purpose just as good. A deck w/"proper" deck transports (as opposed to camera transports) is going to be well over a grand so as long as the OP doesn't burn thru 5 or 6 $200 DV cameras he'll still come out ahead. :D


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