Camcorder/editing software: best for my needs?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Sportsphysio, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. Sportsphysio macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2014
    Sorry for posting another thread on this topic, but reviewing other threads didn't completely help.

    Here is my situation...
    I am wanting to purchase a camcorder so that I can take videos of my son during sporting events. I am a complete novice in these regards, so I will also be looking to utilize software that will be easy to use and streamlines the process of editing. While I am novice to the video world, I would consider myself "above average" in computer knowledge.

    My main videos goals: I would like to use software that would allow me to easily edit games I record down to "highlight footage" of my son relatively easily.

    I have no experience with iMovie or any version of Final Cut, so I am a "clean slate" to work with! :p

    What's most important to me is using a camcorder and software that is most compatible with each other, and a relatively easy process of editing videos down to highlight montages.

    So given my circumstances, what Mac compatible camcorder would you recommend in the $500 price range, and what video editing program would you recommend? I guess my decision would come down to iMovie vs FCX, but would not want to spend more $ on software.

    I am using a mid 2007 iMac, if that assists in the decision (although an upgrade may be in my future).

    Thanks in advance guys!
  2. sjschall macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2013
    iMovie is free, so I'd start there versus going straight to FCP. You will learn basic editing and it is perfect for what you're describing: simple highlight edits.

    Upgrading to a current model mac will certainly give you more editing power, but you can wait and see if you need it.

    As far as a camcorder, I'd stick with a basic $300-500 range hand-held camcorder such as a Canon Vixia. It'll have HD and record onto SD cards for easy downloading to your mac. If I'm not mistaken you will most likely have to transcode your video files into an edit-friendly format if you want to edit them in iMovie. Go onto Best Buy or B&H and read reviews of cameras in your price range to get an idea of what people like/don't like.
  3. firedept, Feb 5, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014

    firedept macrumors 603


    Jul 8, 2011
    Here is the camcorder I have been using that works well, JVC Everio GZ-EX310 Full HD Camcorder ($300). There are many similar camcorders on the market in the price range of this one that do a decent job. This is not professional by any stretch of the imagination, but for personal use it does a nice job for me. I video my boys football games and their coaches use the footage for training.

    Stick with iMovie at first. Has a pretty easy learning curve and will do what you are asking. Read the Help Manual. It will be your best learning tool. No use on spending money right away for more advanced video editing software. The camcorder I told you about will import directly into iMovie which most will do anyways.

    The only slow down will be your iMac. I have a 2007 iMac myself an it is getting slow in its old age. I also have a late 2012 iMac so I notice the difference even more. Your biggest improvement would probably be updating to a newer iMac which you say may be in the future. But give it a try first and remember video editing is a slow process anyways depending on the size of the video taken.

    Hope this little bit of info helps.
  4. Sportsphysio thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2014
    Thanks guys, that is really helpful info!

    Sjs-- the product info states it records in both MP4 and AVCHD; does this mean it will need to be transcoded? If so, how difficult is that process?

    Fire -- thanks for the recommendations on the computer, I'll definitely give my old gal a chance to prove herself before I upgrade her.
  5. arjen92, Feb 6, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014

    arjen92 macrumors 65816


    Sep 9, 2008
    Below sea level
    Older computers should be capable of editing HD videos, it just takes longer.

    When you import footage into imovie and it doesn't like it, it will transcode it for you. It will do this either automatically, or it will ask you to approve it first. I'm not sure, but it should be really straightforward.

    The reason it transcodes is so that you're less dependent on the speed of your processor. Most camera's shoot to deliver; really compact and compressed. For your computer to do stuff, it first needs to uncompress every time you play it back. By transcoding the material, the footage becomes less compressed and will require less power to uncompress, freeing up your computers resources to do other stuff.

    So by transcoding, editing should be doable on older systems as well. But, the transcoding itself will take longer. You could let it transcode overnight and then edit the next day. Also, uncompressed means it will take more hard drive space.

    I quickly looked on the internet and found that the Panasonic HC-V720 is a model in your price range that is also well appreciated.
  6. Sportsphysio thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2014
    Thanks! That was incredibly helpful; I really am starting from zero knowledge.

    I also found this camera that was recommended elsewhere; does this have specs that would be iMovie and possibly eventually FCP compatible?

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