Camcorder?

wonga1127

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 16, 2006
339
0
Wishing for a magic bus.
Arrgh! I just wasted 2 hours trying to get an already messed up VHS tape onto a DVD so I can edit it. 2 hours later, I find out the hard way that this is not possible! Yell!

Anyways, while I was screaming at the TV, I realized that I love making movies. This certain one was a school project, recorded over the 1977 version of the Hills Have Eyes, is the funniest thing to ever come out of my pre 1990 camcorder. The camcorder is a hunk of garbage, and I'm tired of it. During playback, it will randomly stop, and not play again. This time I was lucky, and it didn't eat my tape.

I was wondering what you all would reccomend for an amatuer, but avid filmmaker? I want an HD camcorder, but was wondering what would be the best one for under $1500 or so. Also, no more tapes. It either has to be DVD or HDD based, cuz I'm sick of trying to unravel miles of tape from the recesses of my video recording brick. Ideas?
 

dsnort

macrumors 68000
Jan 28, 2006
1,904
68
In persona non grata
Certainly I'm no expert in the area, but i know from experience that if you have a camcorder with a firewire connection, you can import your video directly into the Mac from the camera. No matter what the recording media is.
 

MacFan782040

macrumors 6502a
Dec 1, 2003
791
110
Scranton, PA
You're gonan spend a lot more than $1500 on a High Def. HD camcorder...

And don't even bother with DVD camcorders, they aren't meant to be edited.

Mini DV are fine still, they yield professional quality (what do you think MTV uses?) and the tapes are a hell of a lot cheaper to archive than trying to get all the video on a hard drive.

Go with a Sony or Panasonic. No JVC.
 

Stinkythe1

macrumors regular
Mar 30, 2005
208
0
I'm a Canon kind of guy, but from what I understand, Panasonic cameras use a hard drive type of media called P2. Worth checking out.

Yeah, I want a Mac Pro for $500.
 

gauchogolfer

macrumors 603
Jan 28, 2005
5,555
5
American Riviera
Sony makes an HD camcorder for around 1500 dollars US. You may want to give it a look. It records to DV tapes, not a hard drive, though. I used one at the Sony store in Tokyo and it was great.
 

Sdashiki

macrumors 68040
Aug 11, 2005
3,511
8
Behind the lens
Dont waste your time and money on getting into HD right now.

Stick with the tried and true SD format of Mini-DV or its cousins.

There is NOTHING wrong with doing straight DV and forgoing the HD craze, for now.

MINI-DV is a tape format, but so what, its not VHS, and try not to base your ideals on your past experiences.

Of course tape wears out and whatnot, but if you want to actually be an "avid filmaker" youll need something OTHER than DVD or HDD camcorders, those are merely gimmicks.


There is NOTHING you can put your HD movies onto at the present time, so all youll have is an HD movie on your computer, that cant be watched in all its HD glory on anything but your computer, or possibly networked to an HDTV.

Most people make movies and burn em to DVD, if you go HD, youd be losing tons of detail by dropping from HD to SD that a DVD allows.

Stick with SD (mini-dv), itll save you headaches and a ton of money. Not only does the camcorder cost less, but the machine to view and edit the video does not have to be bleeding edge.

Dont believe the hype, HD is not ready for desktops.
 

Nuc

macrumors 6502a
Jan 20, 2003
798
6
TN
I have to disagree with Sdashiki. HD is not a waste of money. I have an Sony HDR-HC1 and it's awesome. Why not have the option of HD if you can get such a great camcorder such as this for a low price. They discontinued the HC1 since it was cutting into their professional line (or so I heard).

HDR-HC1

Nuc
 

Nuc

macrumors 6502a
Jan 20, 2003
798
6
TN
MacFan782040 said:
Coulnd't you connect the HD Cam directly to an HDTV to see true HD?
Yes you can. At least on Sony's you can. So I would assume any other HD would as well.

Nuc
 

whoooaaahhhh

macrumors member
Mar 25, 2006
73
0
Pasadena, CA
Wrong!

Sdashiki said:
Most people make movies and burn em to DVD, if you go HD, youd be losing tons of detail by dropping from HD to SD that a DVD allows.

This statement is both misleading and wrong, I couldn't disagree with you more. When you shoot in HD you get a MASSIVE Nyquist benefit over SD. In layman's terms, when you shoot with a larger sensor that samples at a higher rate, you get better information, even if it is Downsampled to SD. That's just obvious camera technical stuff. I can guarantee you that the picture will be phenomenally better with the HC1 than ANY SD CAMERA NO MATTER WHAT YOUR END PRODUCT IS!!! HOWEVER! If you are looking to do any complex pro stuff like 24p or any other camera tricks like shutter speed, it will be a lot harder to achieve the same quality as say a PD170 or XL2. But by no means is it impossible.

My family has an HC1 and as someone who's worked on Hi-8 to DV to f900's (HD) I can tell you without a doubt that if you're just going for image quality alone, HD is always better. Always.
 

Sdashiki

macrumors 68040
Aug 11, 2005
3,511
8
Behind the lens
Ya I got it, jeez jump all over the helper monkey why doncha?

Anyway, buying HD today IS SILLY. In terms of COST and WORKFLOW, HD takes ALOT more CPU to work with, and alot more disk space as well.

You can connect the HD camcorder to an HDTV and watch it, wow thats awesome!!!???!

Are you gonna ship your camcorder to your friends who dont live near you? How would you DISTRIBUTE this movie?


Just because DV is 720x480 and HD is 1920x1080 doesnt mean you cant get good looking video from DV.

YES shooting HD and bringing it down to SD will give you better quality than if you went SD all the way, but at what a monetary and time cost? And for what? A slight increase in constrast? Cuz its still just crappy MPEG2. (assuming its a DVD)

The best DV can look like film, just LIGHT IT PROPERLY!



I really dont listen to people who only spout "HD IS BETTER THAN SD".....

DUH thats the idea, HIGH Definition versus the lowly STANDARD Definition.

If all you care about is image quality, go back to 35mm, thats REAL quality.


I am talking about the beginning, middle and end (output).

If you shoot HD, capture HD, edit HD and output HD, AWESOME you got a kick ass movie in terms of quality. Question is, where did you output it to? Who can watch this?

in reality it works more like this:

Shoot HD, capture HD, edit HD, output DVD (good ol MPEG2!)

And others:

Shoot HD, capture SD, edit SD, output SD.

Saves ALOT of space and render times....

do you see where I am going with this? I am not saying HD sux0rz, I am saying, cost concientious people SHOULDNT honestly consider going HD until EVERY SINGLE TELEVISION ON STORE SHELVES IS HD COMPLIANT. When the cheapest piece of crap TV you can buy at Wal Mart still outputs 1080p, we'd all be happy.
 

PegasusMedia

macrumors member
Mar 29, 2006
86
0
Jacksonville, FL
Wow. I'm not getting in the middle of that, but let me offer some thoughts.

You are obviously brand new at this...and I don't mean that as a bad thing. But I think you are a long way off from worrying about having the "best" camera. If you don't have the basics down, it really doesn't matter what camera you use. Spend your time & money on classes, books, training DVDs, conferences, etc. until you have a good base of knowledge.

For example...a true pro can probably produce a better product with a $150 camera, proper lighting, proper sound, and good basic photography & storytelling principles than a brand new enthusiast can make with a $50,000 camera.

If you have your heart set on that camera, go for it. It's a good consumer camcorder that you can learn with. But if you "love making movies", don't worry so much about hardware yet. Worry about aquiring knowledge.

When you are at a point that you know whether Sdashiki or Whoooaaahhh is right, then you'll probably be ready to shop for a better camera.
 

FF_productions

macrumors 68030
Apr 16, 2005
2,822
0
Mt. Prospect, Illinois
Just offering an opinion, but in that price range, you could pick up a Panasonic AG-DVC30, I got mine on monday and have been enjoying it ever since. It is DV, but I don't really care at this point.
 

LethalWolfe

macrumors G3
Jan 11, 2002
9,368
119
Los Angeles
wonga1127 said:
I was wondering what you all would reccomend for an amatuer, but avid filmmaker? I want an HD camcorder, but was wondering what would be the best one for under $1500 or so. Also, no more tapes. It either has to be DVD or HDD based, cuz I'm sick of trying to unravel miles of tape from the recesses of my video recording brick. Ideas?
If you don't want to shoot tape you can get HDD-based recorders to hook up to your camera, but I think those start at around $1000. Consumer cameras that use MiniDVD or HDD are MPEG-2 based and are a PITA to use on a Mac, and are inferior in terms of quality compared to MiniDV. Unless you will be getting paid to shoot HD I don't think it's worth the premium being charged right now.

As Sdashiki said, once you make the SD DVD to watch on your SD TV the difference is minimal. Plus, cramming a bunch more pixels onto the same size CCD has draw backs (inferior low light shooting and less dynamic range, for example). Like w/everything there are pro's and con's that need to be weighed.

Nuc said:
I have to disagree with Sdashiki. HD is not a waste of money. I have an Sony HDR-HC1 and it's awesome. Why not have the option of HD if you can get such a great camcorder such as this for a low price. They discontinued the HC1 since it was cutting into their professional line (or so I heard).

HDR-HC1

Nuc
The HC1 got "downgraded" to the HC3 to make more room for Sony's other consumer HDV cameras they released in the same price bracket. Other than something along the lines of a "helmet cam" or a "funky angle cam" for an interview the HC1 really wouldn't get much professional use.

whoooaaahhhh said:
This statement is both misleading and wrong, I couldn't disagree with you more. When you shoot in HD you get a MASSIVE Nyquist benefit over SD. In layman's terms, when you shoot with a larger sensor that samples at a higher rate, you get better information, even if it is Downsampled to SD. That's just obvious camera technical stuff. I can guarantee you that the picture will be phenomenally better with the HC1 than ANY SD CAMERA NO MATTER WHAT YOUR END PRODUCT IS!!! HOWEVER! If you are looking to do any complex pro stuff like 24p or any other camera tricks like shutter speed, it will be a lot harder to achieve the same quality as say a PD170 or XL2. But by no means is it impossible.

My family has an HC1 and as someone who's worked on Hi-8 to DV to f900's (HD) I can tell you without a doubt that if you're just going for image quality alone, HD is always better. Always.
Wow, and you think Sdashiki's post is misleading and wrong? Other than saying that the XL2 and PD170 are SD and the HC1 is HDV I don't think there's much else in your post that's accurate.


Lethal
 

Nuc

macrumors 6502a
Jan 20, 2003
798
6
TN
LethalWolfe said:
The HC1 got "downgraded" to the HC3 to make more room for Sony's other consumer HDV cameras they released in the same price bracket. Other than something along the lines of a "helmet cam" or a "funky angle cam" for an interview the HC1 really wouldn't get much professional use.
The HC1 is comparable to the Sony HVR-A1. The A1 has a little better low light performance and also has a non proprietary hot shoe unlike the HC1. Other than this there aren't that many differences to the A1, which is considered a professional camcorder. Maybe not the top of the line pro camcorder but still a good.

Nuc
 

SMM

macrumors 65816
Sep 22, 2006
1,334
0
Tiger Mountain - WA State
FF_productions said:
Just offering an opinion, but in that price range, you could pick up a Panasonic AG-DVC30, I got mine on monday and have been enjoying it ever since. It is DV, but I don't really care at this point.
This is the camera that came to my mind reading the original post. It is a great camera to begin with if you want to expand your involvement in video production. It produces very good SD video and has all of the features to get you through the early learning curve of video photography.

Sure, it isn't HD. But, I tend to agree with many of the other posters who promote the idea that HD is probably not the best entry point into video right now. Many people I respect believe you should only purchase the level of technology you can use at the time. When you have developed your skills, and HD has further evolved, your buying power to technical sophistical ratio will be much better. Or in common parlance, "you will get more bang for your buck".
 

jamesbennington

macrumors newbie
Jun 26, 2006
17
0
On The Other Hand

On the other hand, go HD now and when everyone is slapping themselves trying to figure out how they are going to afford another new camera you'll be doing better looking projects than you ever thought possible. Just because technology might be a little slow on the computing and displaying side, doesn't mean you shouldn't explore HD now(technology advances sorta fast). It's expensive, I got a JVC GY-HD100 for around $5000 US and it's doing great for me. Another positive is you get to charge more if you ever rent out the camera or freelance yourself. It takes a ton of memory to edit for sure(and make sure your software can deal with the codecs), but depending on who you talk to you will get a different opinion on whether it's worth it or not. If you want image quality that is better than SD but cheaper than 35mm your decision is already made. As for what camera you get, do your research and get the one that will do what you want it to, but i'd recommend getting something that has the ability to go just slightly past what you need right now so your camera will still be relevant when your skills improve.
 

solvs

macrumors 603
Jun 25, 2002
5,684
1
LaLaLand, CA

Sdashiki

macrumors 68040
Aug 11, 2005
3,511
8
Behind the lens
jamesbennington said:
On the other hand, go HD now and when everyone is slapping themselves trying to figure out how they are going to afford another new camera you'll be doing better looking projects than you ever thought possible. Just because technology might be a little slow on the computing and displaying side, doesn't mean you shouldn't explore HD now(technology advances sorta fast). It's expensive, I got a JVC GY-HD100 for around $5000 US and it's doing great for me. Another positive is you get to charge more if you ever rent out the camera or freelance yourself. It takes a ton of memory to edit for sure(and make sure your software can deal with the codecs), but depending on who you talk to you will get a different opinion on whether it's worth it or not. If you want image quality that is better than SD but cheaper than 35mm your decision is already made. As for what camera you get, do your research and get the one that will do what you want it to, but i'd recommend getting something that has the ability to go just slightly past what you need right now so your camera will still be relevant when your skills improve.
when the world is ALL HD, then even the cheapest piece of crap camcorder, will be HD (or I guess bargain basements would be SD upscaled)

quality is in the eye of the beholder, and in terms of HD vs SD, its in the output. so if you arent outputting directly to an HD broadcast, why are you shooting HD....if money is a factor.