First camcorder: HD or not?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Spritey, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. Spritey macrumors regular


    Sep 22, 2006

    I'm planning on getting my first camcorder, and I don't know if I should get a HD cam or a standard one, specifically should I get the Canon HV10 (can get it for about $750)? (As a side note: I know it the ergonomics are apparently awkward, but I have very small hands and the complaints seems to have been it's difficult for people with larger hands, also I don't ever picture myself being sooo seriously into making the movie that I have to carry around an external microphone)

    I've been trying to figure out how to edit and then store the movies, but I haven't quite figured out how it works. It sounds like I can edit it in iMovie on my MBP, but can I store it onto a regular dvd when I'm done editing? How many minutes will I be able to fit onto one regular dvd then? Right now I don't have a blue-ray or HD-dvd player, so if I have to store it on one of those HD is obviously not the way to go.

    I'd like the camcorder to be a bit "future proof", as I tend to keep my electronics for quite a few years as I take good care of them. And I'll be shooting vacations, every day events, maybe a wedding or two (for personal memories' sake).

    If Canon HV10 doesn't sound like a good option to me, what's another camera with good picture quality, and that isn't too big and bulky.

  2. Fearless Leader macrumors 68020

    Mar 21, 2006
    well if you burnt it to dvd, its automatically changed to 720x480, also known as 480i, well for a video disk. your video will look better than if a regular dv camcorder took it when it gets burnt.

    how much video you can store all depends if you want it to play in dvd players, you want to keep it high def, and how much quality you want.
  3. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    The Canon HV10's vertical design is terrible.
  4. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    There is no such thing as future proof. Whatever you buy now will be replaced with something new and better in a year.

    If you get anything other than SD MiniDV tape, look long and hard at compatibility with Mac, editiability of the format, and results of the compression scheme, before you buy.

    DVD-R cameras are generally a bad choice for editing, and Hard Disk cameras can be a pain, too, depending on the compression type and connection.

    I got a 3-chip Panasonic MiniDV SD camera that I am happy with.
  5. Peace macrumors Core


    Apr 1, 2005
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    Definitely make sure you get one that uses MiniDV tapes.I agree with the post about Hard Drive/DVD-R based cameras.

    I have an old Canon MiniDV Optura that does wide-screen 480i and I can use it in almost any video app I have on my Mac.

    Also make sure Apple supports it.
  6. ppc_michael Guest


    Apr 26, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    When you say "HD," do you mean a "Hard Drive"-based camcorder, or an HDV (almost-High Definition) camcorder?

    Most hard drive camcorders are not compatible with Macs (at least not without a lot of hassle and ripping and file conversions), so they are not recommended.

    HDV camcorders, on the other hand, are really cool. I have a Sony HDR-HC1, which is rather dated already, but gives an absolutely beautiful picture. I do a lot of shorts and special effects work, and I want it to still be presentable in five years when everybody will be used to HD television (maybe), and not want to watch some weird SD junk.

    Macs are very compatible with HDV format. In general, HDV or SD, whatever you get, just make sure it's a camcorder that records to digital tape of some sort (usually MiniDV or DVCAM in upper-level models), and you will be absolutely fine.
  7. Spritey thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 22, 2006
    Oh I'm sorry, by HD I meant high definition, and not hard drive.

    And yeah, I'm staying away from DVD and hard drive based camcorders. All the camcorder buying guides suggested to stick with mini-DV, since the quality is better. I also don't like the hard drive based ones in case you're on a long vacation and you run out of space... It's a little bit easier to buy an extra tape.
  8. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2007
    A lot of people seem to be excited about hard drive camcorders, but I'm unconvinced, if not by the concept, by the products you can actually buy. So tape is still good.

    You can edit HDV footage in 'iMovie HD', but be warned it records it as Apple Intermediate Codec (HDV native is a burden on processors) which takes up around 38-46 GB/hour on your hard disk. I also posted in a thread somewhere on here about iMovie not cutting HDV/AIC footage at the right point. I - and somebody else seemingly - have found that iMovie will often cut several frames later than I am selecting the cut point to be. I haven't got round to finding out what it is and I've lost track of where that thread was! But obviously this isn't happening to everyone, and it may prove to be easily resolvable.

    A regular DVD video will lose the high-definess, but you can record stuff like DivxHD DVDs which will play in some compatible DVD players as high def. You would need software to do it though. I think Toast does. Other than that, the other benefit of tapes is that you can record back to them in HDV, and then when you've got an HD-DVD or Blu-Ray burner make a copy from the tape.

    I can't comment on the camera you mentioned, but I think HDV is a significant jump in quality from DV.

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