Help looking to buy a camcorder and need advice

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by iklemonster, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. iklemonster macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2009
    Help, I have only been a Mac user for about 18months and I am totally converted. But I am a complete Mac virgin when it comes to choosing compatible products. I teach and would like to use video to enhance my demo's during my lectures. I have a budget $750 and would like a High Def Camcorder with a Hard Disk (I am flexible if there is better alternative) if a flash card is an option I would pay separately for the card so do not include in original budget price. I have searched on Mac iMovie website but some of the cameras they have described are older models.
    My needs are must look decent on a projection screen as well as on an iphone/ipod. Some lectures are longer than others so short video record times are not really an option.

    My wish list would be stabilizer and night vision :eek: but I know thats probably a long shot for my budget.

    Thanks JB
  2. waistdeep macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2009
    Sony CX100 great all around camera. Fully compatible
  3. avaloncourt macrumors 65816

    Oct 18, 2007
    If you could stretch your budget just a bit farther you could get a Canon HG21 for $799. That has a 120GB HDD and is a high-def camcorder. I just got this one recently.

    If you want to drop back one model the HG20 is available from B&H Photo for $650. The difference between 20 and 21 is the 20 has the LCD panel on the side and no actual viewfinder. It also has a reduced size 60GB hard drive. The LCD panel is also supposed to be a little bit lesser quality from what I've read. That would get you well within your budget though.

    One word of warning though... I found this out the hard way. Many of the hard disk camcorders record in AVCHD. I didn't realize what a struggle it can be to work with the files. I thought it was just me until I began doing searches and I found literally hundreds of discussion threads online about exactly this. I'm using a recent model MacBook Pro and Adobe Premiere CS4. Premiere CS4 handles AVCHD natively and it still struggles with it.

    This is unfortunately the current state of current technology. The alternative is to use a DV tape-based camcorder but then you have to wait for the tape to play out the full length of your recordings to transfer the data to your computer. The files are easier to handle (MPEG-2) but the wait periods make it a real burden.

    So, for now, I'm converting the AVCHD to Apple Intermediate Format. Premiere and my computer get along with those files much better and the image quality remains good. File management is a little more cumbersome with the conversion. Premiere allows you to pull segments out of an AVCHD recording without having to transfer in the entire recording. You can't do the same with other kinds of recordings.

    The HG20/21 have image stabilizers but not night vision. They are sensitive down to 2 lux.

    As for iMovie compatibility, both the HG20 and 21 are specifically named as compatible. The Apple website also says...

  4. kilrb macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2009
    I just bought this camcorder for $500. It's working well. After tons of hours trying to figure out how to work with AVCHD, I finally found some software from that allows you to copy the camera's disk and keep the files in their native format on your mac. Then, when you want to splice clips together in i-movie, you just open up the copy of the camera's disk and i-movie thinks it's a connected camera, and you can import. It's not quite as simple as my old SD camcorder, but it's not that bad, and the video looks great. So far, the CX100 has been a great camera (for a week).
  5. avaloncourt macrumors 65816

    Oct 18, 2007
    You're talking about the VoltaicHD software. I saw some comments online about it and gave it a try. It keeps crashing on me at the end of every conversion. It's a little frustrating.
  6. TheStrudel macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2008
    MPEG streamclip is stable, free and allows you to pretty much convert everything. Well worth looking into.
  7. kilrb macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2009
    Revolver is mde by the same company, but it's separate from VoltaicHD. It doesn't do anything other than copy your camera's content, and it also will burn a disk. It doesn't do any file conversions or anything.
  8. avaloncourt macrumors 65816

    Oct 18, 2007
    ah ok. I didn't realize that. At this time I'm moving the full AVCHD camera directory to my working hard drive and then working on it from there.

    I realized from finding another thread elsewhere since I posted that I wasn't up to the most recent version of Premiere. I've taken it to 4.1 and that helped a bit. I'm not plagued by a bunch of the bugs I previously encountered. The video is still a bit much for the MBP but it's usable.
  9. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
    You didn't need to buy software to do this. You can use disk utility to make a disc image of your camcorder hard drive. When you mount it, iMovie thinks its your camcorders hard drive.

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