looking for advice on video camera

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by danhercules, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. danhercules macrumors member

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    Apr 28, 2010
    #1
    I use a imovie and apple tv. I will play back on a 62" tv. I have a flip but the quality is just not there. When zoom in it looks like crap. I have $500-$800 on a video camera. Is there somthing ya all suggest?

    What about the recording, Is DV tape, mini dvd or hard drive the way to go? I have had a DV tape before, but I am not hot on having tapes all the time. If that is the best quality, then thats fine, I will deal with it.

    Any tips what to look at?

    How bout the format it records in, will I have a problem?
     
  2. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    #2
    The Canon HV40 is probably the best all-around camera in your price range. It is an HDV camera and records to MiniDV tapes, though. A good solid-state alternative would be the Canon HF20. It has 32GB of internal memory plus an SD card slot for additional recording time. That camera records using the AVCHD codec.

    Quality-wise, I'd choose the HV40. It's really the best picture you can get for under $1,000. But if using tapes bothers you that much, the HF20 would be a close second.

    And just FYI, both codecs (HDV and AVCHD) would have to be transcoded to AIC to be edited with iMovie. But if you have been using a Flip camera up to this point, you're probably already accustomed to that.
     
  3. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    #4
    I don't have a lot of experience with the two cameras you listed, but the Panasonic looks to be the better of the two (better optics, more internal memory, etc.).

    I recommended the Canon HF20 initially because it comes very close to the quality you get with the HV40. And the HV40 is really the best looking hi-def camcorder available for under $1,000.

    Perhaps other users can chime in - maybe others own the Panasonic or Sony you mentioned and can share their experiences.
     
  4. dba7dba macrumors 6502

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    #5
    I have canon hf200.

    When switching to AVCHD camcorder, be prepared to work with huge files and long rendering time if producing HD quality movie files.

    Also, if you use Share | DVD in iMovie, you won't get the HD quality output. To get HD quality output, you have to output to Video first.

    If you don't want to spend too much time editing, you can play directly from camcorder to HD TV via HDMI cable. Some blue ray players can play AVCHD files also. Haven't tried it myself yet.

    Do some research on AVCHD but it will be very worth it.
     
  5. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    #6
    Well, using iMovie, you're going to be locked into large transcoded files, regardless of the consumer HD codec. AVCHD and HDV both have to be transcoded to AIC in iMovie. And a tape-based HDV camera will take longer because it would first have to capture the video from the tape (and this process happens at real-time) and then transcode the video into AIC format files.

    So in the OP's case, going with AVCHD might make the most sense from a workflow standpoint. You just need to be prepared with an external FW hard drive with plenty of space.

    Just something to consider...
     
  6. mstrze macrumors 68000

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    Nov 6, 2009
    #7
    Doesn't this make sense? I mean, DVD is not an HD format so there is not a way to get HD-quality output on a DVD....at least a DVD that is playable on a DVD player, to clarify. I mean, sure you can burn an HD file on a DVD...but iDVD is a program that makes playable DVDs.
     
  7. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    #9
  8. handsome pete macrumors 68000

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    #10
    Exactly. The kit posted is already over his $500-$800 budget and that's before outfitting it with mic/audio recorder, viewfinder, and better glass.
     
  9. bmb012 macrumors 6502

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  10. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    #12
    Noted, but there's also a whole multitude of other things you have to deal with when you use a DSLR for video. Without specialized accessories to go with the DSLR, it won't exactly be a smooth operator...

    1. Cheaper DSLR bodies (like the EOS 7D and Rebel T2i) don't have full-frame sensors, so you have to deal with crop factors when fitting traditional 35mm lenses - or otherwise needlessly pay a premium for special "DX" format lenses.

    2. Still camera lenses simply don't have the same level of precise focus control found on video/motion picture lenses. When using a DSLR for video, it's downright awkward to pull focus on the lens barrel and you'd really want a follow-focus kit. ($$$)

    3. The form factor of a still camera body doesn't lend itself well to shooting video handheld without a rail system or shoulder mount kit. Too jittery. (again, $$$)

    So even with a cheaper video-enabled DSLR, you're easily talking $2,000+ between the camera body, appropriate lenses and accessories. That's way out of the OP's proposed budget.
     
  11. Nostromo macrumors 65816

    Nostromo

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    #13
    If you have got a tripod with a fluid head, you don't need to shoot hand held.

    I'm getting sick of all those hand held videos.

    Whenever I see a video crew and the camera operator starts wobbling his legs (introducing artificial camera shake as a replacement for content and good editing) I'd like to plant a boot in his backend.

    The 18-55 II kit lens, while not great, is a pretty decent lens and usable for dslr video.

    You will need an external microphone for the Vixia or the the HV40 as well.

    The image quality and high ISO capability of a DSLR is not to overlook. And their sensors are huge, compared to those little cams.

    So, no, you don't necessarily need a rig. You need a tripod.

    A steadycam would be nice for both, either a DSLR or a camcorder.

    The T2i can be had for $800 now - a steal. Good still camera, free RAW processor, and great video. You can't really beat that.

    Of course, a camcorder is smaller and lighter.

    But, in case of the hv40: do you really want to deal with tapes?
     
  12. zblaxberg Guest

    zblaxberg

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    #14
    1. The crop factor isn't that big of a deal. This guy obviously isn't a professional so he could easily get a nice 18-200mm lens and have such a broad range of shots.

    2. If he's buying a camera for under $1k the focus isn't going to be that great of a precise focus because chances are it's not going to have a normal focusing ring it'll be a little knob on the side of the camera.

    3. I built a cineslider for 20 bucks at Home Depot with just a few pieces of wood, some wheels and a metal track which easily prevents jitter and makes for beautiful shots.

    All in all I'd say spend a little extra, find a nice Canon Rebel T2i and a starter lens. Once you find out that it can do amazing things and you love it go and buy yourself a rhodemic so you have some nice audio.
     
  13. handsome pete macrumors 68000

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    #15
    Again, his budget is between $500-$800. The t2i without a lens pretty much maxes that out alone. Then you're looking at a few hundred for a decent lens (preferably one that doesn't have a variable aperture so that will cost even more). Another $100 or so for the Rode mic, which doesn't defeat the AGC on the t2i so the audio will still be less than stellar.

    As for focus, you're not dealing with an APS-C sized sensor on a camera like the HV40. So regardless of the quality of the focus ring, it is much easier to attain critical focus on a camcorder. DLSR lenses also have very short focus throws, especially on the low budget side of things, making a follow focus a valuable addition to your kit. Some kind of viewfinder is pretty much necessary as well, especially for daylight shooting.

    So at this point the t2i is well over his budget. And if he could stretch his budget to accommodate, then he'd probably even be better off with a GH1 at that price point.


    True. Having control over a wide range of DOF is a great tool. But I think it's being overused in the recent "DSLR for video" wave. I see way too many videos out there where they just open up the lens, blow a whole bunch of the frame out of focus, and start shooting. And for no other reason than they just can.
     
  14. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    #16
    I can totally see your point, but handheld is fine in certain situations, when done right. Not everyone has the luxury of throwing a camera on a track dolly. And tripods are well...great for still framed shots and panning and tilting, but do nothing else.

    Totally aware. The 5D MkII in particular even has better light sensitivity than a RED One (much bigger sensor). But still, which camera do you think I rather shoot on? ;) My point is that high light sensitivity is really no substitute for proper lighting. I've seen stuff come off the 5D that looks wonderful and I've also seen piss-poor RED stuff, and vice-versa.

    While it seems like hard logic to question, the fact still remains: for $500-800 budget, properly equipped DSLRs are still a bit out of reach for videographers.

    I really don't see what the big fuss is with tapes. On Apple editing systems, you can't reliably edit most consumer HD codecs without transcoding anyway. So then it becomes a question of "do I want to wait for a tape to capture in real-time or do I want to wait for files to transcode?"
     
  15. danhercules thread starter macrumors member

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    #17
  16. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68040

    Mac'nCheese

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    Feb 9, 2010
    #18
    Yeah, I have the same problem. I want a nice, HD sdcard camera but my head spins when I start reading about if they are mac compatible. You have to first use one program to change the format or you can't burn videos unless you use another. Right now, I plug my sd camcorder in, press play, edit and burn. I want the same in an HD and don't care for now that I will be burning onto DVDs and lose some quality. I'll save the sd card for the future when I can burn HD discs and actually own a blueray player. I just want it EASY TO USE!
     
  17. jwheeler macrumors regular

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    Jan 14, 2010
    #19
    For that panasonic, it works with the mac if you don't use 60p mode. Which is a shame. I think we're gunna get it. Although we might wait for the next revision that isnt a 3d camcorder (sdt750). I guess its likely that compatibility will arrive with the next iMovie and/or the next FCP
     
  18. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68040

    Mac'nCheese

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    #20
    Good luck with the panasonic, if you go for it. Please keep us up to date if you do or if you find something else that works well. I'm still looking and appreciate hearing how others are doing in their search.
     
  19. dba7dba macrumors 6502

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    #21
    My post was for the benefit of the original poster and others who are not aware of the limit of idvd.
     
  20. kev6677 macrumors member

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    Jul 30, 2010
    #22
    Sony HDR CX 500v is an excellent HD camcorder and it works with imovie 09.
     

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