simple camcorder

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by brettsinger, Sep 5, 2007.

  1. brettsinger macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    #1
    Hi all,
    I want to get a smaller camcorder. The purpose is to record the kids more easily than I currently do (using an old, but functional, Sony hi-8 model). I want something smaller that also takes decent enough still images. I think a hard drive model would be best. I want to use it with a Mac, and it looks like not every model out there plays nice with Macs. Wondering if anyone has any suggestions here. Hi-Def not a requirement; although if you think I'm nuts for not going hi-def, I'll listen.
    Thanks
     
  2. BennyK macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Appleton, WI
    #2
    I find it best to use tape for editing. I have read some negatives about using HDD and DVD for recording.
     
  3. iToaster macrumors 68000

    iToaster

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    Location:
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    #3
    Canon has some nice camcorders. I just got myself a nice HV20, but they have a hard drive based HiDef as well. The only down side to hidef is the file size... 3.63 Gb for 5 min of video.... ZOMG!
     
  4. marioman38 macrumors 6502a

    marioman38

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    Elk Grove, CA
    #4
    Err HDV is the same bitrate as DV. ~13GB per hour. I too have an HV20 ;)
    A HardDrive or DVD camcorder WILL NOT WORK WITH MAC. There are "workarounds" but they are time-consuming, and not worth it. For seamless plug&play Mac compatiblity get Mini-DV. Check out the Canon Elura 100. It was just discontinued (last month I believe) and hasn't been replaced yet. I believe it won Camcorder of the Year for 2006 by camcorderinfo.com The Sony HC-96 is a good one too.
     
  5. andy.barron macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Location:
    Bedford, England
    #5
    I went through this a while back & HD or DVD is a non starter. Mini-DV is the only way to go.
    I have the Sony DCR HC-96 & it works fine with iPhoto regardless of the losers in the Sony store stating that their camcorders are not Mac compatible.
    The only suggestion I would make (its been a while now since I looked at the specs) is if there is a firewire 800 conection model now available plump for it as this would speed up the transfer.
    Apart from that go Mini-DV & your laughing.
     
  6. ftaok macrumors 603

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #6
    You're correct and so was iToaster. HDV is 13 GB/hr, but when used with iMovie, HDV gets converted to AIC, which is about 40 GB/hr.

    While I do agree that miniDV and HDV is the way to go, Apple has added support for many DVD and HDD based camcorders. You just need to use iMovie'08. The latest version adds support for HDD and DVD based StandardDef (MPEG-2) camcorders. Also, HDD based HiDef (AVCHD) camcorders are supported as well. The only ones that aren't supported are DVD based HiDef (AVCHD) camcorders. Caveat, you need an Intel Mac to work with AVCHD.
     
  7. marioman38 macrumors 6502a

    marioman38

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    Elk Grove, CA
    #7
    Didn't know that. Now i'm glad I didn't set FCP to transcode to AIC as I almost did.
     
  8. blybug macrumors 6502a

    blybug

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2003
    Location:
    Galveston, TX
    #8
    the sanyo xacti line of camcorders records in hi-res mp4 format which feeds right in off an SD card to imovie, itunes, ipod, appletv etc. Also has a 5 MP camera. I've been using it exactly as you suggest, quick pick it up, video the kids, put in the computer...no converting no fuss,NO TAPES to mess with. Copies as-is directly to ipod, etc. Prices just dropped recently too, they have one model that is waterproof.

    Posted fron my iPhone
     
  9. marioman38 macrumors 6502a

    marioman38

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    Elk Grove, CA
    #9
    I'd stay away from flash based camcorders.

    http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Sanyo-VPC-HD1-Camcorder-Review/Format.htm

    Any Flash based camcorder uses much more compression than DV. More compression = poorer image quality. DV=25mbps while The flash sanyo is 9mbps on Maximum HQ.

    Read the fourms (MR). It's nearly across the board people suggest Mini-DV. There is a reason for this. It's long proven, works great, excellent compatibility and software choice, and tapes can be a backup archive. We may see something different in a few years, but the time has not come yet to switch from mini-dv.

    You are Not nuts for not getting HD. Prices are dropping rapidly though, and it is Future-proof. That's why I choose an HV20 last month, instead of a Sony VX2100.

    Aghh, camcorderinfo couldnt have said it better. "The bottom line is that Sanyo is trying to overly comrpess the video and it shows: you just can't get a good HD resolution picture in 9 Mbs."
     
  10. blybug macrumors 6502a

    blybug

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2003
    Location:
    Galveston, TX
    #10
    On the other hand, the OP stated specifically he wanted a small simple camcorder to record the kids. Much like the audio analogy of trading a bit of quality for the convenience and portability of 128bkps AAC, the compression artifacts are negligible for day to day use. I'm not trying to make a film for Cannes with my Xacti, just capturing my kids out in the pool, at the playground, riding bikes, at a school play. Home movies more than any other kind of videos people may watch are all about the content, and I'm quite satisfied with the quality for this purpose.

    But more importantly, when you have all these kids that your are busy recording (and raising), you likewise don't have a lot of time for post-production. In the past with my mini-DV camera I ended up with a bunch of (unlabeled) tapes all over my desk that I never had the time to feed in real time into iMovie, then convert into iDVD or some other watchable format. With the Xacti, my workflow goes like this:

    1. Return from recorded event
    2. Plug SD card into Mac
    3. Drag mp4 files into iTunes and fill in metadata
    4. Walk to living room while AppleTV auto-syncs
    5. Enjoy recorded event immediately and for posterity
    6. Use same mp4 file as needed in the future to post to web, transfer to iPod, burn to DVD, etc
    I also like the Flash-based business because there's always media around. I used to get so frustrated at having to run out to buy new tapes all the time, or sift through the pile of tapes on my desk to find one with "blank space." Naturally without the tapes as a backup archive I've become very careful with my hard-drive backup system, but that's no different that what I was already doing for all my irreplaceable documents, photos, and music.
     
  11. iToaster macrumors 68000

    iToaster

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    Location:
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    #11
    Realize that with a hard drive based camcorder, you can't just pull out the hard drive, or run into walmart and get a blank hard drive to put in your camcorder. HD is the future, and in the future, you'll be glad you got it. Even as we speak, SD is becoming little annoying squares on those great new TVs. You must realize that you might be happy with your SD movies, but no matter how good the movie is, if it looks bad, it's not pleasant to watch. I'd recommend something from Canon though, they rule. You can get an HV10 (the last gen. of the HV20) on eBay for $500. It's a nifty lil' thing, light weight, compact, not especially complicated. Canon also has some DVD and HDD based HD camcorders, and some non-HD ones as well. Trust me OP, you'll find the right camcorder, I can only give suggestions like this.
     

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