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HD CAMCORDER

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I am in the market to buy a HD camcorder this year. I want better pixs this year of my display. I know I need manual controls to make it work properly. What is everyone using and what do you recommend.
thanks in advance
Don C.
www.hearthelights.com

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This is from my experience....

Do not buy a hard drive or flash memory camcorder. You have to have some kinda of place to store long term. Video eats up lots of disk space.

Do not buy a DVD disc base camcorder.... DVD rot over time and is not a good long term storage.

Do buy a tape HD camcorder. Tape has a proven long term storage record. I still have 8 track tapes that are good.

I like a camcorder with night vision.

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melwelch wrote:

Do not buy a DVD disc base camcorder.... DVD rot over time and is not a good long term storage.

Could you expand on this a little? I've been under the impression that DVD's were as good a storage media as CD's. How do they rot? Thanks.

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I too have been looking to buy a camcorder and have not decided on one particular one yet. I know of the DVD (and CD) issue, but tape also has its disavantages. One of the major ones is how long will tape be around given that the industry is moving to the memory style CCs. I've been looking at the Cannon, Sony and Panasonic lines. I've looked at the video on websites such as youtube and others that have done "tests" using different brands and models. Boy am I confused as to which one to buy. I've been reading the reviews, but I find that they just confuse me more and I don't know which ones to trust (especially with MY money).

What brands have you been looking at and do you have a favorite one?

Tom

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I like the Sony camcorders... I am an old Beta Max guy... Beta was always superior to VHS. To me the top 3 brands are Sony, Canon, and Panasonic...

The question is how much you want to spend? That will narrow your search even more…

You will also hear a lot about the sensor that picks up the image… 3 CCD is better than one…

http://www.3ccdcamcorders.com/

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I bought a Canon 1080p camcorder last year during a Black Friday sale. It is flash based (16GB built in, and a SD slot for additional storage). It records in AVCHD format, which saves disk space, prior to expending it to edit.

I have 6TB of external Hard drive space, and only filled about 200GB of it for HD video from this camera, over the year of average recording of family events.

in AVCHD format, 16GB can fit 2 hours of 1080p/24

Hard drives are not expensive anymore, so don't make your choice based on tape/hard drive alone.

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Here is my 2 cents....

Agree that you should stay away from hard drive based units. What happens if/when the hard drive fails?

I have an excellent SD 3 sensor Panasonic that uses tape. Tape is good but is also subject to mechanical failure and can, in some cases, pick up the mechanical noise of the tape drive when recording. I would not trust tape as a backup as they, too, are prone to issues. You have to attach the camcorder to the computer to transfer. Additionally, with the exception of pro-gear, tape is going by the wayside.

Internal memory. Convenient but limited to what the camera came with. Some camera's will have an extra SD slot to add more memory. Again you have to connect the camcorder to computer to transfer.

SD memory. This is my recommendation. Price of memory keeps falling. You can download off a card reader. Take the Canon HF20/200. The 20 uses internal memory, the 200 uses SD cards. Based on current B&H pricing, the HF20 $699. HF200 $549. You can buy more memory and still have money left over.

As for backup... I have the original tape and then backup up to 2 separate hard drives. There is also a copy on my working hard drive. This is both raw footage and completed projects. Just anal that way.

What I don't like about the current camcorders is the size. I find the small size to be more of a hindrance than an asset. It is extremely hard to hold these little cameras still by hand. I also don't like the fact that most of these do not have a view finder. Some do, but it comes at price.

My vote and next purchase is the HF200.


...keep the change.

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bwaldrep wrote:

I have 6TB of external Hard drive space, and only filled about 200GB of it for HD video from this camera, over the year of average recording of family events.


Where is your second hard drive for a backup??

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Do you really think 6TB is all one hard drive?

I have 2 2TB hard drives, where one is for HD Video, and my iTunes Library (1.3TB). The 2nd drive is for Time machine (hourly backup of the 1st drive) And then a 3rd drive which is RAID1, 2TB for my archived video's

Plus I have a 2 TB drive off site with all family video's in case of a fire or other disaster.

I also have all family photo's back-up on a web server in one of our data centers.

I have no worries about losing any data.

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iresq wrote:


As for backup... I have the original tape and then backup up to 2 separate hard drives. There is also a copy on my working hard drive. This is both raw footage and completed projects. Just anal that way.


iresq you are so correct... I do the same. More people need to pay attention to what is needed to keep your pictures safe.

As for the small camera size being a problem.... I use a Merlin SteadiCam to keep the small camcorder steady.

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Very cool but $800! I've been researching DIY and will probably go that route.

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iresq wrote:


What I don't like about the current camcorders is the size. I find the small size to be more of a hindrance than an asset. It is extremely hard to hold these little cameras still by hand. I also don't like the fact that most of these do not have a view finder. Some do, but it comes at price.



I concur! Man, with almost no weight to them, even a slight hand tremor results in image shake. And I don't want to drag a tripod all over the place. And it would seem like overkill to put a professional stabilizer on such a small camera. Ah, well . . . I'll never be pleased! :P

Cray

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Love my camcorder with a 40G internal hard drive! You guys are kidding right? Asking about backups? All clips are transferred to my PC for editing/viewing and backed up on two external drives. Then deleted from the Cam.

NO WAY would I go back or recommend a tape. Since my miniDV tape camcorder stopped working, I now have a box of tapes I can't watch without buying a new Cam since there are no stand alone tape players. All the footage I really wanted was copied to my PC already.. at viewing speed.

The HD cam transfers clips fast without having to watch them during the transfer. Also has a great video index to find a clip still stored. No scanning as with a tape. Also noticed the HDcam battery lasts much longer then the tape cam. This may be better technology but I say at least some of the improvement is the from not having to reel the tape.

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I vave a canon hv30 - tape unit -

good camera

easy to connect to tv

Have never been able to capture hdv to computer

will not capture standard defintion at all

only captures hdv as standard defintion

christmas show recording was poor to fair

family happenings recording was excellent

a professional studio did not have the equipment to

capture hdv from tape

I am at aloss as to what I will do this year to record show

Frank A.;)

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ItsMeBobO wrote:

NO WAY would I go back or recommend a tape. Since my miniDV tape camcorder stopped working, I now have a box of tapes I can't watch without buying a new Cam since there are no stand alone tape players. All the footage I really wanted was copied to my PC already.. at viewing speed.



If you did not have a backup of your tapes how is that a problem with tapes... What is used most often to backup data on a server?..... Tape....

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ItsMeBobO wrote:

I now have a box of tapes I can't watch without buying a new Cam since there are no stand alone tape players.

There are stand alone tape players but they ain't cheap.

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I was thinking about a flash memory for ease of transfer to my computer. I am not worried about storing. I am going got have everything on my hard drive eventually. I want it to shoot at dusk for my display and also I am going to use it to record us wakeboarding. I am wonder which models have manual option for shooting in low light.
thanks again
Don C.

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As previously mentioned, a camcorder with a 3CCD imaging sensor will typically produce much better color in low light. I use the JVC GZ-HD6. It doesn't fair out well in the reviews. But I'm happy with the results.

A tripod and a small amount of ambient light made a world of difference for me. I set the Brightness to the highest setting (+6 for JVC GZ-HD6) and Shutter Speed to 1/30. While all the lights are on, I let the camera auto focus and then switch to manual focus to lock it in.

I spent 20 hours experimenting last year, but I'm far from a video expert. If you want to check them out, my Christmas 2008 and Halloween 2009 videos were shot with the GZ-HD6. The resolution was reduced to save on storage space and bandwidth.

Also keep in mind, a lot of HD camcorders don't create a standard video file format. I have to use the camera software to convert to a more standard format before I can edit it in Windows Movie Maker.

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I spent 6 months researching and comparing cameras on several sites, consumer reports, Cnet, several video review sites, and you can find a lot on youtube. I concur with the opinion of moving away from tapes. The industry is moving away and there is not much need anymore. I worried about drive failure and went the SDD. I stayed away from Sony because their memory sticks are more expensive and their proprietary stance in the industry aggravates me. I went with the Canon HF10, and I am VERY VERY happy with it. I used none of the manual settings when recording my halloween show at night. It went out of focus once, corrected itself - and I actually liked the effect so I left it in the video. See my other posts for links to the youtube videos. I used pricegrabber a lot to compare prices, but in the end I found the best price at Costco, and it came with a bag. My recommendation with this camera is get the extended battery. I don't even use the original battery any more. I also got a 16 gig card (I comes with 16GB built in). I now get lazy and don't clean off the camera or charge the battery for months (of occasional use)

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Thanks Joel for the info on the Canon hf10. I was concerned about the camera going out of focus on automatic settings during our type of light show. I am interested in the Canon hf s10. Waiting for the price to come down a little more. I have seen video on youtube and other video places of night time shots, but most of those don't have the high rate of "blinking" lights that we use in our displays. Did you use a tripod or any other type of stablization?

Tom

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I have been looking at the Canon Vixia HF models. If you need to see some videos recorded with this camera check out Jeff Ostroff's videos, they have great clarity and picture quality, they were shot with the Canon Vixia HF10, he used Sony Vegas Studio 9 Platinum Pro Pack for editing. I emailed him last year to talk about what settings he used, he indicated that he used all default settings except he set the camera to manual focus.
Here is the link to his website: http://www.lauderdalechristmas.com/
scroll down to see them.

I paid a professional to video my show last year, he had a Sony camera (professional model but don't remember which one), and the year before that the guy had a JVC (also a professional model). I didn't really like the overall quality of the videos from the Sony camera, seemed to have some "blooming" around the lights. The guy last year did a great job on the finished product - editing out cars that drove by, adding titles, blending of shots from one different angles and so on.

Craig

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Hi Craig,

Would you be willing to share the manual settings that you use for the hf10? I thinking of getting the hf s10 before Christmas and would like to know how to set it for our types of displays at night. I won't have much time to "practice" with it before hand.

Thanks in advance

Tom

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tmadak wrote:

Hi Craig,

Would you be willing to share the manual settings that you use for the hf10? I thinking of getting the hf s10 before Christmas and would like to know how to set it for our types of displays at night. I won't have much time to "practice" with it before hand.

Thanks in advance

Tom

Tom - I hope I didn't mislead you it was Jeff who has the HF10 Camera, not me. I was just passing on what he shared with me.
He said the only manual setting he used was a Manual Focus, everything else was set at the default settings for low light shooting at night.
You could send him a PM on PlanetChristmas to get more info, he is a very helpful guy. (jeffostroff on PlanetChristmas)


Craig

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