Digitial Video Recording

Discussion in 'Photography' started by JohnShah, Jul 14, 2004.

  1. JohnShah

    JohnShah Auditioning

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    As a father of two young children, my wife is constantly pleading with me to videotape our kids activities.

    I had a high-8 video camera, but i dont really care for it and I wanted something more modern that I could hook into my computer and burn onto dvd.

    I am new to the digital stuff, but I heard there is a a digital tape and one with a memory stick (like my diigital camera).

    Any recommendations.

    Looking for something relatively simple to operate, that takes nice videos, that I can hook to my computer for dvd copying and that is not going to break my wallet (i would probably go 500-1000 range)

    Thanks.
     
  2. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    You have two primary digital video options: miniDV and Digital 8. Digital 8 is backward compatible with the 8 and Hi-8 formats. If you have a large library of video shot on the 8 format going D8 is a nice option. Of course this means size of the camera will be larger than miniDV b/c miniDV tapes are physically smaller by about half the 8 format.

    If you just want to start fresh, miniDV would be the way to go.

    There are also DVD camcorders out there, but AFAIK they are designed primarily for convenience given the adoption level of DVD players. If you plan to do any editing then the process is not straightforward for importing from these cameras. If you're looking for the true next step beyond tape, wait for camcorders that record onto hard drives (which are starting to be used in the broadcast market).
     
  3. JohnShah

    JohnShah Auditioning

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    Any recommendations on a particular model to purchase. Something that takes really good video. Don't care about the stills, plus everyone says the video stills don't compare to a digital camera. I was looking at a Canon ZR90, but now they have the Optura line, which seems even better. Any advice?
     
  4. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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    Yes, there are a couple, but I wouldn't get one except as a toy.

    MiniDV and Digital8 camcorders use tape formats that store about 15 GB per hour. By contrast, the flash-based camcorders use 512 MB (0.5 GB) cards.

    So assuming that you record an hour of video on each, the flash-based units must compress the data THIRTY times as much. Either that, or they are not capturing the image data with the same resolution in the first place (e.g., the combination of quarter-screen resolution and 7.5x more compression would get you the 30x needed to overcome the storage size difference).

    Another possibility is that the flash-based camcorders can record at a higher quality level ... at the cost of recording time. (One 512 MB card would last for a whole two minutes at MiniDV recording rates.)
     
  5. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    None that I'm aware of. Those that do take memory cards, they are for saving still images and MAYBE video for Web usage (i.e. it would be highly compressed and sized down). No "standard" memory card would be able to 1) store full-size digital video of any significant amount (5 minutes of video takes up around 1 GB of storage) and 2) be able to save to file fast enough to keep up.
     
  6. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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    Sony has been known to make Digital8 units that cannot play 8mm and Hi8 recordings. Usually these are the least expensive ones in the line.

    If you buy a Digital8 camcorder for backwards compatibility, verify that the specifications for that particular model explicitly claim that it is capable of playing back the older tapes.
     
  7. JohnShah

    JohnShah Auditioning

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    Any recommendations on a particular mini-dv model to purchase. Something that takes really good video. Don't care about the stills, plus everyone says the video stills don't compare to a digital camera. I was looking at a Canon ZR90, but now they have the Optura line, which seems even better. Any advice?
     
  8. Kris McLaughlin

    Kris McLaughlin Stunt Coordinator

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    The Opturas are really nice cameras. I have the Optura Pi, it's a few years old now, but still an excellent miniDV cam. With the optura line, you get more high-end features (optical image stabilzer, larger LCD screen, manual control of white balance/exposure, etc) than you do with the ZR series.

    There's a ton of good camcorder information on the web, making it fairly easy to compare models. Check out www.dv.com and www.dvinfo.net for starters, there are some decent forums there with lots of info.

    Good luck with your search!
     
  9. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    I just picked up a Canon Elura 65 this week. It's very similar to the Optura series and can be found a bit cheaper than the higher end of the Opturas. You can get it for around $500 is you look hard enough. Retail is $700, but that's really high.

    The CCD is bigger than most DV cameras of that price range and from the little playing I've done with it, it seems to take great video. I did a ton of reading on it before I bought it and it got excellent marks from every review (pro and consumer) that I read.

    Great camera for the price.
     
  10. Jim Garbern

    Jim Garbern Stunt Coordinator

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    Panasonic has some nice, inexpensive 3 CCD (better color than single chip models) videocams that offer very good video quality and are in the $500 to 700 or so range. As with any reviews, take them with a grain of salt, but I think this place does a nice job:
    Camcorder Info
    Look for the GS120 and GS200 models to get started.
     

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