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Video Camera Mini or Hard Drive?

15 posts in this topic

Headed to Glacier National Park this summer and would like to get a new video cam. We have the Hi8, but computer software editing is the way to go I think.

What video cameras do you like and why?

I want to stay at the cheaper ($200-400) end of things and might use it for bowhunting also.

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I can't offer up too much but I will give you this. Make sure whatever camera you get that video editing is an option. Case in point is I bought a Cannon HD video camera that uses mini DVC tapes. I was lead to believe that when I wanted I would be able to get some editing software and simply burn my movies to a DVD. After returning from our trip to Switzerland in Oct. I was all gung ho to get my movies transfered. What I found out was that in order to do HD we would have to buy a new computer. Ours is only a couple years old but it is way to slow for HD. Case in point. Make sure you know what you are getting into and what the capabilities of your camera, software, and computer are.I won't say that the place I bought it lied,but they sure didn't tell all they knew. Not that this will relate to you specifically but I hope some part of it will help. Many places offer classes to help with your purchases. Something else to consider. Good luck!

WS

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Whopper,

Excellent info! Didn't think about that being a problem.

What did you do? Did you get a new computer?

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I am still chewing on it. I have about 4 hours of video and I am not sure yet what I am going to do. In my case there is a place that for $30 per hour will edit and burn it for me in HD. I just wish I would have had more time to investigate better what I was getting into. We had planned the trip for about 4 years but I didn't decide on the movie camera until about a month before we left. I also should have gotten it a lot sooner from the stand point of practicing more with it. In my case I may have been better off spending the grand on a better camera instead of the video camera. That's what going off half baked will do to yeah! \:\)

WS

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I have one with the Mini DV tapes, and it works well. Transferring the video to the computer is a little cumbersome, but word is the quality of the video is better than you get with a hard drive or Mini DVD. I'm not sure how much better it is. The Mini DV recorders generally run a little cheaper.

If you go the Mini DV route, you'll need video editing software to capture the video. I'd say you probably have software on your computer that will do it already, either Windows Moviemaker or some version of Nero. Also, you'll need a firewire cable as well, as most of the recorders don't come with one. They come with a USB cable, but that just works to transfer pictures (versus captured video) to your computer. I'd suggest NOT buying this cable from one of the big box retailers in the area. They are much, much cheaper on line.

Once you get the video captured to your computer, you can pretty much do with it what you want, burn it to a DVD, edit, etc. If your computer is only a few years old, you should be fine. The captured video does take up a lot of space, however, so you may have to get a new hard drive for the necessary capacity. If you have 40 or 50 GB free on your current computer, you should be fine for a little while. I think an hour of video is 12 GB, but I can’t swear to that.

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USB will work for Video no problem if the camera has that hook up.

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How useful is the remote control?

How about using the analog input?

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 Quote:
How useful is the remote control?

Very useful ;\)

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I just bought a Mini recorder (mini tape) The quality is great. However you need a Firewire connection to download it n a computer. This varies by manufacturer and model so ask the question.

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If you want to edit the video and burn it to DVD get the mini DV. When you transfer it to your computer it is raw video (avi). Much easier to edit. Down to the frame level. The record to dvd type the video is already converted to mpeg format. Mpeg doesn't edit well and is already compressed. Avi is what you want for NLE -non linier editing. Movie maker that comes with XP works resonably well. I use Sony Movie Maker Platnium. For downloading firewire is the way to go for streaming video. USB is ok for photos. You can get a firewire card for about $30. One hour of avi is 18gb. It's a 1:1 download. 1 hour of video takes 1 hour to download. you need at least 1gb of ram to run things right.

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Great info! Lots of answers to questions that I didn't even know to ask.

Does avi look any better (or worse) than mpeg on your TV or computer?

So, no real favorites among the brands/models under $500?

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No. Anytime you burn a DVD it will be convertd to mpeg. That is the DVD format. Avi is raw video. Most cameras allow you to play the mini dv tape from the camera to a tv via a rca style cord. There is software that will take your video and make a dvd for you. Such as Click to DVD that is packaged with a Sony Vaio computer. And there are many NLE softwares that allow you to transfer the video and edit it. That way you can place the chapter markers where you want them. You can name the chapter and have a still photo or video clip running in the chapter window from the video content in that chapter. You can add music in the background, voiceovers and sound effects. Fade-ins and outs. Intermix photo's with video. Text overlays. Speedup or slow-mo the video. Try windows movie maker. It's free. It just doesn't work well with large projects.

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I have a JVC GRD-770 that set me back less than $250, which I bought for Christmas. It works really well and is really user friendly. It uses MiniDV tapes. Most cameras are going to be pretty easy to use, though, and most will have pretty similiar options within the same price range.

The still-frame camera isn't the greatest, but most in this price range aren't, however. Don't buy the video camera to be your still-shot camera, if you don't have one already. In this price range, the quality just isn't there.

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Anyone buy "the extended warranty" the box stores offer?

About $100 for the drop it or dunk it coverage...

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I didn't on my Canon HV10 but that is me. I have read enough about extended warranties to know the odds are in your favor of never having to use them. With that said the two made enemies of the video cameras are dropping and moisture. With today’s cameras being as small as they are dropping one is a very real probability. Also with today’s active outdoors people moisture is a concern. Gone are the days of shooting film of the family in the living room sitting around visiting. Now we want to catch them water skiing, snowmobile jumping, dirt bike racing or any of the other multitudes of activities were besides some neat video we might even win some big bucks on TV with it. Anyway, point being it is a personal decision on the extended warranties. One that you have to determine based on past history, budget, and luck.

WS

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