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> Buying A Video Camera... But I Know Nothing About Them!
Fran
post Jul 2 2008, 11:01 PM
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Vacation time is near, and I'm thinking of getting a video camera, both to shoot some silly vacation vids, but also to maybe record some guitar stuff and post some small vids on youtube and whatnot...

But... I know NOTHING about video cameras unsure.gif

I did some research and there seem to be three kinds: Mini DV (they record on a small digital tape), DVD (they record on a small size DVD), and HD (They record on... surprise!... HD).

I don't want to spend much on a video camera, won't use it that often, and I'm unsure what to get. I guess HD cameras are the best, but they are quite pricey. The ones that use miniDV seem old, and the ones that use DVD might be good... but I have some doubts:

What kind of file do these cameras record the movie in? normal .mpg? .avi? Other strange kind of file? wacko.gif

I'd like a file that is easy to transfer to the computer so I can upload/change it's format easily. Is that possible with any kind of camera?

Can you take a movie from a mini DV camera and put it on your hard drive as an mpg? And from a DVD camera?

Too many questions, I'll stop now laugh.gif


Long question short: what camera to get for a newbie who wants to upload some stuff on youtube and shoot some vacation clips?


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Hisham Al-Sanea
post Jul 2 2008, 11:09 PM
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panasonic is the best choice. you can connect the video camera to your PC by USB or to capture the video
to your PC after that you can use windows movie maker/adobe primier/pinacle one from these soft wares to montage your movies or clips


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Jul 2 2008, 11:22 PM
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You might find this helpful Fran.

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MickeM
post Jul 2 2008, 11:44 PM
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I was also browsing for a cam and eas under the impression that a HD cam would be the best, which it probaly is qualitywise but the salesman explained to me that I can't burn it onto a regular DVD and play it. I have to have a PS3 (so I recon it requires a blueray) and if not I have to use the camera to connect to the TV to watch my recordings.

I've noticed my old brick camera was very good for recording when it was dark, my newer Hi8 cam was lousy. Picture went skippy and blurred and nightvision is just black/green like a dreadful IBM AS/400. Not fun when recording the kids schoolplay and shows since it's nearly impossible.
One salesman said all cameras are like that if you want to record in the dark. The newer and smaller the less night quality shots according to him. ...I don't know. For my next cam (I got sick and tired of looking and gave up) I will check for a descent lux/lumen/candela whatever value for good night recording.

Also, a must is a Harddrive in the camera and that it has a USB connection so it's easy to bring the film onto the computer.

About the youtube there are cameras that record in what they call "youtube format". Beats me what that is, got it in our Canon snapshot that can also record flicks.

- Harddrive
- USB
- Good specs on shooting in darkness


Hope you find a good one!


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Bogdan Radovic
post Jul 2 2008, 11:55 PM
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I would suggest MiniDV cam , it records on tape and than you can transfer it in your computer using firewire connection (in real time though)...DVD cams make dvd discs so its cool that way, but than it gets pretty difficult(and takes time) to convert such files in different format for editing etc..HD ones I guess save files on hard drive in .avi or mpg format..That seems very interesting option and fastest one...All those 1CCD cams will perform similar for your purpose so choose what you like wink.gif


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Fran
post Jul 2 2008, 11:59 PM
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Thanks guys for the advice/links.

I'm doing loads of reading, can't believe this topic is so dense! How can the rest of teh world upload stuff on youtube so easily! It takes a rocket scientist to figure out what format these different makers store their files in!

I was finally looking at a hard drive nice JVC, but then I find out they store the files in MOD format, which seems to be the same thing as mpg if you just rename it! Now how weird is that?!

The ones that record on mini DVD are not really good as they store the files as .VOB (like dvd films), and I wouldn't like having to convert them to .mpg (to upload the on youtube).

Then we have the miniDV (tape) recorders... and these ones seem to need a firewire connection, which I don't have (First thing I ever find to need a firewire! haven't these people heard of USB 2.0!!?)

OMG, can't believe it's so complicated. I guess my easiest solution is to get a hard drice recorder that actually records in .mpg directly, if such thing exists!, but then again, they are a bit pricey... at least for a camera that I won't use that much in the first place.



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blindwillie
post Jul 3 2008, 12:31 AM
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Avoid JVC if you can.
They have a history of being bricked after the guarantee expired. It just gives a cryptical error number, google for "E03 safeguard mode". Some gets E01, E04 or E05 but it's the same problem. Lots of ppl have ended up with nice JVC bricks, I'm one of them sad.gif It's just abit more than 2 years old and have been running for less then 10 hours in total, counting filming and transfering to a computer.
The time and cost to fix it makes it better to go and buy a new of another brand. They have been sued for it and settled for a deal to avoid a trial.

/edit: Oh. I didn't notice the fact that you don't want a miniDV, which I presumed. I would suggest a miniDV or some of the new HD-cams. Anyway, I will never buy a JVC of any kind again.

This post has been edited by blindwillie: Jul 3 2008, 12:36 AM


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Bogdan Radovic
post Jul 3 2008, 12:35 AM
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Buying firewire psi card that you insert in your computer is very cheap , like 15$ wink.gif
Its a great connection...


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Fran
post Jul 3 2008, 12:42 AM
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QUOTE (blindwillie @ Jul 3 2008, 01:31 AM) *
Avoid JVC if you can.
They have a history of being bricked after the guarantee expired. It just gives a cryptical error number, google for "E03 safeguard mode".


Ouch! I'll stay away from JVC then sad.gif

QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Jul 3 2008, 01:35 AM) *
Buying firewire psi card that you insert in your computer is very cheap , like 15$ wink.gif
Its a great connection...


Problem is I usually work with laptops, and I'm afraid I can't get a firewire card for a laptop. Besides having to wait the length of the film to put it in the hard drive seems like a drawback. Will investigate the firewire adapters for laptops though, just in case.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jul 3 2008, 12:51 AM
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Take the miniDV mate, it is far the best option. Firewire PCI expansion card is very cheap as well.


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Bogdan Radovic
post Jul 3 2008, 01:33 AM
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Well its a set back having to wait for transfer from miniDV to computer but remember that miniDV is a great format - still very much in use today for professional work (tv stations etc)....
Newer laptops should also feature firewire slots...


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MickeM
post Jul 3 2008, 05:43 AM
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QUOTE (blindwillie @ Jul 3 2008, 01:31 AM) *
Avoid JVC if you can.
They have a history of being bricked after the guarantee expired. It just gives a cryptical error number, google for "E03 safeguard mode". Some gets E01, E04 or E05 but it's the same problem. Lots of ppl have ended up with nice JVC bricks, I'm one of them sad.gif It's just abit more than 2 years old and have been running for less then 10 hours in total, counting filming and transfering to a computer.
The time and cost to fix it makes it better to go and buy a new of another brand. They have been sued for it and settled for a deal to avoid a trial.

/edit: Oh. I didn't notice the fact that you don't want a miniDV, which I presumed. I would suggest a miniDV or some of the new HD-cams. Anyway, I will never buy a JVC of any kind again.

I have a JVC that broke in that way too but they fixed it at no cost after the warranty time had run our. They told me it was such a common error they had to. I also found the error code on the internet together with instructions how to get it fixed and we managed right in time before the free period had passed. I think the last day the did it for free was Dec 31 -07
The problem if I remember well was with the shutter. But like you say, no more JVC.


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blindwillie
post Jul 3 2008, 10:28 AM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Jul 3 2008, 06:43 AM) *
I have a JVC that broke in that way too but they fixed it at no cost after the warranty time had run our. They told me it was such a common error they had to. I also found the error code on the internet together with instructions how to get it fixed and we managed right in time before the free period had passed. I think the last day the did it for free was Dec 31 -07
The problem if I remember well was with the shutter. But like you say, no more JVC.

Hmmm, OK. I was unlucky with a stupid dealer. I showed them the cam and all he said was "It seems broken. That was a strange message. Wonder what it means". I told him I was aware of the problem and that it was being common and that my warranty had run out, and asked how we could settle this. All he said was "No that would be expensive". Well, duh!
I don't remember the date for free repair, what you said is probably correct but we got the error too late, and if I remember it right our cam was to new to be covered by it anyway.

Great info about it being a shutter problem, thanks, but I don't care about that cam or JVC anymore. I'll buy a new one. Probably a Sony or Panasonic. From another store tongue.gif

This post has been edited by blindwillie: Jul 3 2008, 10:31 AM


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Andrew Cockburn
post Jul 3 2008, 01:01 PM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Jul 2 2008, 06:44 PM) *
I was also browsing for a cam and eas under the impression that a HD cam would be the best, which it probaly is qualitywise but the salesman explained to me that I can't burn it onto a regular DVD and play it.


One slight add to that Micke - any type of video can be converted to any format with some effort. If you want something you can take straight out of your camera and just sling in your DVD player and watch, the sales guy was absolutely right, but I would always edit my video anyway - cut scenes and maybe add captions etc. When you have done this with an editor such as Sony Vegas, you have a wide choice of export formats, and DVD is almost always an option with all software - the software will do the conversion for you.

So, although HD can only be represented fully on Blu Ray, or in HiDef computer files, you can get it onto DVD quite easily. DVD, quality wise falls between HD and regular def video cameras like the other models mentioned. If you convert footage from a regular camera to DVD you won't get full DVD quality. If you convert HD to DVD you will get full DVD quality, although it will be a little lower quality than the HD camera is ultimately capable of if you burn it to BluRay instead.


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SinoMan
post Jul 3 2008, 02:37 PM
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Just say away from DVD camcorder. Bad quality video, hard to edit.

If price is an issue, get a miniDV.

If speed and ease of copying to PC is an issue, get a HDD camcorder.

Brands? Sony or Panasonic.

'nuff said.

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Fran
post Jul 3 2008, 03:19 PM
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Ok, taking everything you guys told me and loads of reading around the net, it seems that the only camera thet doesn't need a firewire and records in mpg directly are Sony Hard drive cameras!

I found a nice one with a 40 GB harddrive, worth around 400 €, which is more that I intended to spend. I wouldn't mind getting a miniDV if only they didn't use firewire... my laptops don't have firewire.


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Andrew Cockburn
post Jul 3 2008, 03:29 PM
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In my experience, Sony products are usually worth the extra if you can afford it ...


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Nighthawk1
post Jul 3 2008, 03:40 PM
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QUOTE (Andrew Cockburn @ Jul 3 2008, 04:29 PM) *
In my experience, Sony products are usually worth the extra if you can afford it ...

I really can confirm that !You can't go wrong with Sony!
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Fran
post Jul 3 2008, 03:45 PM
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I agree, I like Sony, I usually buy most my stuff from Sony and Samsung. Didn't want to spend so much on a camera though, but I guess it's better to get something good once rather than buying some crappy thing and having to buy another one later than the road...

This post has been edited by Fran: Jul 3 2008, 03:46 PM


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Caelumamittendum
post Jul 3 2008, 03:46 PM
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So, I may as well go for it on this topic as well. I have a question on how to record videos as well.

Recording with my old, old webcam with the guitar through line-in gives an alright sound, but not so good video quality. Recording both video and sound with my camera (for photos) I get good videos and good sound, but they take up about 16 megabytes per minute. That's a bit too much. I have tried recording the video with the camera and sound through line-in. That leaves me with two different files that are kinda hard to sync up - and it is a bit of a weird way of doing it.

So, how do you guys do it? And is a normal camera (for filming) connectable to the computer and then you can record the video with good quality from the camera as well as good sound quality through the line in?

Did that make any sense at all? I hope it does!


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