MiniDV Question

Saturday, June 28, 2003 3:44 PM
Hey guys, I'm planning on buying a vid camera this week so I can take it to some parks with me and use it for many other things. I haven't bought one before so I'm lost for what to look for. I'm looking for something good, that I can easily edit, and around the 700-900$ range. Any suggestions? Thanks!

I was looking at this one mainly: http://www.bestbuy.com/detail.asp?e=11203976&m=1&cat=33&scat=36

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Saturday, June 28, 2003 3:49 PM
Id go with a sony DCR TRV 19, or the 22 model. Sony camcorders provide awesome video quality, and I find them very easy to use. The mentioned models are also small and not that expensive. They are a great bargain in my mind! Go check em out.

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"AHHH!! Oh wait, we didnt drop yet"

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Saturday, June 28, 2003 3:52 PM
Yes Blitz, but when editing them you have to use their software and I hear that it's a piece of (insert bad word here).

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Saturday, June 28, 2003 4:57 PM
I'd recommend the DCR TRV 33. Its better than the 19 and 22 and $800 (http://www.circuitcity.com/detail.jsp?c=1&b=g&qp=0&bookmark=bookmark_0&oid=71294&catoid=-8038).
And also pick up Ulead video studio the best intermediate editing software around (www.ulead.com)
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Saturday, June 28, 2003 6:12 PM
I have, and would strongly reccommend, the Canon Elura 50.

I hear that the video on that specific JVC camcorder is actually subpar, and some people complain about Sonys and compatibility issues, though others don't seem to mind.

Now, the Elura, in my mind, is the best because it is incredibly small, and the video quality is really good, with an exception. Don't think about taking video in the dark. If you plan to video rides, or outside primarily, the Elura is a great choice. For darker places, you may have an issue.

That said, you really have to take the size into account. The Elura is so small that it basically fits in any pocket around any restraint (unlike even my regular digi-cam.)

Also, don't worry about stills. They're sort of an afterthought on most camcorders, and you're never going to get anything great out of any of them.

Oh, and you can probably find the Elura for $7-800.

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"Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation." - David St. Hubbins, Spinal Tap
http://www.loopscrew.com

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Saturday, June 28, 2003 6:28 PM
The problem I have with extremely small cams like the Elura and even the new Sony's is that they are simply too small for my hands. I'm a HUGE fan of Sony, and highly recommend them to anyone and everyone. Don't worry about the editing problem, as long as you get a MiniDV cam, instead of an MV. The MV is Sony's own type of format, which I'm not a huge fan of. Recent editing programs are now supporting it though. I use Adobe Premiere and have had absolutely no problems capturing video.. and Infact, it's easier than you'd believe!

The only cam's I would recommend getting are from Sony or a Canon, as I personally would never buy a JVC or any other brand.

If you'd like to save acouple hundred dollars, check out a Canon ZR series (45's are nice). They're great cam's for a pretty decent price.

If your planning on taking any sort of onride, get a wide angle lense. It widens the field of view and greatly smooths out alot of minor bumps during the ride. You wouldn't believe the diffrence until you actually see it.

Make sure that you've got a firewire card too, as you won't beable to upload any video (of highquality anyway) to your computer.

Hope this helps.

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Corey
"This is America! We speak English not jive!"
*** This post was edited by rOLLocOASt 6/28/2003 10:36:51 PM ***

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Saturday, June 28, 2003 7:27 PM
That said, don't take any cameras on the rides... :)

I have big hands, and can sort of see where you're coming from with that issue, but it doesn't really stop me. Frankly, I'd rather have the camera that can fit in my pocket without any problem (so I can take the camera in line for rides and not have to worry about lockers), than the camera that may be a bit bigger and a bit easier to use.

Oh, and yes, make sure you have a firewire port sitting around somewhere on your computer for editing, and if you plan to use the camera a lot, an extra hard drive can't hurt much. I was stunned at how fast my hard drive space went from about 40 free gigs to about 0.

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"Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation." - David St. Hubbins, Spinal Tap
http://www.loopscrew.com

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Saturday, June 28, 2003 7:34 PM
I use a specially designed fanny pack to hold my cam. It's better than any pocket, and its quite fashinable! With a bright yellow ACE shirt, a blue fanny pack, and a pink shoes, you'll be the talk of the park! ;)

And just for the record, my camcorder is safer strapped on my hand than anywhere else.. as demostrated at SFoG earlier this year.... but we won't get into that ;)
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Corey
"This is America! We speak English not jive!"

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Saturday, June 28, 2003 7:49 PM
First of all, don't even consider Sony's MicroMV format. It's Sony proprietary, and worst of all it is MPEG-2 based. MPEG-2 is fine for finished work (it's used for DVD encoding, for crying out loud!) but for editing it's pretty awful for technical reasons unless it's all P-frames, which it typically isn't. To edit it, the video has to be decompressed, edited, and recompressed, and that recompression is going to introduce artifacts into the video that you really don't want.

Go with DV-25, which means either Mini-DV or Digital 8. That gives you decent compression in an industry standard video format that can be edited easily and at high quality. Because it is a format designed for editing, it can be edited without recompression (except when you add effects) which means higher quality source material before you compress to MPEG-2 for DVD or MPEG-4 for the web, or whatever.

I-Nar mentions drive space...to properly edit DV-25, you should use a DV-native editing program, such as iMovie or Final Cut or Avid DV (Avid FreeDV is coming Real Soon Now...) or any number of other packages. Again, you want to avoid recompression if at all possible!! Trouble is, DV-25 is 25 megabits per second, meaning that a DV stream is going to be 4:59 per gigabyte. That's four minutes, fifty-nine seconds per gigabyte. Yes, you want a HUGE disk drive.

As for cameras, which is what the original question was about, if you're looking at major manufacturers, the differences between them are not terribly significant anymore. Look for good optics and the selection of features you want. Digital zoom is useless. Stills may or may not be useful to you. One thing to consider if you have a collection of older video...ask if the unit will "transcode"...that is, can you play your legacy video (VHS, 8mm, Hi-8, whatever) into the camera and run it directly into your computer without recording it on DV tape first? You may find that feature useful.

Finally, on the subject of wide angle lenses...

I don't have one myself, and I haven't used one. But I'm pretty intrigued by this 0.3x lens from Royal Lens. It's the smallest wide angle converter I have ever seen...only 1/4" thick instead of two or three inches long like the Sony version. It was designed for skydiving, but it looks perfect for roller coasters as well. I haven't been able to justify buying one yet, but if I start doing projects in 16:9 it may be necessary to allow for the cropping...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Saturday, June 28, 2003 7:57 PM
IMO 0.3 is "too much" wide angle for normal use.. That is almost fisheye, which when used as as normal lense looks quite odd. Sony does offer wide angle's that size though, although they're alot harder to find than the VCL-6030 (the normal Sony wide angle used by enthusiasts).

I do have a 0.15 semi fisheye that is about that size though and I love it :)

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Corey
"This is America! We speak English not jive!"

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Saturday, June 28, 2003 9:17 PM
Okay, I'm glad that I can get Sony and not have to worry about that extra editing crap. So basically I should just look at all the different features available and see whats best?......
Another question I have though is, if I'm going to be editing the videos myself, what are some of the features that I can add in there and not need in the camera? Basically, I want to take it to parks; shoot some good, quality film; bring it home; and edit it to make it look nice. What are some things I won't need?

Edit: And if I don't have a firewire port and little hard drive space left, would this be something good to buy aswell? http://www.compusa.com/products/product_info.asp?product%5Fcode=295005&pfp=cat3

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ALL NEW COASTER SITE!
www.coasterinsomniacs.com
*** This post was edited by Darth Saambe 6/29/2003 1:21:02 AM ***

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Saturday, June 28, 2003 9:51 PM
If you don't have a Firewire on your computer, that really won't do you too much good -- you still need to be able to connect the camera directly to the computer itself so that the software can read and write the video to/from the camera.

Internal IDE drives are dirt cheap. When I bought my MiniDV (an Elura 40, which I'm very happy with) I also bought a 100 gig hard drive to throw in my computer for an additional $99. I've seen them for even less since. Of course, then you have to know how to install it, AND you need an open IDE device on the controller -- not a problem on my RAID motherboard, but possibly problematic on modern computers decked out with a hard drive, CDRW, and Zip drive...

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--Greg, aka Oat Boy
My page
"Another visitor. Stay a while. Stay FOREVER!"

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Saturday, June 28, 2003 11:00 PM
Woo! Fellow Canon owner!

If you don't have a firewire port, chances are good that you won't have USB 2.0 ports either. If you have the old USB 1.1, you can put more video on an external hard drive, but it may take like a day or so. By the way, you can't just tell the difference by looking at the port.

Besides, you'll need Firewire anyway to simply get the video from the camcorder to the computer. Your best bet is to get a firewire card for somewhere around $50, and to delicately jam it into a PCI port somewhere. Then get an external hard drive (which, although expensive, are really convenient, easy to install, and hot-swappable) that uses the firewire port. The card you buy will definately have more than one.

Edit: Just curious, to Greg & Corey: Do you use a different recording setting? (I.E. Sports)

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"Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation." - David St. Hubbins, Spinal Tap
http://www.loopscrew.com
*** This post was edited by I-Nar 6/29/2003 3:10:36 AM ***

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Saturday, June 28, 2003 11:42 PM
I-Nar - I don't. I have my settings set for auto most of the time.... Occationally I find that I can get a better picture by changing the settings manually, but that can be a pain in my anal cavity sometimes. I record in SP mode & 16bit sound, which I find to be perfect for parks. Plus, it's not like I'm filming a major motion picture here :)

Darth - I bought my firewire card for $35 at some random computer store and it works just as good as any other that is out there. They all do the same thing yaknow? If you've got limited fundage, get the cheapest firewire card you can find, and then get a 60+ (preferably more, but 60 will work fine) gig external harddrive that connects via firewire. If your computer is anything less than say 800mhz, you definitely need to consider A) a new, cheap computer (you can buy a decent E-machine for 4-500bucks), or B) upgrading your computer so it can handle editing video.

If that stuff is out of your price-range, you could A) go for a slightly cheaper-priced cam (like a Canon ZR 45, which I really like) and then put in the remaining funds into upgrades, or B) get a higher priced cam anyway, then upgrade at a later date.

Just remember, even if your not editing video right away, you'll still enjoy watching the raw footage. I watch mine constantly!
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Corey
"This is America! We speak English not jive!"

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 4:26 AM
My Firewire card was $40. It's a PCI card with a ribbon cable, and a 3.5" drive bay that puts 3 firewire ports and 5 USB 2.0 ports on the front. My motherboard actually has USB 2.0 on it, but I use the front-panel ports more anyway except for the keyboard and mouse.

INar -- most of the time I just use Auto. I just got the Canon in April, though, and it's my first video camera, so I'm still learning...

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--Greg, aka Oat Boy
My page
"Another visitor. Stay a while. Stay FOREVER!"

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 6:23 AM
A) How do I check to see if I already have a Firewire card? (I may, I just don't know)

B) How do I check what kind of USB ports I have?

C) I'll probably need to buy an external hard drive because I have little room left on my comp.

I have a Dell Windows ME, BTW. Nice computer. (It works for everything I need.....so far)

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ALL NEW COASTER SITE!
www.coasterinsomniacs.com

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 1:39 PM
rollocoast, Don't recommend eMachines. Those things are the devil. Yes, they're cheap, but Mhz hardly means anything, because they'll give you a 2Ghz machine with a freaking Celeron for crying out loud.

I'll be venturing, full fledged, into the DV area next year (a little out of my price range this year). This winter will bring the arrival of a new computer so I'll be getting a 1Ghz or faster iMac with a large hard drive. Then I'll have all the requirements for a nice Canon DV cam in the spring (just in time for the coaster season).

w00t next year is gonna rock. Driving and expensive toys! :)

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SFNE Central v5- Online Six Flags New England Resource

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 1:50 PM
Darth Saambe said:
A) How do I check to see if I already have a Firewire card? (I may, I just don't know)
Chances are, if you're running Windows ME, you won't. But if you want to check, look for a port that looks sort of like USB except it has the corners cut off at one end. You also may want to look for this symbol: http://www.apple.com/firewire.

B) How do I check what kind of USB ports I have?
To my knowledge, you can't check. I learned the hard way when I bought an external drive for my laptop and during the installation it told me I don't have USB 2.0.

I have a Dell Windows ME, BTW. Nice computer. (It works for everything I need.....so far)
Any computer running ME is not a nice computer. :-P

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SFNE Central v5- Online Six Flags New England Resource

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 4:28 PM
Yeah, seriously, there are more benefits to getting XP though.

If you want a really simple editing program that can do a whole lot (add audio tracks, filters, transitions, titles, etc.), XP comes with a really nice FREE program called Windows Movie Maker. If you download the free update, it gives you a whole ton of nice features.

Some people say it is a little underfeatured (I don't use it, anymore), but if you're not looking to do anything too extreme, for the grand price of $0, it isn't a bad deal.

...And to G&C, I just bring the settings question up because my Elura's booklet says that 'Sports' is best for filming fast moving objects, like coasters. It also says that it 'may not look normal played back at normal speed,' which I consider really, really odd. I'm using auto anyway.

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"Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation." - David St. Hubbins, Spinal Tap
http://www.loopscrew.com

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Sunday, June 29, 2003 6:08 PM
Hmm...well I know for a fact I'm not gonna upgrade my computer to XP. Sorry.

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www.coasterinsomniacs.com

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