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Thread: Start-up questions for a noble cause

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Portsmouth, NH USA

    Default Start-up questions for a noble cause

    I am volunteer for our local Hospice and heading up what I call The Legacy Project. The Legacy Project helps a dying patient star in a video that passes on their legacy: an ethical will, family history, or other message for prosperity. The video is their gift to family, friends, and future generations. I expect well be using Adobe Premier Elements as our NLE (but Im also looking at PowerDirector). I'm new at this and will be asking your help from time to time.

    I expect to keep things simple; I will not be looking for Hollywood-like videos. They'll be a patient in a bed or chair and a off screen interviewer to help the patient along (they'll all have some diminished capacity). Raw video will be shot over several sessions and then edited to put them all together, add a title, perhaps some other 'titles' at major transitions in content, and credits. I'll want to add chapters (scene selections) as well. I'm leaning towards Adobe because our needs may grow over time and I want to grow within the software without major re-training.

    With that background I have several questions.

    1. We are thinking of buying a consumer camcorder in the $500 range. We believe a DVD-based system would be best. It eliminates the need for a USB or firewire download, would simplify managing several projects at a time, and provide an archive of sorts. Is this wise?

    2. What do you think about choosing a NLE? We realize that the world will change as will our needs. HiDef, BluRay, more or different projects but we will never become a professional shop.

    That's it for now. As we learn more we'll learn what we don't know and I'll be back. Don't hesitate to volunteer information (even questions or considerations) you think I should have. Thanks for your help with this noble cause.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006


    Hi Jack,

    That is a very noble cause indeed, and I tip my hat to you.

    Premiere Elements will more than meet your needs. It would be my choice over Power Director. Elements enjoys a lot more support from communities such as this because of its greater popularity.

    I wouldn't choose a DVD-based camera though. These forums are full of queries and problems associated with the transfer and editing of DVD-based footage. The general consensus seems to be that miniDV tape-based cameras still offer the greatest ease of transfer and editing. The footage tends to be better quality too.

    $500 should buy a good camera. Anything from Sony, Panasonic and Canon should suit your needs.

    Just one consideration.

    Be mindful of the limitations of some of the onboard microphones with some of the budget models. Some are prone to picking up the hum of the cameras tape transport noise, and this can ruin quiet 'interview' type footage. Some of the Canon models have been slated for this. So ensure that the camera you buy has a socket for an external mic, and build one into your budget. Even a relatively cheap tie-clip microphone (discreetly positioned) will be an improvement over the camera's inbuilt one.

    An inexpensive tripod will help too.

    Don't let firewire transfer put you off. It is relatively straightforward, and the tape will provide you with that permanent archive you are looking for.

    This is a good site for camcorder reviews:

    Camcorders - Independent Camcorder Reviews, Ratings & Comparisons

    Good luck.

    PS - That's a beard and a half that is!
    Last edited by bert6280; 05-15-2007 at 06:16 PM.

  3. #3


    Bert is right there, avoid DVD recorders, best to go for minidv tape...a tripod is a must...and as stated...if you can get a lapel mic, doesn't even have to be wireless, even better for the audio.

    I'll echo what Bert has said, an very noble and worthwhile cause...good luck with your filming.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Portsmouth, NH USA

    Default Thanks. Here is how I now stand on these issues.

    Bert and torby,

    Thanks for your input.

    I made the false assumption that the miniDVD could be read by my PC as a form of video captue and I liked that. Now it is off the table. Currently I'm taken with the Panasonic PV-GS320: 3CCDs, good optics, good reviews but no mic-in (what were they thinking). The message in these videos is virtually all audio and if I need to trade off video for audio, I will but I want it all. I had planned to use a lavalier mic for better audio especially since the patient may be weak. I will be able to control ambient noise and the camera will be less than 10 feet away I wonder if I can live with the built-in mic. The previous model, the now discontinued GS300, has the same 3 CCD and good optics but is less rugged and a generation older (missing some features that aren't on my requirements list) but its MSRP was $200 higher than the GS320. Some GS300s can still be had but in spite of the fact they are discontinued the retail price is still based on the original MSRP. I can buy the current model for less than the discontinued one, go figure.

    I had always planned to use a tripod.

    As for the NLE, I had considered geting something like PowerDirector that was supposedly easier to learn and use and did some things with 'wizards'. But I didn't know how much to trust the reviews. I was also considering Premier Elements because I heard it had many of the featurs of its big brother Premier Pro, that Adobe is a big guy and not going away, and that in my opinion Adobe will not abandon video post production. I felt that Elements had the feature we needed and more but if necessary we could move up to Pro while retaining our knowledge and experience with elements. I had not considered the availability of forums about Premier; Bert, you were spot on.

    I have some more questions on different issues but I'll leave them for another topic. Again, thank you both.


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