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Thread: HD and HDD buying advice

  1. #1

    Default HD and HDD buying advice

    Hi, I've been using camcorders for several years, and am looking to buy a new device. I currently use a Canon DC100, which has been my first experience of using DVD after previously using mini-DV format. Although the Canon is small and light, I have been disappointed with the quality of the recording once it has been transferred from camera to PC, and then burned to DVD.
    I have a HD TV, and so am planning to buy a HD camcorder. However I would liek some advice:
    1) How much hassle is it to record in HD and then burn onto Std DVD, since I donlt have a HD DVD burner or player. I realise that to get the best of the HD quality I need to play directly from the camera to my TV, and ultimately I plan to buy a HD DVD burner and player.
    2) Should I go for a HDD camcorder or go back to mini-DV? HDD seems convenient in that it is easy to just copy to my PC hard-disk. But does the quality suffer when you edit the movie, as when recording onto the cameras HDD, I undertsand the picture is compressed and so quality suffers?

    Sorry for all the questions, but couldn't seem to find a forum that covered these topics. Tried search, but got nothing....

    Many thanks for any help and advice you can give!

  2. #2

    Default

    Most hard drive camcorders record in mpeg2 so you'll really end up with the samw quilty as a dvd cam, Personaly I would stick with mini dv, unless you can affoed a p2 hd cam ( last time I checked a p2 card was about $1200.00)
    Wil

    Software Used:
    TGV Edius 6, TGV ProCoder 3, DVD Lab Pro. 2

    http://www.youtube.com/user/ChapmanProduction

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Tea View Post
    1) How much hassle is it to record in HD and then burn onto Std DVD, since I donlt have a HD DVD burner or player. I realise that to get the best of the HD quality I need to play directly from the camera to my TV, and ultimately I plan to buy a HD DVD burner and player.
    Not much hassle at all, or some hassle, depending on the workflow you take, and how good your kit is, or how deep your pockets are.

    When you record footage in the HDV format using a HDV camcorder the expected route to take is to edit the footage in HDV format. There are a couple of approaches to HDV editing. The first is to use a very fast PC and edit the HDV footage natively using a fairly modern programme, eg Premiere Elements 3.0 or Premiere Pro 2.0 and above. The second is to use an intermediate codec such as Aspect HD offered by plugin manufacturer Cineform (http://www.cineform.com/products/Aspect-Prospect.htm). The intermediate codec approach is less CPU intensive than editing natively, but requires more hard drive space.

    Your edited HDV project can then be loaded back to an empty tape on your HDV camera and then hooked up to your HD-ready TV for viewing (assuming your camcorder and HD TV share connection methods - not all HDV camcorders have a HDMI connector). Or when you can afford them, you can burn the completed HDV project to a HD/Blueray disk and play them back using a HD/Blueray DVD player. Until then you could also burn your HDV project in standard definition format to a standard definition DVD - the editing software will perform a downconvert to achieve this.

    Another approach is to record footage in HDV format as before, but edit in standard definition. Most HDV cameras have a built in HDV to SD downconverter function. This function allows you to transfer your HDV footage (via firewire) to your PC as SD quality. Your PC will edit the footage as a traditional SD project. No need for computer upgrades here, but your finished edited project can only ever be output in SD - you have no HD options at all. Of course, the original HDV footage will still be on the camcorder tapes, so you will be able to reimport it at a later date and edit it in an HDV project.

    You might even be able to create a batch capture file from the completed SD project to help when reimporting the footage at HDV quality (or at least I hope that you can, because I have been contemplating using that method myself).

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Tea View Post
    2) Should I go for a HDD camcorder or go back to mini-DV? HDD seems convenient in that it is easy to just copy to my PC hard-disk. But does the quality suffer when you edit the movie, as when recording onto the cameras HDD, I undertsand the picture is compressed and so quality suffers?
    That's an easy one. Choose miniDV at the moment. The list of reasons is too long - just trust us. If you like the 'convenience' of hard drive transfer then consider budgeting for one of these: Focus Enhancements

    Good luck!


    Witty signature text coming soon...

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks for the advice, much appreciated.
    I am still troubled by the differences between HardDiskDrive and miniDV tape. I understand that the compression used on HDD means that you lose some quality, but the convenience of ease of transfer to PC and direct to DVD options plus the ability to easily view recorded scenes directly on the camera without needing to rewind the tape seem like importaqnt factors.
    Does the AVCHD codec that is used by Sony on its HD HDD camcorders (SR5) reduce the loss of quality compared to MPEG2?
    Thanks for the help!

  5. Default

    HDD has compression to store digitally on the hardrive and save space. Have you ever noticed when you import via miniDV it takes up gobs of hard drive space? That is because its imported RAW, there is no compression. The only compression that would exist would be from when the camera actually filmed and stored it onto the tape. At least to my knowledge. I do not use HDD camcorders for this reason, plus I'd like to store my information and what I create on easily storable tapes for future use. It's easier to hit the delete key on an HDD camcorder than a miniDV =P

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