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Thread: Dilemna - advice required

  1. #1

    Default Dilemna - advice required

    My son wants a camcorder for Christmas.

    I am debating the pro's and con's of Mini DV tape, DVD camcorder, and Hard Disc Drive. I have a little knowledge of video and editing but technology has moved on quite a bit since I spent any significant amount of time playing with video.

    As I understand it, and please correct me if I am wrong;

    With a Mini DV tape machine, he will have to play his tape into his PC (via capture software) if he wants to edit any footage. For editing, again some editing software is required, and I imagine there will be a cheap program bundled with whatever camcorder he gets. However, I have Adobe Premiere (6.5) so this should not be a problem. Capture software may be included in the bundle. In particular I am looking at the Sony DCR HC-51.

    With DVD disc format, if he wants to edit any footage, again it will need transferring to his PC, but being a VOB file he will need some software to split this into avi and wav tracks before importing them to a program such as Premiere for editing. For this format I am looking at the Sony DCR-DVD 110.

    With a Hard Disc Drive camcorder, the footage is recorded direct to a drive in the camera in MPEG2 format. This can be copied direct to PC (via DV connection). Not sure how this would be split into separate video/audio tracks, or whether it would need to be. Can anyone confirm this please?
    For this format camcorder I am considering the JVC Everio GZ-MG333 (which is a bit more expensive but has a 30 cash back offer). This format seems more straightforward with regard to transferring a file / files to the PC for editing. However, MPEG2 has already been compressed so any editing and converting/finalising to MPEG will mean a bit more loss of quality.

    Am I correct in my understanding?
    Is there anything else I should be considering?

    Thanks in anticipation.

  2. #2


    Hi Jemmo.
    Personnaly i wouldn't bother with tape or dvd anymore, the workflow is too slow.
    Hard drive is a different matter, i currently have 2 hard drive camcorders and a camera which records onto memory card but that's a different beast altogether.

    With a hard drive camcorder there's no need to "capture" the footage to your pc, all you need to do is plug the camera into your pc, via usb, and then your pc will see the camera as just another hard drive. All you do is go into that "new " drive, select the files then just right click and copy them to the pc.
    The files will then copy across very fast.
    Remove camera, open editing program, edit.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Bristol uk
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    I think the cam you mention is an ideal first camera.

    The dv foramt is mature and fuss free to use and edit. The advantages PK speaks of are probably not that important to someone just starting out.

  4. #4


    PK - thanks for the info on the hard drive camera, but with regard to editing, am I correct in thinking that the output format is mpeg? I tried editing an mpeg file last night and it was veeeery sloooow. But then that have been McAfee virus Scan kicking in and taking up all the processing power. Is there any significant/noticable loss of quality after editing and then being output to final movie?

    Mark W - thanks also for the reply. Yes for the price the Mini DV cam looks favourite, but the JVC Everio also sounds useful. The only thing that would put me off is my lack of knowledge - hence the query regarding loss of quality. Also, there are few being sold on ebay that are 'faulty'. Unfortunately there's no info about about what caused them to become faulty i.e. mistreatment, misuse, or just component failure. And I guess the newer the technology, the more expensive to fix.

    So at the moment the dilemna is reduced to the Sony Mini DV cam or the JVC Everio hard drive cam.

    Am I right in thinking that camcorders these days come with some sort of editing software?

    Someone, convince me?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Bristol uk
    Blog Entries


    Mpeg 2 from h drive cams is more compressed than DV tape so it is a tiny bit less good quality wise and much more clunky to edit.

    Editing s ware that is supplied is universally numpty - 30 to 50 quid will get you something light years better - vegas for example.

    Editing a file will not reduce it's quality - if it is done right.

  6. #6


    Cheers Mark.

    'Editing a file will not reduce it's quality - if it is done right.'

    I guess the trick is to use the correct codec when converting back to final mpeg?
    (Something I've never been 100% happy with. Bring back VHS! lol)

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