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Thread: Advice on a new camcorder

  1. #1

    Default Advice on a new camcorder

    Hi
    I have just buried my JVC camcorder. I used it on holiday getting loads of footage while at a Harley rally and riding around St Tropez.
    Returned home went to rewind the tape and the camcorder just ate the DAT tape. All my footage was gone, the camcorder would do nothing except eject all the tape i had. It is now dead...............really dead.


    I want to buy a new recorder and looking at the market there must be hundreds to choose from, so i am look for some first hand insight as to what i want.

    It must be relativley small (hand size), record to sd cards, high resolution, have the standard 1/4bsw camera mount, have a DV input. I am not fussed about what format it records in but it must have a good output Divx, Mpg2.
    If you think tape is better than SD cards then say so
    Also the controls want to be easy to use ie. switching on and off as i will be riding a bike as i recorde and would like to be able to switch the recording on and off easily.

    Any and all information will be gladly read
    Last edited by Hawkeye48; 05-13-2009 at 07:44 AM.

  2. #2

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    Hi Hawkeye

    As you know there are plenty of cameras to choose from - best to try a few out for size, especially if you'll be handling the thing on the move. I've shot a lot of footage whilst riding cruiser motorcycles, using various small camcorders. If your'e going to hold the thing in your left hand (so you can still operate the throttle and brakes), you need a good long neck strap so that you can extend your arm and turn the camera at rider level or drop down in a kind of 'crane shot' stylee to capture low level shots. Start and stop recording with the camera at rest in your lap.

    My latest camera for this kind of shooting is a Sony Handycam (AVCHD hard drive) - It's very robust (have got it very wet and dropped it several times) and delivers good results.

    Last thing, you must have a wide angle attachment for this type of work, No amount of steady shot jiggery pokery will smooth out handheld footage shot with anything greater than 35mm.

    Harleyriv (clue's in the name)

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    I must disagree with the above about AVCHD hard drive cmaeras being good for knock about stuff.

    I strongly reccomend that people who own hard drive based cameras do not mount them to bikes / cranes / the titanic.

    Hard drives are broken very easily by shock - I am sure they are fine in average use as they do well in laptops as a rule - but shocks like bike mounting may trash it more easily than you think.

    I have a cheap old and very tatty camera that I got precisely for bikes / cranes / the titanic - I think that is the best way, or something really cheap.

    SD card based cameras or cheap old e bay stuff only if It was my kit.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark W View Post
    I must disagree with the above about AVCHD hard drive cmaeras being good for knock about stuff.

    I strongly reccomend that people who own hard drive based cameras do not mount them to bikes / cranes / the titanic.

    Hard drives are broken very easily by shock - I am sure they are fine in average use as they do well in laptops as a rule - but shocks like bike mounting may trash it more easily than you think.

    I have a cheap old and very tatty camera that I got precisely for bikes / cranes / the titanic - I think that is the best way, or something really cheap.

    SD card based cameras or cheap old e bay stuff only if It was my kit.
    I know there's a body of perceived knowledge about HDD cameras and even more so about AVCHD here, but the facts are somewhat different. Those who would like to move forward with new formats should not be discouraged from doing so.

    The AVCHD mpeg4 format for example does require a fast multicore CPU to edit successfully (although I started with a core duo 1.7GHz CPU without too much difficulty), but the format delivers better resolution than can be acheived with mpeg2, with a smaller file size to boot.

    The HDD cameras have protective systems triggered by accelerometers, whilst the mass of the moving components in these drives is low and therefore less suseptable to shock loads.

    Mounting them directly to a hard point on a bike should be ok, but I agree could be pushing the envelope, but hand work whilst riding is no problem at all.

    My HDD camera has done 2 years of hard physical work on bikes, yachts, and cars without a murmer.........and I like the simplicity of the workflow.

    Harley

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    Couldn't agree more. For me, the workflow works fine. Specifically, I use an AVCHD camera and I don't worship the devil

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Peters View Post
    Couldn't agree more. For me, the workflow works fine. Specifically, I use an AVCHD camera and I don't worship the devil
    Yes you do - you work in the financial sector

    AVCHD was a mistake - end of - they could have used the much better HDV codec. Some cameras can now record in HDV or AVCHD onto a hard drive, I suspect this is beacuse the format has been poorly recieved.

    As for HDrive cameras - they shall soon pass along with tape and I am sure within 5 years we will all, pro and cionsumer, be recording on solid state media.

    It is misleading and reckless to imply that you shouldnt be more careful with hard drive cameras. Shock is more dangerous to hd cameras just as dirt and dust is something the tape user must be more careull off.

    And avchd is not better than mpeg - it's a malfomred vbr long long gop version of mpeg.

    Fragility, it's a fact - How fragile are hard drive camcorders? - Yahoo! Answers
    Last edited by Mark W; 05-26-2009 at 11:57 PM.

  7. #7

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    I think you'll find that AVCHD (H.264) was not a mistake and that the industry will move increasingly towards the format both for consumer and professional capture devices. The Mpeg4 (H.264) format is superior in many ways to Mpeg2. H.264/MPEG-4 AVC - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    HDD cameras are as robust as tape transport cameras and require no maintenance,

    'Little Dog' makes a number of factual errors...
    Last edited by harleyriv; 05-27-2009 at 12:13 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark W View Post
    Some people claim Elvis ain't dead. Perhaps an unfair comparison, but I think it only fair to offer an alternative. Whenever techies get involved, you'll always hear an argument for (or against) a certain piece of hardware. Just as the marketing guys will wheel out their techie whogamaflits, the naysayers will baffle with technicalities.

    Here's my spin. If AVCHD camcorders can play record, playback, fast forward and rewind footage, why can't my PC? If my PS3 can play back, fast forward and rewind AVCHD, why can't my PC?? You can't blame the manufacturers. They've delivered a working product (I'm repeating myself, but the camcorders record and playback footage). But perhaps the software companies haven't? If sony can make their PS3 playback AVCHD, why can't Adobe get their software to do it too? It baffles me.

    I honestly don't care if HDV could beat AVCHD in a bare knuckle fight. I don't even care if I can't use my ACVHD whilst paragliding from mount everest. I like my little AVCHD camera (which wouldn't fit a minidv tape). We're very happy together.

    Bottom line? It was one of the cheapest cameras I've ever bought and far, far better than the DV camera I bought for the same price 2 years ago.

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    Harley - Your pissing me off now.

    I dont want to debate about this.

    It is a fact that you should treat cameras with more care, just as dust and dirt requies more assiduousness with tape.

    It is a fact that avchd is a troublesome format for many people as shown by the number of confused people who post here asking for advice.

    I am speaking of facts - facts born out by users of this forum. You are cealry entitled to your opinion and I am pleased you like your avchd camera - but please dont post advice based on opinion that may mislead people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Peters View Post
    Some people claim Elvis ain't dead. Perhaps an unfair comparison, but I think it only fair to offer an alternative. Whenever techies get involved, you'll always hear an argument for (or against) a certain piece of hardware. Just as the marketing guys will wheel out their techie whogamaflits, the naysayers will baffle with technicalities.

    Here's my spin. If AVCHD camcorders can play record, playback, fast forward and rewind footage, why can't my PC? If my PS3 can play back, fast forward and rewind AVCHD, why can't my PC?? You can't blame the manufacturers. They've delivered a working product (I'm repeating myself, but the camcorders record and playback footage). But perhaps the software companies haven't? If sony can make their PS3 playback AVCHD, why can't Adobe get their software to do it too? It baffles me.

    I honestly don't care if HDV could beat AVCHD in a bare knuckle fight. I don't even care if I can't use my ACVHD whilst paragliding from mount everest. I like my little AVCHD camera (which wouldn't fit a minidv tape). We're very happy together.

    Bottom line? It was one of the cheapest cameras I've ever bought and far, far better than the DV camera I bought for the same price 2 years ago.
    OH FFS - I am merely pointing out facts - AVCHD offers no advantages to HDV ( referring only to the codec ) and many disadvanteges and most informed opinion advises that more care should be taken with hd caneras as drives are very sensitive to high g loading.

    Just as you have to be careful that sand dont get inside your tape camera.
    Last edited by Mark W; 05-27-2009 at 12:26 AM.

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