Hey I am new here, so take it easy if you can (i understand if you can't )
The sheer plethora of all that is out there right now boggles my mind, and because there is so much, even too much, i can nail anything down because every single search engine throws a crapload of information and products my way.
Now, despite this overwhelming plethora, there is one thing i know i DON'T want, and am NOT interested in. That is the advent of the Flip camcorder. My friend and i are getting into the video making buisness. Eventually, we hope to take it to the level of doing live recordings for bands, and possibly shooting music videos as well. However, that is far in the future, especially because we are just starting out.
We both agree that we want some kind of flip out screen AVCHD camcorder that has a side mounted handstrap so as to get better control of what we are shooting. We have demoed a number of these, but as per usual, i am the one who ends up doing all of the research (lucky me).
Now here come my questions. Firstly, in the way of actual cameras on a budget (hopefully 500 USD or lower), i would like to know what the best options in the class i listed are and what the community thinks about these various cameras. Copious amounts of info, hopefully hands on, is appreciated. I am having a really hard time with my search and narrowing things down, so i thought i would come to a community versed in such issues. Requirements are: HD video; decent picture (doesn't need to be spectacular for our purposes... yet); VERY good sound quality and not a lot of finicky bullshit with the mic picking up internal, mechanical noise (i have read many reviews where this is the case); hopefully intuitive operation and button etc. placement; general ease of use.
Now with that out of the way, i have another very large query. I have read a lot of problems about AVCHD and the impossibility of file transfer or conversion. For our purposes we will be using a MacBook 2.26 Ghz Intel processor, 2GB RAM, 250 GB Hard Drive space. We are holding off on using Final Cut right now, although that is a future possibility. For our current purposes we will be using iMovie '09. Now i have read a lot about problematic coding issues, and if any coding is to be done with AVCHD it can only be done with AVCHD Lite which constitutes 720p instead of the superior 1080p. I guess my question is, clearly, most if not all of the big names in digital video production are using cameras with AVCHD, so why are there so many coding problems? Shouldn't this be fixed by now? And, how would i go about altering files into a more usable, editable format? It seems like all of these problems exist for something that is super prevalent in the field right now, have the editing programs just not caught up with coding? This is all very confusing to me at this early phase of our prospective buisness.
I appreciate any and all responses that address what i have laid out above. Of utmost help would be a good list of HD camcorders that will not break the bank, but are functionally all-around decent.