Home Entertainment & Technology Resource

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Camcorder newbie

Discussion in 'Camcorders & Video Editing' started by Silverstreak, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. Silverstreak

    Silverstreak Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Ratings:
    +0
    Having previously been a dedicated digital stills photographer I recently got hold of a used Panasonic SD900 with everything included bar the HD writer software. Despite being a novice I intend to use it at its highest recording quality of 50p. I have no experience of video editing but have no wish to loose any of the camera gained quality at the editing stage. With a number of editing programmes currently on the market all of which appear to claim to be the best with extra features galore its difficult to select one or more to try.



    Im assuming there is no loss in quality by simply transferring the contents of an SD card via USB to one of my hard drives from where suitable software can then capture and subsequently process this into something that I can then store for future viewing



    Is it possible to retain the exact 50p quality at the output stage or would I have to convert to another format and thereby loose some detail/quality. Initially with SD cards being so cheap I intend to transfer edited footage back to an SD card then use these connect to my Home TV



    I would be grateful for forum members thoughts re the above



    Regards

    Bob
  2. 12harry

    12harry Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2010
    Messages:
    3,303
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Ratings:
    +232
    Hi, Welcome,- what you want to do is possible, but -
    (Firstly don't regret not having free Mfr software... put the SDHC card into yr PC and transfer from the rather daunting file-structure will become second nature.)
    You will lose quality when you burn a DVD, as these are lesser resolution . . . although most folks find them acceptable up to 50" TV - and larger if it's projected and you sit back.
    BlueRay is better and most Editing software will burn these, provided you have a BD burning drive and a BD player connected to the TV.

    Folk here rate Vegas Movie Studio (v 11 and above for -p footage, mine is v10 which is fine for -i & this goes into DVD easily.). Then there is Magix and a third one sold via Coral . . . However nearly all these offer a "trial period" but my experience is try one and stick with it . . . Firstly you have to get yr head round "Editing" and then the "Software barrier" despite "how easy" they all claim.

    Windows Live Movie Maker is a free download (for HD files) if you have Win7 - but it's very basic and almost difficult to use, IMHO.

    If you've money to burn, then Adobe does nice things for £500 and more - but in reality offers little extra - but Final Cut Pro is an "Industry Standard" where the business is paying.

    Movie Studio is a cut-down version of Vegas Pro, so you can aspire to further features but I'd suggest you go for the "Studio Suite version" (Currently ~£34 for v12 suite...Amazon). ...has to be a bargain as you get DVD Architect (to burn DVD/BD and create menus), and Sound Forge, to play with the Audio tracks. v13 may be out soon but the Suite-version will be nearer £70.
    In addition, there are Tutorials on Sony Creative website, mostly for Vegas, but as they are very similar you may not notice much restriction. The Studio software includes "Show me How" tutorials which force you to use yr mouse with real clips, etc. - so there is no cheating! This is a useful way to learn the software. Also, YouTube is littered with good tutorials, you can start with the Basics and progress....but Editing isn't as easy as filming . . . so be prepared to learn "how" slowly.
    They say "It's all in the Edit" - that's where a Movie can be Made, or more often "Lost". Try not to use too many effects - less is more, some believe.
    -Unfortunately most software is "Full-On" from the start and not a gradual introduction to features each session (that would be nice). Some YT tutorials are best ignored, you'll see what I mean - - - -

    Whilst it's possible to save to SDHC, the card can't then be used in the camera due to the odd file-structure (my experience). so I'm wondering why you don't use a USB-stick which plugs into the Telly and avoids any mis-saving . . . or run the TV from the PC using an HDMI lead (provided you have a modern fast PC, pref. with a separate graphics card).

    Always make a copy of yr vid files on the PC, so the Edit software can fetch quickly - this improves "Render" times when the Editor goes away and composes yr film according to the instructions you made in the Editor. You could use an USB external-HDD, but that can slow down Rendering, it is fine for archive purposes.
    Many folk will create a "Project Folder" where all the associated clips (and audio effects) can be kept together. Years later you can look at the folder and read your "Readme" or Wordpad text to understand what the project was about and any shortfalls . . . since as software develops (and yr skills) you may overcome/re-work a project.

    Playback on a PC can be a bit "Choppy" esp before Rendering, but that's down to Processor power - if you can go for a PC with minimum 4-cores and an extra HDD 2Tb, to hold all this Video stuff... that will help.

    The 900 is a fine camcorder and should give you years of good service. Get a decent Case and fit a protective filter to the front. Then you will soon need extra batteries, tripod with fluid-head and so on . . . . but yr experience in Stills will aid both Composition and Lighting.

    This may well be too-much Info. - so pick over it, as you need.

    Good luck . . . . .
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  3. Terfyn

    Terfyn Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2013
    Messages:
    911
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Ratings:
    +81
    Most editors will cope with 50p if asked. (its a switch on mine) I have found that the top quality of 50i is more than OK, if your 900 is the same as my 700, it is HA1920 in REC MODE.

    Most editors have tutorials and forums connected to them and most editors work the same way with timelines to put your video on to. I use Corel VideoStudio Pro X6 and this latest version only differs from the earlier versions by the extra bells and whistles added. The basics are the same as they have always been. Examples of tutorials can be found on
    Tutorials - Free tutorials
    these go from the explanation of the basics to more specialist uses.

    Also your 900 will take decent stills (jpeg) so for casual use so you only need to take one camera. I enlarge mine to A3 size on an Epson 1500 with excellent results.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  4. MarkE19

    MarkE19 Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,894
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,089
    What video formats will your TV play back? Most TV's will have a fairly limited range of file types that they can play so you may have to loose some quality by compressing and/or converting the files you get from the camcorder.
    However going from 50p to 50i should show minimal loss of quality, and depending on screen size even reducing the resolution to 720 may make little noticeable difference.

    Mark.
  5. Silverstreak

    Silverstreak Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Ratings:
    +0
    My sincere thanks to 12Harry, Terfyn and MarkE19

    All of your replies were very informative and much appreciated. Over the weekend I downloaded trial copies of Corel Video Pro X6 and Sony Movie Studio Platinum version 12 and had a couple of hours playing around with them. I can see it will be a long learning curve whichever I choose to go with.

    As I said in my introduction I would like to maintain the output to be as near as that recorded in camera. Corel appears to provide an option to render output at 50p but the Sony product best output appears to be AVCHD 1920x1080 60i or Blu-ray 14p at 16 or 10Mbps I have yet to understand the Mbps bit. The main question is which of theses has the edge on quality and would provide the best viewing experience when shown on a 40" Full HD LCD TV

    Can I also ask whether many of you actually spend time altering colour, contrast or adding sharpness during the editing stage. Certainly I have discovered I get more pleasing footage by setting the SD900 to manual where I can play around with shutter speed, colour and sharpness rather than auto where I think colours can be overly saturated. I see both products have two versions of sharpness withy Sony mirroring Photoshop with their named Unsharp-mask. I can see it taking some experimentation to determine if these filters are any good.

    All of my still photography is in an outdoor environment where I need to stop the action. My videos will be likewise so I will also be experimenting with shutter speeds

    Anyway back to the grind and more software headaches

    Regards
    Bob
  6. Terfyn

    Terfyn Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2013
    Messages:
    911
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Ratings:
    +81
    Technically the editors should not affect the picture quality unless you carry out changes. I have used the "brightness" control to bring up a very dark shot and it worked fine (VS Pro X6) As far as quality goes, I pass the edited version of my camera shots direct to DVD and do not get involved with the detail. I use the HA setting on my HC-V700 which is 50i.
    Check also the vast range of filters the top versions of the editors give. I can only speak for VideoStudio but, if you chose this, go for the Ultimate version - the extra filters are worth while. (and buy the disk version) There is a very good forum
    Corel User to User Web Board • View forum - VideoStudio
    for Video Studio which I have used from time to time plus many good tutorials again I use
    Tutorials - Free tutorials
    These show the basics and the more advanced uses of the editor.
  7. 12harry

    12harry Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2010
    Messages:
    3,303
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Ratings:
    +232
    Whilst I agree with most of what Terfyn says, I use Sony Movie Studio . . . and suggest you don't worry about colour balance, brightness, etc. at least until it becomes necessary some way down the learning curve. You should have worked through some of the SVMS "Show me Hows" to become familiar with the layout and Basics of Editiing - only then should you attempt anything longer than 1min(say), on the assumption most clips will last for 10 seconds, or so. ((Although when you take them, try to have something useful at the start and finish of each Shot, so there is enough good-stuff in the middle))

    As to shutter-speeds - I never change mine, it just does it itself - I do drop the exposure 0.5 EV so the highlights are preserved (You'll be familiar with that ), and if the light in tungsten, then Reset the White-Balance.
    My CX410 has two SloMo modes, but these produce "more frames" so the playback is smooth. If you have sharp frames at normal-rates the results may be seen as jumpy - it is really rather advanced technique . . . er, IMHO, at this early stage.

    The Tutorials on Sony site are somewhat more advanced, as the "SmH" really covers the basics and screen interface . . . . but YouTube is OK, although their quality varies and often refers to older versions - that doesn't matter for "Ideas"- but is less useful for How-To, since those tricks might (now) be done with a single click.

    DVD is below the resolution of the Camera - but very convenient as most folks and Film-Clubs can play them.
    Some software allows AVCHD to be put onto a DVD (~30mins max.) and this is as good as it gets from the Memory card.....AVCHD is virtually BlueRay quality without the price - but unless you plan to create ever-long Films, the 30min limit is no prob.
    To burn BD you need a BD burner, naturally, but AVCHD can be burnt on a DVD burner -BUT only played on BD. Do not play Films from yr PC unless its very powerful . . . and always use an HDMI lead from yr dedicated Graphics Card. Sony doesn't allow this, but there is free software that does - I tried it, but have reverted to AVCHD+Memory stick -or- DVD.

    BTW, far better to use a BD/DVD player and TV combo.
    (and that goes for playing DVD's prior to a Grand Showing, on other gear!)

    You should try to join a Film-making club, to learn the Craft and get ideas . . . so again the choice of software MIGHT depend on what friends use - it being so much easier to talk over issues face-to-face.


    Finally, there is another way to achieve the full potential of the camcorder - not cheap, and full of Techy downside - it's to do with those Mb/sec numbers. These determine the data-rate and probably go hand-in-hand with quality; the higher the d-r the better. By taking the data off the camcorder, using the HDMI output, you avoid the compression that AVCHD suffers . . . . but Editing will require Pro-style software and something like Sony Vegas should do it (with appropriate license fees)..... there might be issues with the TV if it is only HD - but your next TV will be even better! I'm tempted to do this with my camcorder, but haven't taken the price-hike just yet. [.It promises quality far better than AVCHD and nearly doubles the d-r.].

    In reality, HD/AVCHD is very good (using a Memory stick for playback), and DVD is almost as good and easy on nearly all gear. I render my Edits to 1920x1080 x50i and the results are very good - this renders-down to DVD quite easily, maybe some detail is lost - BUT then, Content is King!


    Good luck.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  8. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Messages:
    18,907
    Trophy Points:
    163
    Ratings:
    +3,118
    Totally pointless. All you are doing is let the camera decode the mpeg recorded content. Copying the raw compressed files to your PC merely transfers the mpeg decoding to whatever device you play back the content ultimately on. (PC, Blu-ray Player, Media Player etc)

    There are devices that will capture from HDMI (usually used by games machine enthusiasts who don't have access to the compressed video data (the content is created by the software on the fly). The big snag is they do exactly what your camcorder does on the fly - ie compress the data stream using mpeg compression.

    If you tried to capture every pixel in full of say 1080p50 then you would require to capture 1920 x 1080 x 50 x 24 bits/second (every pixel requires 24 bits) giving a total of 2488320000 bits/second or 311040000 bytes/sec.

    That's a data storage rate of approx 31GB for each second of video. What would you use to store this prodigious amount of data, and where do you think the quality magically comes from ?

    Double the data rate - really ? Actually more like 10 times the data rate.

    So your plan is to take the content already compressed in your AVCHD files use the camcorders inbuilt mpeg decoder, output over HDMI, capture it again and then re-compress it back to AVCHD, a double conversion which will reduce the quality not increase it.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  9. 12harry

    12harry Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2010
    Messages:
    3,303
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Ratings:
    +232
    You may be right glt, but pros certainly use this technique ( with an external SSD I understand) and it improves "something" - are you really saying the achievable quality is unchanged/worse?
  10. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Messages:
    18,907
    Trophy Points:
    163
    Ratings:
    +3,118
    It depends entirely on the relative capabilities of the encoders used, I guess if you have a broadcast quality avc/h264 encoder it may give better results than the one in your camcorder. Certainly the advanced encoders used by broadcasters can get very good results using very low bitrates. 1080i50 at say 700Kbps, I doubt that this will be better than a camcorder running at 17Mbps.

    Not even certain that a consumer camcorder will output live content bypassing the inbuilt encoder anyway.

    Simple test watch some content from your camcorder live on your TV via it's hdmi output. Now record similar content and replay via hdmi, if it doesn't look any better than the first test there can only be one of two reasons.

    1 The live output of the camera is compressed and decompressed

    2 There will little if any gain using an external encoder.

    In either case the HDMI capture devices available to us mere mortals like the Hauppage devices are unlikely to perform better than your camcorder.

    eg

    Hauppauge Computer Works

    note This one can't do 1080p50 anyway.

    Incidentally (off topic :D ), got hold of a ADP-WL1M WiFi adaptor for my CX410VE. It's very clever sitting indoors with my camcorder in the garden focussed on the bird table, watching and recording the best bits wirelessly using an Android tablet. (Nexus 7 32GB)
  11. MarkE19

    MarkE19 Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,894
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,089
    Well lets look at it logically - if we take you calculations to be accurate (and I have no reason to think they are not) then HDMI is totally incapable of passing anything close to 30Gb per second. Therefore the camcorder must be outputting video that has passed through the encoder/compressor.

    So like you I can see no logical reason to record the footage external to the camcorder.

    Mark.
  12. 12harry

    12harry Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2010
    Messages:
    3,303
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Ratings:
    +232
    glt Post #10 - I understand yr "test" - but doesn't that depend on having a "better than HD" Telly? I know that my AVCHD footage is better than DVD - that's easy to explain, but I'm unsure how to determine the HDMI output -v- that recorded to SDHC.

    [.MarkE10 - do I understand then that HDMI op is no better than the stuff going into the SDHC memory? - maybe the only benefit of ext=recording is the larger capacity? ].

    I'll admit that it was the additional price that put me off the possibility (of ext. recording), since I'd rather have a decent touch-screen LCD monitor. . . . . perhaps glt, can you give further details of yr garden-birds set-up and the operational benefits? (I have that camcorder too.).
  13. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Messages:
    18,907
    Trophy Points:
    163
    Ratings:
    +3,118
    Not sure what this means, a Full-HD TV has 1920 x 1080 pixels, the camera outputs 1920 x 1080 pixels. Each on screen pixel has a real pixel in the delivered data (1:1 pixel mapping so no scaling is required. The only doubt is the quality of the pixel data being sent to the TV. The camera sensors will deliver 1920 x 1080 pixels of data for every frame, if this data is sent to the directly to display then the resulting picture will be as good as the capability of the camera sensors. To record this prodigious amount of data to a storage card/HDD it has to be compressed.

    AVC/H264 is the latest and currently the most efficient mpeg compression algorithm in general use in consumer kit. It's a lossy system, the lower the bitrate used the more of the original pixel data is lost in the encoding process. To re-instate the missing pixels the decoder has to invent/guess the missing pixel data. In the end the TV still gets 1920 x 1080 pixels on the screen but they won't be identical to the original source content. Mpeg encoding and scaling technology has improved markedly in recent years. For instance a single UHF Mux is now capable of supporting 5 HD TV channels whereas a few years ago 3 would have been a tight fit.

    The gadget I linked to is a WiFI peer to peer device that communicates with a smart phone/tablet/PC running the Sony Playmemories app.

    Sony ADP-WL1M Compact Wireless Adapter for Handycam: Amazon.co.uk: Camera & Photo

    The app lets you remotely operate the camcorder in video/photo mode from a distance of up to about 30 Metres. You get zoom and recording controls and you can see a lower quality picture of what the camcorder is viewing.

    The photo shows the screen of my Nexus 7 tablet operating in the lounge with the CX410 on the window sill of a bedroom focussed on the base of the bird table.

    Attached Files:

  14. MarkE19

    MarkE19 Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,894
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,089
    Impossible to give a definitive answer as all camcorders will have their strengths & weaknesses. But what can be said is that the output over HDMI is definitely compressed and is therefore likely to be similar to what gets recorded onto SDHC memory.

    Mark.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  15. Anders B

    Anders B Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Messages:
    39
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ratings:
    +2
    Silverstreak..
    You have a camera capable of 50p28Mbps. You should not accept any quality worse than that. Burning a DVD gives you AVCHD 50i17Mbps or 25p17Mbps at best and that looks very bad on a modern TV. Jagged lines and noise. Burning a Blu-ray in 50p is not yet possible (or easy).
    I use Cyberlink PowerDirector for editing. It renders my 1080/50p28Mbps files in less than realtime.
    Then I move the finished Movie from the SSD to a HDD that I pull in/out from a slot in my pc-chassi. A 30 min Movie is 5-6 Gb which is 200 hours on a 2Tb HDD.
    I have a Dune smart H1 mediaplayer designed to play the HDD direct to the display via HDMI. Or I put the HDD in my external HDD-chassi via eSata to my Oppo blurayplayer. Both give the same superb quality. The mediaplayer is so small that you can bring it with you.
    Maybe the next version of PowerDirector will be able to burn blurays in 50p.
    There are work around ways to do it. Search the Cyberlink forum...
  16. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Messages:
    18,907
    Trophy Points:
    163
    Ratings:
    +3,118
    There's very little difference in picture quality on my TV between 1080i 17Mbps and 1080p50 28Mbps. There is no noise or jagged lines (Sony 40" Full HD).
    The difference is so small that I don't bother using 1080p50 at all.

    Most newer Bluray players will now play 1080p50/60 and burning it is no different to burning any other format to BD blanks

    Just look for AVCHD progressive

    http://www.avchd-info.org/

    Most broadcast HD TV is 1080i at much lower bitrates than 17Mbps (there is some 1080p25 on Freeview), if it was as bad as you say I rather think there would be lots of complaints.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
  17. Anders B

    Anders B Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Messages:
    39
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ratings:
    +2
    Which program do you use to burn 1080/50p blurays? I have tried IMGburn and tsMuxer once but I gave up.
    I shoot a lot of cars and sit closer to my display than most people, I guess.
    So to get rid of the aliasing jaggies I had to upgrade to a 50p capable camera.
    My displays are Samsung F8000 46", LG 740V 55" and JVC X30 projector.
  18. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Messages:
    18,907
    Trophy Points:
    163
    Ratings:
    +3,118
    PMB and Sony Vegas Pro are compatible

    News from Sony regarding AVCHD Progressive 2.0: Sony Cyber-shot Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

    To be honest I don't bother, to test the camera I wrote the edited file to a hard disc and used a 1080p compatible media player.
  19. Anders B

    Anders B Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Messages:
    39
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ratings:
    +2
    I just found out that instead of burning blurays you can move your 1080/50p28Mbps PowerDirector 11 edited files direct to a SD-card or a memory stick. So I don´t need to carry around my Dune mediaplayer.
  20. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Messages:
    18,907
    Trophy Points:
    163
    Ratings:
    +3,118
    No SD slot on my TV and usb input only supports stills.

Share This Page