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Camcorder illeterate needs help

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Editing Forum' started by Rooikat, Nov 26, 2001.

  1. Rooikat

    Rooikat
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    Hello all, Please can you help me with a digital camcorder, DV in/out, DV capture card, firewire widgit plea for help!
    Sorry if some questions appear stupid or have been asked loads of times!

    Wify & I are off on holiday in 2 weeks, she casually mentioned we might want to get a decent camera.

    The gadget freak in me steps up the podium & suggests we get a Digital camcorder (knowing abosolutly blow all about em)

    I have spent 1/2 day @ Bluewater (none the wiser) and another 1/2 day surfing the net looking for answers (too much info, very confusing)

    My questions are

    1) Should I get a camcorder with DV in & out, or should I go for a cheaper one which only has DV out, and then get it modified (hacked) with a widgit? www.datavision.co.uk or www.volny.cz/mkrejcik/dvin.htm appear to know about this.

    2) Should I get a camcorder which offers still shots & memory card, or should I just go for one with better quality digital video capture & the just get my "snapshots" off video?

    3) Do I need a digital video capture card & firewire cable? Do these come standard with the camcorder? If so are these any good or is it better to opt for no card & buy one seperatly elsewhere?

    4) Is Adobe Premiere 5 a decent editing program?

    5) Will I need to update my PC? I have a 500 Celron, 128mb RAM, Voodoo 3 2000 video card & SB Live sound card, a CD R -RW & DVD player?

    Sorry to dump all of this on you folks, but I wasn't even considering buying one of these & now Ive only got 2 weeks till we go on holiday & I wont be able to research everything & then still be able to hunt for bargains as well!


    Thanks & regards
     
  2. Chris Frost

    Chris Frost
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    1) Should I get a camcorder with DV in & out, or should I go for a cheaper one which only has DV out, and then get it modified (hacked) with a widgit?

    Hacked is cheaper - something to do with the import duty.

    2) Should I get a camcorder which offers still shots & memory card, or should I just go for one with better quality digital video capture & the just get my "snapshots" off video?

    Digital stills will be better quality than capture from DV tape. This is because stills use a faster shutter speed to "freeze" the action, where as a screen grab will look a little blurred. However, the prints from a £100 35mm stills camera will be better than both above.

    3) Do I need a digital video capture card & firewire cable?
    Yes
    Do these come standard with the camcorder?
    No. Some manufacturers bundle some "free" edit software. Mostly this is for stills capture and very simple remote control of the camcorder.

    A very good firewire card with pretty sophisticated edit control and FX software can be bought for less than £100. The ADS Pyro 1394DV card I use at home comes with two editing packages which include sound and visual effects. With them I can do 80% of what I used to be able to do on a £50k 3xmachine TV Studio edit suite from just 10 yrs ago.

    Better (and very much more expensive) firewire cards can render the edited image in real time which makes previewing your edits much faster. There are companies selling complete editing systems for £1000 to £5000. Big bucks for editing the holiday footage.

    4) Is Adobe Premiere 5 a decent editing program?
    Wow - yes. If you have Premiere 5 already then you should give it a whirl. This is quite a high end package with some great features.


    5) Will I need to update my PC? I have a 500 Celron, 128mb RAM, Voodoo 3 2000 video card & SB Live sound card, a CD R -RW & DVD player?
    Possibly. Look towards changing the processor, motherboard and adding extra ram if the current system is slow. I use a 700MHz Athlon with 128MB ram on a Gigabyte MB. The motherboard is the weak link here. Upgrading would give me support for a faster hard disk drive (ATA100) and faster PC133 memory.The graphics card and other hardware are fine.

    You will definately need a second Hard Disk Drive. This will store raw footage and your final edited video. Look for at least 40Gb, ATA100 at 7200rpm spin speed. 60 and 80Gb HDDs can be bought from computer fairs for less than the cost of a 40Gb from your local PC megastore.

    Top tips:

    1. Budget for and buy extra batteries from companies like Keene Electronics. Go for Lithium Ion type, they will allow topping up. Do this at least one week before you go on hols. Savings against retail - 40-50%

    2. Buy quality blank tapes from wholesalers (plenty of adds in camcorder mags) Savings against retail - 30-50%

    3. Buy a DV Cam cleaning cassette. Dirty heads = :( holidays

    4. Invest £10 in a UV (ultra violet) filter to protect the camcorder lens, and also a camcorder carry bag if one doesn't come in the kit.

    5. Before your hols, run each tape through the camera recording with the lens cap on and the mic muted. This prevents breaks in the time code when you are filming and helps when you come to edit.

    Good luck
     
  3. colinrbarrett

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    One thing to bear in mind about non DV-in camcorders that have been "widgeted" to make them DV-in is that you won't necessarily get analogue inputs too. One of thenice things about analogue and DV-in models is that you can use them to upgrade your existing VHS or 8mm tapes to digital and then capture to PC via FireWire. Even record TV programmes to digital!

    The DV-in restrictions were brought in by the EU as a result of a DVin camcorder being classed as a VCR, and therefore subject to higher import duty. All DV cams have in-built DV-in, it's just that some models destined for Europe are factory disabled.

    Read more about DV input in my website at: http:www.simplydv.co.uk/Background/DVin.html

    Colin Barrett
    Freelance Contributor, "Camcorder User" and "What Camcorder" magazines.
     
  4. Guest

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    There are loads of places to get your dv camera hacked- i hacked one of mine many years a go (well 4yrs) this works great and like it has been said before will work out cheaper to buy,but make sure you go with a widget type hack has if any problems arise your camcorder will have to be returned without the dv hack or the manu can refuse to repair etc.

    Dont know if youve noticed Panasonic are selling the ds38 dv camcorder which has dv in and analogue in so you can convert older tapes into digital i seen these around the 650pounds mark (these are worth checking out honestly) and features more features than you will probably ever need.
     
  5. Guest

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    If you buy the Canon MV400i, you get a DV capture card + software free.
    It also comes with DV-in and analogue in.
     
  6. Guest

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    The canon isnt a bad dv recorder- the panasonic is better by specs but the canon 400 is a good for a 1st timer.
     

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