Current state of HD Camcorders for home video


Standard Member

I have been keeping an eye on the first generation of HD camcorders for my home video's. I am mainly interested in capture and editing on PC and then outputing using an MCE2005 type PC to TV. Very rarely I also physically burn the DVD.

Currently I use Firewire to get DV to PC. Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 for editing and output as DVD to a hard disk folder.

I am looking at HD becasue there seems to be complete end to end solution at a reasonable price.

For HD Cameras:
Sony HDR-HC1, HC3. recording to DV tape. I think mpeg2 for HD and DV for SD.
Sony HDR-SR1E. recording to hard disk. MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 for HD using AVCHD
Canon HV10. recording to DV tape. mpeg2 for HD? DV for SD?

For editing, Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 seems to have a plugin for capturing MPEG 2 and H.264 from camcorders and edit without re-rendering.

I was wondering what everyone's opinion/view is on the following:

1) Has anyone tried the mainconcepts plugin?

2) Is it worth getting a DV tape based camcorder as hard disk AVCHD ones are coming out?

3) Is AVCHD format of the future for camcorders like DV Tape is now?

4) The mainconcepts plugin seems to offer smart editing for mpeg. Does this mean it's as good as DV editing if only adding transitions etc?

5) Does the difference between mpeg2 on DV tape and mpeg4(H.264) make any REAL difference to quality for recording home video's? Is mpeg2 at the high bit rate for HD any different in quality to mpeg4?

6) Crystal Ball: Are there likely to huge leaps in HD camcorder quality as there have been with Digital cameras by end of 2007?




Novice Member
I can not comment on all the questions but over on the Premiere Elements forum at the mainconcepts plugin is getting a lot of critism as beeing "beta".

The rumour over there is that they are testing it live in premiere elements now to get feedback because it will be included in the standard Premier elements program in its next release. Apparently this release could b scheduled in time for Oct/nov and the holiday shopping season in the US.

Personally I would wait until Adobe are clear about how they are going to support this format in there standard release.


Active Member
If you are going record a lot of footage, how are you going store or back up the footage with a HDD HD camcorder? You'll have to leave it on your PC or back it up to DVD (not ideal given the hugh amount of data that high def uses).

As HD-DVD and blueray are very expensive (i.e. blank discs), DVD limits you to storing only around 35 minutes of high def footage at its maximum resolution in MPEG4 format, 20 minutes in MPEG2.

Tape based high def maybe a better short term option until HD-DVD and blueray come down in price and you can backup a couple of hours to one disc at a cost less than a mini dv tape.


Active Member
As for high def MPEG2 footage recorded on a HC1E, it looks stunning on a plasma. I don't think you would have complaints. I've can't compare it to MPEG4 so it could be better, but not by much.

There is some high def footage converted from MPEG2 to WMV on my website to give you a flavour:


Standard Member
Thanks for the comments so far.

ralphmalph - thanks for the heads up about mainconcepts being buggy/beta. One of my reasons for holding off getting HD camcorder is lack of editing on PC using Adobe Premiere elements 2.0. I will wait until Premiere Elements X.X supports it. I don't want to pay £500 for the priviledge of editing my 3 years old lovable little terror!

laser - I will check out your footage. I have lots of hard disks for normal viewing and backup. A 300gb disk is only around £65 and makes more sense than time and effort backing up to DVD. That's why I don't even bother exporting my edited AVI's back to DV Tape. It may change if it gets too expensive.

Anyone care to comment on AVCHD verses TAPE for medium term view of where camcorders are heading?

Two things are forming in my mind at the moment

1) Wait for Adobe Elements X.X to support HD (mpeg2 and H.264) for editing

2) Decide whether I want Tape based DV (mpeg2) or hard disk based AVCHD cancorder(mpeg4/H.264). Hopefully by the time adobe come out with elements, it might be easier to decide.

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