9 Replies Latest reply on Jan 6, 2009 9:04 AM by New Improved Chuck Engels

    Suggestions Please

      I have been entrusted by my church to purchase a camera, software and PC for recording and editing our services for broadcast on our local public access cable channel. The current situation involves checking out the camera, recording the service and then spending time at their office editing the recording and burning a DVD. They use Macs and Final Cut software.

      We would like to keep this in-house with a PC and Premier Elements software. I have been looking at the posts here and have some concerns with hardware conflicts and requirements. No hardware has been purchased and I was hoping to find out what you thought of this package.

      HP dc5800 Intel Core2 E8400 3GHZ with 2GB ram and 160 GB HDD with XP Pro.
      Premiere Elements 7.0
      Sony DCR-SR85 Camcorder with 60GB HDD
      This would take about $1500 of our $2000 budget. Leaving room for tripod cables etc.
      We are not doing intense editing just an opening and close and simple transitions.

      I see that most newer cameras do not have a firewire port and for that matter either does this PC. Is this a problem?
      Also with a HDD camera is the process simpler? Can I simply copy the data into a project or does the data need to be "captured"?

      I realize that these are basic questions but please know that you're dealing with a rookie. Many thanks in advance. I'm sure I'll be back.
        • 1. Re: Suggestions Please
          Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional
          I would not recommend working with a hard drive camcorder.

          It is possible, however, using a miniDV camcorder to record live, directly to a computer (even a laptop), and this method gives you files that are very easy to edit and output from Premiere Elements. (All miniDV camcorders have a FireWire connector, which is really the only connection you can live stream to Premiere Elements with.)

          For your computer, however, I'd recommend a much larger hard drive than you've specced. For working with video, I wouldn't recommend less than 500 gigs, but ideally as large as a 1 terrabyte hard drive. This can be an internal or external secodnary drive, attached to your computer by USB2.

          Chuck Engels, at Muvpix.com, uses this workflow regularly at his church. If you post to the Muvipix forum, I'm sure he'll be glad to advise you further.

          But do avoid a hard drive camcorder if you plan to edit in Premiere Elements! Trust me on that.
          • 2. Re: Suggestions Please
            Level 1
            Steve, Thanks for the info. I did download the trial edition of PE7 to my laptop awhile back and captured about 12 minutes of video from the loaner mini dv camera. What dismayed me was the 45 minutes of "tagging and analyzing" the video after the capture. I was kind of hoping that the process would be much quicker with an HDD camera.

            What is the issue with HDD and PE7? And are you saying that the main HDD at 160 GB is fine as long as we have a secondary one for the storage? Thanks.
            • 3. Re: Suggestions Please
              Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional
              You can turn off the tagging and analyzing and the capture will be instant, Tom.

              MiniDV camcorders produce DV-AVI files, the perfect video format for Premiere Elements and the format that the program edits natively.

              Hard drive camcorders use MPEG files, which the program must convert to DV-AVIs and which, if there are enough of them, can lead to system lugging and even program crashes.

              If you want to work in Premiere Elements, you don't want to do it with an HDD camcorder.
              • 4. Re: Suggestions Please
                the_wine_snob Level 9

                One additional item to budget for is a large, fast HDD. You 160GB single physical HDD is too small to allow you to work freely. Ideally, two additional physical HDDs would be even better, with media on one, and the Project, Scratch Disks and Export on the third. I would look to at least 300GB per each, with the fastest connection that your computer allows - SATA II would be very good. Right now, 500GB SATA II's are pretty cheap, and if you had to drop back to ATA-100, or ATA-300 (due to the connections available), they are even cheaper. I am talking about physical HDDs, and not logical partitions, which should be avoided at all costs.

                I agree with the above comments on cameras.

                • 5. Re: Suggestions Please
                  Level 1
                  Experts, As far as format goes I believe the people at the PACT station said they normally use MPEG2 as a format. I'm guessing though that as long as they can play the DVD they can put it on the air? I'm still surprised that HDD cameras are not the way to go.

                  I noticed Steves response to a post on Sony Vegas Studio. Is that an option I should consider? Is there editing software that works with the MPEG format?

                  Without getting into the BIG ONE how do you feel about Mac's? I looked at that option but for the same $ I was able to add a camera to the PC package. I greatly appreciate the responses. TIA
                  • 6. Re: Suggestions Please
                    Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional
                    In all honesty, you're in a similar situation there. Mac-based editing, as well as PC-based editing, works best while interfacing with a miniDV camcorder.

                    For what you want to do, I would say that a hard drive camcorder is not the way to go.
                    • 7. Re: Suggestions Please
                      the_wine_snob Level 9

                      The big differences are recording and editing with DV-AVI material vs other formats, and then outputting to MPEG-2 via DVD for use by the station.

                      With initial MPEG-2 compression, you will be limited in your editing, and then will loose more, when you re-compress to MPEG-2 for DVD delivery. Now, some NLE programs do a better job with "smart editing" on MPEG-2 material. Most do not, as they are based on a workflow of DV-AVI capture and will either convert to that format internally, or require the user to do so externally.

                      With any form of Premiere, the best workflow is DV mini-tape capture, Capture this in Premiere, edit and then output to MPEG-2 for DVD. This is true for Elements, or Pro.

                      An MPEG capture, convert to DV-AVI, export to MPEG-2 for DVD will loose quality and can be frought with problems too.

                      If you are set on an MPEG encoding camera, I'd look closely at VirtualDubMOD (freeware), or similar, to do MPEG to MPEG editing. There are others, but I do not know them. Others can help you.

                      Now, I use Premiere Pro, and it does not do more, or better, with this sort of footage for SD work. You would get some more features, but none that would address the issues of MPEG Import - you'd just spend a bunch more money.

                      • 8. Re: Suggestions Please
                        John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                        To go with what Bill said, I have some notes I've kept over time, as this subject has come up many times (good for you for asking first... the usual question is "why won't Premiere work with my new camera? at which time it is too late 'cause the $$ has been spent)

                        Go to my notes page http://www.pacifier.com/~jtsmith/ADOBE.HTM

                        Click the internal link for editing compressed files... read, there are some ideas & links there, including some links to other programs that have been mentioned in the Premiere forum as being better suited to editing MPG files... I haven't updated that page in awhile, so ignore the idea of using P-Elements, since I wasn't reading this forum at that time, and now I know that PE also doesn't do a good job with MPEG files

                        If you only have DVD type files, you should convert to DV AVI type 2 or use different software... go to the VideoHelp link in my notes and look for a program to convert... but do be aware that converting from a HIGHLY compressed viewing format back to an editing format is going to cause a drop in quality

                        For a Firewire DV Camera - look at Panasonic PV-GS320 or GS500 (Note that I have not used either, but they have good reviews)
                        • 9. Re: Suggestions Please
                          New Improved Chuck Engels Level 1
                          We have 8 cameras at our church, none are HDD, all are DV Tape.
                          There are reasons why broadcast television and cable still use tape as their primary medium for recording and transmission. If you plan to do any live broadcast work, like over the internet, or are going to have more than one camera in the future, go with tape you won't be sorry. On the other hand if you go with a HDD camera at some point you will wish you hadn't.

                          You should check with the cable station to find out what format they want the video in and what they want it on.