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HiDef is "somewhat" different and I don't know the details since I don't do HD... but... any DVD or hard drive camcorder that I know of is going to use a compressed format during filming
As you have already noticed, editing a compressed format does not result in the best possible output
I have seen other messages that indicate putting a compressed format on the timeline is converted internally to DV AVI for editing
You might want to consider a tape based DV camcorder and Firewire to transfer data to computer
I have a Sony Handycam DCR-DVD105. It uses mini-dvd's for media. I'm gathering that this is probably my issue. It seems when I have the camera on a tripod and a steady background that it's fairly good...but when I move the camera around I'm getting some jiteryness and blockyness in the video.
With a DVD recording camera, you will have compressed your footage to begin with. Motion issues are often traced to this initial compression. Quality, especially with moving cameras and subjects, will suffer and there is nothing that can be done about this loss. Getting this material to edit smoothly is part of the problem, and conversion will help there - just not with regards to the quality of the footage, as the compression will still be the biggest element to deal with.
I was thinking it might be PC horsepower, but a new PC and a little reading later is leading me to believe it's actually my camcorder.
The computer's horsepower will not be the initial problem, but can play a big role in the future, if you go with an AVCHD camera. That material is pretty good, but does require a lot more processing capabilities.
Unfortunately, the only easily edited HD material with the newer cameras will be MPEG Intra-frame footage, and the newest cameras using this are very expensive, plus only PrPro CS4.2 (about to be released) will fully handle this. Maybe PrE 9 (not even talked about much yet) will also be able to handle this.
Right now, AVCHD seems to be the way to go for HD material, but at the expense of a beefy computer. Output to BD (Blu-ray Disc) will also yield the best resutls, but you have to consider what equipment one's audience might have - no BD player, and there is an issue.
I was a bit bummed to read I should really be moving to tape (all those cool new HD cams with HD's looked so easy) but I'd really like to do this right this time and have the right tools to do the job.
The base workflow for NLE's is still tape-based recording. There are tons of various other schemes available, but that material is not really meant to be edited, just viewed. Flash media recording is getting better, but still has pitfalls - computing power is one of those for the AVCHD material.
I wish that there was a "one-size-fits-all" solution out there. Maybe in the near future, as some higher-end mfgr's. work on Intra-frame HD formats, and NLE programs are re-written to take full advantage of them. Right now, the expense (both cameras and NLE's) is still so very high, but we all know that prices will be coming down, as more companies offer the new formats/CODEC's, and software is designed to utilize them.
I'm still a fan of tape, but the next generation of Flash memory and formats might well change that.
PS- Welcome to the forum.
Thanks for the feedback...this seems to all be starting to make sense to me. (though I think we could all use a few more acronyms please?!?! )
If people wouldn't mind suggesting, whats a good solid camera for me to consider? I started with Sony, but only because thats what I had...and I'm reading the reviews on Videomaker.com...but I'd love to hear what folks are using, or what you would get if you were investing now.
Thanks a million!
The key question is, Would you like your camcorder to interface easily with Premiere Elements?
If so, the short answer is to use miniDV, if you want standard definition video, or HDV, if you want hi-def. Both are tape-based, and both produce the ideal formats for interfacing with the program.
The other option if AVCHD, a highly-compressed high-definition format which, unfortunately, requires a tremendously powerful computer to work with. If it were me, I'd stick with tape-based formats.
Are you looking for a specific model?
For HDV, the most popular models are the Canon HV series.
For miniDV, as long as it's a Sony, Canon or Panasonic, you'll get great results. Unless you are looking at a professional or pro-sumer style of camcorder (which can cost several thousand dollars), a good miniDV can be had for under $400, and nearly all made by these three brands will give you excellent results.
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For a Firewire DV Camera - look at Panasonic PV-GS320 or GS500 (Note that I have not used either, but they have good reviews) IF they are even still available (these reviews are over a year old)
I used to use a JVC miniDV camera that started to lose focus when zooming out. I decided to try a JVC Everio that recorded to SDHC. It was great recording but I never could get those darn mod files to act right. I kept getting green pixels when the file was imported into PE7. I then got a Canon ZR960 for $250. The HD cameras are enticing, especially when Amazon sent out an ad for the Canon VIXIA HF200 for $499. However, the experience I had with the flash memory files and PE7 and reading about the horsepower that I need for AVCHD editing have made me content for now. There is the miniDV Canon VIXIA HV40 that records in HD. It is $799 and they suggest using the more expensive tapes for recording in HD. Delayed gratification for the time being.
If your video projects are short, why not try converting your miniDVD files into DV-AVI files and seeing if that corrects your jitteryness problem?
I used a Canon miniDVD camcorder when I first got started in Premiere Elements and had image problems but they all went away after I converted them using MGEG Streamclip. If you have lots and lots of footage to convert though, the extra step required by MPEG Streamclip might get annoying.
If you decide to get a different camcorder, there aren't a lot of miniDV camcorders around with all the major retailers pushing the hard drive and memory card camcorders. But, Canon still offers a miniDV standard definition camcorder and also the excellent high definition Vixia HV30 miniDV camcorder. The only extra requirement of transferring footage from a miniDV camcorder is a Firewire connection on your computer.
Personally, I use a used Panasonic PV-GS500 miniDV camcorder which I purchased on eBay. The camcorder and Premiere Elements have both worked together seamlessly.