13 Replies Latest reply on Nov 3, 2011 10:29 AM by Ed.Macke

    Video Camera Recommendations

    Ed.Macke Level 3

      My sturdy old Sony SD Handycam has died, so I'm in the market for a new one.

       

      I had asked for advice on this a while back but it's taken me a while to get to the point where I'm actually buying and I wanted to make sure nothing had changed drastically. Can you review the info below and comment?

       

      First of all, I suppose it's time to upgrade from SD to HD.

       

      Seems like it boils down to 2 basic camps: tape-based HDV and memory-based AVCHD.

       

      For the best editing experience on PRE, HDV wins. But HDV cameras are much harder to find, and tapes certainly aren't as convenient as memory cards for many reasons. AVCHD is much more popular, but you'll need a fairly beefy computer for satisfying editing (which I don't currently have, I'm on an old XP 2GB, 2.8GHZ Pentium D).

       

      So, if I get an AVCHD, can I easily convert the video into an HDV format? If I could do that easy and reliably, that seems like the best solution but that's a critical piece of the puzzle.

       

      Thoughts?

        • 1. Re: Video Camera Recommendations
          Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

          Well, like it or not, AVCHD has become the standard for hi-def consumer video, Ed. (Although HDV cams can still be had online.)

           

          Fortunately, Premiere Elements has greatly improved the way the program works with AVCHD in version 10. You don't need nearly the workhouse system that you used to need! You may even be able to get by with an i5 or lower-end quad core.

           

          But an XP running on an Pentium 2.8 ghz? That's a little underpowered for even HDV.

           

          So, unless you plan on upgrading your computer soon, I'd recommend you stick with standard def miniDV for now. That may mean shopping for discontinued or even used equipment on Amazon and eBay -- but you'll be much happier with your system's performance in the long run.

           

          AND the good news is that you'll be able to get a nice Sony miniDV camcorder for about $100-150 if you shop around!

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Video Camera Recommendations
            Ed.Macke Level 3

            Thanks, Steve.

             

            So would your recommendation be to go the AVCHD approach?

             

            AVCHD seems much more convenient for shooting and file storage, so that would be my preferred approach. But does HDV offer any compelling advantages in terms of quality or working with PRE. I don't have a problem dealing with HDV's disadvantages if the end result is smoother editing and higher-quality output.

             

            And, yeah, I know a computer upgrade is due. My PC is around 5 years old and held together with bailing wire and gum. Since money is tight I'm trying to keep it alive as long as I can, but I'm waiting for the day it - like my video camera - gives up the ghost and forces me to upgrade. When I do, my plan is to do a mid-grade i7, 8-12 GB RAM, Win 7 64-bit. I keep hinting to my wife, but she keeps pointing to the leaky roof....

             

            For better or worse, I'm still years behind in getting my videos editing (this is all home movie kind of stuff). So by the time I get around to edit what I'm shooting today, I'm sure I'll have a new PC and PRE will be v.11 or v.12.

             

            But I want to make sure that whatever I shoot today will be easily editable in the coming years. I don't want to shoot a years worth of video, only to sit down and find out it sucks workflow-wise.

            • 3. Re: Video Camera Recommendations
              John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Well, Steve said you should stick with a miniDV tape camera with your current computer

               

              AVCHD requires a LOT more CPU power than you have to edit

               

              This is aimed at CS5, but the requirements are pretty much the same

               

              This message has a really good graphic about requirements

              CS5 Requirements http://forums.adobe.com/thread/810750?tstart=0

              • 4. Re: Video Camera Recommendations
                Ed.Macke Level 3

                Well, Steve said you should stick with a miniDV tape camera with your current computer

                 

                Sorry if it was confusing, but I know I won't be able to edit HDV or AVCHD on my current computer. I know I'll need something beefier, and that will come in due time, i.e. before I start editing my footage. In other words, I don't want my current computer specs to dictate the camcorder I get now, because by the time I get around to editing it's not going to be on my current computer anyway.

                 

                My question was really more along the lines of if I get an HD camcorder, would HDV or AVCHD be a better long-term choice and give me the best editing experience (including quality, ease-of-use, and performance)?

                 

                I realize there's probably a certain amount of crystal ball gazing required, but it was just pure dumb luck that I found the Holy Grail of PRE of SD shooting (DV-AVI over Firewire) and I'd just like my HD choice to be a more considered approach.

                • 5. Re: Video Camera Recommendations
                  Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

                  Yes, AVCHD would be good long-term investment. Especially if you stick with a Sony or Canon cam.

                   

                  But, as we've warned you, until you get that new computer, you may find working with it on that Pentium a bit slow and frustrating.

                   

                  So if it were me? I'd drop $100 on a miniDV until I'm ready to make a big investment on a $600 camcorder and an $800 computer.

                  • 6. Re: Video Camera Recommendations
                    Ed.Macke Level 3

                    But, as we've warned you, until you get that new computer, you may find working with it on that Pentium a bit slow and frustrating.

                     

                    I actually find editing Standard Def a bit slow and frustrating on my current computer, so trust me that I have no illusions about doing High Def.

                     

                    Thanks for the advice all. I've had good luck with Sony in the past - will probably stick with them going forward. I'll see what's out there for both miniDV and HD.

                    • 7. Re: Video Camera Recommendations
                      John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      When you are ready for a new computer, do read in http://forums.adobe.com/community/premiere/hardware_forum 

                       

                      Most of the discussion concerns Premiere Pro, but there is still a wealth of information there

                       

                      A short summary... for Premiere Elements 10 and AVCHD

                       

                      Intel i7 2600 (or 2600k if you plan to overclock)

                      Motherboard of your choice... ASUS is most often recommended

                      Windows 7 64bit... Home version for up to 16Gig of ram, Pro version for more ram

                      16Gig of ram at "current" prices for 4 x 4Gig ram sticks

                      -32Gig of ram if you want to buy 4 x 8Gig ram sticks if/when available

                      320-to-500Gig boot drive

                      AT LEAST one data drive, 1T is a good size

                      750watt "gold" power supply

                      Unless/until PrElements adds "CUDA" support, just about any ATI graphics card will work... I suggest at least 512Meg video ram on the card

                       

                      My 3 hard drives are configured as...

                      1 - 320Gig Boot for Win7 64bit Pro and all program installs

                      2 - 320Gig data for Win7 swap file and video project files

                      3 - 1Terabyte data for all video files... input & output files (*)

                      (*) for 4 drives, drive 3 all source files & drive 4 all output files

                      .

                      Search Microsoft to find out how to redirect your Windows swap file

                      http://search.microsoft.com/search.aspx?mkt=en-US&setlang=en-US

                      • 8. Re: Video Camera Recommendations
                        Ed.Macke Level 3

                        Thanks, John, looks like some good info out there.

                         

                        I was toying with the idea of building my own next go-around, or maybe white-box. I don't know if it's any cheaper, but at Dell, for example, it's pretty hard to find a 750W power supply or even to configure 3 hard drives.

                        • 9. Re: Video Camera Recommendations
                          John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          Dell is a good general purpose computer (we have a lot of them where I work) but I personally would not buy one for video editing

                           

                          Of course, I am comfortable building my own, so that is what I do http://forums.adobe.com/thread/652694?tstart=0

                          • 10. Re: Video Camera Recommendations
                            Ed.Macke Level 3

                            My own experience has been that Dell *used* to be a good general purpose computer, but lately the quality just seems to have nosedived. Obviously people will have different experiences, that's just mine.

                             

                            I use a Dell desktop for video editing, and its shortcomings have been a main driver behind finding another solution this time around.

                             

                            Thanks for the links on home-building your PC. I'm strongly considering that.

                            • 11. Re: Video Camera Recommendations
                              Ed.Macke Level 3

                              Actually, another thing occured to me as I was debating this.... I still have a whole slew of miniDV tapes that I haven't imported to my hard drive yet (mostly a space issue, but time as well).

                               

                              If I don't get a replacement miniDV camcorder, how am I going to get those tapes imported???

                               

                              Ironically, I had a backlog of Digital8 tapes and I was worried about getting those imported before my Digital8 camera died. I finally got all of those imported, only to have my miniDV camera die while the Digital8 is still working fine.

                              • 12. Re: Video Camera Recommendations
                                John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                When I was using a Sony 8mm analog camera, I bought a GO Video 8mm/VHS deck... I have no idea what is available for miniDV tapes, other than buying another camera and getting all of your tapes transferred to your computer (buy another hard drive!)

                                 

                                At about 13Gig per hour of DV video, you will be able to figure out of the size drive you need to buy

                                 

                                As well as my internal 1T drive for current work, I have several USB hard drives I use for storage... not for editing due to transfer speed, but fine for backup copies

                                • 13. Re: Video Camera Recommendations
                                  Ed.Macke Level 3

                                  Did a little looking around, and I think I'm going to try to get my miniDV fixed. An online place thinks the main board needs replaced, a $130 repair that would include cleaning and recalibrating to factory specs. Sounds like a good deal, as long as they're reputable. I'm also going to check with a local place.

                                   

                                  At first I didn't want to spend the money on outdated technology, but like I said I realized that I still have several years worth of video to get imported.

                                   

                                  I was not happy to realize how close I am to losing years worth of video. I have probably 5 years worth of video on miniDV tapes (I'm a bit backlogged - it's an issue, I know). I wasn't in any real hurry, but this was a sudden wake-up call that miniDV is now obsolete and capturing that video is entirely dependent on having working equipment that is no longer made!

                                   

                                  I still have about 500GB free, so I think I'll get my camcorder fixed and get everything imported ASAP.

                                   

                                  Thanks again for the advice. You made me stop and think for a second, and that's when I realized I needed my miniDV regardless of whether I get a new hi-def camcorder or not. But when I'm ready, I'll be going with the AVCHD.