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Best videocamera for stills ($200-400)??

by curlinggal / April 11, 2013 7:40 PM PDT

-I take some video, but more often I take still pictures.

-I prefer to use video cameras because I prefer to "palm" the camera. I am a bit clumsy and I have found I am more steady with this type of model.

-I would prefer a camera whose photos can be enlarged up to 5X7 without much loss of quality - I don't mind if the file size of each picture is large.

-I would love to have the feature of taking 3-10 pictures consecutively, and understand that flash doesn't work with this feature. ( I use the camera with family and for taking yearbook photos [sometimes when subjects are moving].)

-I would prefer to be able to remove an SD card to upload the photos.

-All pcs in my house have Windows 7. I'd prefer to be able to see the photos/videos easily, with little to no conversion.

-Suggestions? I have seen positive points with both Canon and Panasonic products, but I have gotten overwhelmed over the past two hours trying to understand all of the "technical stuff". I'm fairly sure that I aspire to have no less than 10 megapixel quality. I currently have a Canon FS100, but the lens just stopped working. It took OK photos, but the quality wasn't great and I couldn't blow them up very much. I liked the other features, and it was very easy to use, even for my students, with little-no direction.

-Cheers,and thanks so much. I'd like to have time to buy and learn the camera prior to my summer vacation.

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Panasonic HC-V700 camcorder
by Terfyn / April 12, 2013 3:39 AM PDT

I have the V700 and use it regularly for still photos. I use an Epson 1500W to enlarge them to US paper size B 11"x17". The results are stunning.
Clearly I cannot speak for other makes in this respect.

The V700 like many other models that use SD cards store the still photos and video on the same card and these can easily be separated when the card is downloaded. I use the supplied software HDWriter to transfer to my PC and this presents a page of thumbnails with either a video or a still icon on the picture. The files are directed to the appropriate folders by a tick on the thumbnail.

Hope this helps.

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Awesome Advice - thanks
by curlinggal / April 13, 2013 1:42 AM PDT

Thanks to both of you - that was exactly the information I was looking for.

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Stills from video
by Terfyn / April 12, 2013 5:40 PM PDT

-I would love to have the feature of taking 3-10 pictures consecutively, and understand that flash doesn't work with this feature. ( I use the camera with family and for taking yearbook photos [sometimes when subjects are moving].)
Look at a good video editor (I use VideoStudio Pro X6). This will allow you to take a frame from the video and create a still (jpeg) photo. This will give you the best range of "action" shots. The quality will be almost as good as the still photos.
The V-700 is good in low light conditions. Its replacement the V-720 is slightly better BUT you can pick up a V-700 at discount as they will be pushing the 720!

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Thanks very much
by curlinggal / April 13, 2013 1:44 AM PDT
In reply to: Stills from video

Thanks - I'm going to see if I can find the 720 at a bit lower price, but irrespective, I feel comfortable with going with the 700 if I can't. I appreciate the advice. We just finished this year's yearbook, so I have about 8 months to learn to use the video editor...a reasonable goal. Thanks again.

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Video editor
by Terfyn / April 13, 2013 4:08 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks very much

Another thought. Many of the video editors have free "30 day trial" downloads. They can be quite daunting at first but (in the case of VideoStudio) there are often third party tutorials available. So it may be an idea to download a free trial and play with it.

Most video editors I have seen have very similar layouts. The working part (the edit screen) has a series of "timelines", a library area which shows all the video shots as thumbnails and a screen to show you the pictures. You will pull the video shots from the library to the timeline in the order you want and create a complete film with titles, soundtrack and any effects you put in.
For still photos of action shots you move through the video on the picture screen (using a cursor and mouse) until you reach an interesting frame. You can then get the editor to capture that frame as a still photo which is saved as a .jpeg file. You can get as many photos as there are frames if you want. An example may be a golf swing where you can get still pictures of each part of the golf swing for analysis.
There are two other main parts of the video editor. The "input" or "capture" windows which are used to bring the raw video into the editor and set up the library of thumbnails. At the other end there is a section used to burn your masterpiece to a DVD, send it to Youtube or another sharing site or save it to a file you can watch on your PC. All good fun!!
I have two VDUs connected to my PC. One is the standard screen and the other is a 16:9 screen. I can split the three bits of the video editing screen so I have the library and the timelines on my main screen and the pictures displayed on the 16:9 screen. (this means that what I see on my PC will look the same as the final video on my TV)
Perhaps you will have a go at one of the free downloads!

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Terfyn -
by curlinggal / April 13, 2013 8:02 AM PDT
In reply to: Video editor

Since your skill-set is so superlative to mine, let me ask you this - I have, in the past, created "photo movies", fading photos put to music, for both personal and professional (HS student) use....I'm thinking that with the new camera, I'd like to experiment next year, and blend pictures with some video (Senior trip, prom, graduation, etc.), and create a more substantive DVD that I could sell to seniors, defraying the cost of future yearbooks. Do you think it would be simpler on other programs than Windows Moviemaker? I have always used it because it's "stupid easy", but I'm open to trying something else if I use the new software for things such as what you were originally suggesting.

I am always in favor of using a product that can allow me to multitask, if I don't have to spend a million years learning to use it.




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Upmarket editors
by Terfyn / April 13, 2013 2:04 PM PDT
In reply to: Terfyn -

Hi Rachel,

It is probably best to say that the more "upmarket" you go, the more tools you get to do the job.

Again I will talk about VideoStudio Pro and Pinnacle Studio (both now sold by Corel) as they are the only ones I know.

First you can mix video and stills on the same timeline. You have lots of "transitions" i.e. wipes, fades, starbursts etc. to move from one shot to the next. You have overlay timelines to set up "cutaways". You have picture in picture and chroma key (greenscreen), loads of effects and so on. More important you have good control over your pictures for brightness, contrast and colour and your sound. There are four audio channels plus a voice over channel. They are like Windows Moviemaker but a lot more powerful.
I bought the Ultimate version of VideoStudio Pro X6, this has extra third party programmes attached. For example, Mercalli which is a shot stabiliser to remove shake from a handheld shot. (incidentally V700 has a really good optical stabiliser built in and - boy do I need it!!) It also has a thing called RotoPen which can be used to trace a route on a map or highlight an object.
Best thing is to go to the Corel website and be amazed by their advertising waffle.

If you go for the V-700, Panasonic include software called HDWriter. This has an editor built in, I have never used it as I only use HDWriter to download the video and stills from the SD card.

To be honest I only use the editor to string together family videos and documentaries of my local area so I don't use a lot of the vast range of "extras". I have used Chroma Key and a range of the transitions. i also use the ability to "stretch" audio to fit a video shot. Example: I download a track from a CD roughly the same time length as the video (and appropriate music!) and I can stretch or compress it to fit the picture. This action will affect the speed of the music but not the pitch as the music is digital.

If you do look at the VideoStudio web page, click on to the Compare Versions (PDF) and you see what your money buys. Also the Getting Started guide, it gives you a good idea of what is available.
If Windows MovieMaker is a little run around then VideoStudio is a Ferrari. ( Perhaps you will think a run around is far more sensible)

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by curlinggal / April 13, 2013 11:41 PM PDT
In reply to: Upmarket editors

Thanks so much for your sage gave me a lot to think about. We picked up the camera online for $350 (700), and are looking at VideoStudio now.

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Thank you
by Terfyn / April 14, 2013 3:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Terfyn

Thank you for your response. I wish you well with your camera - $350 looks a good price.
May I direct you to two other sites, the first one has a number of good tutorials on it. Do look at the sessions relating to X4 and X5 as there is no change in the basic operation of the editing suite and the tutorials will give you many handy tips.

Also the VideoStudio section of the Corel user to User site:
You will find me there also!!! If you want any further help please send me a PM from that site. I will be happy to help on either the camera or the editing suite if I can.
Good Luck

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