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Im looking for a good Hard Disc Camcorder.

by roman9900 / October 3, 2006 11:11 AM PDT

Hi I am looking for a good Hard Disc Camcorder. I have been told that Sony and Panasonic are good companies. I have also been told to stay away from JVC. My Budget is anything below $1200. Some help would be nice. Thanks in advance.

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(NT) (NT) Which models are you interested in?
by boya84 / October 3, 2006 11:11 PM PDT
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by elfpcf / October 4, 2006 4:35 AM PDT

'don't know what you have herd, I like my JVC MG21U. It doesn't have a pickup for a mic though.
Aloha Ed

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Here is some info for you
by hvacigar / October 4, 2006 6:22 AM PDT

You should definitely check out

a site for serious camcorder reviews and testing. THese guys are thorough. I studied everything there and I decided on the Sony DCR-SR100. I have not received the unit yet, but I feel confident after reading the ranking list, thorough reviews, and reading the forums that I am getting the best product for me.

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What a great site!
by boya84 / October 4, 2006 10:20 AM PDT

Thank you for sharing.

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Sony Hardrive camcorder
by leaside / October 5, 2006 8:26 AM PDT

I have that camera and am happy with it. Still learning every day. Even the still pictures are pretty good.

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Thanks for that website.
by roman9900 / October 4, 2006 1:36 PM PDT

Thanks for that website. It’s great. Friends told me that i should stay with Sony or Panasonic. I did not ask them why because I don’t understand camcorders all that much.

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by whizkid454 / October 5, 2006 6:56 AM PDT

Look at Sony's HDD camcorders. They are awesome. I have heard nothing but great things from my friends who have one. Excellent video. Very convenient (Store hours and hours of video without having to worry about running out of space). Check out the DCR-SR100 and the HDR-SR1. These are excellent. Even though the latter one hasnt come out, it still looks really promising. Good luck!!

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Sony DCR-sr40
by kjej / October 23, 2006 12:48 PM PDT

I just purchased this Hard drive camcorder and I like it except when I try to record more than 30 minutes on high quality, it automatically goes to a new file at 30 minutes. Why? Also, what editing program would be able to merge files?

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Multiple files are
by boya84 / October 23, 2006 1:54 PM PDT
In reply to: Sony DCR-sr40

easier to manage than 1 big huge file. This should not be a concern.

whizkid454, you out there? This is your realm...

As for putting the files together, ANY video editor should allow you to do that... and if the camera is any good, you should not see any evidence that the two files were edited togther.

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Yeah I have had experience with the multiple files...
by whizkid454 / October 30, 2006 10:01 AM PST
In reply to: Multiple files are

I use Sony Vegas and I like how it imports small scenes and not larger ones. I agree they are easier to handle. Simple to put together in Vegas. When you put them in the timeline, you must drag the second clip a little(I mean a couple of microseconds)into the first clip. You'll see in the program, but most other video editing programs do this also. Any other questions, ask 'em. Good luck!

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Video Editing Software
by TheQmeister / December 23, 2006 4:10 AM PST
In reply to: Sony DCR-sr40

My personal favorite software has been Pinnacle for a few years now.
However, you can also simply use MovieMaker with came free with Windows XP. It's on your computer right now (if you have XP of course).
You will probably want to download the "MovieMaker2" update. It's about 10 MB's and a free download from Microsoft.

But, as others have said here, you could also simply use just about any software. MovieMaker is *free* and a pretty simple sofware. Conssists of 3 basic steps.
1- RECORD: Hookup your camera to the computer, start recording to the Hard drive.
2- EDIT: Drag and drop the video/still pictures in the order you want to see them. Even split scenes into smaller packets and/or cut out parts yo don't want. Add Titles or "Transitions" between the scenes. Even add a sound track to the background.
3- RENDER: Take the project and put it all together into one file for DVD, CD or streaming on the web.

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(NT) (NT) Why ,specifically, a Hard Disk rig?
by boya84 / October 5, 2006 7:42 AM PDT
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Why ,specifically, a Hard Disk rig?
by roman9900 / October 5, 2006 1:11 PM PDT

I don’t want to purchase tapes, or DVDs. I’m thinking its easier to work with if I want to edit something.

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Cool - just checking.
by boya84 / October 5, 2006 1:25 PM PDT

Some people want a camera based on it imaging capabilities, some are looking for stills + video, others are looking for low-light.

Personally, I use miniDV tapes. I shoot, dump the footage to my computer to edit - and the original tape is "locked" so it can't be overwritten, and "archived" - so if I ever need to go back to them for any particular reason, I have them.

Unless you either (1) don't care about archiving or (2) you back up your video to something else after transferring the video to your PC and empty the hard drive... Whatever you want.

Will you need lowlight capabilities? I am trying to determine if a 3CCD standard definition or a single CMOS hi-def camera is better for you... What do you *think* you'll be shooting most of the time? Have you considered mics? What computer will you use to edit?

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I plan to shoot family trips.
by roman9900 / October 6, 2006 2:52 PM PDT
In reply to: Cool - just checking.

I plant to shoot family trips, gatherings and vacations. We travel a lot and I want a good quality shot. I am planning to get a High definition television in the near future and I want the video quality to look good. I am planning of using a regular Toshiba laptop that I got last year to edit shots and to put them on to DVDs. I have a 80gb hard drive, 256 ram, Intel Celeron m that is at 1.46 GHz. And my graphics card is 64.0 MB, ATI RADEON XPRESS 200M Series. I know its not the best computer but I only use it for surfing the internet.

Thanks for the help.

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That helps a LOT.
by boya84 / October 7, 2006 12:10 AM PDT

So let's walk through the process:

Shoot video. Hard drive cameras can range up to 30 gig. Fill the drive, Uh-oh - better dump some on the laptop - no time to edit, leave it for later. Fill the hard drive - hope you don't miss any shots... edit later. Um... now the laptop drive is full. Better get an external drive... Get around to editing. These clips are funny/meaningful/pretty/whatever - let's keep 'em. Burn to DVD. Need room on hard drive for next trip. Didn't use these - trash them. They were "OK" but not the best. So dumped from the camera, now trashed from the laptop. 2 years later: Remember that trip? I thought I had footage of... never mind - it is gone.

OR using a miniDV based machine...Shoot video for 1 hour to 1.5 hours. 8 tapes ~$25 and are pretty commonly found in many stores. Run out of tape, take out old, put in new, start shooting, mark old tape, lock it, edit at your leisure. 2 years later: Remember that trip? I thought I had footage of... here's the tape...

But this is just my thought process...

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So what is the best high definition DVD Camcorder
by roman9900 / October 7, 2006 5:09 AM PDT
In reply to: That helps a LOT.

So what is the best high definition DVD Camcorder out there that I can get for under $1500?

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Transferring form DVD to pc.
by roman9900 / October 7, 2006 5:15 AM PDT

How will this work? Will they provide programs to edit the shots on the pc? I plan to take lots of shots and then editing them to make a nice movie. If anyone has a DVD based camcorder can you please explain this process?

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$1500 HiDef camcorder
by boya84 / October 7, 2006 5:22 AM PDT

You have only a few choices:

Sony HDR-HC1 is what I use. It is discontinued... and rebranded with some changes under the HVR-A1U (which includes an XLR adapter and external mic). Canon HV10. All three are miniDV.

There's a Sony hard drive based HD camera - and a miniDVD-based unit. I have not heard good things about the image quality because of compression requirements. Check Panasonic - but I think they'll be too pricey. I wouldn't touch the JVC HD camera.

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Thanks that what i needed.
by roman9900 / October 7, 2006 6:32 AM PDT
In reply to: $1500 HiDef camcorder

Thanks that’s exactly what I needed.

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So what happens when you have 500 miniDV tapes?????
by whizkid454 / October 7, 2006 10:15 AM PDT
In reply to: That helps a LOT.

A hard drive can fit SO MUCH MORE DATA than a miniDV tape per sq. in. Don't even bother with miniDV. HDD is definitely the way to go. And no, Sony has a camcorder with a 60GB hard drive. Buy an external drive and I'm POSITIVE you're not going to shoot over 11 hours (capacity of 60GB HDD in HQ+ mode)of video on your trip. Plus if you do happen to fill it up, just go back into the cam and see what the boring or "dud" scenes that you can delete. That simple. You usually never shoot over 11 hours of "good" video on one trip. Plus, once you're done with the video on the cam, transfer it to the computer (boring scenes are already gone), copy to DVD and store for later. That simple again. Delete the video on your computer's hard drive to make space because you already have it on DVD. Say you want the video again on your computer's hard drive; load the DVD and copy to the hard drive. Once again that simple. How would you feel if you had hundreds of miniDV tapes lying around. Oops, I lost the one with my wife's 50th birthday. Oh well. Oh but wait, if I had it on my hard drive, it would be there. See? If you had all video on a DVD, much more reliable and take up way less space (fit a hundred on one spindle). Many more options with HDD, less hassle without miniDV.

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All a matter of opinion.
by boya84 / October 7, 2006 11:27 AM PDT

I write on the little labels that come wih the tapes. It stays organized. They don't "lay around". They are kept in a couple of waterproof fireboxes. I have about 200 tapes now. I also have a 500 gig external FireWire drive connected to my computer with lots of video on it. It takes me less time to find what I want on the tapes than it does to find what I want on the hard drive. BUT if my hard drive were to crash, I still have the tapes.

Also, digital tapes have a better shelf life (~40 years) than DVDs (~20-~25 years, if you don't get disc rot). But this may not make much difference to you.

Having been an IT manager, I am keenly aware of back up processes and methods... and media capabilities. I have also bailed more than a few people out of a crashed hard drive in a laptop or an external drive. I have had to rebuild servers after hard drive crashes. They are electromechanical devices subject to breaking - that's why they are measured using "Mean Time Before Failure" MTBF - because they WILL fail.

Be careful not to confuse back-up with archive. They are very different. Backing up to another hard drive is great because the chances of multiple hard drives failing at the same time are pretty slim. Data that is backed up can change - so the back up needs to be updated. An Archive should not change.

ISPs, banks, TV stations - any place of business with LOTS of data - including video... they don't archive data to plastic discs. They archive to tape. They backup data on hard drives up to tape. There is a reason for that. The video you deposit on a camera hard drive is just data. It is likely your back-up and archival requirements just aren't that stringent, and that's cool... And when your camera's hard drive crashes, the data is gone, unless you want to pay big bucks to a company like DriveSavers that can open the drive in a clean room and pull off the data sector by sector as you are paying them the equivalent of more than another camera to retrieve the data... or maybe the many hours that were stored on there because you didn't have a chance to transfer to your laptop weren't that big of a deal. Great! And PLEASE don't post a plea for help on a forum like this one because you can't get your data.

With any luck, you won't have a problem. But luck - as with hope - is not a sound strategy.

On the other hand, if your miniDV camera dies, take the tape out, get another miniDV camera and pop the tape in... and you are back in business.

It is all a matter of opinion. And experience. And requirements. My experience and requirements have molded my opinion. In a couple of years, hard drive cameras may be ready for what I would consider "prime time", but - in my opinion - they are not yet there... and I will not rely on a technology that is "not yet there" to store my videography.

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You're joking, right?
by Kiddpeat / October 12, 2006 1:15 AM PDT

60gb? That fits on a little over 4 miniDV tapes. The only way a hard drive can store more than 4 hours of video (4 miniDV tapes) is to compress the video. Say bye bye to your editing ability.

500 tapes? Let's see. 6,750 gigabytes, or 6.8 terabytes. How many hard drives to you envision buying? How long will you keep your raw footage just in case that shiny DVD that you burned becomes unreadable? It's ludicrous to argue that hard drives can store more data than tapes.

DVD's? Current max is about 9 gigs for a dual layer DVD. You're going to carry and burn dual layer DVDs on a trip? What happens if they go bad or get scratched? Bye bye video. Tape is a far more reliable form of storage, and much more readily available. Hard drive? Drop one, or more, of the dozen that you're carrying, and bye bye video.

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External mic buzzing HDR-SR1--beware before spending $1500
by seesync / November 27, 2006 5:32 AM PST
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video quality doesn't match tapes yet
by tbweld / October 5, 2006 10:02 PM PDT

From what I understand, the hard drive video quality doesn't match tapes due to the compression. If you plan to do any editing, it could degrade the image even more. I'm personally waiting for technology to come along a little further before purchasing one. Its a pain to transfer the tapes but I think the image quality is worth it. I own a Sony and are very happy with the brand.

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how do you transfer
by johnnybgood0925 / October 6, 2006 9:50 AM PDT

video from miniDV to a computer for editing? I too am interested in buying a camera but not sure how miniDV and Hard disk differ

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transferring... and other observations...
by boya84 / October 7, 2006 2:17 AM PDT
In reply to: how do you transfer

MiniDV: connect camera using FireWire/IEEE1394/i.Link port to FireWire/IEEE1394/i.Link port on computer. Editing application on computer imports video. For Standard Def, import time will be 1-for-1. That is, 1 hour of video recorded will take 1 hour to import. For hi-def, the computer may buffer the video and need to transcode, so import will not be real-time... and take longer. Import time of 1 hour of hi-def video will depend on your computer's CPU.

Some cameras may use USB2 for standard def video import. I don't recommend it. Hi-def camcorders all have a FireWire/IEEE1394/i.Link connector.

Mini-DV based video continues to provide the best available quality and pretty much unlimited, affordable, storage (just replace the tape when the one in the camera is full).


Hard drive: When the camera is connected to the computer via FireWire/IEEE1394/i.Link or USB2, the camera's hard drive mounts as an external hard drive and you copy the file to your computer for editing. There *might* be translation/transcoding time required for the computer's video editor's application to de-code the video file. If you are REALLY disciplined about taking your video off the camera and on to your hard drive AND you don't care about archiving stuff that hit the cutting room "floor" (or if you have LOTS of external FireWire hard drive space connected to your computer to archive), this *could* be a way to go. I have heard/read that the compression used to store video to these hard drive cameras does not allow for the best quality, so be warned.

Also, since the hard drive is an electromechanical device - like the one in your computer - it is subject to the same problems of head crashes, armature deficiencies and all the other issues that personal computer hard drives are subjected to... which is why we ALL back up our data regularly, right??? In the case of a camcorder, it is subject to even MORE movement than a laptop... so again, be warned.

Let's say I have an hour of video that I have not transfered to my computer. The camcorder drive crashes. I cannot get that data unless I want a drive repair compnay to get it (big $$$). If I have miniDV tape based camera and the camera dies, I take the tape out and put it in another camera. (By the way, with mini DVD-based cameras, I believe you need to "finalize" the disc on the camera that it was used in to capture the video before ANY OTHER mechanism will recognize video on the disc).


In any of the camcorders, they all have analog conections, too. This allows you to play your video directly from the camera to a TV. If you also have an analog/digital video "bridge", you can transfer video to your computer that way, too - but video quality will suffer. MUCH better to use the FireWire/IEEE1394/i.Link connection.

My opinion: MiniDV might take a little longer to get the video into a computer for editing, but it is self-archiving (if you don't re-use the tape), affordable (an 8 pack of Sony or Panasonic miniDV tapes for ~$24... I get mine at Fry's Electronics), portable (use the tape in another machine if needed) and has the best quality.

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Hard Disk and DVD Cams
by tremorz / November 6, 2006 10:38 AM PST


I'm looking into Hard Disk Handycam and DVD Handycam, from Sony, and I notice the capture quality...i think in the Effective Pixels at 690k (are the same for both HDD or DVD Handycam)

How is this compared to MiniDV or DVD or Harddisk Handycam ?

I'm concerned about Quality Loss but unsure how bad it is.

Any idea or advice. Thank you.

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According to their spec sheets,
by boya84 / November 6, 2006 10:06 PM PST
In reply to: Hard Disk and DVD Cams

Sony MiniDV camcorders - using the "video actual" information at their web site - come in at over 2 million pixels.

If you've been reading through these forums, you will find most folks concerned about quality imaging, built-in archiving of the source video, life time usability of the tape and ease of transfer to computer for editing, use MiniDV tape based cameras...

Whizkid454 likes the hard-drive based models...

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hard disk camcorder
by cheeming / October 5, 2006 11:51 PM PDT

the pioneer hard disk comcorder is still JVC.
SONY &Panasonic got to follow THE LEADER JVC on hard disk comcorders.
ps :
i am not work for JVC .

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