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Can AVCHD Flash Memory units work like "SD"

Hi from a newbie!

Can I shoot SD with a Canon VIXIA HF-100 AVCHD?

Hear me out.
I want to get an HD camera so that I'll be HD ready when I upgrade everything else (my computer, burner, etc.)

But for now, can I shoot in an "SD" format and burn to regular DVDs. I use Vegas (version 7). I have a 3 yr old Windows XP computer, 60 gig drive, 1.5 gig RAM.

And can I get by w/ regular SD memory cards if I shoot in "SD".

If this Canon VIXIA HF-100 AVCHD won't allow that, what will? Or can I convert the Canon HD to SD w/ a program of some kind?


Thanks

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Perhaps downloading the camcorder

In reply to: Can AVCHD Flash Memory units work like "SD"

manual and reading through might help?

http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&fcategoryid=177&modelid=16187

It may be advantageous to record in HD (if your computer can handle AVCHD) because when you burn the DVD, it should automatically downsample to SD for you anyway...

Other camcorders (apparently not this Canon) allow shooting in MPEG2 standard definition...

The bigger question is where will you store the video until you decide your infrastructure is completely upgraded? A big external hard drive (500 gig or more) might be appropriate...

The memory card requirements are on page 31...

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Thanks. I probably won't shoot

In reply to: Perhaps downloading the camcorder

in HD until I upgrade my hardware. I wonder if I could even shoot in HD, create a project on my current machine, then hope it will "downsample" to regular DVD burn?

How do I know if my machine can handle AVCHD?

Thanks for the link to the manual.

Are there conversion programs I could use to get from the HD to MPEG2 standard def? And would I need a computer upgrade to even do this?

I'm so confused.

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You aren't confused...

In reply to: Thanks. I probably won't shoot

That is why you are asking questions.

You 60 gig hard drive is a bit small for any video editing (standard or high def) - I presume that is the total drive size... you need to keep in mind that operating system, other applications and other documents (especially after 3 years) will take space, so available space is what we really need to know (and my easy rule of thumb is to never let a hard drive get below 10% of total drive size). Is this a laptop?

Whether your CPU or RAM can deal with AVCHD will depend on how well your computer meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of the video editor that can handle AVCHD files. I am not a Windows user - and do all my video editing on Macintosh gear... Sony Vegas is affordable (MovieMaker cannot deal with AVCHD files), but may have issues with AVCHD files not from Sony Camcorders (someone please tell me I am wrong), so that leaves Pinnacle Studio Plus... http://www.pinnaclesys.com/PublicSite/us/Products/Consumer+Products/Home+Video/Studio+Family/Studio+Plus.htm Check the Specifications tab... I do know you will need another hard drive (external via USB will work OK).

So rather than worry about things (like conversion programs), lets deal with the here and now first and see what we have... and take the next steps as we need to rather than having to backtrack.

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OK, so if I get

In reply to: You aren't confused...

an external drive, I may be able to use this camera w/ my existing Computer? It's not a laptop... has Wind. XP, AMD Sempron 3100+ (1.8 GHz)processor; 1.5 GB DDR SDRAM.

Is it that simple? I just need a bigger drive capacity (external)...and when I make a movie w/ Vegas it will downsample to a regular DVD burn?

I can handle that if that's all I'd need to get going. I can wait on actually making HD movies for a bit, you know.

This Canon HF-100 has a better lens, features, etc. than SD units, so they say it's supposed to shoot better than SD even on a really low (lowest) setting. I figure I should get aboard the HD train at least... I can always get a bigger better computer at some point.

How large of a external drive would I need to get started?

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If you have checked the

In reply to: OK, so if I get

video editor specs, "Whether your CPU or RAM can deal with AVCHD will depend on how well your computer meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of the video editor that can handle AVCHD files."

If you are not planning to edit, and are only planning to store files for editing later, then ANY computer can attach an external drive to get those video data files copied over and CPU/RAM/other computer capabilities do not matter.

How large of an external drive you need depends on how much video you expect to store for later editing. I would suggest a minimum of 500 gig just pulling a number out of the air. I have no way to know how long that will last you. What is handy with external drives is when one fills, disconnect it and use another one.

From my perspective, yes, it really is that easy. I am using a 4-5 year old Apple Macintosh PowerPC G5 flatpanel iMac. If IT can handle editing HDV from a miniDV tape based camcorder (admittedly not as quickly as a shiny new Intel-chip based Mac), I do not see any reason why your computer cannot. Again, things may take a little longer (presuming the AVCHD-friendly editor will work with your computer), but the should still get done. Crunching/rendering - frame-by-frame - high definition video takes a LOT of work and will work your computer's CPU VERY hard.

I would say that 1.5 gig RAM needs to be increased to more than 2 gig - more is better. Just like the external drive is not adequate. AVCHD is a processing hog. The DVD authoring application will take care of the standard definition downsample work for you... Remember, that crunching is REALLY CPU intensive. This takes a while.

Much of this is my opinion or experience, only. Perhaps someone else can chime in...

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Some issues may loom...

In reply to: OK, so if I get

Sempron processor + video editing = I don't think so. Wink

Sorry for being blunt, but my Pentium D dual core processor had a tough time playing back some AVCHD samples given to me. It requires some real power. The most likely option is that your computer won't allow you to use the AVCHD video once you get it to your computer within Vegas. I'm not sure about that though. If it does work, it will be pretty darn SLOW.

Of course an external drive will be a great help, for now and in the future. If you don't use the external drive for videos, maybe a computer backup would be a good idea if you haven't done one of those. 500GB drives go for around $80-100 today and I think that is the best balance in terms of storage-price today.

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When you say editing...

In reply to: Some issues may loom...

what exactly does that mean.
I'm not going to produce fancy documentaries, really. I just want to add HD clips to my Sony Vegas timeline. Then burn away...

Is this what you would call editing?

Thanks for the input.

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Sorry for little explanation...

In reply to: When you say editing...

Let's start from the beginning. After you shoot video on the camcorder, you transfer it to the computer. Say you want to make some modifications to it... You will use Vegas (which you already have) for that. By modifications, I mean simple trimming or adjusting lighting or changing formats, etc. After the modifications, the project must be "rendered" to produce a usable final video file playable on your computer or other device. This step of "rendering" is the problem with most computers. During this process, each frame is specifically molded and stitched to create the new video file. This is the main area that requires the most processing power. Yes, during the editing process (on the timeline), processing power is required for the preview function too. If you check Task manager, I bet Vegas is taking up about 80-90% of CPU when you are editing some video.

So, basically what I am trying to say, is that a slow processor will not perform the rendering step as quickly as it could. Even my 1 hour SD video files on a dual core processor, take about 2 hours to render. Imagine an hour of HD video on a single core 1.8GHz processor; I'd say a rough estimate of 5-7 hours is appropriate for rendering.

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Bottom line

In reply to: Sorry for little explanation...

You have given me great info, Thanks.

So I take it rendering (and I know exactly what you mean by this)CAN be done on my machine. It will just take forever. That's OK. I don't make alot of videos. And I can render before going to bed. It will be done in the morning, etc.

But it sounds like I could be putting my computer through the paces w/ this so much that I might risk its demise? Correct?

Bottom line: If I get this camcorder, can I make simple movies (just trimming clips, etc.) w/ Vegas on my machine?

If so:
1. do I need an additional hard drive (just to make a project. I don't care about saving a ton of files for later).

2. do I need SDHC cards or can I use plain SD cards

3. will I have to use the lowest recording setting

Thanks--
Just trying to get the specifs cleared up.

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One MAJOR thing was overlooked...

In reply to: Bottom line

Vegas does not support anything other than Sony's AVCHD camcorders. Canon AVCHD will NOT work in Vegas. They are the same format, but each company has their own iteration of it. I'm sorry this wasn't mentioned earlier. When I responded to this thread, I skimmed through and didn't see that you were considering a Canon AVCHD camcorder.

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actually, my second reply...

In reply to: One MAJOR thing was overlooked...

but it never hurts to reiterate - especially this deep in the thread.

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Here are some links about the Vegas issue...

In reply to: actually, my second reply...

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Sorry about that...

In reply to: Bottom line

I did a little bit more research on the issue. It looks as though an update to Vegas 8 has fixed the issue with Canon AVCHD. You do have Vegas 8, correct?

I can't guarantee that everything will work smoothly with the combination of Canon AVCHD, Vegas, and a weaker processor. It's likely that it will have trouble and may not work at all. After perusing through some forum threads on the Web, it seems people have tried using single core processors and had no luck.

I see three options: 1) Get a newer computer. Quad-core PCs can be found in stores for around $700 and will provide an EXTREME boost in power. 2) Take the chance and try it. Maybe take a few sample clips and test before using the camcorder for something important. 3) Step down to a SD camcorder that will put less strain on your computer.

No matter what you decide: -Yes, it is a good idea to have an additional hard drive. How will you store the videos otherwise? -SDHC cards are required for the flash camcorders. -Using the lowest setting will give you the lowest results. It isn't recommended.

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thank u all but

In reply to: Sorry about that...

I think I may have found a solution: The Sony HDR-CX7 AVCHD.
This one will also record in good old SD-- MPEG2 in three quality settings: SD HQ (9 Mbps), SD SP (6 Mbps), and SD LP (3 Mbps).

This one is a bit more cash to begin with, but it is much more flexible for me and will allow upgrading whenever I get around to it. Plus it's Sony, which means Vegas will be more compatible (I have version 7 at the moment).

And I know I can use it right now. W/ out that feeling in the pit of my stomach I'd get hooking up the Canon HF-100 to my machine, cracking the whip and praying it all comes together!

A unit that can do HD and SD is what I need.

thank u all!!

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Sounds like a plan...

In reply to: thank u all but

But, let us know how your computer does with the AVCHD footage. It might be helpful to people who might later ask a similar question.

Thanks.

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Is "86th Street" a good merchant?

In reply to: Sounds like a plan...

I'll try some AVCHD footage (w/ a fire exstingquisher at the ready to save my machine) and let you know when I get it.

Does anyone know about these guys? http://www.86photovideo.com/default.asp

are they decent to deal with? Low prices on Camcorders...

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No, please stay away from the trap.

In reply to: Can AVCHD Flash Memory units work like "SD"

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yikes!

In reply to: No, please stay away from the trap.

thanks for the info. something sounded weird w/ them. But I was ready to buy. 86th Street is offering a Canon HF-100 (AVCHD) for $319 !! Thats less than many SD units.

who do you recommend for good prices on a Sony HDR-CX7?

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Prices too good to be true

In reply to: yikes!

seem to not travel with reputable distributors...

If you are convinced that buying online is best for you (perhaps a neighbor is employed at the local BestBuy or Fry's Electronics or whatever - plus the taxes support the infrastructure we all use), then Amazon.com, BHPhotovideo.com, Adorama.com (there are a few others) are the typical good-reputation vendors that quickly float to the top - not necessarily "best price" but known to not be scammers, either.

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Well that's a reality check

In reply to: Prices too good to be true

those prices almost got another sucker...me!
thanks for the feedback. and good points about taxes. Americans just hate to pay retail, I guess. And this comes at our own expense.

Looks Like I'm going to be saving my pennies for a bit yet. That Sony camera is more $ than I thought if I buy it at a regular place, not through the internet abyss.

Thanks for the help guys.

See you in awhile--

Don

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