Video Cameras forum

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Canon zr950 engine noise

by Pawelpoc / August 10, 2008 3:25 PM PDT


After having read many post on this forum I have decided to buy the MiniDV camera instead of HDD one.

I got Cannon zr950, and even though the video quality is fine, I must say I am rather disapointed in the audio background noise from tape engine. I read in other few posts that it may be hapenning, but I did not expect it to be so annoying.
I am considering returning the camcorder and buy the HDD one, which I believe will not have this problem.

Any thoughts?


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If it's unsatisfactory for you...
by whizkid454 / August 10, 2008 10:34 PM PDT

Try the other option like you were debating. Let us know what, if any, difference you hear.

Just as a side note, I hear no hard disk noise from my camcorder during recordings. I have a Sony SR100.

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but there are other drawbacks
by Pawelpoc / August 11, 2008 12:15 PM PDT

as explained in other posts it seems that the HDD camcorders have one serious drawback, that you need to copy and process the footings before burning the DVD?
I heard there is very little of editing possible with the HDD marcorders.

Comming back to the miniDV, do you think ther are other camcorders miniDVD based, which are quieter than ZR950?

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We won't go into the problems with miniDVD...
by whizkid454 / August 11, 2008 1:15 PM PDT

If you want some more concrete evidence of such, search the forum with: "DVD camcorders".

Just to clear things up...

it seems that the HDD camcorders have one serious drawback, that you need to copy and process the footings before burning the DVD?-- Not necessarily. There are many ways to get footage from any camcorder to DVD. Some examples include: 1) copying to computer and burning 2) using a DVDirect (hint: Google) to burn 3) using a DVD recorder you may have with your TV setup. If using the computer option, all camcorders must transfer the recordings to the computer for processing before they can be burned onto a DVD. (Most HDD camcorders have a one-touch button for burning DVDs with no need to fool around with software and burn settings. The software does all of the conversions and disc layout.)

I heard there is very little of editing possible with the HDD marcorders.-- Not true at all. MPEG2 is one of the most popular formats in almost every editing software available. The misconception may be because of AVCHD which is newer and hasn't reached a majority of different software. Standard definition HDD camcorders do not use AVCHD, that is only for high definition HDD/flash/DVD camcorders.

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so maybe HDD camcorder
by Pawelpoc / August 13, 2008 3:18 PM PDT

Hi Whizkid

Thanks for the explanation, I think all of it makes sense to me.
Maye I should get myslef the HDD camcorder instead of the noisy ZR950.
I will search more for the HDD ones.

You seem to have a recognition in HDD corders, would you sugest one, which can do HDD, manual audio, external mic, good picture quality and at least 47x zoom?


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If you still want to keep the Canon...
by whizkid454 / August 13, 2008 10:38 PM PDT
In reply to: so maybe HDD camcorder

Bob's idea of an external mic is probably a very good idea.

As with all camcorders, as manufacturers include larger optical zooms, the video quality (due to the smaller sensor) decreases. Hardly any HDD camcorders in the lower range include a mic jack or manual audio. Those come as you move into the higher range and HD.

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I truly don't want to get between
by boya84 / August 11, 2008 1:22 PM PDT

you and whizkid, but I am curious, could you please describe the audio and the environment which was recorded to that ZR950?

Was it essentially complete silence? Was there any background or ambient noise at all?

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do all the miniDV do this noise?
by Pawelpoc / August 13, 2008 3:36 PM PDT

The environment was a complete silence. I recorded some in my home, with silence in the room.
When you play it back you could hear distinct engine noise.
I believe that it is mostly due to AGC but it does not change a thing that when it is quite outside the gain will increase so drasticly that will pick up the engine noise.

And besides, even when listining to the camera while recording or playing you could hear the working engine.

The question I have, do all the miniDV camcorders do the same thing?
Maybe there are some, which are more silent than ZR950?


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Hint: External Microphones.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 13, 2008 10:20 PM PDT

You can't imagine how much better.

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I think anything you can
by boya84 / August 13, 2008 11:00 PM PDT

hear - especial in the way of motor noise - with miniDV tape, hard drive or DVD based, especially with the auto gain control doing its job - will be picked up. Keep in mind that the mic elements are less than 2 inches away from the motor. In my mind, this is not unexpected and not isolated to the ZR950.

I'll take Bob's response a step further - in addition to an external mic (I don't think the ZR950 has a mic jack), manual audio control (to bypass the built-in auto mic gain) would be useful, too. The 950 does not have manual audio control either. The only other way is to use a camcorder with no motor - like those which use flash memory as their video storage media.

And... if you are planning to edit the video, you can always pull the "silent" audio level down with the video editor's controls...

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If you are doing the audio correctly, you will probably find
by Kiddpeat / August 13, 2008 11:58 PM PDT

that you can't "pull" it down at all unless you "pull down" only the silent sections. You will, instead, need to boost the volume, and, perhaps, compress it to get enough punch.

The major way around this is to use an external mic. That's been a given for years. If the camera can't accomodate an external mic, an external recording device will also be needed. A hard disk or flash drive may be quieter, but at what cost? A substantial reduction in video quality. My Canon XH-A1 does not seem to suffer from this issue, but it is probably well out of the OP's budget.

There is, of course, also audio PP. In some cases, you can remove or reduce the motor noise with a good audio filter. That is probably not an inexpensive alternative.

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do not want external mic
by Pawelpoc / August 14, 2008 10:56 AM PDT


I am not very keen on external mic solution. the reason why I bought small camera is to have it compact.
The only thing I regret is that the ZR950 does not have the manual audio control, which may be better for me in this case.
Which of the low-prised camcorders would have manual audio?
I also prefer canon since I like the video quality.


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The least expensive camcorders - of which I am aware
by boya84 / August 14, 2008 11:25 AM PDT

with a mic jack:
Canon ZR800, ZR900, ZR930 - none have manual audio control.

with a mic jack and manual audio control:
Canon HV20, HV30, Sony HDR-HC7 and HDR-HC9

I am not aware of any camcorder without a mic jack but with manual audio control. This does not mean it does not exist - it just means I am not aware of it...

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too expensive
by Pawelpoc / August 14, 2008 12:11 PM PDT

I can see all of them are of order of $1000, which is too much for me to spend on the camcorder.

I may have stayed with the one I bought in the end. :(.


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Are you editing the video?
by boya84 / August 14, 2008 1:03 PM PDT
In reply to: too expensive

If so, and the silence is the issue, can't you just mute the audio on the video you captured? Most video editors (even the "free" bundled ones) allow for at least rudimentary audio control...

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Where are people selling the ZR800 for over 1000?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 14, 2008 10:10 PM PDT
In reply to: too expensive
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I was talking HDD
by Pawelpoc / August 16, 2008 3:01 AM PDT


I was refering to HDD maccorders. They are usually rather expensive.

Maybe I should go to store and try different camcorders and see if any of them will be more silent.

Thanks a lot for all the help.

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I'm talking the models listed.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 16, 2008 3:10 AM PDT
In reply to: I was talking HDD

"with a mic jack:
Canon ZR800, ZR900, ZR930 - none have manual audio control."

The retails prices I see for those are:
249, 205 to 271 and 256 to 280.

"with a mic jack and manual audio control:
Canon HV20, HV30, Sony HDR-HC7 and HDR-HC9"

Now we are in the 700 buck range.

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Replaced with DCR-SR45
by Pawelpoc / August 16, 2008 3:38 PM PDT

Today I have replaced the ZR950 with Sony DCR-SR45.
It is not HD, but I am OK with that, but the engine noise is gone, since there is no tape.
The editing is much better, no rewinding, instant access to any fotage. I have played with it only few minutes, but so far I like it a lot better than ZR950.
Let's see how the burning goes on.


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