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Consider new camcorder for sports footage

I'm a volleyball coach and am constantly doing video analysis of our matches. I currently have a SONY miniDV camcorder which does a nice job of capturing decent quality video. What I do find to be a pain is archiving and finding all the miniDV tapes I use to capture matches. And in order to get the video to my PC for editing, it's real time importing (1 hr video takes 1 hr to import). And, to surf around in the match, I gotta fish through the tape.

I'm considering a hard drive camcorder to speed up the import to PC process and to make it easier to record more video without tapes... and also to burn the video to DVD faster on my PC's DVD burner. Any thoughts on my application and whether it's worth it to go the hard drive camcorder route right now?

Thanks!
Coach Dave

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you will save some time transferring video

In reply to: Consider new camcorder for sports footage

from a hard-drive based camcorder to your computer because it is not real-time import, but a drag/drop copy.

Editing, rendering and burning to DVD will take the same amount of time - this is the computer working to render the video in the computer and burn the video to the DVD and are unrelated to the camcorder media.

The only place in the last paragraph that might improve would be the rendering time - but that is CPU-bound... faster CPU = faster rendering. We don't know what computer you have today, so it is not possible to estimate what a new CPU might do for you.

If you go with a hard drive based camcorder, you can have a similar archive on disc, but that step happens later in the process rather than up front in the miniDV tape video capture process. If you choose not to archive from a hard drive based camcorder, and just delete the video after transfer from the camcorder to the computer, you will have saved time - and you will have no archive. When all is said and done, my guess is that there will still be a marginal time saving in favor of the hard drive based camcorder process - with little degraded video quality.

Are you coaching high-school volleyball? Is there an visual arts or multimedia class or individual student interested in learning to capture, edit, etc... that might do the job?

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correction to the 2nd to last

In reply to: you will save some time transferring video

paragraph - last statement.

Currently reads, "with little degraded video quality."

Should read, "with a little degraded video quality."

MiniDV provides the best image quality. The Sony SR80 and SR100 provide good quality - but not as good as MiniDV tape.

(Please don't even consider DVD based camcorders.)

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I would say look at this...

In reply to: Consider new camcorder for sports footage

there is a brand new Hitachi camcorder that was just released at Consumer Electronics Show(CES) a couple of days ago. It is the DZ-HS500A. It is a combination of HDD/DVD. You can record your videos to the HDD and when ready, you can burn that same video directly to a DVD using the DVD drive built into the camcorder(a nice feature for easy archiving)! This is a major convenience factor because there is no need for a computer or an external camcorder connection.
Here is a link: http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Hitachi-Brings-Hybrid-DVDHDD-to-the-US.htm

The video is not up to par on this new model (1/6" imager), but I imagine that when other companies or models start appearing later in the years, they will put better imagers and maybe Sony will make an AVCHD version which would be excellent. Instead of a DVD drive on the Sony, it could be a mini-BluRay drive!! (Wishful thinking on my part!) Happy BTW, any AVCHD models announced at CES will be available when AVCHD editing software is also available.

For now, this might be one of your easiest options but a hard drive camcorder might be perfect for you because of the concerns you listed. I agree fishing through tape is really annoying in order to play back a scene. You are right about transfer speeds as well. The SR100 would be my personal choice but, there are two new upgrades to this camcorder that were announced at CES: The SR200 and SR300. Both will be availble in March.
Here is a link: http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Five-New-Camcorders-Strengthen-Sonys-HDD-Presence.htm

Good luck!

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