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Looking for an HD Digital Camcorder

by qw6789 / November 14, 2010 7:00 AM PST

Hi, Ive been looking for an HD Digital Camcorder, I received a canon HV-20 as a gift a few months ago but I sold it as I was SO confused with how to upload the videos to my computer. I would plug it in and nothing happened.
I am a serious noob at this so the idea of using tapes,choosing a video editing program etc... was totally something I could not understand. I'm used to simple USB uploading. Windows Movie Maker etc..

I have a Sony cybershot digital camera that has built in video mode that I am using currently but the quality is not the greatest, its good but not crystal clear.

Are there any Ddigital High definition Camcorders out there that are somewhat easy to transfer / edit files on to a pc ?
I am looking at a Canon vixia hf100 that looks nice, But I have no idea if I would have luck with it in being able to upload the files to my pc,editing them and getting them on youtube etc... Like I said, I am a noob in this field.

here is the laptop that I have by the way -

Thanks alot for any help you can offer

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Collapse -
"Easy" is relative.
by boya84 / November 15, 2010 8:35 AM PST

Lots of things are "not easy" if you have never done them before or don't have the right tools.

The Canon HV40 is a miniDV tape based camcorder that can record low compression, high quality, standard and high definition video. That means connecting the camcorder's DV port (not USB) to the computer's firewire port (not USB) with a firewire cable (not USB). The video editor must be capable of dealing with HDV format video that is on the digital tape. Firewire, DV, IEEE1394 and i.LINK are essentially all the same thing. USB is used only for getting stills of the memory card.

Your Sony CyberShot is likely recording high compression standard definition video. Since it was designed to capture stills - and it does a good job at that - its video capability is merely a "convenience feature". It connects to your computer using USB.

The Canon HF100 is a flash memory based camcorder designed to capture video (and audio). It captures AVCHD-compressed video into MTS files and connects to your computer using USB. Thank you for sharing the laptop link. Whether your computer hardware, operating system and bundled software (MovieMaker Live) will support editing or otherwise using these MTS files is all over the map
I would like to say it would be "easy" but I cannot - in good conscience. Many folks opt away from MovieMaker and into other titles - like Sony Vegas. Your computer's RAM is light, too, for this sort of heavy lifting (dealing with MTS video files).

YouTube will not take MTS files directly. Typically, the process flow is:
Capture video.
Get video into computer.
Edit video.
Export or render video to AVI, WMV, MOV or MP4 file type.
Upload to video sharing site.

I hope this helps.

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Thank you very much
by qw6789 / November 15, 2010 12:37 PM PST
In reply to: "Easy" is relative.

Thank you so much for the help, What you said made TONS of sense to me.
I guess my first step is to pick a HD video editing program, That was the problem before, When I had the HV-20 I was sitting there plugging it in with a USB thinking it would go on to move maker. I totally understand now though.
Thanks again - Really appreciate it

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You're welcome.
by boya84 / November 15, 2010 10:15 PM PST
In reply to: Thank you very much

When looking for the video editor, you actually have two options...

1) Pick what you like and don't worry the actual capabilities. If it cannot handle AVCHD/MTS files, you can use a utility application to transcode (fancy word for "convert") the video to a file your editor can deal with. Under certain conditions, this means the video will drop to less than high definition. And this does add an extra step in the process. MPEG Streamclip from is a good transcoder.

2) Use an editor that can deal with AVCHD/MTS video files. Be sure your computer exceeds the minimum requirements for dealing with these video files.

In any case, miniDV tape camcorders will never connect to your computer for video transfer. Your computer has no firewire (IEEE1394, DV, i.LINK) port and no way to add one. Hard disc drive and flash memory camcorders record the same file types, and use the same compression on the video files - but flash memory has some "management" advantages. And no one should ever waste their money on a DVD based consumer camcorder.

Good luck!

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