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Will my macbook be able to handle AVCHD footage?

by jelin94 / December 29, 2009 6:08 AM PST

I am deciding between the Canon Vixia HF200 with AVCHD or the HV40 with minidv, and I am wondering if my macbook will be able to handle the AVCHD footage with final cut express 4. I know it is compatible, but I have heard that it is really difficult to edit AVCHD footage unless you have a really really high end computer. My macbook has 2gb of Ram and 2.4 GHz

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cores?
by chickenorfish / December 29, 2009 12:49 PM PST

is the 2.4ghz from a single core, 2 cores or 4 cores?

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Cores
by jelin94 / December 29, 2009 12:58 PM PST
In reply to: cores?

It's 2 cores

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the more
by chickenorfish / December 29, 2009 2:39 PM PST
In reply to: Cores

the more cores the merrier, but what you have should be sufficient. watching it may be tough, but editing should be ok

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chickenorfish is correct, but the
by boya84 / December 30, 2009 12:20 AM PST

information you supplied is incomplete.

1) If your MacBook has a firewire port, I would go with the HV40.

2) What version OSX and video editor title are you planning to use?

3) Does the MacBook configuration EXCEED the minimum requirements for AVCHD editing? (Details are at apple.com in either the iMovie or FinalCut applications pages.)

4) Is "compatible" enough for you or will the time it takes to decompress the video cause angst?

5) How much available hard drive space is there?

6) Are you planning to archive the video? How?

There's more, but this is the usual starting list...

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Compare HV40 and others
by Kristie Hewlett / March 18, 2010 10:28 PM PDT

I have an imac and a notebook pro. I like the Canon HF 200, HG20 and HV40.
I want to know if the HV40 will work well with my computers. This will be my first camcorder. I will use it for my web design business, you tube. Does the HV40 have storage space? Will any be more work than the other? I want great quality in visual and would like to have a lav mic recommendation for amoung $100. Thanks

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Since the only Macs
by boya84 / March 18, 2010 11:05 PM PDT

lacking a firewire port are a few alternating versions of MacBooks and the MacBook Air, all three (HF 200, HG20 and HV40) are worth investigating. You did not tell us which video editor (and version you are planning... but lets look further.

Hard disc drive camcorders have known issues with high levels of vibration and high altitude - these may not have any impact on your planned use. I cannot see into the future so I try to plan for as many possibilities as I can. In the event of hard drive failure, data recovery can be challenging. Flash memory and digital tape are removable and can be used with various other camcorders and devices to get the video - even if the camcorder breaks.

To answer your questions directly:
Does the HV40 have storage space?
The HV40 uses digital tape. The series of zeros and ones written to the tape are the same as the zeros and ones written to flash memory, hard disc drive and DVD storage media. They HDV video data is less compressed than that used by the other storage media. Keep in mind: More video compression = more discarded data.

Will any be more work than the other?
With the hard disc drive and flash memory camcorders - assuming you record to AVCHD compressed MTS files: Connect the camcorder with a USB cable, mount the media to the desktop, copy the files to the Mac, Launch the video editor, drag the files to the video editor's "capture" area, the video decompresses. Sometimes, the video editor knows the camcorder is there and launches - then you import the video and the video decompresses. If video archiving is needed, how are you planning to deal with that? This is one of the bigger issues with hard drive and flash memory camcorders.

With the miniDV tape camcorder, connect the firewire cable to the camcorder and the Mac, put the camcorder in Play mode, launch the video editor and Import or Capture the video. The real-time capture streams in the video - the camcorder does the decompression. If you don't re-use the tape, it IS the archive.

Once the video is in the editor, the source of the video does not matter - the video is the video - ready to edit, add transitions, titles, credita, special effects... and render to different files for different uses (uploading, burn a DVD, etc...).

like to have a lav mic
I don't know if a wired or wireless lavaliere is needed. Decent wireless is expensive. I use Sennheiser and Shure wireless gear. You want UHF. I have no suggestions for wired lavs - but suggest you stay in the Sennheiser, Shure and Audio Technica area...

For "great visual quality" learn about and implement three point lighting or 4 point lighting techniques. Some light trees and PAR 56 cans and a dimmer system from Guitar Center is an easy way out. Consumer camcorders and low light do not get along. ANY camcorder can provide good video if the lighting is good enough for its lenses and imaging chip(s).

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Should I go with the newer HV40
by Kristie Hewlett / March 19, 2010 4:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Since the only Macs

My Macbook pro has a Firewire.
My editor is After Effects4.
The HV40 is newer then the HF200. CNET hasn?t done a review yet on the HV40, yet. Do you think it is an improvement over theHF200 and HG20? I like the HF200, but should I get the HV40, is it a better choice for, I think, 100 dollars different.
I have only used Flash on my DSLR. Is the film a longer process, but better quality?
HV40-digital tape? Why didn?t they make it Flash?
Thanks! For the lav mic and 3 point lighting. I will research this. So much to learn. Should I go newer HV40, or one of the other 2?

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Actually, the HV40 has been around
by boya84 / March 19, 2010 6:45 AM PDT

for a while. While I continue to be an advocate of the (digital) miniDV tape format - along with many prosumers and professionals (see the Sony HVR series in their pro line-up; Canon's GL, XL, XH and XLH series; Panasonic's DVCPRO digital tape series), the manufacturers have pretty much abandoned the miniDV tape format for consumers. Basically, at the consumer level, the HV40 is about it when it comes to miniDV tape and high definition.

It is not all about the media - but the video file type that is written to that media. There are a few examples of pro-grade camcorders that use flash memory - Sony HVR-Z7, Panasonic AG-HVX200, JVC GM-HY100 - but they do not use the highly compressed AVCHD MTS files and use less compressed file types (DV, HDV, DVCAM, HDCAM, XDCAM, DVCPRO, DVCPRO HD, even low compression MOV files from the HM100). Note the lack of internal hard disc drive camcorders at the prosumer or pro level. There are external hard drives (like those form Sony or Focus Enhancements' FireStore), but they generally connect to the digital tape camcorder with firewire and record DV/HDV or the manufacturer proprietary digital tape formats.

If you use a DSLR, then you understand what compression can do to the image data file. The concept is similar to video - but of course, different.

The Canon "Vixia" ("Legria" across the pond) camcorders are all essentially the same camcorders - if you take the storage media out of the mix. Add in the storage media, then you see the differences (HG is hard disk drive; HF is flash memory - both of which write to AVCHD MTS files... and HV is miniDV tape).

The HV30 replaced the HV40
http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-camcorders/canon-vixia-hv30/4505-6500_7-32786397.html?tag=mncol;lst

Camcorderinfo.com has good info on it...

Beyond the digital tape vs flash memory (or hard disc drive) discussion, the question remains whether you want to archive the video, perhaps wanting it in 5, 10 or more years in the future and how you are expecting to archive that. If there is no need for an archive (or if you are willing to investigate RAID1-configured hard drive arrays), then perhaps flash memory is in order for you. In my opinion, miniDV tape is easier - and the "built-in archive" step is just icing.

One other thing... High definition video playback. Your Macs can edit and render the video out to the file types you identified regardless of the video source - and there is one more thing a miniDV tape based, high definition video, camcorder connected with firewire can do that the other storage media cannot: When the video editing project work is done, you will render out to various formats and media depending on your audience. You can also render that high definition finished project video out to the miniDV tape camcorder. This provides you with an archive copy in the full 1080 resolution - and store it in a cool, dry, place. Send the project out to the camcorder on another tape and you can connect the camcorder to a HDTV (with component + audio or HDMI cables) and playback the project in high definition, too...

Personally, I would drop the HG (hard disc drive) cam... from your list, the HF or HV camcorders are the short list. In the same price range, take a look at the Sony HDR-CX500 series. Also AVCHD onto flash memory, so in the HF series ballpark..

If it was my $, I would do the HV40 - but it is not my $... Just so you know, I use a Sony HDR-HC1 and HDR-FX1...

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I just purchased the HV40
by Kristie Hewlett / March 19, 2010 8:17 AM PDT

I just purchased the HV40. Thanks for all your help!

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You are very welcome.
by boya84 / March 19, 2010 8:23 AM PDT

Congratulations!

Welcome to the (money pit) world of video acquisition!

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Flash Memory Camcorders vs MiniDV
by 423youin / June 11, 2010 4:28 PM PDT
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