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another miniDV vs flash (or DVD-R)

yshreberk's picture
Last seen: 5 years 10 months ago
Joined: 12/22/2008 - 9:04pm

hello
I want to buy my first Camcorder and i'm confused. i need a simle camera at about 500$. no special requirements. i dont need a super-high quality of films, just for family shootage.

Iheard about the miniDV format, which intorduces the best quality but is complicated to convert the file to a watchable DVD on the TV (or connect to a PC). On the other hand i know the flash cameras are gaining poularity because the simplicity, although i've head that the quality is not as good as mini-DV.I don't know how bad is it, or is it noticeable for home-footage.
Ialso heard about camcoders with mini-DVDR, and might consider this type too.

I'm mainly thinking about 2 models: SONY DCRHC51E (miniDV) or CANON FSA100 (flash)

Can anyone reccomend me which technology is better for my needs?

Thanks!


Ian Kirkpatrick's picture
Last seen: 2 months 3 days ago
Joined: 07/06/2008 - 1:38am

In the days of 8mm and 16mm movi film, when editing was very difficult, and recording time very short (about 6 minutes for Super 8, I recall), most people learned to "edit in the camera" by thinking out ahead of time what they wanted and keeping scenes short 3 - 5 seconds. These techniques still work well with video. But with video storage being minimum 30 minutes and up to many hours with hard disk cameras, many tend to use their camera like a fire hose, capturing absolutely everything to be seen, and without editing, boring the pants off anyone you may wish to show your video to.

While your friends will love to see a few minutes of your "Christmas 2008 baby on the lawn" video anything longer will quickly loose audience.

Addressing your questions, for standard definition (SD) miniDV is by far the best quality (all other things being equal) as it is played out the camera, and if you have the disipline to apply those "edit in the camera" techniques, you can play back, of the tape,out of the camera direct into your tv's A/V input. You can then throw the tape in the drawer and pull it out next year and see how much the kids have grown. All simple stuff, simplestorage of your memoriesand great for family footage.

If you use a DVD recording camera the principal is the same but the quality, while still pretty good, is a little down from miniDV due to the compression necessary to record on DVD. If you don't need to edit playback is simple, storage is simpleand you don't have to get the camera out to play back your footage.

If you are like the majority of people however you will take far to much andediting will become necessary. Editing will also allow you to become more creative and quickly have video as one of your hobbies. You will then be able to make compilations of little "Jonnie" growing up "his first 10 years".

Once you start editing, you will need the original to be the best quality possible as each time you convert standard, and DVD may be your end storage medium. you loose quality. Tape is cheapand easy to store. While I admit I am a devotee, I still believe miniDV is the best.

Once you have to download to your computer for editing, there is not too much in it in terms of difficulty. There is some pretty good and non expensive editing software out there which will handle most formats and allow you to produce your final epic onto DVD.

Cheers and Merry Christmas


chrisColorado's picture
Last seen: 3 months 1 day ago
Joined: 04/03/2008 - 10:48pm

I use Flash, because I'm more of an Editor/Special Effects guy who doesn't want to sit around while I "capture" my tape to my computer. It's easier to just import through USB cable and then delete the shots i don't want.

I also don't like buying tape. Tape may be cheap, but it's not free. I make movies for free ifI possibly can.


yshreberk's picture
Last seen: 5 years 10 months ago
Joined: 12/22/2008 - 9:04pm

thanks guys! especailly iankinnz for the detailed advice!

Since the idea of buying a camcorder was my wife's, I think the flash is the easier option for her to start using the camera and doing minor-editing. It will probably be the Canon FS100.

As she gets along, we will consider upgrading to higher qulity.

Thanks alot!