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Best Recording Format?

Daniel Hart's picture
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: 04/14/2009 - 5:34pm

What's the best recording format for camcorder? Tape, DVD, Card, Hard Drive. I currently use a MiniDV but I was just wondering if certain formats are better than others.


CraftersOfLight's picture
Last seen: 6 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 02/17/2009 - 5:42am
Plus Member

They all have their following. Some require specific additional hardware while others are in a format that some of the older PCs have trouble handling. As you can see by the choices, the industry has not helped in that decision.

Most of the newer systems out there are going solid state (using cards of one type or another). Because of the lack of moving parts, they tend to be a little more robust and won't have issues with heads wearing out or motors failing. But they have additional costs associated with them as well. You can still get a reasonable number of tapes for the cost of one card, but you can use the card multiple times and most use tape only once.

Tape has to be converted or capturedinto something the PC can work with, while cards, DVDs, and hard-drives can transfer files.

Thats just a light covering of your question. I am sure others will add their experience to this as well.

Life is not a guided tour nor a destination. It is a journey. Take the time to enjoy your family, friends and surroundings. Build memories. Share experiences. Travel at sight speed not light speed. (C)


7Phil7's picture
Last seen: 5 years 7 months ago
Joined: 04/27/2009 - 9:56am

COL,

Like Smackwitz I also use miniDV tape for the last few years on a Canon MV850i. I make home video DVD's for family abroad.I got the editing software free with the camera.

I am a bit of a newbie to all of this and have been annoyed with Pinnacle Studio 9.4 and the render (transcoding?) time using my 3 1/2 yo Pentium 4 630 3.0Ghz processor. It has been taking me over 3 hrs to render a 1 hr tape.

So I was looking at a new computer with multiple cores to reduce the render times in particular. I had also noted the various types of camcorder recording format and done bucket loads of research on computers/processors etc. I was also considering upgrading the Video Camera and getting Pinnacle Studio 11 free.

Then I read your post above and thought....Wow! Mmmm. Now the questions -

1. Do all the other methods (other than DV tape) still require rendering?

2. Is the only time being saved for the capture when not using tape? ie you just transfer the files?

3. What does NLE mean?

Thanks in anticipation,

Phil


Rob Grauert's picture
Last seen: 10 months 4 days ago
Joined: 02/16/2008 - 10:47pm

In my opinion, P2 cards are the best. They are proven to be very robust - drop them in water, get them dirty, drive over it with a car, whatever, and they will still work. They used to be real expensive, 2500 for a 64GB card, but at NAB Panasonic just announced they will soon release the P2 E series. They will be priced at less than $1000 for a 64GB card and they claim they will last for 5 years with daily use.


Rob Grauert's picture
Last seen: 10 months 4 days ago
Joined: 02/16/2008 - 10:47pm

Phil,

All format of video require rendering at some point.

Recording format like P2 and SxS do save a lot of time while capturing. But there are other areas where you can cut back on the amount of time spent on a project. If you buy a RAID and a video card, such as the Kona card for Mac or Xena card for PC, you will allow for more real time effects. Learning keyboard shortcuts cuts saves time too.

NLE = Non linear editor. Simply put, it's your editing program.


CraftersOfLight's picture
Last seen: 6 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 02/17/2009 - 5:42am
Plus Member

Phil

To expand somewhat on Robs input... (guys be kind if I get this wrong)

My post earlier was about the formats that different cameras use today.

All editingsoftware render the final product into the end format you wish to use. Most software do a rough pre-render to the clips you areediting with to allow you to work real-time editing.

P2 card (typically Panasonic) and SxS card (typically Sony) are proprietary memory cards for their respective products. They tend to record the cameras format with very little or no compression. For home editing the one downside that I have seen is that theseare very large files for the length of video, compared to the other formats (like AVCHD). These are also the formats that broadcast wants to use because of the limited compression. Another downside (for the beginner)is, as mentioned, the cost of cards and the cameras that use them.

On time savings, one aspect to look at is the Recommended System Requirements (aim for items a step or two above those on the recommended list, processor, RAM, Video Card,to give you some headroom for down the road) of the software that you are using for you editing. Most try to get by with what is listed as minimum requirements, and though they will work, the process can/will get clunky, rendering the final product will be very slow.

Drives; have a minimum of 2. One for your software programs and OS, the other for data like the files you are using to edit (this reduces drive access time). You can further reduce access/write time by using RAID configured a pair (or more) drivesdecreasing read/write time.

NLE; Wiki gives a really good description/definition http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-linear_editing_system

Life is not a guided tour nor a destination. It is a journey. Take the time to enjoy your family, friends and surroundings. Build memories. Share experiences. Travel at sight speed not light speed. (C)


composite1's picture
Last seen: 8 months 4 days ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Hey guys,

Rob and Crafters have given you good info from the opposite ends of the spectrum. Tape is a proven and well established recording format and mini-dv & hdv tapes are crazy cheap. Solid state cards are becoming more reliable and do have benefits in time savings.

One important point Rob neglected to mention with solid-state cards is the dilemma of archiving footage. With tape, you may only use it once but after you've digitized the footage you have a permanent recording you can fall back on. With tapeless workflow the savings in time will be heavily offset by the increased costs of capturing and archiving footage. You'll need to purchase external drives to store your footage (which you should do anyway for saving digitized footage) for archiving. DVD doesn't hold enough and is incompatible with HD when you'll inevitably will make the move to the format. P2 cards are a viable option but they only work with panasonic gear, unlike the SxS cards which work with Sony or now with certain pro JVC cameras.

Truthfully, if you are not doing this stuff professionally and have clientele and cashflow to justify the added expense of moving to a tapeless workflow don't worry about it. Tape on the otherhand is far less compressed than solid-state cards and if you happen to get shots of that 'Senator doing something naughty', it's easier to swap out a bland $3.50 mini-dv tape to slip to the authorities than to hork up a $2k or $800 SxS or other solid-state card.

Another option for tapeless workflow are portable harddrives. For the price of 1 so-called 'inexpensive' 32 or 64bit P2 card you can get an 80-100GB portable external drive. Focus Enhancements and many other companies make video specific portable harddrives which are compatible with most cameras made.

I've worked in both tape and tapeless workflows and both have their ad/disadvantages. One thing that is missing from the tapeless workflow is the 'seeing of footage' during the digitizing process. Part of cutting down the time of digitizing taped footage is actually looking at the shots beforehand. Personally, I don't mind the extra time when it helps a shooter develop an eye for workable shots. Whether you digitize from tape or straight download from solid state, you're still going to have to look at the footage to determine what works and what doesn't. Solid-state just shaves some of the time off doing that. But if you don't want your editor screaming at you for handing them a bunch of shots that won't cut together, spending some time doing oldschool tape digitizing is worth it.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


7Phil7's picture
Last seen: 5 years 7 months ago
Joined: 04/27/2009 - 9:56am

Thanks guys for all your helpful information. I'm quite happy to stay with tape for a while and my new computer is in transit right now. It will be most interesting to see what it does with the rendering times. I decided on two hard drives for the moment. Perhaps I will go to another one and RAID 0 if I feel I need to save some more time.

Phil.



candjvideo's picture
Last seen: 5 years 7 months ago
Joined: 04/16/2009 - 12:03pm

Phil,

I use the minidv tapes and haven't quite made the move to any other format as I have had pretty good luck with those. I use Pinnacle studio ultimate 12 and really like it. 3 hrs rendering for a 1 hour tape is really excessive and your new computer should help alleviate some of that.


Johnboy's picture
Last seen: 9 years 8 months ago
Joined: 03/18/2005 - 5:37pm

minidv tape user here, for the reasons composite said. I like to review my footage as I ingest it to my computer so that I can make up my edit desicions. This really helps speed up the editing process which allows me to decide on visual effects or ideas before I have to start putting it all together. Plus the advantage of having the tape as a physical backup of the footage. When I am done with a project, the project files and the dvd folder are archived to an external hard drive. One day I'll get to solid state, but that's still some time off.

John

p.s. rendering times of 3 hours per 1 hour may not be abnormal if you have a lot of color corrections, composites etc. But yes, the new computer will garner you some increased speed in rendering.


composite1's picture
Last seen: 8 months 4 days ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Hey guys,

Rob brought up an excellent point about Raid 0. It's the fastest, easiest and the most volatile of the methods of 'RAIDING'. Long as the hardware parts of your raided drives hold up you should be fine. In the PC environment you should keep your RAID defragmented to lessen the potential for data corruption. Keeping an equal sized external 'archival drive' handy to back your raided drive up no matter what OS you use is prudent. Truthfully, when your project's done you should dump the data to archival media to make room for the next. However, I do understand that may not always be an option. As for the 'eventually fail' thing, I've got a 300GB raid 0 on a system I built back in '02 that's still on our active roster. After seven years it's still rollin'. However, we will do one final upgrade and replace those drives with new, larger drives.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com