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I want to shoot decent quality indie films, and have been told to avoid tapes.
Does anybody know if the hd1000u can shoot on memory sticks or any other kind of recorder that works in final cut?
My first recommendatioin to you is to stop taking advice from people who can’t (or won’t) explain their reasoning. Because there is no good reason for you not to use miniDV tape to shoot your videos. When you want to discuss high end production techniques, there is a standard set for HDVPRO100 on DVCAM tapes. And your advisors are quibbling about XDCAM or P2 cards or insisting the only reasonable option is the rew Red 4K system. And all the other technical nonsense about what they’d use if they ever got a budget.
Best as I can tell, you are asking about the Sony HVRHD1000u. Which appears to be an excellent choice for getting into HD video at an affordable price. But part of getting the price under two grand means you’re not getting three chips. So using miniDV tapes in the HD1080 mode puts all the quality the CMOS pickup can muster onto the tape. Now when you are talking three chip camcorders, it isn’t too tough to find a number of camcorders that are saving into hard drives to record higher quality data. But when you look at the actual bit rates that the data is being compressed into, you’ll see nothing in the prosumer range that sustains a higher bit rate than the 25 Mbps of miniDV tape. So the biggest value (at this point in time) of not using videotape is that it doesn’t need to be converted into a computer file before use. It is starting to appear there will be some de facto formats using H.264 codecs for flash memory or hard drives. But right now, the HD video source formats are in turmoil. Let the market work itself out while you get some practice.
While the HVRHD1000u is an excellent camcorder, you will grow out of it in a few years. But what you will learn in those years can only be taught by getting ass deep in a shoot that’s going nothing like you’d expected. Now there’s a learning opportunity! Once the camcorder becomes your B-roll camcorder, you’ll know what media you want for the new camcorder.
Good luck and remember, quality required is dependent on distribution. (So while the camcorder you ask about isn’t quite up to BluRay distribution, it should be more than sufficient for DVD distribution.)