Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Cameras and Camcorders › Other Camcorders › JVC GZ-MG20 (Hard Drive Camcorder) Issues
December 16, 2005 at 6:05 PM #42325
I recently bought the 20GB hard drive camcorder ($600), and the picture is awful. I haven’t tried it outside in full light yet, but the indoor taping has is almost unrecognizable even in a very well lit area. I am seriously considering returning to Best Buy & eating the restocking fee to get the right thing.
I am mainly using this thing for the kids & family – nothing too seriour – but I want a respectable degree of quality. What attracted me was the many hours of recording time. My only other options are a 60 minute Mini DV or a 30 minute DVD. Are the miniDV tapes a pain? Will I end up like by buddies with a million tapes all over & no lables telling you what’s on them?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
December 16, 2005 at 7:27 PM #177923DaveCParticipant
Are the miniDV tapes a pain? Will I end up like by buddies with a million tapes all over & no lables telling you what’s on them?
That depends on you. Do you pick up after yourself or does somebody else have to do it? If you can write and use reasonable care in writing labels, it works quite well. X-D
December 17, 2005 at 6:05 AM #177924
That depends on you. Do you pick up after yourself or does somebody else have to do it? If you can write and use reasonable care in writing labels, it works quite well.
That’s not the issue, knucklehead. I would rather manage files on my computer than on my bookshelf. I was more curious about the ease of transferring info to my pc and re-using the digital tapes.
December 17, 2005 at 7:37 AM #177925
Then I would suggest that Dave’s reply can be translated as:
“When you are done filming, do you spend the time to transfer the image file from your camcorder to your PC, name the files appropriately, edit the files, and save them down to a finished product? Or, do you pull the tape out of the camera, unlabeled, and throw it on a shelf with many other similarly handled tapes?”
MiniDV is no better or worse than any other medium if you’re sloppy.
Yes, I admit to a cabinet full of 8mm tapes- but at least they are all labeled (well, almost all 😀 ). So I’m half sloppy- but now that I’m into miniDV, I’m working on that problem.
If you go with the new DVD cameras, you’ll have a stack of unlabeled DVD’s! 8mm, VHS, who cares- if you’re sloppy, you’re sloppy.
Are you sloppy?
No? Great- now go fire up the camcorder and get a winning shot of the upcoming holidays.
December 17, 2005 at 7:40 AM #177926
…. and yes, to answer your original question, it is very easy to transfer miniDV to your computer.
Firewire is the way to go and you’ll need software to receive the file (Windows XP comes with Microsoft Movie Maker which will assist in the capture process)- plus you’ll need plenty of hard disk space on the PC.
December 17, 2005 at 6:58 PM #177927
Thanks for some feedback – Videosaurus. I currently have a VHC tape camcorder that is pretty old and beat, so this is my first experience with digital. I am very organized and see great benefit in organizing my video as I do my digital pic’s – on the pc. I am just so bummed about the picture. For the price range I’m in ($600-$700) – what’s my best value? It seems like MiniDV (Sony or Panasonic) with 3CCD.
December 17, 2005 at 8:00 PM #177928
I’m pretty new to video myself. So determining what to purchase would be better left to others to answer for you.
Personally, I have the 3CCD Panasonic PV-GS400 that I’m very happy with. But your needs/mileage may vary.
I will say this, though. I’ve been involved in computers and technology as an engineer since the 1980’s- I’d find it hard to believe that the camera you have, if working properly, is producing the results you are getting. These things are made for consumers taking home videos.
Before dumping over $1000 on a new camera, I would quadruple check that the camera is working correctly, that you have all the correct exposure settings, that you don’t have a backlighting situation, or that you really are not shooting in such low light that it is below the camera’s capability (well lit to our eyes means nothing to the camera).
I was disappointed with the results from my GS400 initially- then I realized I had the camera on Auto Exposure and switching to manual, low light settings would have improved the picture considerably. And I was in a “well lit” room.
Also, check backissues of Videomaker mag and see if they have a review of your camera- I’m sure they do- and see if they reported similar video results compared to other cameras. If they report that the camera is similar to other cameras, then you have a disconnect somewhere. Honestly, before going through the trouble, I would give it a real chance- but that’s just me. Pay special attention to the camera specs when you compare- look for low-light capability if that’s what’s important to you.
I’ve also learned that, at least on my PC, when capturing video from the camera to PC, you can’t go by how the video looks in that little tiny capture window, exposure wise. The real proof is when you save the project to a media file and play it in dedicated player software. You also have some control with various editing packages.
Good luck- this is a great activity- first time in history a consumer can merge video, photography, computers, and multi-media entertainment in one hobby. It’s worth pursuing to the end to get it right, especially when the grandkids are involved.
December 18, 2005 at 6:17 PM #177929
I got great results outdoors. I have been working so much that I haven’t been home when it was light out since I got this darn thing. I am very pleased with today’s video. The inside shots still disappoint, but it I will have to keep tinkering with the manual settings. I did improve it a little by switching from Auto to Manual for a backlight setting. I have another week before my return period expires – so I’ll keep on taping.
you can’t go by how the video looks in that little tiny capture window
Marlo – I did watch it on my TV & it looked completely different. Thanks for the thought! Any suggestions on video software?
December 18, 2005 at 6:38 PM #177930
Glad to hear you feel a little better about it Ron.
I’m a total novice when it comes to the software- I’ve only been doing video a month or so. I was a freelance still photographer for many years and I’ve been a computer engineer for 19 years… but I’m new to all these video editing packages.
I’m still learning Windows Movie Maker and the Nero software!!!
The reivews in Videomaker will get you more info on software than I could hope to provide. There’s 1000 ways to edit the cat…
And as far as the inside shooting, maybe a 3 or 10 watt light would be just what the doctor ordered… I’m getting one this week myself. A 3 watter often uses internal AA batts, is very light (weight-wise that is), and can cost as little as $25. Sounds like a good value to me…
December 19, 2005 at 10:27 AM #177931JackiejParticipant
I just purchased the GZ-MG20 , worked great all weekend, but cannot get the movies transferred to the PC using XP, tried the new laptop also and still no success. Can anyone help?
December 19, 2005 at 12:17 PM #177932
software depends a lot on your needs and budget. if you’re looking for something simple and easy to use, i’d personally reccomend apple’s imovie. but since you probably don’t have a mac, something like adobe’s premiere elements might suit you. it has a lot of options and may take some time to learn, but it’ll give you a good way to get started on some editing.
one thing also, stay away from window’s movie maker! seriously, i tried using it once and i couldn’t stand it. it’s a lame rip-off of imovie and really doens’t work well. of course, i’m also using Premiere pro and have bounced between premiere and Apple FCP-HD a few times so going “back to basics” has been rough a couple times when i need to help people…so yeah, i’m just rambling.
December 19, 2005 at 12:20 PM #177933
for the GZ-MG20 problem, are you usiing a specific software to capture with? since that uses mpeg-2 compression, you may need something a little more “hefty” editing-wise to get your footage off. also, you should look for software that is continually updated to make sure the manufacturer is making drivers for your camera. something really cheap or free probably won’t have the software needed to capture Mpeg-2. you could also look online at the manufacturer’s website (both JVC and the software you’re using) to see if they have any updated drivers or software for your comp to work with.
December 19, 2005 at 6:43 PM #177934
Pardon me if you already did this & your troubles are much more technical. Refer to your “Software Installation and USB Connection Guide” that came with the camera. Page 16 explains what to do.
How are your indoor videos? Mine are a bit grainy & dark. Outside is awesome!
December 19, 2005 at 6:44 PM #177935
PS – Jackie (Dublin, OH?).
December 19, 2005 at 6:47 PM #177936
Boo buckeyes…Go Ohio U Bobcats!
December 20, 2005 at 2:11 AM #177937JackiejParticipant
Many thanks i43, I will look at getting Adobe Premier installed. When I bought the camcorder I automatically assumed that it would be simple to move the video to the PC, more foolish me.
Thanks also to Nins regarding the tip on using the “Software Installation And Connection Guide” on page 16, that refers to “Copying Files to the PC (Windows)”, unfortunately I cannot get past page 14 “Viewing The Contents Of a Recording Medium (Windows)” i.e, the “Removable Disk ” window showing what program to open the file with (Windows Explorer) will not appear for video but will for stills.
Hope its not a disappointment but its the real Dublin.
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