Which to choose?

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    • #44223

      Hi, I am new to this forum and new to video editing in general. I have decided to take the plunge though, and so I am trying to figure out what my workflow is going to be.

      I’m looking for a camera/format recommendation in the 4 to 6 thousand range. I am ordering a dell studio 15 (i7, 8g ram) and one of the things I would like to do is capture video directly from the camera to the laptop hard drive. I am leaning towards Vegas Pro as my editing software.

      Any suggestions/experiences on camera and video format would be greatly appreciated. I want to try and avoid any obvious purchasing mistakes if possible.



    • #185245

      “I would like to do is capture video directly from the camera to the laptop hard drive”

      Not a good idea. You should designate the internal drive of your laptop for the OS and software only. Load all other media to an external drive.

      The Panasonic HPX170 is a great camera.

      It records a professional codec

      It records to P2 cards. A 64GB is only $1000 now and has a 5 yr. warranty.

      It has HD-SDI output to bypass in-compression if needed.

      And it’s only $4200

      Just be sure Vegas supports DVCPro HD. I’m not familiar with that software, so i don’t know off the top of my head.

    • #185246

      Okay, forgive my ignorance but why is it a bad idea to record directly to the laptop? If I don’t have a need to use the camera at a remote location, would it not make sense to save the money for the p2 cards until I absolutely need them? I’m assuming there is another good reason for not recording directly to the hard drive and I would be interested to know what it is.

      “It has HD-SDI output to bypass in-compression if needed.” What does this mean exactly?

      So, can I hookup the camera directly to an off the shelf external hard drive via firewire and record directly to that hard drive, then connect the hard drive to my laptop and edit the files from there? Would I not get better performance from my editor if the files were stored locally on the machine?

      Thanks again for your insight.


    • #185247

      “Can I hookup the camera directly to an off the shelf external hard
      drive via firewire and record directly to that hard drive, then connect
      the hard drive to my laptop and edit the files from there?”


      The answer is yes but you’ll need either a software only capture setup that can do HD/SD Like Adobe On-Location (bundled in production premium) or an external hardware capture solution like those made by Black Magic Designs(Eclipse or Multibridge Pro), Aja (Xena line for Win), Matrox and a few others.

      As for whether you’d get better performance recording to the OS Drive, it’s a bad idea to record directly to the OS Drive for a lot of reasons. The foremost one is video (especially HD) files are large even with compression and can quickly bog down your computer as it has to both ingest your incoming video data and run your other necessary computer operations at the same time. So much easier to use a portable drive to do the light work of ingesting video with the bennie of being able to be hooked up to a desktop if required.

      Concerning getting a P2 based camera starting out, I’d say pass on that. Not that it isn’t a good system, but it’s expensive and I doubt that you’ll have amount of work with the type of requirements coming in to justify that kind of money. A camera that will allow you to record to less expensive media like SDHC or similar stock will get you what you need up front. Just take care to be certain whether the camera records in AVCHD or not as the requirements for computers to use it without difficulty are hard and fast.

      Get the ball rolling, build up your chops and client list and then cast a serious eye towards the P2 workflow.

    • #185248

      Oops, I meant to say, “It has HD-SDI to bypass in-camera compression,” not “in-compression.” Basically, you get uncompressed video out of HD-SDI. You need REALLY fast RAID to work with uncompressed HD though

      Thanks for fillin in about the internal hard drive issue, Composite.

    • #185249


      No worries. BTW, have you gone to a fully solid-state workflow yet?

    • #185250

      Thanks very much for the input, I’ll keep checking in with questions/comments as I get up and running.

    • #185251

      I am like Barlow.

      I too am new to the Videomaker community. I am still looking at cameras. What I take away from this feed is that for a beginner the Panasonic HPX170 is the camera that the veterans recommend?

      My current “family” camcorder is HDD. I like that it records directly to a hard drive.

      It looks, from my research, that the P2 HD technology is the next big thing and that we want to stay away from tapes.

      Is this correct?

      Thank for your help in advanced.

    • #185252

      “BTW, have you gone to a fully solid-state workflow yet”

      Nope. I haven’t shot anything in a long time. I still have my PD170. My computer can handle HD, but it’s not ideal yet. Dang school loans are slowin me down in my chase for an AJA Kona card

      Actually…they are going to have me shoot training videos at my work. We have an EX1 and EX3. I dunno if that counts as me being fully solid state though

    • #185253


      Actually in current gear terms P2 is ‘old tech’ as they were intro’ed in ’04 (6 years! OMG!! That’s like, soooo old!) Wise cracks aside, P2’s have been followed by panasonic’s competitors like Sony and their SxS cards, Compact Flash Cards which BTW are older than P2’s but are as stable far less expensive (though nowhere near as durable) and flash media like SDHC and a horde of others.

      P2 technology is really intended for higher-end workflows in particular broadcast tv. Now there are companies who make ‘knockoff’ P2 format cards for much less, but they aren’t as durable. I stand by my suggestion that entry – intermediate level shooters use alternative less expensive media. A thousand bucks a whack for P2 cards can only be justified by a continuing flow of clientele and equivalent cash influx. With the money you’d spend on P2’s, you could buy a number of much cheaper cards and a portable data storage device to offload footage in the field so you wouldn’t have to have a laptop with you at all times.

      Far as tape goes, there’s nothing wrong with tape at this time, especially for entry-level shooters! It’s inexpensive, there’s plenty of tried and true gear to work with it and the time you take learning how to process your footage quickly and efficiently, will pay off when you’re ready to move to solid-state. Most shooters who have not worked with tape acquire God-awful lazy habits when offloading and cataloging clips which makes an editor’s life ‘oh so pleasant’ that they’ll ‘love you for it!’

    • #185254

      Thanks Comp for your help.

      Now I am still confused!!:)

      I am getting sensory tech overload researching ALL of the camera’s. Could I be a pest and ask for some basic recommendations. I am interested in shooting an amateur music video for a friend. I want to take the next step in video making. I am pretty good at making B-day parties and soccer game video but I want to get more technical. I have Adobe Premier Elements for my video editing. My questions are:

      1. What is a good camera for me to buy

      2. What is the best software for editing?

      Thanks in advanced for your help.


    • #185255

      “Now I am still confused!!:) I am getting sensory tech overload researching ALL of the camera’s.”


      (In my best martial arts master’s voice) Calm yourself young shooter. Do not allow ‘sensory tech overload’ to blow thy head up!’

      Seriously, the mantra all entry level shooters should have looping through their is ‘Good and Cheap’. Unless you are seriously going into business (which I don’t recommend until you’ve got a good command of the basics and enough paid and pro bono shoots under your belt to make a solid demo reel) there are uncountable hordes of consumer grade cameras out there that can help you do exactly what you mentioned.

      I mean really, some of these ‘happy cams’ that are hybrid point and shoot still jammies that also shoot video in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing can turn out respectable product! To avoid ‘overload’ and going ‘critical mass’, view your camera choices like this; cam’s I could buy right now and after a couple of hours fooling around with the instructions could go and shoot something. That’s a consumer level camera. Anything above that is prosumer and pro both of which I’m reading you are not ready for yet.

      Go take a look online at consumer video cameras at outfits like B&H Photo Video and Adorama (very reputable and if you don’t live in the same state, no sales tax!) You’re options are very good. Tape based cameras are really going to be your best bet at this stage. Cheap and tape is plentiful (mini-dv’s run less than $3 ea. at Adorama depending on the brand).

      If not tape there are many choices for flash media based cams. I would say stay clear of Harddrive cameras cause if anything happens to the drive, it’ll make a fine paperweight. Flash media cards particularly SDHC are getting cheaper by the day (they’re just small so you’ll have to keep up with them.)

      HD if you have software and a computer capable of pushing it, otherwise DV is just fine. Most stuff you’re going to be putting up on the web anyway so if you light it, expose it, focus it and shoot it well with clear sound nobody’s going to care that it’s not HD! Go for cameras that offer progressive scan first as it looks so much better on computer screens and you don’t have to ‘deinterlace’ it like interlaced video to get rid of those funky lines you’ll see on a computer. You’ll know the diff because they’ll say a number and there will be a little ‘p’ (progressive) or ‘i’ (interlaced) with it. Now interlaced isn’t bad mind you, you’ve watched it most of your life.

      Far as which camera or software you should get, I’m not going to answer that in this post. There are dozens of previous posts discussing those very things that will be more help.

      Happy hunting!

    • #185256

      May I suggest too that when you narrow down your choices, look at the user reviews on those. I read the reviews on the B&H Photowebsite both good and bad. I also look at Amazon and other similar sites for the item and read any reviews (good and bad)posted there too. This practice gives me a better feel and understanding about how the selection may work for me and what troubles I may be in for. I find it helps to adjust the preconception of what I am getting.

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