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Firewire camcorders

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I've been tasked at work to create a video presentation (since I'm the "Mac Guy"...). While I've used iMovie for making photo-based "movies", I've never used it to import video footage from a camcorder.

I understand Mac/iMovie requires a firewire-equipped camcorder. I've researched this a bit, but have a couple of questions:

[1] Can anyone point me to a "list" of firewire camcorders? I've been searching BestBuy, Amazon, Circuit City, etc, but their websites to not permit you to search based on Firewire criteria.

[2] Also, the few firewire camcorders I have located all use DV (tape. Are there any HD or DVD-based firewire camcorders out there?

(For my purposes, I do not need a high-end, HD camera -- just something basic, hopefully under $1000).

Thanks.
post #2 of 16
Congratulations on your promotion... did that come with more money? ;-)

1) I believe that the vast majority of camcorders have firewire (or IEEE1394, or iLink, as it is also known) standard. Cannon is a good brand. Here is a link:

ZR850

2) You want dv-tape in my opinion. Do NOT get a DVD-based one as you will not be able to get the footage from the dvd without extra effort. DVD-based camcorders are meant for those who do not intend to edit on a computer. There are now some other types of media to record on, but I think you would be well served with a DV-tape based approach. It is the best quality for the money.
My Macs: 15" Macbook Pro, Mac Pro, Lab of ~ 25 various models
My Sites: FDHS Yearbook, AppleBytes Store, AppleBytes, iSwitched
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My Macs: 15" Macbook Pro, Mac Pro, Lab of ~ 25 various models
My Sites: FDHS Yearbook, AppleBytes Store, AppleBytes, iSwitched
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post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jroller View Post

Congratulations on your promotion... did that come with more money? ;-)

1) I believe that the vast majority of camcorders have firewire (or IEEE1394, or iLink, as it is also known) standard. Cannon is a good brand. Here is a link:

ZR850

2) You want dv-tape in my opinion. Do NOT get a DVD-based one as you will not be able to get the footage from the dvd without extra effort. DVD-based camcorders are meant for those who do not intend to edit on a computer. There are now some other types of media to record on, but I think you would be well served with a DV-tape based approach. It is the best quality for the money.


Excellent -- thanks. I think I'm understanding things now!

Promotion - ha! Funny story actually. I'm a pathologist (chairman of the department) in a moderate-sized community hospital. I'm pretty computer savy (and for the past two years, after switching, a total Apple fanboy). Anyway, I'm a closet graphic designer, so I've taken it upon myself to turn my hobby into part of my worklife. (Playing on a Mac sure beats looking at Pap smears...)

Anyway, that's my story. I understand now about why we should go with a DV camcorder. (I was assuming that a DVD or HD model would be better since those formats offer direct-access, rather than having to rewind a tape.). I own about every gadget under the sun, but have never had the need for a camcorder, so my knowledgebase is a little limited when it comes to them.

Thanks again.
post #4 of 16
Interesting story, particularly that you are a switcher (and fanboy!). Always good for this tried and true Mac vet to read.

There is an advantage to non-tape formats, especially that data transfer is much faster. It is akin to moving a large file whereas the tape you actually have to play back. The price, as I understand it, is that you lose quality when compressing to put on HD/flash storage. But it should be said, I am no expert in this area. Hopefully, someone else will chime in who has direct experience with this.
My Macs: 15" Macbook Pro, Mac Pro, Lab of ~ 25 various models
My Sites: FDHS Yearbook, AppleBytes Store, AppleBytes, iSwitched
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My Macs: 15" Macbook Pro, Mac Pro, Lab of ~ 25 various models
My Sites: FDHS Yearbook, AppleBytes Store, AppleBytes, iSwitched
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post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argelius View Post

since I'm the "Mac Guy".

People like to assign labels so they can delegate work they'd rather not do themselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Argelius View Post

[1] Can anyone point me to a "list" of firewire camcorders? I've been searching BestBuy, Amazon, Circuit City, etc, but their websites to not permit you to search based on Firewire criteria.

Most should have firewire (also called IEEE 1394). The ones with USB are generally flash based ones and you are transferring files as opposed to capturing. Here's an HDV firewire camcorder under $1000:

http://www.pcworld.com/product/specs...634/specs.html

Note, some HD camcorders don't go up to 1920x1080 HD but they are still labeled HD. I don't think you'll need 1080 though because the file sizes might be a bit big to handle. A 1.5 hour DV capture is about 20GB. Even shooting at 1280x800 HDV gives noticeably better quality though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Argelius View Post

[2] Also, the few firewire camcorders I have located all use DV (tape. Are there any HD or DVD-based firewire camcorders out there?

I don't know if you want to go with a DVD solution. These sometimes use formats that aren't readable on Macs similar to the Panasonic DVD recorders and they also use temporal compression, which is not good for editing so you have to convert the whole file anyway and you lose more quality as making a film would be doing mpeg-2 (capture) -> DV (edit) -> mpeg-2 (author).

I work in a small film studio where they use professional DV cameras and they still use tapes. They experimented with hard drive recording but it didn't work out for some reason so they went back to tape.
post #6 of 16
The canon hv 10 is highly rated at apple's website. This is the one Marvin linked to. There is also an hv 20 now. Costs a little bit more but I'm not sure what else it offers over the hv 10. Let me know if you get either of them and how you like it, as I'm looking at them as well. I'm leaning towards the hv 10 as it's a bit cheaper and probably exceeds my needs.
post #7 of 16
be careful about dvd formats its VERY difficult to edit, there was another thread discribing the pros and cons of different formats, but if you plan on using imovie get dv tape, sony and canon i think has firewire, look at apple store. BE CAREFUL dvd is not an "edititable format" you can do it but requires tedious work arounds
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post #8 of 16
I'm having a similar problem that hopefully you guys can help with. I also need a firewire camera, not DVD, not HD. I have really been burned by the lack of information available for cameras. Bought a Sony DCR-DVD408 thinking it would be compatible and would have Firewire (as posted above, "Most should have firewire (also called IEEE 1394)". This one doesn't, and won't work with iMovie. I'll sell the camera on e-bay, but it doesn't solve my problem of needing a good (but not expensive) Firewire camcorder. The Canon ZR850 shown above would work, but I'd like higher resolution of possible. ANy specific ideas about something a bit better, but not up to the HD level of the HV10?

John
post #9 of 16
Here is a site that might be helpful:

http://www.camcorderinfo.com/
My Macs: 15" Macbook Pro, Mac Pro, Lab of ~ 25 various models
My Sites: FDHS Yearbook, AppleBytes Store, AppleBytes, iSwitched
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My Macs: 15" Macbook Pro, Mac Pro, Lab of ~ 25 various models
My Sites: FDHS Yearbook, AppleBytes Store, AppleBytes, iSwitched
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post #10 of 16
have you looked at the apple store???
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post #11 of 16
[ I understand now about why we should go with a DV camcorder.... I own about every gadget under the sun, but have never had the need for a camcorder, so my knowledgebase is a little limited when it comes to them.>>

While having a firewire mini-DV camcorder is perhaps the least inexpensive, most efficient way of capturing video and getting it into iMovie, there are other alternatives. Most digital cameras nowawday also have a video capture capabiliy which is remarkably good. Creatively combining stills with video can lead to quite satisfying results.

While I have a mini-DV camcorder, and access to a HD camcorder, I've been 'playing' recently
with a DXG 606X <http://www.circuitcity.com/ccd/productDetail.do?oid=170877&WT.mc_n=66&WT.mc_t=U&c m_ven=COMPARISON%20SHOPPING&cm_cat=DEALTIME&cm_pla =DATAFEED->PRODUCTS&cm_ite=1%20PRODUCT&cm_keycode=66>
Let me say right up front, the video features in this combo camera/camcorder/voice recorder/MP3 player is NOT Mac friendly. The video itself, while very very good, is in an .avi format which when you first download it is not QT/iMovie compatible -- you can't hear the sound. But take a sec, run it thru Squared 5's Mpeg Streamclip, and you have a ful quality DV file which works in both iMovie and Final Cut.
It's the gadget itself that's so much fun to play with. In decent light, it takes excellent stills; not so in poor light. The voice recorder is remarkable -- better than pretty good sound, I'd say. It has a digitl zoom, and shouldn't. It's sooo bad that they ought to remove that feature. Don't know about the Mp3 player -- I have an iPod. Overall, it's hard to stop playing with.
While it lists for $100 more or less, I found one on sale for $85.
Hal

As I say, it's a 'toy', but a fun toy. I'm going to give one to my granddaughter.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOFEER View Post

have you looked at the apple store???

Actually, the Apple Store was our first stop when starting the search. The nice young man said that most if not all video cameras would be compatible with iMovie. Have spent some time today looking, and it looks like most Canon have firewire. Now we'll go back to the Apple Store and see if they have Canon. The non-firewire Sony is now on e-bay looking for a new home.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by sundog7121 View Post

Actually, the Apple Store was our first stop when starting the search. The nice young man said that most if not all video cameras would be compatible with iMovie. Have spent some time today looking, and it looks like most Canon have firewire. Now we'll go back to the Apple Store and see if they have Canon. The non-firewire Sony is now on e-bay looking for a new home.

This is probably as good as it gets right now, in the consumer line: <http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-camcorders/canon-hv20-mini-dv/4505-6500_7-32172625.html>
Hal
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by haly2k1 View Post

This is probably as good as it gets right now, in the consumer line: <http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-camcorders/canon-hv20-mini-dv/4505-6500_7-32172625.html>
Hal


Thanks for this! Going to Apple Store Saturday morning to share the experience with the iphone and will look at recorders then.

John
post #15 of 16
Aiptek makes some decent (for the price) compact SD card camcorders. Even a 720p HD model that will use an 8GB SD card.

Thier VGA res cameras record .mp4, the HD one records as .mov using h.264.

They aren't the best cameras out there, but a 720p HD camera for less than $300.
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post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argelius View Post

Playing on a Mac sure beats looking at Pap smears...

Speak for Yourself.
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