HD Camcorders -- I'm confused

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Okay, I'm new to this community, so I apologize in advance if this topic has already been beaten to death...



I just picked up an iMac 20" w/iMovie HD. I need to get a camcorder for Xmas as my wife is 7 months pregnant. But what to get? I was thinking HD because I have a 1080i plasma. But I can't output any HD content without burning it back to an HDV tape and playing it through the camera. On the other hand, I could go with the new HDD camcorders from Sony and deal with the new AVCHD codec -- which is not yet supported by iMovie. Or, scrap HD all together and just go standard def and hope that in 15 years, when my baby is older, I can still play it.



Money isn't really the issue, it's more about what I can get now and what will be relevant in the future.



Does anybody have some advice for a father-to-be that's already drowning in the confusion of a major life change?
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    almalm Posts: 111member
    The only way you can watch your HD footage on TV is from camcorder. You can import your video to computer, edit it, export your movie back to camcorder and then hook it up to TV and watch.
  • Reply 2 of 54
    almalm Posts: 111member
    I myself have HD, keep all tapes I recorded, edit it in HD and and make DVDs out of it (with DVD quality of course). Later when BlueRay and/or HD-DVD will be more affordable I can export my projects in HD.
  • Reply 3 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ALM


    I myself have HD, keep all tapes I recorded, edit it in HD and and make DVDs out of it (with DVD quality of course). Later when BlueRay and/or HD-DVD will be more affordable I can export my projects in HD.



    So, iMovieHD will seamlessly downgrading your HD content to SD for a DVD? I thought there was an issue with this? If I can shoot everything in HD, edit in HD and output to a DVD with ease, this is a much easier solution.
  • Reply 4 of 54
    almalm Posts: 111member
    Yes, it will. You can export project to iDVD and it'll resize picture to DVD frame size, preserving 16:9 ratio and stuff. Maybe speed and encoding quality is not as good as in Pro applications, but for this purpose (kids, family) it's very good. Besides this picture you getting from HD is much much crispier than from conventional SD cameras, even after resizing.
  • Reply 5 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ALM


    Yes, it will. You can export project to iDVD and it'll resize picture to DVD frame size, preserving 16:9 ratio and stuff. Maybe speed and encoding quality is not as good as in Pro applications, but for this purpose (kids, family) it's very good. Besides this picture you getting from HD is much much crispier than from conventional SD cameras, even after resizing.



    Cool. I guess the only decision I need to make now is HDV or AVCHD? Anybody have any insight as to when/if iMovieHD will come out with an appropriate editing codec? Or, should I just stick with HDV?
  • Reply 6 of 54
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,219member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by midfat


    Cool. I guess the only decision I need to make now is HDV or AVCHD? Anybody have any insight as to when/if iMovieHD will come out with an appropriate editing codec? Or, should I just stick with HDV?



    HDV is the follow-on to miniDV. It uses the same tapes. It is one of the formats supported by iMovie HD. AVCHD is a highly compressed output format. It is intended to be shot and played. Video is intended to be stored on miniDVD or memory sticks. Unlike HDV, the format is hostile to editors. Of course, there will be transcoders to convert AVCHD to an editable format. AVCHD is cheaper, but HDV gives better results.
  • Reply 7 of 54
    wmfwmf Posts: 1,164member
    iMovie converts HDV footage into Apple Intermediate, and there should be utilities coming out soon that can convert AVCHD footage into Apple Intermediate as well. Maybe you can already do it with Perian. But it doesn't work today and you might not want to bet on a workflow that may or may not appear.
  • Reply 8 of 54
    almalm Posts: 111member
    Yes, HDV already widely suppored and AVCHD is very new. AVCDH sounds like more advanced, (higher compression and better quality) but seems like it can only be stored on hard drives or flash which is good, you can quickly copy it to computer. On the other hand it means that you won't be able to collect large amounts of footage, since there's no cheap media for it. You will need to edit it and kill original footage. In case of HDV you can just keep the tape and import it later. Conventional DV tapes work very good for HD, no need to buy overpriced HDV tapes.
  • Reply 9 of 54
    Thanks for all the helpful feedback. I think you've all convinced me to go the HDV route. Not that I have any issues with HDD, but it just sounds like I'm going to have so much more flexibility with the HDV format. Now, if only Sony made the HDR-HC3 with a mic input and a manual focus ring. Oh well, I guess you can't have everything.



    Thanks.
  • Reply 10 of 54
    almalm Posts: 111member
    HC1 have both mic input and manual focus ring.
  • Reply 11 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ALM


    HC1 have both mic input and manual focus ring.



    Yeah, but I've read the reviews and it seems like the HC3 pretty much out-performs the HC1 in most categories. No biggie, my wife will appreciate the ease of use on the HC3.
  • Reply 12 of 54
    eckingecking Posts: 1,588member
    Plus the hc1 is no longer on the market. Your basically stuck with the hc3 or canon hv10 if you want good consumer hd.
  • Reply 13 of 54
    m01etym01ety Posts: 278member
    HC1 is still available online. And yes, I share my frustration that the new AVCHD-clones of the HC3 have a larger, better LCD, manual focus ring, and mic and headphone ports. I'm hoping that Sony will come to its senses and release an upgrade to the HC3 with the features it added back to the HC3-based AVCHD models. And hopefully, this will happen sooner rather than later.



    But yes, I'd stay clear of AVCHD, even if Apple adds support for it in the iMovie that will come with iLife '07. It's way too compressed.



    But you're right to be looking at Sony, I think. The Canon consumer HDV cam is bottom-loading, which makes tripod usage a pain, and I simply don't think the orientation and general design is as good as Sony's. And, of course, you want to stay away as far as possible from Sanyo...



    *wonders why Apple Stores don't have HDV cams on display, given the HDV demos in iMovie on all Macs in-store*
  • Reply 14 of 54
    m01etym01ety Posts: 278member
    Oh, and you might want to invest in a wide-angle lens if you plan to be recording the birth, and close-ups in cramped spaces.
  • Reply 15 of 54
    AVCHD is the better consumer format. It supports both 30p and 24p and 1080p natively. It is more compressed then HDV, but then no one really wanted to take HDV seriously to begin with either. Over time software gets better and the video compression becomes less of an issue. HDV is going out the door. AVCHD is the future of consumer cameras.

    The only good thing about HDV is that the tapes make for good archiving over a greaer period of time.
  • Reply 16 of 54
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,219member
    AVCHD is not better for consumers who want to edit their own videos.
  • Reply 17 of 54
    m01etym01ety Posts: 278member
    AVCHD, as currently implemented and used by the major players, is a joke. The capacity of consumer cams using it is far less compared to HDV, and it also has dramatically lower quality. Not to mention, iMovie won't play well with it -- you would be importing an already considerably compressed format, and rendering your iMovie project would require compressing it again, even further reducing the quality.



    I hope that AVCHD goes away -- or, at the very least, doesn't displace HDV, so that people who give a crap about the quality and long-term viability of their recordings still have consumer options... \
  • Reply 18 of 54
    I'm in the same boat. Baby due at the end of January...deciding between the HC3 and the SR1. I've decided to wait for MacWorld (Jan 8th to the 12th). If they announce that iLife '07 supports AVCHD, I've got a decision to make still...but if it doesn't, it is HC3 for sure.



    I also read somewhere that Microsoft isn't too fond of AVCHD because it competes with some technology of their own that is part of Vista. Anyone have some legitimate info on this? If it is true, that does score a point for the SR1.



    Just hope the baby doesn't decide to show up too early.
  • Reply 19 of 54
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by m01ety


    AVCHD, as currently implemented and used by the major players, is a joke. The capacity of consumer cams using it is far less compared to HDV, and it also has dramatically lower quality. Not to mention, iMovie won't play well with it -- you would be importing an already considerably compressed format, and rendering your iMovie project would require compressing it again, even further reducing the quality.



    I hope that AVCHD goes away -- or, at the very least, doesn't displace HDV, so that people who give a crap about the quality and long-term viability of their recordings still have consumer options... \



    You think HDV is really any better?

    HDV is build off of Mpeg2 whereas AVCHD is built off of Mpeg4. The compression may be more but it's also a more advanced form of compression. Editing Mpeg whether it's 2 or 4 is a joke ot begin with, but AVCHD is no worse then HDV. People were laughing at HDV a year or two ago just like people laughed at miniDV 12 years ago and said "it will never be used for professional use" but then it did. Once the software catches up anything is possible. Give it 6 months or so and all the major NLE's will be supporting AVCHD. HDV was never meant to be a permanant format. It was always just a stopgap format just like Digital 8 was meant to bridge the Hi8 and MiniDV formats.



    To those of you expecting kids soon, take this advice more then anything. Shoot well, be aware of your lighting and your framing and hold your camera tight so as not to pick up handling noise with your cameras build in mic. Cameras are not guns, don't put your subject in the center of the frame. Google the rule of thirds. Remember that video loves closeups and so does your mic. These things are more important then the format you capture on.
  • Reply 20 of 54
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ApplePi


    People were laughing at HDV a year or two ago just like people laughed at miniDV 12 years ago and said "it will never be used for professional use" but then it did. Once the software catches up anything is possible. Give it 6 months or so and all the major NLE's will be supporting AVCHD.



    So, by your own admission, AVCHD is not even worth thinking about at this point. Perhaps in a year or two.
Sign In or Register to comment.