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Movies and Video For people making movies and editing video with their Mac.

Hard Drive Camcorders


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dipper

 
Member Since: Oct 28, 2004
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I'm looking to buy a hard drive camcorder and want to make sure I have no problems transfering to my mbp for iMovie. People online have been saying that if there is a firewire port on the camcorder I should have no problems. The girl a Best Buy says stay away from Sony at all cost and stick with JVC. However, someone online has said JVC requires you to download some software to change file formats.

This is all very confusing. I'm new to video and imovie and just want the simplest, easiest, most convenient camcorder for around $500. I want to plug it in and go. Does anybody have any recommendations?
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bmcgonag

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dipper View Post
I'm looking to buy a hard drive camcorder and want to make sure I have no problems transfering to my mbp for iMovie. People online have been saying that if there is a firewire port on the camcorder I should have no problems. The girl a Best Buy says stay away from Sony at all cost and stick with JVC. However, someone online has said JVC requires you to download some software to change file formats.

This is all very confusing. I'm new to video and imovie and just want the simplest, easiest, most convenient camcorder for around $500. I want to plug it in and go. Does anybody have any recommendations?
Let me clear something up for you, just in case, sounds like from your post you don't know all you should.

Firewire is great for miniDV, which is used to move the file from your camcorder to your mac directly into iMovie in realtime. miniDV is actually a tape, so you plug the camcorder via firewire into your mac, click import on iMovie and hit Play on your camcorder.

Firewire and USB can be used with a HDD camcorder which records to a HDD. If the camcorder has the firewire, great, USB, great. Whichever it has, the idea is that it is saved as a file. YourMovie0001.xxx

This file is most likely to be mpeg-2 format these days, and the size of the HDD on the camera will vary, as will the time you can record with it without clearing out files.

Moving the files from the HDD camera is faster generally, because it is basically a copy/paste thing.

Formats do vary between companies. I have a JVC, and yes you will need a piece of software to convert from their mpeg-2 format called .mod to .dv for editing in iMovie.

Also, the apple quicktime mpeg-2 codec is required, which is a $20 download.

Best Advice

Since you have a laptop, take it with you to Best Buy or wherever, and let them do a sample video on each of the different HDD cameras you like, then transfer it to your MBP and see how hard it is to work with. Get the one you like best.

Check out what software comes included with each camera, is it OS X friendly, or Windows only?

Does it support Firewire, or USB only. What's the battery life vs. the Recording time. (face it - 8 hours recording time is no good with 2 hour battery).

Never, and i Mean never take someone elses word on it, especially the employees of the establishment, because regardless of their best intentions, unless they are your spouse, mother, father, brother, sister, or kid, they probably have no clue what you want out of the camera, even when you tell them.

Best of luck, I'd be interested to know what you go with, and why when it's done.

Brian
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Dimitri

 
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I would go with miniDV instead of hard drive. That way you shouldn't need any conversion software and will have a higher quality file to work with in iMovie. The only downside is importing into iMovie is done in realtime so it takes longer, but if you plan on doing editing, I think it's worth it.

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dipper

 
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Thanks for the posts.

Brian, thanks for the detailed info too. I wasn't aware of all the details you included. Very helpful.

Maybe I will go with MiniDV as Dimitri has suggested. I started out thinking I would get MiniDV but then got caught up with the newer technology. Any chance MiniDV will be absolete in a couple years? I just want to make sure I'll still be able to find the tapes.
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baggss

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcgonag View Post
Let me clear something up for you, just in case, sounds like from your post you don't know all you should.

Firewire is great for miniDV, which is used to move the file from your camcorder to your mac directly into iMovie in realtime. miniDV is actually a tape, so you plug the camcorder via firewire into your mac, click import on iMovie and hit Play on your camcorder.

Firewire and USB can be used with a HDD camcorder which records to a HDD. If the camcorder has the firewire, great, USB, great. Whichever it has, the idea is that it is saved as a file. YourMovie0001.xxx

This file is most likely to be mpeg-2 format these days, and the size of the HDD on the camera will vary, as will the time you can record with it without clearing out files.

Moving the files from the HDD camera is faster generally, because it is basically a copy/paste thing.

Formats do vary between companies. I have a JVC, and yes you will need a piece of software to convert from their mpeg-2 format called .mod to .dv for editing in iMovie.

Also, the apple quicktime mpeg-2 codec is required, which is a $20 download.

Best Advice

Since you have a laptop, take it with you to Best Buy or wherever, and let them do a sample video on each of the different HDD cameras you like, then transfer it to your MBP and see how hard it is to work with. Get the one you like best.

Check out what software comes included with each camera, is it OS X friendly, or Windows only?

Does it support Firewire, or USB only. What's the battery life vs. the Recording time. (face it - 8 hours recording time is no good with 2 hour battery).

Never, and i Mean never take someone elses word on it, especially the employees of the establishment, because regardless of their best intentions, unless they are your spouse, mother, father, brother, sister, or kid, they probably have no clue what you want out of the camera, even when you tell them.

Best of luck, I'd be interested to know what you go with, and why when it's done.

Brian
WOW! Excellent advice! Thanks for all of that!


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Bluesmudge

 
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I bet Mini DV tapes will be around for 15 years. HDV cameras use the same tapes.
As well you can still buy many old types of tape like SVHS and Digital8. You can even buy Super 8 film still.
If you want a mini DV camera, don't rule it out because you think the medium will disapear. The only thing that might disapear is standard definition video, but that still has plenty of life too.
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bmcgonag

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluesmudge View Post
I bet Mini DV tapes will be around for 15 years. HDV cameras use the same tapes.
As well you can still buy many old types of tape like SVHS and Digital8. You can even buy Super 8 film still.
If you want a mini DV camera, don't rule it out because you think the medium will disapear. The only thing that might disapear is standard definition video, but that still has plenty of life too.
I agree. MiniDV will be around for a while, and even if they should stop manufacturing the tapes, they are re-usable for a while. Plus, not too expensive, so each time you have the duckets go by some tapes, build up a decent stock.

I went with HDD because 1.) i'm a technophile. 2.) i don't mind messing with things to figure out how to get them to work. 3.) i don't like carrying around extra tapes. 4.)i'm a technophile.

and did I mention that I'm a technophile?

Best,

Brian
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kilroy

 
Member Since: May 28, 2007
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I just bought a JVC with a 30 GB hard drive and love it. However, I need to find a way to convert the files on my IMAC. Anyone have any ideas on software I can download?
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Dixon Deeper

 
Member Since: Nov 25, 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kilroy View Post
I just bought a JVC with a 30 GB hard drive and love it. However, I need to find a way to convert the files on my IMAC. Anyone have any ideas on software I can download?
You should be able to convert your files to .mp4 with iSquint, which is a free download.
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