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MiniDV video cameras

Discussion in 'Off Topic [DB]' started by Stev187, Jan 2, 2012.


  1. Stev187

    Stev187 Peavey MegaBass Club!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Toledo, OH
    Hey TB Pals:

    I figured that at least a few TB folks might be amateur video veterans, and I thought I'd get some input from you. Here's my situation:

    We have been making home movies since 2001; first with a Hi8 camera, then a MiniDV standard. I have all videos backed up on MiniDV and on a hard drive going back to 2001. Our MiniDV camcorder has bit the dust, and I want to transition to HD. I tried a bit with my Sony a55, which takes nice HD video, but just isn't a camcorder.

    So here is the issue: the new HD and removable media camcorders appear to make all kinds of separate files for each "session" or "take," which introduces a terrible file management nightmare for me. I am very orgainzed about archived photo and video files. The thought of hundreds of little files for each month of video gives me hives.

    I am contemplating going with another MiniDV machine for the simple reason that the tapes are just easier units of measure for me. I know how to shoot, backup, archive, and edit these, and part of me wants to stick with what I know. But I don't want to be a luddite and stick with an obsolete format. My kids are 8 and 10, and I will be shooting "family" video for another 10 years. Perhaps I should jump away from MiniDV now rather than later?

    Can you help with advice? My biggest concern is all those pesky files to keep track of with the HD type units.

    Thanks in advance.

    --Steve
     
  2. What? You're not using 8mm film? Ooh Mr. hi-tech, out with the old, in with the new.
    ;-)

    I suggest getting a new HD video camera with a big lens, and a big CCD sensor. Since you're on Talkbass, I assume music is important too, so look for a camera that allows the option of using external microphones. If you have an manual audio level options, even better.

    Yes, each take, is a separate file. That's not big deal. Name your files properly and organize your files into folders. Then back up the data onto extra hard drives, or removable storage like data DVD-R. It's easy to keep track of, access, and use, thousands of files on a computer, much easier than doing the same with hundreds of tapes on a bookshelf.

    Look for cameras that record movies in .Mov (or .AVI) format or something similar. It's simpler to use material that has the video and audio together in one file. (ie. not like the DVD-R cameras of a few years ago).
     
  3. I use a Mini-DV HD camcorder. One nice benefit to this is that
    I can use it to play back my Mini-DV tapes from my old SD
    camcorder.

    As much as I like Mini-DV, it seems that Mini-DV is heading
    into obsolescence. Mini-DV only holds about 10 GB. For HD,
    the data must be compressed; that means some loss of quality.

    The one-file-per-take problem is trivial. You merely start
    organizing by folder; not by file. The files are time-stamped,
    so it is easy to sort them out. One-file-per-take is actually
    better as it makes it easy and faster to find the clip you are
    looking for. Think of a CD versus cassette analogy. Even if
    the quality were identical (which it isn't), navigating around
    a CD is sooo much easier.

    The biggest problem I see with HD is the file sizes. I've had
    HD video projects consume 200 GB of my hard drive. Even
    with 6 TB of disk space, I need more. My HD Mini-DV tapes
    help a little in that respect as each inexpensive (about $2)
    tape holds original compressed data that is about the
    equivalent of about 25-50GB of uncompressed data.

    But still, the bottom line is that you should probably stay
    away from any Mini-DV purchases at this time (are they even
    still available?). Get ready to increase your disk capacity
    and get ready to sort your clips a little differently.
     
  4. About HD file sizes, it does depend on the compression used to store the file.

    for instance, uncompressed SD video is about 20MB/sec. (Huge!)
    DV compressed video is about 1/5th of that and is 3.6MB/sec
    a DVD uses a bitrate that's even less, something like 1MB a second? or 700 KB?


    My Q3HD really squashes the data and comes out with an 1920x1080 at 30HZ video of only about 1.85MB/sec, less than SD DV. (the input data should be 2 MP x 30Hz = 60 megapixels of stuff every second.) Visually, one can tell that a whole lot of data is being through out with this low bitrate. I'm not sure how standardized the HD compression is on these new cameras. Go to a real video camera store and ask some questions. The people there should know the answers.

    Now that HDTVs are making there way into peoples homes, and youtube and vimeo and others offer HD streaming video options, HD really is the way to go. Another thing to think of, while SD video looks great on CRT televisions, it looks kind of bad on LCD / plasma TVs. In 10 years, you'll be watching these old videos on the new screens of the day, not CRTs.
     
  5. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Oh, how I look fondly on the days when BETA was the thing.
     
  6. NicholasF

    NicholasF Guest

    Jan 17, 2012
    Get a DVX you can have your MiniDV's and HD
     

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