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High Definition

April 1st, 2014

High Definition camcorder question?

I am looking to buy an hd camcorder (possibly a Canon Vixia HF100). One of the main uses will be for recording entire baseball games (2+ hours). Can a flash memory camcorder record that long continuously?
Also, the TV and the camcorder will be the only HD things I have (I have a regular DVD player and I don't know if I need a special computer to edit or burn hd dvds, I currently have a Dell Inspiron 530S)
Ideally I would like to put the flash card in my computer and burn a dvd, after editing. Will that be easy to do? I am not real techno saavy but can figure most things out if it isn't too difficult.
Can most HD camcorders also record in SD if necessary?

To answer your questions directly:

Can a flash memory camcorder record that long continuously?
You have two gating factors: The amount of memory and the battery. Go to the Canon site - and to the HF100's product page. Downolad the camcorder's manual. In there will be two tables to handle your question. The memory card size and video qulaity will determine whether there is enough storage for the whol game. If a memory card fills, put in a blank. There are available optional high capacity batteries available from Canon. When battery loses power, take it out and put in a charged one.

Also, the TV and the camcorder will be the only HD things I have (I have a regular DVD player and I don't know if I need a special computer to edit or burn hd dvds, I currently have a Dell Inspiron 530S)
Ideally I would like to put the flash card in my computer and burn a dvd, after editing. Will that be easy to do?
"Easy" is a relative term. Consumer flash memory and hard disc recorders record to a VERY highly compressed AVCHD (MTS file type) video format. Sony Vegas and Adobe Premiere float to the top for editing AVCHD video. You would be wise to visit those manufacturer's sites to determin if your computer meets or exceeds the requirements for AVCHD video work. High definition video is EXTREMELY demanding of RAM (2 gig minimum - 4 gig is WAY better), available hard drive space (external drive for the video project files) and requires a pretty powerful CPU (multi-core is definitely better)MovieMaker cannot deal with AVCHD files. Once the video is in the computer's video editor, you can select various out put formats for rendering. This could be burning AVCHD files to disc for BluRay or PS3 playback or downsampling to a standard definiiton DVD for regular DVD player playback... or even a computer file for uploading. There is no single "universal" file type for all methods of playback.

Can most HD camcorders also record in SD if necessary?
It depends - A year ago, consumer flash memory or hard disc camcorders recorded stabdard definition is very highly compressed MPEG2 files and high definition in even more compressed AVCHD files. More recently, and in the case of the HF100, the file "container" is always MTS - just more - or less compression is applied to the data stream. More compression = discarded data = reduced video quality. So they don't exactly "record in SD" anymore - just reduced quality versions of high definition.

You should be aware that miniDV tape continues to apply the LEAST amount of compression (resulting in best available video quality) when saving to either DV or HDV. As well, form a storage perspective at around $3 per 60 minute miniDV tape, it is the least expensive $ per gig when compared to all the other currently available consumer video storage mechanisms. A single 60 minute, regular, miniDV tape will hold up to 63 minutes of HDV format video. Carry extra blanks to more than cover the game. Of course, this means your computer needs a firewire port for video importing to a video editor capable of handling HDV. BUT all HDV camcorders can also record in standard definition DV format. And after the high definition disc is burned and the standard definition disc is burned and the computer file is rendered, you can export the video back to the camcorder - and use the camcorder as a playback deck so you can watch the final project on an HDTV without having to get a BluRay player or PS3... Plus, from a long tern "archive" perspective, miniDV tape is an "acceptable" archive method when the tapes are stored in a cool, dry, place. And it continues to be the media of choice for the pros (if you like Canon, check the XH series and XLH series; for Sony, check the HVR series and for JVC, refer to the GY series. I have yet to see any "pros" using any sort of AVCHD camcorder.

The Canon HV30/HV40 and the Sony HDR-HC9 would be in the same "family" as the HF100.

Which ever you choose, make an effort to use a higher shutter speed than the default 1/60 second. This will work best during well lit games - the slow motion feature in consumer video editors will provide much sharper reply or even useful/clearer frame grabs for stills. Suggest 1/500 or 1/1000 second (or more) if possible.

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