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Video Camera Ideas.

edited August 2006 in Everything Else
Per your request on Tuesday's show...

May I humbly suggest the Sanyo Xacti HD1? While it does need a lot of light, its size and flexibility is second to none.


  • Per your request on Tuesday's show...

    May I humbly suggest theSanyo Xacti HD1? While it does need a lot of light, its size and flexibility is second to none.
    Ok, that seems pretty cool that it can take HD video at such a low price. However, it uses SD cards. Considering the high resolution of the video, how many minutes of video can you actually record? Here's some more specifics on what we're looking for.
    1. Something that can store an entire weekend convention's worth of footage on one physical storage unit. I don't want to carry around multiple memory cards, disks or tapes. Just one in the camera should be enough.
    2. It should be cheap, less than $600.
    3. It should be small enough that we can carry it around for an entire convention weekend without it getting in the way.
    4. It should be light enough to be held in one hand.
    5. We pretty much need to be guaranteed that we can extract video from it in Linux somehow and that the video will be in a standard format we can deal with, like uncompressed avi or mpeg2 or something.
    6. It should be relatively easy to use. We're no dummies, so we don't need a one-button idiot camera. But some of these things are so complicated that only professional cameramen can use them. I should be able to hand it to a random stranger at a convention, and they should know what to do (besides run to the pawn shop).
    7. It needs to have a standard tripod mount, we have a tripod already.
    8. It should be able to record while sitting on the tripod all alone so we can record both of us when nobody else is around.
    9. Should be good for recording panels at conventions as well as random youtube-style craziness.
    10. The video should be high enough quality that you wouldn't mind watching it.
    11. The battery should not die during an entire day of average use.
    12. It should be able to take a slight beating, as no doubt it will be occasionally manhandled.
    13. It would be nice if it could plug into a computer with firewire or USB to do some webcam or live streaming stuff.
    I know this list is a bit long, but I tried to think of everything I could. Not everything on the list is the highest priority. I just tried to be as inclusive as possible since I know both jack and shit about camcorders.
  • Scott, how do you intend to edit the video in Linux? I've yet to find any decent Linux video editing software.
  • Scott, how do you intend to edit the video in Linux? I've yet to find any decent Linux video editing software.
    With Cinelerra of course.
  • if you willing to wait till october check this out,122853-page,1/article.html

    a over your limit but a great camera
  • edited August 2006
    I do a video cast myself, personally I use a Pansonic palmcorder that I got a while back, you could probably get the same quilty of camera and lens for 500 back then i got it for 900 or so.

    First off, make sure you use your own mics, Get a mic stand for the "hot seat" as some call it, the universal holding thingy on the top. The mics that are built in, move and pick up every noise of the camera.

    The only camera that your going not be switching tapes or cards in and out is one with a hard drive like mentioned above. Which I don't believe, go as cheep as you would like. So if you want to still keep it cheep, all I can suggest is that you get a basic mini-DV camera.

    The mini-DV tapes are tapes but are digitial, when you copy them over it's lossless, each tape holds an hour, usally the battery they ship with it stinks, buy a nice 3 hour for about $100 more.

    In terms of question of qulity, theres pretty much 2 major types. Your cheep camers, and your expesive 3 CCD cameras, that captures color much much better. But 3 CCD is so expesive, the only time I touch it is when i'm working at the studio. You can make just about any camera look good via light.

    Without light a basic low end camera will automaticly open the iris, probably auto make the shutter to 60, auto up the gain, now the iris is fine, and so is the shutter in most respects, but when a camera ups the gain, thats when you get an ugly grainy picture. On the expesive studio cameras that we have, they let us manually control 3 levels on gain, we set it to the lowest, and with a wide iris and enough light it looks great. You CAN'T manually ajust the gain on most store cameras that i know of, So the more light you throw in the better the camera will make the picture.

    If you see a camera brag about 12 lux or 0 lux it means it can recorde is just about complete dark, which sounds like what you want, but this usally entails using somthing like night vision, which it uses black and white or green insted of color, (usally it's green because most brightness levels can be seen via green) and then using small infered LEDs that invisably light the the object your atempting to film.

    What I suggest is if you goto a store, take every camera your intrested in. Find a dark spot of the store, and zoom very far into it. Zooming generally darkens the picture. By making the picture really dark, you can see how it will handle the darkness wether it just ups the iris, or ups the gain and ruines the picture.

    As for interface I haven't seen a min-DV camera to date that doesn't have firewire. I'm pretty sure linux is compatable with firewire, unlike USB that requires drivers per device, I think firewire in terms of video editing is much more open. Typically I haven't herd good things from people that use USB to record things off a camera. As for recording firewire is fast and easy, and lossless as long as your not bogging your computer, and you don't use a NTFS partition that is compressed. Because firewire is streaming recording, as much as it is lossless, if too much is going on for the computer it can "drop" frames. Which unless you get a lot isn't that bad, because I use windows and have a tendency to play games while I recorde I might get 50 frames drop an episode, but compared to 2hoursX60 = 120mins 120mins X30 frames, a loss of 50 frames isn't of much concern.

    And for format, It uses a very generic DV-AVI, not excatlly sure what it really contains, I don't believe it's mpeg2, I don't think it has motion based compression like the mpeg series. It will be 30fps interlaced, But you put that in your editing software and you can export using a nice progressive pull down formula.

    Cinerlla is amazing software, I've used it for a year or 2 now, When i use it, I use DyneBolic
    Whats great about it is that it's got "nesting" where you can copy the /dyne dir onto your harddisk (even if it's NTFS) and on boot of the cd it will ask if you want to boot from the hard drive. This lets you run all the OS and software from the hard drive making it fast. and frees up the cd drive. Then because it's built on openmosix If you get other comps on the network to boot with this, it automaticlly links up and starts clustering which is great in Cinelerra. For the fun of it, we have 30 lab machines at our school, all of them are about 2.0ghz athlon xps, all on the network. I like to boot them all up into a cluster, and watch the rendering times fly.

    Anyway thats my exprence with it. min-DV only holds an hour. Portable video is really still not that portable, To be portable for a whole con weekend, I would suggest 2, 3 hour batteries, (or a 6 hour depending on which is cheeper) and then bring along 15 tapes, but only take maybe 4 or 5 with you a day depending on how trigger happy you are. Also always carry the power supply. If your in a pinch, you can always jack into some nearby outlet and get the footage you need. and be sure that every night you recharge the batts. But it's still pretty portable compared to when you brought that mac mini and mixing board to otakon.

    Best of luck to you guys, Shoot me an email or somthing with any questions.
    Post edited by Maver on
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