Hard drive camcorders?

I’m in the market for a new mini-camcorder and was thinking about moving into a hard drive camcorder, since they can store so much more data, without the use of tapes, disks or memory cards. My only question is will this type of camera be compatible with windows movie maker in Vista?

I’ve searched the internet trying to find out, but there seems to not be a definitive answer; som say yes, some say no, and some aren’t sure. Seem a lot depend on the type of video file the camera records in, like mpeg-2, etc. Seems some file types are not importable into MM. So I guess the best way to find out would be to ask if anyone has the following setup:

  1. Has a hard drive camcorder

  2. Runs Windows vista home premium

  3. Uses windows Movie maker for editing

If anyone does, how do you get your footage into MM? Do you import it directly from the HD of the camera? Do you save the footage to your computer, then import it? DO you use a firewire or usb to upload it into MM? ANy help would be greatly appreciated!:smiley:

I had a chance to use a JVC 20gig harddrive camcorder.

So that answers question 1. =p

2 - I dont have vista, I use XP SP2, but I dont see why vista wouldn’t allow the camera to be detected. It should be a generic driver in your database.

3 - I have used it on that and on Premiere.

The camera I had, and probably all the others, use a USB going from camera to comp. The computer detects it and then is shown as another hardrive on your comp basically. In there, you just find what files you want to take off the camera and copy/cut it to another location on your comp.

For the camera I had, the files were compressed and saved as a MOD MPEG file. They wouldnt run this type of file in Premiere, so I had to find a program called ‘MOD to MPEG’ Its a small program, its completely free, and works fast.

After converting the files to a regular MPEG file, I could then use it in any editing program I had.

Hope that helps.

Thanks Jerrick! Yeah seems Vista definitely has some compatibilty issues where xp does not.

Yep, that’s why I haven’t gone to Vista yet, im still waiting for the bugs to be fixed and sorted out. Once that happens, it seems like a very promising OS.

OH, One thing I did notice with a hard drive, because of the compression going on in the camera, to the comp, and during editing, the bigger video files can come out kind of shaky. Once I reduced the video size just a little, it came out nice and clear again.:slight_smile:

When I bought my new laptop about 3 months ago, I wasn’t even aware that windows had a new OS called “vista”, and wasn’t told anything about it when I bought the laptop. ALL new PCs are coming standard with Vista; XP is not being offered with new PCs anymore. But yeah, MS is waaaay behind with patches and fixes and needs to get up to speed so I don’t have to worry/wonder if software will work with the new OS. Bottom line is that whatever worked on XP SHOULD also work on vista…but many things do NOT…yet.

Yep, jsut like when XP first came out. I remember trying to get rivers to work for days and soo many updates… lol

Goodluck with your camera when you get it.

You might want to rethink the idea of basing your choice of a multi-hundred dollar camera on how well it works with some free software. Now might be a really good time to look into something more than the basicness of MM. I hear Pinnacle is a good entry-level product:

There are others around the same price range.

Caution with your HD camcorder, depending on the end use of your video, you might want it to not compress the signal when recording it to the disk. I know this is a problem with the tiny cameras that record to memory cards, they use compression so your picture never looks really great when played back on a TV screen. But if your main use is online videos, no problem.

Yes, people selling computer equipment didn’t want customers to know Windows Vista was coming, it might make people wait to buy their stuff. And new versions of Windows are always buggy. I imagine a lot of these little incompatibilities will be cleaned up with the first service pack release, but the question is when will this be? There are probably also constant updates that your machine is hopefully set to download automatically. I recently purchased a copy of Windows to run on my Mac, and opted for XP because it’s solid. I just want to test Web stuff mostly, and don’t care to be one of Microsoft’s giunea pigs any more than necessary. :slight_smile:

All of my 60+ videos have been made using MM, and even though it has its problems I find it just so amazingly EASY to use. Never needed to read a tutorial and had/has all the basic features I ever needed; in fact, the lack of really super-duper effects, transitions, etc, just prompted me use my own creativity all the more.

Overall, I really like MM, but can also see the eventuality of “graduating” to something that will utlimately give a more polished, professional look to my videos.

I have the 30-day tryout of Premeir elements (this is a FULL, complete version, not a limited “trial” version) and I am completely baffled as to how to use it! I suppose I should just read the stupid tutorial, but I’m lazy and just plain spoiled by the ease of use with MM.:smiley:

I haven’t used that style of camcorder, but there are a couple things I’d check for before buying one.

What’s the file format and compression codec used? Your video editing software will need to be able to handle that format to be able to edit the video.

What is the resolution and compression bitrate? That’s going to define the quality and whether compression artifacts are going to be noticeable. And remember that you edit the video you’re going to be compressing it again which will compound any compression artifacts that are in the original. The original needs to be clean and at a high enough bitrate that compression artifacts are minimal.

A lot of those style cameras are using MPEG4 or a variation. MPEG4 doesn’t make frame accurate editing easy for the editing software. Most software will take the easy route and only let you cut at keyframes rather than at individual frames. Keyframes could be every several seconds apart so editing a clip could get a bit “chunky”. The better video editing packages will do the calculations necessary to cut between the keyframes, but not all software will do that.

The nice thing about DV tape is that it doesn’t have any of those problems.

Funny you mentioned that at the very end. I’ve decided to stick with dv minicams that use tapes; you get a solid hour of record time per tape (which is much more than I use for a typical video, which is usally about 20 min. raw) and like you say, no compatibilty issues with dv. Thanks! I also thought about getting a “dvd” camcorder, but they are larger, more expensive, and the dvds only hold a mere 30 minutes of video! :astonished:

I probably don’t have to tell you this because you didn’t get a dvd camcorder but THEY ARE ABSOLUTE AND TOTAL CRAP THAT GIVE CRAPPY RESOLUTION AND YOU CAN’T EDIT THEM!!! And they are very expensive to.

I keep waiting for the holographic memory to come out. Just imagine a couple dozen terabytes on a 1/2"x1" card you could record for days with awsome quality and hopefully not have to worry about compatibility.

haha…don’t hold your breath.

Hard drives can crash too. In fact, I imagine a hard drive is more prone to shock damage than a cassette tape mechanism, even if it has less moving parts. Did your fiasco turn out to be a defective tape? That sucks.

Also I have made the mistake of taping over part of our trip to China with a forgettable barbeque event. Not sure if a HD camcorder would be any different there, other than being able to skip to the blank part of the disk if there was any…

i am not sure about cameras, but i know that other media storage type things, such as the ipod video compared with the ipod nano, the video is much more prone to break because of the moving parts involved. the flash storage system (the nano) can and will die at sometime in its life, but is much less prone to break. just my $0.02

Mini DV

My JVC Mini DV that I bought six years ago (for $1000) died while I was in the Caribbean in November. I researched models that record to hard drives and DVDs and came to the conclusion that I was better off just getting another Mini DV. I opted for a Sony that cost about $279 and have been very happy with it. I’ve edited with Movie Maker, Sonic My DVD, Roxio, and Premier. Gotta tell ya, MM is the easiest to work with although it will occasionally shut down in the middle of projects.

I was told I’d get a free upgrade to Vista when I bought my laptop a few months ago. I submitted the paperwork and was told it would be mailed to me. It never arrived and from what I read here that may be a good thing.

You can edit the video, but it’s not easy to get the video files from the DVD onto the computer. IsoBuster can read the UDF file system used by DVD video recorders. You’ll need the pay version of IsoBuster to get that feature. You’ll be able to copy the video files from the DVD to the computer. Then you’ll need video editing software that can handle the file format and edit MPEG2 video. So it can be done. You just need a program like IsoBuster to get the process started.

That still does nothing about the crappy resolution and MPEG2 compression artifacts.

Yeah that’s true, but I’m looking for ease of transfer/upload from camera to my laptop, with no loss of A/V quality due to compression, etc. So based on the minimum repair charges to get my current sony DV cam fixed-the dv/firewire port has a loose connection and has stopped working- it’s simply cheaper to just buy another camera.

I’ve decided to go with a used one of the same brand/model since it has served me well, and is a fairly high end model. When introduved in 2004, it cost $700. The model is DCR-TRV22. Excellent camera. You can get one in “as new” condition for around $125, which is a great deal.

I have bids on two right now and both are from “power sellers” with 100% feedback and 100% refund/return policy. They both come as new (NOT refurb) in orig. box with manual, editing software CD, remote control, TWO new dv tapes, TWO (new) batteries, shoulder strap, carrying case, usb and even firewire cable! Can’t beat the price! Btw, Sony would charge at leat $150 just to fix that defective dv port! Screw that!:smiley:

I use this and it works really well. also works w/ Windows movie maker, idk bout vista though

I’ve been using MiniDV for skydiving for 8 years.

For me, there are distinct advantages to having removable shareble media.

While it is “possible” to back up HDD camera material & keep it for years,
in reality I would only occasionally be bothered to back it up, it is much easier to keep tapes.

Another advantage with DV is that you can give the tape to someone else to copy/edit while continuing to use the camera. For example, at the end of a days jumping we collect the camera-flyers tapes & digitise them overnight & the next day… they keep their cameras & can still use them.

I think the Newest HDD cameras are including fire-wire, so can be captured in the same way as DV-cameras.

The problem there is the video is double-compressed, the HDD camera uses mpg or mpg-4 compression, the converts it to 4:1:1 DV compression, so it would look worse than native DV pictures.

As flash cards get bigger & faster, I expect removable memory card video cameras will eventually be the way to go, but I’m sticking with DV for the moment.

No I’m sorry I don’t.:frowning:
I’ve never used a Hard Drive Camcorder, Windows kinda sucks, so I dont have Movie Maker. Sorry not really my fault though.
And since I dont I cant really help you:(