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Hardware Thread, Any Recommendations for a USB Camcorder (Standard Def)? in Technical; Up until now we've been using MiniDV camcorders that connect using firewire but this has resulted in two major issues:- ...
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    flyinghaggis's Avatar
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    Any Recommendations for a USB Camcorder (Standard Def)?

    Up until now we've been using MiniDV camcorders that connect using firewire but this has resulted in two major issues:-

    1) You need a firewire card installed in each PC you want to plug the camcorder into which seriously limits where staff/pupils can edit video!

    2) We use a dedicated NAS for streaming the recorded footage onto and because of the bandwidth required for uncompressed DV footage the NAS can only cope with a 3-4 users streaming video too it at once before it starts dropping frames whilst transferring recorded video.

    Obviously Removable USB harddrives are an option to get around the bandwidth issue but we'd ideally like for the video footage to be available on the network so pupils aren't reliant on lugging around portable harddrives which are liable to break and go walkabout!

    Given the above could anyone recommend a Standard Definition Camcorder that automatically saves it's output as AVI/MPEG files that can be transferred to a windows file share directly using USB. Ideally the camera could just be plugged into any PC, without specific drivers/software, and would show up as a removable disk with the video files listed (like a camera/USB memory stick). It would be helpful if these files were a fairly standard type as we'd be editing them in MS Movie Maker or Ulead VideoStudio so would want to avoid anything too proprietary that required unusual codecs or conversion software.

    I've been thinking along the lines of getting a camcorder that uses removable SD memory cards or possibly one with a built in HDD though haven't looked into the pro's/con's (or prices!) of these yet?

    Anyone any thoughts / recommendations?

    TIA

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    Camcorders

    We use JVC Everio's HDD camcorders. Theyre USB2 and show up as a drive letter.
    They are a reasonable price as well ...

    The only complication is they create .mod files which sometimes throws media player ... You can simply rename them to .avi if you have problems. I think the package comes with a converter so you can convert them to any file format.

    For burning if you want to Nero recognises them without fuss,

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    What do you want to use the final video for? If its just web / computer playback then there are some great sd camcorders around the £80 mark that should do what you want. We've just ordered a set of Toshiba camelio pro sd cameras, and have also ordered one Sony Hard disk camcorder, which should get here next week, so i'll let you know how we get on!

    steve

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    Re have Canon FS100s, they're good except for two annoying issues.

    Firstly they produce MPEG 2 files (which is fine), but it gives them a .mod extension. Which some video software doesn't handle correctly. I had to write a little doofer in AutoIT to let the kids change the extension.

    Secondly you can't download video unless it's plugged into the mains, so we've had to issue card readers.

    We have some older Canon MD160 which have neither of these issues, sadly they've been discontinued.

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    Another vote for the JVC Everio - our teacher love 'em - Great quality, easy to use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steveg View Post
    What do you want to use the final video for? If its just web / computer playback then there are some great sd camcorders around the £80 mark that should do what you want. We've just ordered a set of Toshiba camelio pro sd cameras, and have also ordered one Sony Hard disk camcorder, which should get here next week, so i'll let you know how we get on!

    steve
    The final video would generally only be used in-house for pupils projects and staff recording pupil performances / school trips / etc. The camera's dont need to be professional quality but we don't want anything so cheap that it wont look half decent if they want to display it on a projector or large TV.

    We'd certainly appreciate it if you could let us know how you get on with the Toshiba/Sony and the pro's/cons' of each.

    Thinking about the practicalities of implementing the lab I'm starting to think that getting camcorderes with SDHC rather than HDD's might be the better option. Otherwise staff are dependent on holding onto the camcorder itself to edit footage which obviously prevents other staff from being able to borrow it for the entire filiming/editing duration.
    If each dept had a memory card (and possibly a card reader) for filming then they could loan from a central pool of camcorders and it would stop an individual department 'hogging' the camcorders after filming. Because I suspect if they had an HDD model they wouldn't want to return it until they'd finished editing (and probably deleted) the material they had on it!

    Are there any drawbacks to SDHC memory-card based camcorders that you don't get with HDD-based models?
    Last edited by flyinghaggis; 8th December 2008 at 12:14 PM.

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