Shoot 1080p24 video with the Panasonic HDC-HS100/HDC-SD100
The HDC-HS100 and HDC-SD100 are the new kids in the AVCHD town. It seems that Panasonic finally stopped dumbing down its cameras. Of course, the autopilot controls are still there, but for the first time since the venerable PV-GS400 a consumer camcorder from Panasonic has all the right features in one package: a viewfinder, an accessory shoe (standard-sized, not proprietary fare), a microphone input, a headphone output and a real focus ring.
As if the above is not enough, the camcorders offer 24-fps progressive recording capability, which is the topic of this article.
Watching interlaced video on a computer
Every once in a while a camcorder newbie turns up on a message board with a question: "Whenever there is a slight movement or panning the image breaks into series narrow horizontal lines. Is something wrong with the camera? Should I run back to a store and ask for replacement?" Those in the know respond with usual "relax, these are interlace artifacts". Fine, but how to deal with them? The article explains how to get rid of interlace artifacts when watching interlaced video.
Canon HF100: first impressions
I am putting up a a series of articles about a new Canon tapeless camera, the HF100. I am starting with general look and feel of the camera, its input and output ports and overall design. Bear in mind that these are my personal impressions.
Backing up AVCHD video onto DVDs and playing them on a Blu-ray player
Tapeless AVCHD camcorders are the latest trend in consumer video. Prosumer video is geared towards AVCHD as well, as indicated by a recent announcement of the Panasonic AG-HMC150 camera. Compared to tape-based HDV format, AVCHD promises the same or better quality at reduced data rate, random access media and higher than realtime data transfer from camera onto a computer.
While these changes are welcome, getting away with tapes poses new problems, like how to watch AVCHD video on consumer video equipment and how to store video in the long term. I will share my approach to storing AVCHD video on standard DVD-recordable disks. I will explain how to create full backup of a memory card, and to be able to watch unaltered video on a regular Blu-ray player.
24PA, 24F, 24P, 25F, 25P, 30F, 30P explained
After Canon presented the HV20 camcorder a year ago, many a videographer cursed it for not including pulldown flags in 24p output, which turned capturing 24p video into a nightmare. Different schemes have been devised, from those that use dozens of free utilities in sequence, producing questionable results, to straighforward but costly ones. Did Canon indeed make a mistake, and what could have been done better?
Which Canon Vixia: HF100 / HF10 / HF11 or HG10?
You are looking for a digital camcorder. You don't want to rush things, you can linger another two-three months. Should you wait for the new solid-state series from Canon or should you go with a proven HDD-based model?
Obviously, if you are choosing between these two fine lineups, you hate the very idea of messing with tapes, otherwise you would be choosing between the HV20 and the HV30. You want to go tapeless, enough of this old-fashioned forward/rewind nonsense and realtime capture. You want it fast and with no drop-outs.
The HG10 has established itself as the leader of HDD-based high definition consumer video, but the new HF models are so small, light and best of all, have no bulky hard drive. Which one to choose?
JVC Everio GZ-MG555 review
JVC GZ-MG555, known in Asia and Europe as GZ-MG575, is the top of the line standard definition JVC tapeless consumer camcorder for 2007. It records standard definition video onto either a built-in hard disk drive, or on a secure digital memory card in MPEG-2 format.
The 30GB hard disk drive (40GB for GZ-MG575) can hold up to 7 hours of footage at highest quality setting. When recording to a memory card, the recording time depends only on capacity of the card. There are no limitations for using any of the recording formats when recording to a memory card.
The camcorder stands out of the crowd, having the largest CCD for a consumer camcorder. Other useful and increasinly rare features include external microphone jack, accessory shoe, built-in neutral density filter and threaded lens barrel for attachments.
No standardized tests, no resolution charts, no controlled environment, but rather an informal story about life with the GZ-MG555, full of surprises, good and bad alike.
Working with JVC Everio MOD & TOD files
In 2005 JVC came up with a brilliant idea of a tapeless camcorder that records onto a small built-in hard disk drive (HDD) instead of recording to magnetic tape. Turned out, JVC hit the goldmine, the concept proved viable and became popular among consumers. Next year Panasonic and Sony rolled out with their own tapeless camcorders, Canon followed the suit in 2007. First tapeless camcorders were recording standard definition video, later high definition models were added.
The article discusses both standard definition and high definition JVC camcorders. You will learn about video format employed, how video files are stored, how they can be loaded onto a computer, and used in different video editing tools.
JVC has missed, again. GZ-HD5 and GZ-HD6 Everio camcorders
January 30, 2008 - JVC unveiled two new high definition Everio camcorders, the GZ-HD5 and GZ-HD6.
New models is the result of marriage of the GZ-HD3 body with the GZ-HD7 1/5" 3CCD sensors, and its optical image stabilization system. New models do not seem to have major upgrades in features, controls and overall handling compared to the GZ-HD3.
Being the pioneer in HDD-based camcorder market, JVC increased storage capacity. The HD5 has 60GB HDD, microphone jack and accessory shoe. The HD6 adds a headphone jack and gets twice larger hard drive, which is on par with Sony HDR-SR12. The Sony provides almost twice larger recording time though, because it uses more efficient AVCHD compression instead of tried, true and somewhat tired MPEG-2 encoding used in JVC camcorders.
But the biggest thing is 1080p video. Finally, the first 1080p consumer camcorder. Is it for real? Read on!
New Canon MiniDV camcorders: ZR900, ZR930 and ZR950
February 1, 2008, Canon will start shipping new ZR-series camcorders. The ZR900, ZR930 and ZR960 will be the only MiniDV cameras produced by Canon for consumer market in 2008.
Obviously, the industry is moving to high definition tapeless solutions, leaving tape in the dust. As such, the ZR series did not receive major updates this year, compared to 2007 models.
Dual-media camcorders announced on CES 2008
Sony, Panasonic and Canon unveiled new 2008 camcorders at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The "thing" for 2008 is tapeless dual-memory recording, which means that a camcorder has both internal non-removable storage in form of a hard drive or flash memory, as well as removable storage in form of memory cards. Camcorders have been equipped with memory card slots for quite a while, which makes sense for tape-based cameras; such cameras record video on tape and still photos onto a memory card. But what is the point of having both internal and external storage for a tapeless camcorder?
Review: JVC GR-DA30 vs. Canon Elura 100
The year of 2007 signified the shift to tapeless format in the middle and mid-high segments of consumer video. Hard drives and memory cards offer more flexibility, while miniDVDs are more consumer friendly than tapes. The top segment cameras still use tape because it is a proven and working format recognized by professionals. Tape-based camcorders are still offered in the low-level segment as well, because the decade-old technology allows producing inexpensive products for the masses.
With the extremely affordable price the JVC GR-DA30US and its European twin GR-DA20 bring the joy of home video to those who think that even $250 is too much for a camcorder.
Mounting the L-bracket for handheld and tripod use
The Elura 100 camcorder does not have an accessory shoe, therefore one has to use an L-bracket for microphone or external light. The combination of an L-bracket and the camcorder does not work well with tripods. A better solution was in order.
A Simple Dolly From PVC Pipe
Learn how to build a dolly for your camera tripod for cheap. The dolly provides three mounting points for a standard camera tripod, it is simple and cheap to build, can be easily assembled and disassembled and it is small enough to be carried in a bag.
All this can be achieved for about $10 (provided that you can get ahold of used inline skates for free).
A lens hood stops light coming into the lens at extreme angles and being reflected inside the lens. It is most necessary when you want to take pictures with the camera pointing close to a strong light source, particularly the sun.
Small lens hoods for a consumer grade camcorders can also be regarded as a fashion statement, especially rectangular lens. A camcorder with rectangular lens attached looks more "professional".
A round hood can be simply screwed in using standard filter thread. A generic rectangular hood usually has a mounting ring and some sort of locking mechanizm, like a screw that locks the hood on the ring in selected position.
Manual Exposure Control
Modern consumer-grade Canon camcorders do not provide complete manual control over key exposure settings: shutter speed, iris aperture and imager sensitivity (gain). In the Easy mode the camcorder automatically adjusts exposure according to brightness of the subject. In Program AE mode it is possible to manually change brightness of the video with Exposure control, which combines shutter speed, aperture and gain management into one consumer-friendly package. The Exposure control does not know what artistic effect you are after, so the result may differ from what you are looking for.
Luckily, many Canon camcorders allow selecting shutter speed directly, either through "Shutter speed" menu item or via Shutter Priority mode. This article explains how to unleash full power of your Canon camcorder by manually controlling all exposure parameters.
Using Built-In Light Meter
Every modern digital still and video camera has built-in light meter. Whenever the camera switches to fully automatic or to semi-automatic mode, it uses the light meter to calculate best exposure settings.
In fully automatic mode, the camera calculates all three parameters. In semi-automatic mode the camera calculates only those parameters that are not locked by a user.
Despite the evident trend to shield consumers from nuts and bolts of camera optics, the light meter information can be accessed and analyzed.
Choosing a Tripod
A tripod is an essential accessory for a serious videographer. With good lightning and fast shutter speed even a drunkard with shaky hands can take a still photo. Movies and video, on the other side, require some sort of stabilization, and the tripod is the standard way of achieving this goal.
A good tripod should be rugged, stable and should have a silky-smooth panhead to achieve smooth panning.
Attaching an External Microphone
Canon Elura 100 is an interesting beast: it has jack for external microphone, but it does not have an accessory shoe to hook up a microphone to the camcorder. I am not going to analyze technical reasons for such a decision, at least the camcorder provides a way to feed in external sound. Elura users should feel lucky, because Elura series is discontinued from 2007, and ZR series just does not cut the mustard. Obviosly, Canon is moving to high definition pastures, leaving good old DV format behind.
Ranting aside, I will show how to attach an external microphone (or just mic for short) to Canon Elura 100 or to any camcorder that has no accessory shoe but does have a tripod socket.
Cokin Modular Filter System
The Cokin Modular Filter system allows using one set of filters with different cameras and camcorders using a single filter holder. Since cameras and camcorders differ from very small to very large, the Cokin system is available in several sizes: Series A, Series P, Series Z-PRO and Series X-PRO. The Cokin A system is the best fit for compact Elura camcorders, it is also the least expensive.
The Elura camcorders are outfitted with a filter thread sized from 27mm to 34mm depending on model. The smallest adaptor for Cokin A System has 37mm thread, so you will need a step-up ring. Using a step-up ring may be benefitial for your other filters too, because there is a broader choice of filters and lens converters for 37mm thread size than for 34mm or 27mm thread.
Filters are essential accessories of every serious videographer. Luckily all Canon Elura camcorders are equipped with filter thread.
If you want to get a filter with diameter that exactly matches camcorder's lens thread, you may end up with limited choice. It makes sense shopping for a larger filter, and to use a step-up conversion ring to attach a larger filter onto a smaller camera thread.