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  1. Member
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    My dad bought a Sony HDR-SR11. He started to tell me some info about it and I decided to do some research because some of the thing he decided to do after buying this camcorder just didn't seem right. In the manual it had almost a disclaimer that you can destabilize your computer if you try to watch them. So because of this he went out and also bought a Sony VRD-MC5 DVD recorder, which can record the AVCHD format onto a DVD, but it will only be playable in a Blue-Ray player.

    So today I did some looking around online to read up on all of this and I was wondering, is there such a thing as a HiDef hard drive or solid state hard drive based camcorder that doesn't use the AVCHD format?
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  2. Member Soopafresh's Avatar
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    I think JVC has a few HDV (Mpeg2) hard drive cameras.
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    As a camera are they good quality?
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  4. I have the prior model of that first camera you listed (the HDD one). It truly is an amazing video camera. I would STICK with the HDD model and not the disc based model. Once you install the software that comes with it, you can transfer (i.e. copy via USB) anything you record on the camera's HDD to your PC and playback your recordings. You can ALSO burn them out to a regular DVD in AVCHD format, playable on a BluRay player (such as a PS3) -- this burn process, via the included Sony software, uses a regular DVD+-R drive and performs NO CONVERSION whatsoever on the video -- meaning that what you recorded gets onto the disc as unmolested as possible. Once you burn this disc, it will no longer be visible as data in your PC's DVDR drive unless you have a special driver to see it. The same issue is likely taking place with that second camera you mention. I do think in Vista you can download a special driver and actually be able to see such discs.

    Regarding the AVCHD files, you can ALSO copy the files directly from your PC to a thumbdrive and play those on a PS3 (no conversion necessary). The software does allow some trimming of files and will also downconvert an AVCHD file to regular DVD quality.

    Anyway, just my 2 cents. I've loved my Sony HD camcorder, AVCHD and all. When/if you plug in the camera to your PC via the USB dock, just be sure follow these steps:
    (1) with the camera OFF, snap it onto the USB dock
    (2) connect the USB dock to your PC
    (3) flip open the viewfinder on the camera
    (4) turn ON the camera
    (5) on the viewfinder, there should be a screen that pops up that you then select something like HDD->USB connection or somesuch
    (6) Sony's Handycam Utility should pop up and ask you if you want to transfer any files that weren't previously copied... you CAN leave the originals on the camera and it will note which have been copied so that the next time, it doesn't dupe them
    (7) after the files are copied, it usually will then send you to the Picture Motion Browser (PMB) software... if you intend to rename the files, cancel out of this program, then rename the files, including the MOFF files (use the same name).
    (8) in PMB, under "Tools" will be an "Update Database" choice... this will recheck every file and it's name and should end up in making a big pile of icons, one per movie clip
    (9) Under "Manipulate" you can perform all the tasks I previously mentioned.

    NOTE: if you have any other codec packs installed, PMB may not be able to play your clips back properly. I had to adjust Haali media splitter (deactive it I believe), in order to get the PMB to be able to playback files. Even if it cannot, you can still create AVCHD and DVD discs.

    NOTE 2: there is no software that lets you make NICE menus for AVCHD discs. Pinnnacle Studio 11 Ultimate doesn't say so on the box, but in its own software notes, suggests that if you make an AVCHD disc, that you shouldn't put a menu on it or it won't process... this is unfortunately true and has yet to be fixed... Nero 8 Ultimate has a fairly weak AVCHD menu creator... I'd stick with Sony's own software for now, as it's the only thing that doesn't force re-encoding, which can take a VERY long time.
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    Like I said this is for my dad, not me. He runs his buisness off of his computer so he will not put it at risk and I don't blame him. And with that warning in the documentation for his camera, he definatly wont mess with it in that format. Also from what I've read, this format doesn't play nice with PC's in general in that your extreamly limited by the software you can use with it and that it cannot be played via any regular media players.

    He doesn't own a PS3 nor does he have a Blue Ray player. He has that DVD burner from sony that I listed in my first post, and I'm wanting to find him some solution as to where he doesn't need some proprietary piece of next to useless overpriced equipment.

    I do appreciate the posts though.

    So, outside of the JVC camera, are there HD quality camcorders that have either hard drives or solid state drives?
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  6. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gyzer
    Like I said this is for my dad, not me. He runs his buisness off of his computer so he will not put it at risk and I don't blame him. And with that warning in the documentation for his camera, he definatly wont mess with it in that format. Also from what I've read, this format doesn't play nice with PC's in general in that your extreamly limited by the software you can use with it and that it cannot be played via any regular media players.

    He doesn't own a PS3 nor does he have a Blue Ray player. He has that DVD burner from sony that I listed in my first post, and I'm wanting to find him some solution as to where he doesn't need some proprietary piece of next to useless overpriced equipment.

    I do appreciate the posts though.

    So, outside of the JVC camera, are there HD quality camcorders that have either hard drives or solid state drives?
    Several Pro Models >$6K

    Also the Sanyo that records to h.264 directly. Then the Flip. All of these have picture quality compromise, mostly from extreme compression. HDV MPeg2 (tape or external HDD) is higher quality overall and much easier to edit.
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  7. Member Soopafresh's Avatar
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    That JVC Camera I pointed to captures in MPEG2 format. So, you can edit it with many apps, including Womble Mpeg Video Wizard and encode the stuff to standard format DVDs playable in any DVD player. The Canon HV20 and HV30 are popular around here, but they use HDV tape to store the data while recording.
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    I've read a few reviews for that JVC, and I know its an mpeg2 format, but I've heard that people have problems with trying to play or edit them.

    I guess the big thing I'd like to overcome is to find a HD hard drive based camera that can output into a format that can be easily edited, and doesn't require a high end machine to do the occasional editing. Also I'd like it to be in a format that is easily playable on a computer or on a dvd player.

    One question though, with these HD formats, if you can get them onto a dvd in a format that a dvd player can read, and that dvd player has an HDMI output, can you then in fact get HD picture quality and HD resolution without the need of a HD-DVD or Blue-Ray dvd player?
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  9. Member Soopafresh's Avatar
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    One question though, with these HD formats, if you can get them onto a dvd in a format that a dvd player can read, and that dvd player has an HDMI output, can you then in fact get HD picture quality and HD resolution without the need of a HD-DVD or Blue-Ray dvd player?

    No. You'll have to resize the video to DVD Standard 720x480 NTSC or 720x576 PAL. I'm talking about the standard DVD player that you can buy at Target. There are upscaling DVD players, but your source still has to be DVD standard dimensions. It would be silly to go 1920x1080--->720x480--->1920x1080. Oppo makes very high quality players of this type, but you're defeating the purpose of going that route.

    There is the Sony PS3 and similar type devices which will play many more media types and at higher resolutions.
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    Ok now things are making alot more sense. So pretty much the biggest downside to AVCHD is that its a very complex codec that requires a heafty computer to handle.

    I guess cause of the restrictions right now on hardware and software that I'll tell my dad to keep his camcorder and dvd recorder, seeing as when he does get a Blue-Ray player he'll be able to watch AVCHD DVDs on it.

    I do hope that this format sticks around for awhile.

    One last question, is it easy to convert AVCHD to a standard def format? Just so that my dad can record in AVCHD for him self, but take that footage and make it a format someone can watch without owning a blue-ray player?
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  11. Member Soopafresh's Avatar
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    Yeah, he can pick up a copy of VoltaicHD , which will convert the AVCHD file to a less CPU intensive file format.
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