Friday, January 25, 2008

New HD video camera… almost

During the process of writing a chapter about iMovie ’08, I decide to upgrade my video camera to something “tapeless” with high definition capability. I want good quality, but don't want to spend thousands of dollars. To be more exact, I want a great camera that's substantially less than one thousand dollars.

I couldn't decide which would be best, the Sony HDR-SR5 or the Canon HG10. Both record to a 40 GB Hard Disk Drive. That means no fast forwarding and rewinding of tape to locate scenes. When you connect the camera to the computer, the clips that are on the camera's hard drive appear in the iMovie Import window (below). Click a clip to preview it. To import one or more clips, click the checkbox under the clip, then click the "Import Checked" button. Pretty nice. Of course you also have the disadvantage of not automatically having an archive on tape of all your footage (tape is very cheap compared to buying extra hard disks for storage). Then again, I've got hundreds of hours of tapes whose video I'll never get around to looking at again, because I'm too busy shooting new video.


The iMovie ’08 import window (above). The bottom pane shows the clips that are on the Hard Disk in the camera. Select a clip to see a preview in the top pane. Checkmark the boxes under the clips you want to import.

I decide to go with the Sony HDR-SR5 and order it online from (they're great). The Sony gets here the next day. I love it. Good quality. Oops. I didn't notice that this model doesn't have a view finder, just an LCD screen. The screen is advertised to be bright enough to use in bright sunlight, but that must be referring to 20 year-old eyes. I can barely see the image on the LCD screen, and it's gray and overcast outside. Dang, gotta call ButterflyPhoto and see if I can send it back.

Fortunately, the ButterflyPhoto people are very nice and understanding, and suggest that I exchange it for the Canon HG10. Perfect. I almost ordered that one anyway. Hopefully it'll be here by Monday.