Friday, June 27, 2008

What to Buy? Part 2: Intermediate-Advanced

For myself, and for others who are already video hobbiests (particularly if you have dozens or hundreds of hours already on tape), i'd say move right into the 1TB hard disks and start dumping your DV into the drive dedicated to video. 1TB should hold around 75 hours of video. Here's just one of a number of large affordable drives:

You can start dumping immediately, but don't forget that it takes real time to dump the video in... so 75 hours of raw video (which i recommend you WATCH as you pour it in), commands maybe a full season of evenings and weekends to get onto your disk. This is not an inconsequential task. You also might want to log this material as you pour it in and watch it. There will never be a better time. (*Particularly as many video packages will disregard the datacode on the tapes that includes time/date stamps, so you had better notice that information as it goes into the computer and make a note.)

Once you have a big hard disk, if you have the money, i'd say go ahead and get an HD camcorder that recorded to memory sticks (8GB sticks are about right). A lot of new camcorders are coming out these months, and honestly, i'd wait as long as you can here... at least until these new models have been hammered on by folks, and perhaps wait until these come out in 2nd editions. I'm going to get the big hard disk now but move a little more slowly on the HD camcorder. I want it to be small & light, easy to use, and move video easily into my editing applications. Here's a new model from Sony I'm keeping my eye on:

(here's some news on the soon-to-be available camcorder)

and I'm constantly weighing the pros and cons of this one, perhaps more sweet than any others i've seen...

(here's a review of the TG1 with good information)

With big hard disk and HD camcorder, you're ready to move into your next phase of videography. Keep your old MiniDV tapes as an archive for your old material. And your next purchase might be a second TB disk to back up the first (perhaps a RAID of some sort), but take it one step at a time, and see how you use what you get. That's my advice today.


Anonymous said...

Rubin, it sounds like you've given up on miniDV as a recording media in favour of flash.

While I can definitely see the benefits of this approach, doesn't that also imply people have to use ADVHD instead of HDV? If so, it seems that this has a major impact on the ability of people to edit video on their computers (eg. huge jump in processing required, lower quality).

I'm really asking your opinion here - I'm not an expert in this field by any means.

Rubin said...


First, i can only say that this is a difficult period to be getting into video -- MiniDV is still great, and ADVHD editing/management is still settling in. If you use MiniDV, i'd stick with it. If you have no idea what to get and don't even know if you're into video, I think MiniDV is cheper and easier, so a good starting point.

I continue to embrace MiniDV. Mostly because it is self-archived, and partly because i have a system for this that works. I am converting my old MiniDV tapes to a hard disk for flexibility and editing, but they're still in the DV format (they go in as .mov files) so they're quite managable.

But i want to begin my experimentation with the ease/non-ease of working in ADVHD files. I don't like it, but I think i need to have familiarity there. I'm personally most pleased about HDV and expect to use this myself until the ADVHD impresses me. I'm in no rush to dump tape. I just want to have all my content on a hard disk: it's very empowering.

Does that help?