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Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

Last post 03-27-2013, 14:29 by dun4cheap. 22 replies.
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  •  02-18-2013, 17:05 579630

    Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    Hi folks,

    It has been quite some time since I've posted or even visited the Liquid Forums.  Quite frankly, I've missed it.  I still use Liquid on a weekly basis to edit church services in SD for distribution on DVD.  I still love it; it works great with very few hiccups.  I'm finally buying an HD camera and have pretty much decided on the Sony NXCAM HXR-NX70U.  The price is right for me.  It has pretty good reviews and I have played with its baby brother, the Sony NXCAM HXR-NX30U.  I thought I might download the demo of Studio 16 Ultimate and give it a try.  Money is still tight, so I thought I might try one of the consumer grade editors for the time being.  The pictures of the GUI look a lot like Liquid and so do the discriptions of some of its features. 

    My question is this:  I'm using a PC workstation running Windows XP Pro, with two dual core Xeon processors.  Does this sound like a platform that will handle editing 1080P AVCHD footage?  I have a PCI Express 512meg ATI video card, 2 gigs of ram (I think).  Can a 32 bit machine be used reasonably or will I have to upgrade? 

    Also, what do you think of the Sony NXCAM HXR-NX70U? Thanks for your thoughts.  Ross

  •  02-18-2013, 17:20 579633 in reply to 579630

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    Running 32-bit isn't an issue, but XP is. PS 16 won't install on XP.

    The speed of the CPUs is important as well. Yours appear to have plenty of grunt, but PS16 uses the Intel Quicksync SDK. which runs far better in the i5/i7 range of CPUs.

    So before you make any purchacing decisions, you need upgrade your OS in order to download and install the PS16 trial version. Then get hold of some AVCHD footage (doesn't really matter what mode it was shot in as long as it is HD) and experiment.

  •  02-19-2013, 9:30 579757 in reply to 579633

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    I use a pair of HP workstations (XW8200 and XW8400, both with dual-core Xeons), both with Liquid. Both edit HD fine. The XW8400 also runs W7 and has both Media Composer and Avid Studio, and both process AVCHD pretty well. Note that I don't do a lot with multiple AVCHD streams (in other words, I've not tried to edit something like 9 AVCHD streams into a multicam shoot) with eiterh MC or Studio, so I don't know what are the effective limits. But for 1 or 2 streams, you should be OK.
  •  02-19-2013, 14:32 579827 in reply to 579757

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    Thanks very much.  What I'm thinking is to set up a dual boot, with Avid Liquid still running on XP (why rock the boat?) and setting up Studio on a Windows 7 partition.  Have you had any experience with Sony's NXCAM line of camcorders?  For the money, the HXR-NX70 seems like a good deal.

    Ross

  •  02-19-2013, 22:34 579880 in reply to 579827

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    Give Edius a spin... look hard at this cam for just a bit more...

     http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/887069-REG/Sony_nex_ea50h_Sony_NEX_EA50_Camcorder_with.html

  •  02-22-2013, 23:44 580736 in reply to 579880

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    John, thanks for the suggestion.  I actually did look at the camera on line and was very impressed.  I'm just strapped for cash.  I also looked at the NEX VG30, which, I believe has the same CMOS chip as the EA50, and similar interchangeable lens.  I decided to go with the NX70 because of price, because it's more of a traditional camcorder (compared to the VG30), because of the 1.8 lens (faster, hopefully better in low light and the balanced audio input (as compared to the VG30).  If I had the cash, I would have seriously considered the EA50.  I really like the shoulder-mounted configuration.  I miss the days when I had that style of camera.

    Great to hear from you.  I have read and appreciated your posts over the years.  Ross

  •  02-25-2013, 22:37 581153 in reply to 580736

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    I'm seriously looking at the Panasinc AG-AF100 micro 4/3 camera. I took a long hard look at the Sony NEX-VG900, but the lack of ND filters is a real show stopper for me. The VG30 also lacks internal ND filters,  and this can make getting good exposures in bright outdoor settings difficult. I don't know a lot about the NX70; I've been looking at cameras with bigger chips for better DOF.
  •  02-26-2013, 13:09 581231 in reply to 581153

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    Dave, I just got my HXR-NX70U yesterday.  haven't had much time to spend with it, but I think I'm going to be sastified with it.  Its small size is going to take a little getting used to.  It has a lot of features, unfortunately, due to size in part, many are in layers in the touch screen menu.  It will shoot pretty much everything from SD to 1080 60P, even 720P, which I wasn't aware of.  I like the 96 gb internal and the SD/Memory Stick recording capability.  Apparently, you can record to both at the same time, which might be a nice safety feature.  I'm working on my first project with it in a couple of week, so I'll give you all a better assessment after that.
  •  03-05-2013, 8:42 582183 in reply to 581231

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    So Ross, what's your take on the camera so far? Anything unexpectedly good (or bad)?
  •  03-05-2013, 13:32 582231 in reply to 582183

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    Dave, so far, I like it.  It still feels awfully small.  I biggest thing to get used to is having to go into a couple of layers of menu to accomplished functions I've been used to do by the push of a button.  The video this camera puts out is beautiful.  I haven't had issues with the "rolling shutter" effect yet.  Most of my shooting is setting up interviews, where I have good control over lighting and there are certainly no quick pans.  The zoom control has two speeds.  The slow speed will be good for those push ins on an interviewee.  I found the zoom rocker control on fast speed was a bit jerky (you know, stops and starts) when you try to start in or pull out slowly.  The camera has a Lanc jack, sio my Varizoom Stealth controller works well with the camera. 

     My greatest learning curve will be the whole tapeless production process.  I've been told by a friend that my current computer is probably too slow to work with AVCHD.  I've got a 64 bit dual Xeon with a total of 4 processor cores, runnning 3.2 GHz, I bleieve.  Atleast I'll have to upgrade to a 64 bit OS.  I currently still have XP Pro. 

    Sorry i can't tell you more yet.  I have a shoot scheduled for Saturday to do some interviews.  I'll let you know what I think after that.

    Thanks!  Ross

  •  03-07-2013, 9:21 582485 in reply to 582231

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    Thanks Ross for the update. I have a similar system to yours, and I can edit AVCHD on it. I've not tried a bunch of layers, so I don't know at what point it falls apart. I'm running W7 64 bit. Though to be honest in MC (which is what I'm using) it's still better to transcode to DNxHD and edit in that.
  •  03-08-2013, 10:42 582660 in reply to 582485

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    Dave,

     Thanks for the response.  I was just about to purchase a 64 bit Windows OS and mentioned it to my wife.  She pushed back on me about upgrading my existing system or spending a few hunderd dollars more and purchasing a new Intel i7 system.  She asked me to get your thoughts on it.  I feel spending a hundred dollars or so on a new OS is worth the gamble before spending the money on a new PC.  This old Xeon workstation has been very reliable.  I'd appreciate any thoughts you may have.  Also, because I do have limited funds right now, I thought I'd just go with one of the consumer edit packages for the time being.  Do you have any thoughts concerning any of them, for instance Adobe Premiere Elements or Pinnacle Studio?  The screen shots of Studio look a lot like Liquid to me.

     Thanks for your help.

     Ross

  •  03-13-2013, 9:33 583538 in reply to 582660

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    Depending on the software package, you get a better bang-for-the-buck with the I7. There are instructions on the I7 that really do boost editing performance IF the software takes advantage of them. You'll have to check out the specifics of each package.

    Of course, a lot of this is dependent on exactly what you're editing. If all you edit is a couple channels of HD video and a title track, then you might not see a lot of improvement going to an I7. But if you do a lot of color grading or heavy manipulation of the frames, then a faster chip might be warranted. Also note that Studio require an I7 for AVCHD support (I suspect that it's using the enhanced instruction set for processing, which the Xeons don't have). as well as a CUDA capable NVidia card.

     

    As to software, I've never used Premiere Elements so I can't offer any opinion. Studio 16 is pretty reasonable for basic editing and authoring.

  •  03-13-2013, 11:46 583569 in reply to 583538

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    Hi Dave, so if I'm hearing you correctly, without an i7 chip, you can't do AVCHD in Studio?

    By the way, I shot over the weekend with the new camera and was impressed.  The stabilization is great.  I was doing handheld stuff that looked like jib shots or pans done mounted on a tripod.  It was a local flower show with quite low lighting.  Sensitivity was pretty good.  I reviewed the footage on a 46" LCD and it didn't look very noisy.  I'd like to create a short video and put it somewhere for you to take a look at.  I haven't figured that out yet.  Tonight, I'm doing some location interviews using my Lowel light kits.  Seeing that's what I'm normally doing, I'l be looking forward to seeing how this comes out.  I'm thinking of shooting it in 720P and getting it into Liquid for editing.  Thoughts about that?

     Ross

  •  03-14-2013, 7:11 583750 in reply to 583569

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    Hi,

    Also download the Edius Neo trial. Makes good usage of hardware. I did an AVCHD runup on a decidedly underpowered box with decent results.

  •  03-14-2013, 13:48 583842 in reply to 583750

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    TVJohn:

    Hi,

    Also download the Edius Neo trial. Makes good usage of hardware. I did an AVCHD runup on a decidedly underpowered box with decent results.

    Sorry to push this thread even more off-topic, but has anyone tried the free "Lightworks" from Editshare?  Supposedly it is similar to Liquid, is very powerful (was used to edit Avatar among other films) and the price is right.

  •  03-14-2013, 16:04 583858 in reply to 583842

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    I have Lightworks here for testing. It's about as unlike Liquid as it can get. Unfortunately, I can't really tell you what it is like as I've been unable to make it work even minimally. By that I don't mean that it doesn't install and work; it does. I mean that I have not been able to figure out how to use it! It does not have good documentation (IMHO) and I find it anything but intuitive. For example, I like to put stuff on the timeline and then cut out the stuff I don't like; I've not been able to find a simple way to cut stuff from the middle of a clip using Lightworks.

    It might just be that I'm so used to doing things in a particular way that I just can't see past my own limitations. But, as was pointed out, the price is right (at least for testing; there are limitations in the free version). And even the paid version is really inexpensive.

  •  03-14-2013, 18:35 583878 in reply to 583858

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    Dave,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with Lightworks.  I am still struggling to do more than the basic editing stuff in Media Composer so, based on your experience, I think I will forego Lightworks for now.  Maybe when I have MC more under my belt and have time to experiment, I'll give Lightworks a test run.

  •  03-14-2013, 20:54 583887 in reply to 583878

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    The closest thing to Liquid is Edius. Quite a nice NLE.

  •  03-14-2013, 21:33 583889 in reply to 583887

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    Yeah, thumbs down on Lightworks. As far as Edius, there is a $299 crossgrade special currently....
  •  03-27-2013, 1:37 585951 in reply to 583889

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    I have been playing with edius for about 5 days now, and it has a lot of similarities to Liquid. The multi cam is simple and power full and does not require the feeds to be identical.

    There is no audio mixer for surround sound, but you can still create discrete surround tracks.

    With the crossgrade for 6.5 there are no plugins that come with it where quite a few plugins came with edius 6. However, those plugins no longer work with 6.5 which I thought was interesting.

    I have not tried the authoring system in it yet.

     The layouter tool is pretty straight forwarded and doing pan/zoom/keyframing is as simple and fluent as using the 2d/3d editor in liquid. I really liked that. It also looks like edius uses the full resolution of pictures with pan and zooming.

  •  03-27-2013, 7:14 585975 in reply to 585951

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    The impressive thing is how well it works with modest hardware. You do not have to consult the manual very often, as most operations are intuitive.
  •  03-27-2013, 14:29 586058 in reply to 585975

    Re: Finally Buying an HD Camcorder

    TVJohn:
    The impressive thing is how well it works with modest hardware. You do not have to consult the manual very often, as most operations are intuitive.

    John you are verry correct with your statement. I am also intreaged by the sandy bridge encoding, where an i7 2600k processor running with a sandy bridge mb and intel graphics it reduced the encoding time of a h.264 video from 3.5 hours to 30 minutes. It was very impressive. I have everything but a mb with onboard intel video.

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