need some basic advice

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Matt, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. Matt

    Matt Guest

    A friend of mine teaches Art/Multi-Media at our local middle school (5th &
    6th grade) and she wants to put together a class on video production. It's
    going to be a basic introductory type class, but they are also going to use
    it to produce a sort of local news program for the school. I've suggested
    she try either premiere elements or Sony Vegas for editing and I've helped
    her set up an editing computer as well as lights, a basic studio and audio.
    Now I'm down to the camera and I'm stuck... there's a decent budget of
    around $400 - $500 (well decent for that age group) for a camcorder type
    setup but should I recommend they go with a SD tape based camera or go ahead
    and step them up to a HD flash memory based camera? The flash memory would
    keep operating expenses down a bit (though I guess they could reuse tape for
    a while) and an HD camcorder would put them with slightly more current
    technology (plus less moving parts means less things for kids of that age to
    break), but I think I could get a better camera in SD... and by better I
    mean more manual controls with more room to learn about how to use a camera.
    What do you think?
    Matt, Sep 30, 2009
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  2. If I were just trying to teach them the principles, then I'd go for the
    SD option, and try and stretch the budget to two cameras, as they're
    cheap enough now. Your stated budget will, for example, get you two of
    these and a large box of tapes or some spare batteries. :-

    There are some SD cameras available that use memory cards, too.

    The only proviso I'd make would be to make sure they will take 16:9
    footage for practice in framing. It's a totally different technique to 4:3.

    In my view, it doesn't matter how new the stuff you teach them on is,
    it'll be obsolete by the time they get to use any gear in anger, so the
    details will have changed. Two cameras gives a chance to experiment with
    cutting between different camera angles without having to do everything
    twice, among other possibilities.

    SD also has the advantage that it's quicker to render the finished video
    when you're editing (for a given computer), so they see the results quicker.

    Just my 2 penn'orth.
    John Williamson, Sep 30, 2009
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  3. Good advice, I think (much as I love HD - and HDV can be reasonably
    cheap and easy to deal with) - but editing material from memory cards
    can be more of a challenge than working with Mini-DV tapes. I would
    stick with tapes...
    David Ruether, Sep 30, 2009
  4. Matt

    Matt Guest

    Thanks... that's sort of what I was leaning towards... I was just
    considering the HDV due to costs and potential durability.
    Matt, Sep 30, 2009
  5. "Matt"wrote ...
    Depending on what you are trying to teach (video production basics vs.
    camera operation) you might consider the Flip Video gadget. You can
    get two of them easily within your $400 budget, and no loose tapes or
    cards (or even cables!) to worry about. And production values go up
    considerably if shooting with two cameras so you can do inserts, XCU,
    etc. Just a thought.

    It got pretty good reviews in these newsgroups recently. I went to Costco
    and bought one and it is surprisingly good for $180. Biggest limitations
    2x zoom and built-in audio.
    Richard Crowley, Sep 30, 2009
  6. Matt

    Mike Kujbida Guest

    Richard, my main objection to the Flip camera (and anything else like
    it) is that there is no manual control of any kind and the OP did say
    "more manual controls".
    It's also very difficult to get a steady shot without using a tripod.

    My suggestion is to browse the pages of
    and see if anything there fits your needs.

    Mike Kujbida, Oct 1, 2009
  7. Matt

    Smarty Guest

    For those of us who have edited material from both tape and memory cards, I
    strongly feel that memory card editing is much easier to work with, not
    "more of a challenge" as David stated.

    Memory card editing allows random access with no waiting time to get to a
    specific clip, and very easy transfer at a hugely faster speed than tape
    transfer. The last clip is accessed as quickly as the first. Try that with

    I have my entire clip collection moved from camcorder to computer in seconds
    or maybe a minute. Tape will take as much as an hour. Students doing editing
    will very very much appreciate the speed difference.

    David, have you ever even edited video from memory cards????

    Smarty, Oct 1, 2009
  8. [Here we go again, with "Smarty"...]
    While editing tape, a program is used to automatically chop up the material
    by takes into clips. Once this has happened, the clips are moved within the
    computer and editing program as easily as any other file type, whether from
    a tape or from a memory card source.
    While what "Smarty" says above is a reasonably accurate description of the
    advantages of memory card use, he fails to point out that with the modest
    computers likely to be used in the situation described by the OP, editing
    with smooth previewing (which is kinda necessary in editing, no? ;-) is
    very unlikely to be possible, at least with a high quality previewing image.
    In other words, input, shuffling, and export of memory card video IS easier,
    but editing it is NOT as easy as editing Mini-DV tape-format video, and this
    can lead to much frustration, especially with beginning editors. There is also the
    matter of archiving. Students who own their tapes (under $3 each) can have
    reasonably permanent copies of what they shoot and choose to keep - and
    also of their finished work when it is put back to tape (DVDs should generally
    not be considered archival). Once again, "Smarty" has failed to look at the
    context within which the advice needs to be given (we don't all own "giganzo"
    David Ruether, Oct 1, 2009
  9. Matt

    Smarty Guest


    You have stepped in it once again, this time for a simple question regarding
    video editing for 5th graders.

    You apparently are either unaware of, or failed to consider the choice of
    low cost standard definition camcorders, some of which cost as little as
    $28, like the Snapp 3000 or numerous other very inexpensive, nearly
    disposable camcorders exquisitely suited for 10 year olds.

    You leap to the absolutely WRONG conclusion that memory card = high
    definition AVCHD.

    In conflating the two entirely unrelated topics, and offering the original
    poster the wrong impression that SD cards present "more of a challenge", you
    once again demonstrate an utter lack of balance and understanding.

    SD card camcorders use MJPEG (like the Snapp) or other very simple to edit
    formats. You presume that a high end computer is required. It isn't.

    Smarty, Oct 1, 2009
  10. Oh great and magnificent all-knowing master of these newsgroups,
    I most humbly beseech your most high personage to hear the unworthy
    words of your humble and obedient servant as he prays that your worship
    accept my most sincere apologies for having yet again offended your highness,
    the god of these video NGs. I take a low <virtual> bow in respect for your
    largess in expressing your always kindly corrections to my most erroneous,
    foul, egregious, and annoying posts, which your magnificence does most
    properly deign to repeatedly castigate. Oh yea, would that I had not been
    perhaps asleep when I dared make such a dreadful post as that made by
    me earlier in this thread! What could I have been thinking!? But of course
    your highness is correct that SD low resolution memory card video can be
    shot and edited easily, and it was I who took the OP, having mentioned HDV,
    to be perhaps interested in a quality level above what most still cameras and
    a few low end video cameras now shoot on memory cards, with results that
    are then easily edited. (I also took the OP to be considering Mini-DV, a format
    with many advantages.) So, may it please your noble personage to accept my
    sincerest apologies and my expressions of enormous and heartfelt guilt for
    having dared to express my inexcusable errors and also my opinions that are
    in terrible conflict with those of your magnificence, whose words are as the
    laws of nature and are almighty, not to be disputed...
    David Ruether, Oct 1, 2009
  11. Matt

    Smarty Guest


    If you would like to dispute the facts, I would welcome that discussion. Can
    you please give me a single reason why a common video format such as found
    on dozens of digital still cameras (640 by 480 VGA) as well as many low cost
    memory card camcorders would be, to use your exact description, "more of a
    challenge than working with miniDV tapes"?

    Smarty, Oct 2, 2009
  12. Matt

    Mike Kujbida Guest

    David, as much as I'm sure you hate to admit it, Smarty is right.
    I'm dealing with more and more footage from hard drive and card-based
    cameras these days and, as long as it's not AVCHD, the (really) cheap
    core 2 Duo Dells I use have no problems whatsoever with the footage -
    and the students love the fact that "transfer time" is no longer an issue.

    Mike Kujbida, Oct 2, 2009
    You DO like to excerpt my posts in ways that "prove" me wrong and
    your response correct by leaving out the parts of my posts that agree
    with yours...;-) That is a dishonest, and you know it! As I have pointed
    out many times, I respect your knowledge (and do wish to be corrected,
    *respectfully*, if I *really* make a mistake - and from this we can all
    learn), but I do not respect your manner here (the word "jerk" unfortunately
    too often comes to mind...).
    I don't hate to admit it - he was right (as was I, saying the same thing...).
    And I quote part of my own post, with emphases added since these parts
    were apparently missed (and with some expansion of points added that
    should have been obvious...), "But of course your highness is correct that
    *SD low resolution memory card video* [as in 640x480, slow frame rate
    or normal] can be shot and edited easily, and it was I who took the OP,
    having mentioned HDV, to be perhaps interested in a quality level above
    what *most still cameras and a few low end video cameras now shoot on
    memory cards, with results that are then easily edited*. (I also took the
    OP to be considering Mini-DV, a [superior to this] format with many
    advantages [like higher resolution, easier complex editing, and better
    archiving].)" It is clear that there are about three levels of quality and
    acquisition types involved (low-end SD card, Mini-DV tape, and HD
    card or tape, only two of which were mentioned by the OP: Mini-DV
    tape and HD HDV tape) - but for beginning 10-11 year olds, certainly
    the first option *would* be worth considering and likely entirely adequate.
    [BTW, I wrote the above while fighting a "black scintillating scotoma" -
    look it up, if you want... :-( ]
    David Ruether, Oct 2, 2009
  14. Matt

    Smarty Guest


    I hope your medical issue improves, as my sincere sympathy to you. My wife
    suffers severe migraines with visual distortions, and I have witnessed how
    scary and unsettling these types of problems may be.

    I am sorry if you find me to be a "jerk". I am unrelenting, however, in
    taking very strong exception to your generalizations which are often untrue.
    When I point out the untruth and show evidence of the untruth, you
    invariably resort to showing cases where your generalization is less untrue,
    not untrue, or not applicable.

    I understand the distinctions, but the newbies who post here do not. When
    you tell them that something is "hard to use", "difficult to understand",
    "much more complex", "very demanding of computer resources", you leave them
    with a false impression. In many if not most cases, you take a path which
    dismisses many very reasonable or appropriate alternatives. The newbie is
    given a very slanted and distorted perspective. Once again, in this specific
    case, you have chosen to use this same approach.

    I have not quoted you out of context. I have challenged your generalization
    with concrete examples to the contrary. In this case as well as several
    prior cases, the newbie question is being addressed without dismissing
    alternatives so much as illuminating them.

    I once again encourage you to gain some understanding of the other video
    techniques which are being used, and to be more balanced in the way you
    consider current and emerging alternatives in memory cards, high def video,
    mpeg4, etc. There are many very attractive alternatives which coexist, and
    there really isn't a "best" solution for all people, even though tape-based
    HDV is an excellent alternative for many.

    Have you noticed a consistent pattern in my replies.....? Do you recognize
    that they most certainly arise when you dismiss approaches other than tape
    and HDV, specifically for those who may benefit from other solutions?

    You continue to hold up the same target and I promise you I will continue to
    fire. Not to attack you, nor call you names......but rather to allow the
    original poster to get a fair and balanced answer.....

    Smarty, Oct 2, 2009
  15. [...]

    [Sorry to waste readers time on a personal and OT post - I prefer
    not to write these, but I have also always been inclined to stand up
    and defend myself against bullies. Here it is "Smarty", with his constant
    negative responses to my posts, often based on misleading excerpts,
    misrepresented meanings, etc., and when called on this, he follows
    up with either insulting posts or name-calling - and when called on
    this, he sometimes follows up with nice-sounding-but-disingenuous
    posts like the last. He has also been known to create "poster aliases"
    to help support his views, a rather dishonest thing to do. He has been
    asked to stop these practices both here in the video NGs and on at
    least one major web forum. As I have stated several times in the past,
    I respect and welcome "Smarty's" knowledge (and corrections when
    appropriate, from which others can learn), but not his manners. I now
    suggest as a solution that "Smarty" refrain from responding directly or
    indirectly to my posts (and also to never refer to me by name), and
    instead write parallel posts attached more directly and appropriately
    to posts above mine in a thread if he *truly* disagrees with something
    I have written (and is not just taking offense at me or at "ghosts"...;-).
    I also suggest that he block or ignore my posts, as he has promised
    to do in the past - but then he has failed to keep his promises to do
    so. Again, my apologies to others for the above - but if successful, it
    may result in less "noise" in the video NGs, a worthwhile result.]
    David Ruether, Oct 3, 2009
  16. Matt

    Smarty Guest


    My intention in replying directly to your posts, rather than writing
    "parallel posts" is to provide the newbie with an alternative viewpoint.

    In the current thread, you mislead the original poster with your comments
    about editing memory card video, warning him that this would be "more of a
    challenge than working with Mini-DV tapes".

    My intention is not to attack you, nor to call you names.

    My intention is to correct your misleading statement.

    I thus see no wisdom in initiating "parallel posts", to use your choice of
    terms. The original poster deserves a balanced answer to make an informed

    My conciliatory comments are intended to offer a gentle resolution to these
    disputes, since it is unfortunately apparent that you still consider these
    attacks to be upon you personally. I am attacking the repeated
    misinformation. I have tried to avoid name calling, and offer my comments in
    the spirit of suggesting you provide a more balanced viewpoint which
    recognizes alternatives other than tape and HDV.

    Since you now rely on name-calling, extreme sarcasm, and now a new and
    entirely specious form of ad personam attack in your latest posting, I must
    ask you very explicitly and very directly to provide any proof whatsoever of
    a claim you are now introducing which is entirely and totally false, and
    very spiteful. This is your claim that "He has been asked to stop these
    practices both here in the video NGs and on at least one major web forum.".
    This is absolutely, totally, and entirely untrue. With the exception of your
    own such requests, David, I have never been asked to stop these practices
    elsewhere. I repeat the word NEVER, as in N E V E R as in NEVER!!! What in
    the world are you talking about?????

    Once again, I will close in what is intended to be a genuine and honest
    manner, to request that you get your facts right, and don't knock things you
    have avoided learning about or don't understand. I am not looking to have
    repeated arguments with you, and spoil this newsgroup in the process. To the
    contrary, I am always hopeful that people who come here seeking advice are
    not told such things as editing memory card video is more of a challenge
    than editing tape when, in fact, the opposite is true.

    Smarty, Oct 3, 2009
  17. [...]

    I choose not to reply in full to someone with a short memory
    of his own deceptions (and their consequences), and who
    insists on misreading my posts, then taking exception to them.
    I shall try to do the same with yours. <PLONK!>
    David Ruether, Oct 3, 2009
  18. Matt

    Smarty Guest

    Your response was predictable David, since once again you have absolutely no
    facts to back up your claim.

    Since I have, supposedly, been "asked to stop these practices both here in
    the video NGs and on at least one major web forum", all I asked was for you
    to show any evidence of this. There is no such evidence to show, and I will
    give you a little hint to make your embarrassing situation all the more
    outrageous. I have NEVER, EVER, EVER participated in ANY WEB FORUM using the
    name "Smarty". If you were to find such a user name in some forum, and cite
    some link to prove your totally unfounded lie, I would tell you that I have
    not been the "Smarty" you may have found. Since you have not even had the
    sincerity or integrity to show such a link, I can tell you once again and
    others here that your claim is an utter fabrication.

    You state that I have mis-read and misinterpreted your posts, but it is
    abundantly and repeatedly clear that you make false and incorrect claims
    about some things in the technical areas we have been asked to address. I
    have never challenged your replies in many of these areas since I respect
    your judgment as being superior to mine in areas I am not familiar with. You
    are more qualified to answer questions in the topics, for example, like
    video shake removal using NLE software, something I claim no expertise in. I
    only reply to you in areas which I know very well, and you do not. Your
    ignorance is extremely obvious. This is not meant to be a personal attack.
    It merely states that you don't know everything about everything nor do any
    of us, but you, for reasons which defy logic and escape my understanding,
    feel obligated to offer advice in areas where you clearly have no
    competence. The latest issue regarding editing memory card video is yet
    another "perfect" example.

    Plonk me if you wish, but rest assured that I will continue to be
    unrelenting in correcting the mis-statements of fact which you very
    frequently offer in the areas of AVCHD, h.264, memory card video, and
    related issues if they mis-lead or confuse or obfuscate the issues being
    handled by this newsgroup. I would welcome your filtering of my replies,
    since it avoids the unnecessary "noise" which inevitably ensues when I
    correct a mistake you are unwilling to either acknowledge or avoid by
    learning new things. In this specific thread, for example, you could have
    merely replied by saying:

    " I stand corrected. Some forms of video on memory cards are actually easier
    to edit than tape, and also do not require particularly powerful computers
    to edit."

    This would have shown you to be a gentleman, one who can adapt and learn,
    and one who takes responsibility for what he says.

    Plonking is, for you, the better solution.

    Smarty, Oct 3, 2009
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