Panasonic TM700

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Gary Eickmeier, Apr 15, 2011.

  1. Possibly, but a good large-sensor single-chipper can beat a
    small-sensor three-chippers (think half/full-frame 35mm-equivalent
    dSLR vs. tiny-chipped compact camcorders - with the former
    being relatively far more expensive and harder to operate, but better
    in low light and better for shallow DOF effects (if those are desired),
    and with the possibility of using interchangeable lenses...).

    The lens quality also affects image quality ("Duh...!" ;-). The lens
    on the TM700 is superior to the one on the HV20 (sharper toward
    the long end of the zoom range, with no chromatic problems evident,
    sharp to the corners at the short end even at f1.5 - and there is
    a general feeling of greater "precision" and better color quality
    in the image (possibly due at least partly to other non-related
    characteristics, though).
    HDV is 25 Mbps. Data rate *does* matter (*all else being equal*,
    and it can be selectably variable with AVCHD), but it is not directly
    comparable between format types - but using higher data rates with
    AVCHD, and/or "p" vs. "i", will affect the appearance of relative
    sharpness and freedom from image artifacting (but it does not *strictly*
    affect "resolution", which is a different issue...;-).
    Common AVCHD (constant and variable) data rates used with better
    "amateur" camcorders are:
    - 28 Mbps (VBR - the TM700, with 60p)
    - 24 Mbps (VBR - some Panasonic and Canon camcorders, possibly
    others now)
    - 21 Mbps (VBR) "PH"
    The more common data rates for amateur cameras are:
    - 17 Mbps (VBR) "HA"
    - 13 Mbps (CBR) "HF"
    - 13 Mbps (VBR) "HG"
    - 9 Mbps (VBR) "HN"
    - 6 Mbps (VBR) "HE"
    Some semi-pro and pro cameras can use much higher data rates.

    Doubling the pixel number on the screen per unit of time will improve
    sharpness (*all else being equal*), as with 60p vs. 60i - and increasing
    the frame rate will also improve sharpness and motion smoothness
    (*all else being equal*), as with 60p or 60i vs. 24p.

    As now noted several times, AVCHD does have a considerable price
    in terms of reduced ease of editing and with its hardware/software
    requirements compared with HDV. Using memory cards instead of tape
    when shooting may or may not seem preferable, but the choice made has
    greater consequences when it comes time to edit...

    Of course other factors can be important in the choice of a camcorder,
    such as the ease of use, how well the manual/auto controls work, special
    features, quality of the audio, price, battery recording time, weight/size,
    etc.
    www.camcorderinfo.com has had some good reviewing methods
    that often permitted direct comparisons between cameras.
    --DR
     
    David Ruether, Apr 17, 2011
    #21
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  2. I guess I was confused then. I thought you were working with
    uncompressed AVIs (maybe that was "Her Husband"...;-). Since
    there is so little loss (basically undetectable with 50 Mbps MP4s),
    these play smoothly on the timeline, and they are a bit less than twice
    the size of the original MTS files (108 Mb vs. 60 Mb for the original
    18-second MTS file), maybe this is a good file type to use for editing.
    I just also tried making a 135 Mbps MP4 from the original MTS file,
    and this took about 25% longer to make and was 291 Mb, still FAR
    short of trying to work with uncompressed files, but this file did not
    play smoothly on the timeline, so that one is out. I also just tried
    adding the same two filters to the original MTS and 50 Mbps MP4
    18-second clips, and neither played smoothly (surprise...;-). It looks
    like I will go back to my original plan of working directly with the
    camera 60p MTS files, exporting 50 Mbps MainConcept files for
    archiving and 40 Mbps (average) 60i Blu-ray files, both directly from
    the timeline. BTW, the MP4 archive files will play in Windows Media
    Player with CineForm's free player installed. As for archiving, I do
    not trust DVDs for this, and certainly not a single HD either. Which
    reminds me to add an external drive to my two large internal ones,
    not that preserving my videos is THAT necessary...;-) Ah, the
    advantages of using (*logged*) tapes with HDV, instead of memory
    cards! 8^)
    --DR
     
    David Ruether, Apr 17, 2011
    #22
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  3. It seems on the surface that HDV should be less compressed, more convenient
    to archive and edit, and potentially superior to AVCHD. So does anyone make
    an HDV camera that is even better than the TM700? If not, why not? HDV not
    worth further development?
    I think I have been there a few times, but it is nothing like dpreview.com
    for still cameras.
     
    Gary Eickmeier, Apr 17, 2011
    #23
  4. HDV is 25 Mbps, from 60i (NTSC) with 1440x1080 non-square pixels
    per frame. With AVCHD, as "Smarty" (and I think I did earlier...;-)
    pointed out, MP4 is considered more efficient for compression than
    is the MPEG-2 of HDV. But, as I pointed out above, AVCHD offers
    a variety of often selectable data rates (with corresponding image
    quality differences even if the pixel resolutions may be the same.
    HDV is easier to work with, but one could argue for either side for
    archiving, at least for finished edits... ;-)
    Unlike AVCHD, HDV is a "rigidly-defined" format - but there are
    some semi-pro HDV cameras (about the same $3,000-$4,000 price
    range as AVCHD ones) that are quite good. The remarkable thing
    about the AVCHD TM700 is that a tiny, cheap "amateur" camera
    could be produced with such outstanding image quality. BTW,
    AVCHD comes in a variety of forms (unlike HDV), ranging from
    tiny AVCHD-Lite shirt-pocket still cameras with barely acceptable
    results, through less-than-ideal image-quality of early dSLRs with
    poor controls for shooting video, to very good ones - but selecting
    low data rates for recording will lower the image quality of any camera.
    What is? ;-) But it can be useful for comparisons so long as they have
    not changed their testing methods between tests of interest...;-)
    --DR
     
    David Ruether, Apr 17, 2011
    #24
  5. Hmmm.....;-) I'm curious why you don't just edit using the original
    60p TM700 MTS files. I assume you have used RAM previews(?).
    If not, these form quickly after drawing out the "task bar" (I forget
    if that is what it is called or "work area bar", or what - I've used too
    many different editing programs to remember...;-) to select the area
    of interest to preview - and then simultaneously hit the "Shift" and
    "B" keys. First, though, go in Vegas to "Options", "Preferences",
    "Video" and increase the amount of RAM available to RAM
    previewing from 128 Mb to about 2-3 gigs less than the maximum
    you have in the computer. I have 6-gigs, so I assign 3072 (1024x3)
    there to RAM previewing. I use "Draft-Full", since with this even at
    1920x1080 I can see everything I need except for sharpening - but
    this can be done at "Best-Full" using "point-to-point" or with the
    short RAM previews possible at this "RAM-eating" setting. This
    way, there is no need for huge intermediate files, and there is no
    compression stage before export.
    I've never found the "formula". The nearest I got was matching the
    file size, but it still recompressed. But, now I realize I have no need
    for it. I just edit with the original, then export files of the types
    needed.
    Why? I haven't found anything I can't do with the Vegas motion
    effects and video filters. Maybe I'm missing something...? ;-)
    Try Vegas-only - maybe it will surprise you(?). I've been able to
    do undulating double-layer titles, wildly shifting colors, etc. - and
    also many more "sedate" effects without feeling the need to move
    to another program...;-)
    --DR
     
    David Ruether, Apr 17, 2011
    #25
  6. Gary Eickmeier

    HerHusband Guest

    David,
    Here's the basic procedure I use to take my videos from the TM700 to a
    final edited video:

    1. Copy the raw MTS clips from my TM700 and save them to a temporary
    folder on my hard drive. No need for any of those complicated Blu-ray
    folders.

    2. Use TMPEGEnc 4.0 Express to convert and combine the MTS clips into a
    single AVI using the Lagarith "Lossless" codec (1920x1080x30p). This
    keeps file sizes down compared to uncompressed video.

    3. Load the AVI into VirtualDub to "Deshake", and apply any other filters
    I need to, saving out as a Lagarith lossless AVI again. I use the
    Lagarith AVI's because VirtualDub does not support MPEG2 or MP4, only
    AVI's.

    4. Use TMPEGEnc 4.0 Express to convert the deshaked AVI to my final
    archive format, 1920x1080x30p MPEG2 at 30Mbps.

    5. Do my final editing in Pinnacle Studio 14. The MPEG2 format plays
    smoothly so edits are fast and easy. Studio only recompresses
    transitions, titles, etc., so the remaining video is simply passed from
    input to output.

    While there are several conversions that take time, the intermediate
    steps are "lossless". So, my video essentially only undergoes one
    conversion from MTS to the final MPEG2. While I'm sure there are some
    technical conversion losses in there somewhere, I have experimented with
    multiple generation copies of test videos and couldn't see any "visible"
    difference from the original MTS clips. That's good enough for my needs.

    My biggest quality loss probably comes from the deshaking process itself.
    The video is rotated, cropped, zoomed, and resharpened which clearly
    results in less quality than the original. But having stable video MORE
    than makes up for the minor quality loss I encounter, in my opinion.
    Despite the manipulation of the video, I usually have to look VERY VERY
    close to see any differences compared with the source. Certainly nothing
    we notice in casual viewing.
    I chose 1920x1080x30p MPEG2 at 30Mbps as my archive format. This is a
    higher bitrate than the original MTS clips, but I'm only using half the
    framerate (30p vs the filmed 60p). I chose this format based on
    compatibility. I can watch it directly on my TVIX M6600 media player, or
    burn it directly to a Blu-Ray disk if needed. MPEG2 is also supported by
    a large number of video editors and converters, so support for the format
    in the future is more likely.

    I tried higher bitrates but could not see any visible differences, other
    than larger file sizes. The 30Mbps rate seems like a good balance for
    quality and storage space.

    I opted to convert to 30p as many video programs I have used still do not
    support 60p. While things may be improving, it didn't make sense to me
    to archive a format that has limited support.

    Basically, I didn't want to have separate "archive" video and "viewing"
    video. The 1920x1080x30p MPEG2 at 30Mbps achieves both goals with a
    single file.

    I save my videos on my hard drive, then backup that drive to two external
    USB drives. I keep one in my desk drawer for recovering from
    "accidents", and rotate it monthly with the second backup I keep in my
    safe deposit box. This offers protection against more serious losses like
    fire, flood, or theft.

    Anthony Watson
    Mountain Software
    www.mountain-software.com/videos.htm
     
    HerHusband, Apr 18, 2011
    #26
  7. I guess "different strokes for different folks"...;-) I prefer to edit the
    60p
    TM700 files directly. It's simpler, and there is not the visible-to-me
    reduction of quality resulting from halving the frame rate. Since this is
    practical (although not completely straight-forward in practice, since
    RAM previews are needed to check the footage in motion with filters
    applied - and at highest quality, if desired), the result is a 50 Mbps
    60p MP4 that retains *all* of the (visible) quality of the original for
    archiving, or for computer-viewing on a TV. A 60i high data rate
    Blu-ray disc (40 Mbps average, 48 Mbps peak) can also be made for
    convenient viewing which retains most of the image quality of the MP4
    and source material. Since I rarely digitally stabilize material, this
    works, with little additional "fuss" - although this may be the year
    I "give-in" and use a decent tripod with a pro-grade fluid head instead
    of braces to aid my "hand-holding", sigh......
    --DR
     
    David Ruether, Apr 18, 2011
    #27
  8. Gary Eickmeier

    HerHusband Guest

    I guess "different strokes for different folks"...;-)

    Yep, I agree. What works for me could be entirely unworkable for others
    (due to equipment, time constrants, or whatever).
    There are three main reasons I do not edit the raw MTS files:

    1. My computer does not play back AVCHD files smoothly enough to make
    editing "comfortable".

    2. I consider deshaking an absolute necessity, and the software I use
    (VirtualDub) does not support AVCHD MTS files.

    3. The media player I watch the final video on does not play MTS files well
    (if at all), so there's no reason to keep the original format.
    My process is certainly complicated and time consuming, but I usually only
    edit a few videos a year. It is no big deal for me to start a video
    processing when I go to bed and leave it running overnight, or even during
    the day while I'm working on other things. I can easily spend days or even
    weeks working on video from a vacation or something. But the computer does
    most of the work. :)
    Granted, your process undoubtedly retains more of the original quality. Of
    course, I have to factor in my source material which is usually handheld
    video, with whatever lighting conditions are available, in a variety of
    environments (working around other tourists, quickly jumping out of the car
    to film something, no time to set up a tripod, etc.).

    The reality is I don't NEED the absolute maximum quality. It's kind of like
    using 9000Kbps MPEG2 to archive VHS recordings. Yes, it will maintain as
    much of the original as possible, but do you really NEED to retain perfect
    quality for less than perfect source material?

    It is highly unlikely I will ever need to edit my home movies again in the
    future. If I can't see any "visible" difference from the source today, it
    should look just as good 20 years from now. Yes, I may need to convert my
    video to new formats in the future, but those formats will most likely have
    better quality than today's formats (such as archiving an old VHS tape to a
    DVD, and then to a Blu-Ray).
    I do not own a Blu-Ray burner and don't really need one since we stream our
    video directly from the hard drive to the TV. None of our family members
    have blu-ray players yet, so there's no need to burn blu-ray's for them
    either.

    Regardless, Blu-Ray supports MPEG2 video so I could make a Blu-Ray from my
    files if it came to that.
    I am always open to learning something new. Support for h264 MP4 format has
    improved in recent years, so I may run some experiments with using MP4
    instead of MPEG2 to see how file sizes and video quality compare. I do
    know from limited experiments in the past that h264 does much better with
    dark images (such as fading to and from black). MPEG2 tends to get rather
    blocky when fading, especially at lower bitrates.

    Anthony Watson
    Mountain Software
    www.mountain-software.com/videos.htm
     
    HerHusband, Apr 19, 2011
    #28
  9. Yes. I meant to indicate that while my (rather simpler...;-) methods
    work for me, you (and others) have your reasons for doing otherwise,
    and that I don't have "THE" way of doing it...;-) But still, I will make
    some comments, below...
    Your editing software cannot make RAM previews, I guess. The
    under-$100 Vegas Platinum 10 can, for smooth previewing of short
    stretches of the original material (and the "pro" version can assign
    much more RAM for this purpose, making that feature even more
    useful). Without smooth timeline playback, editing would NOT be
    "pleasant"... Likely neither of us is interested in paying for a VERY
    expensive hardware/software system that can play this material
    smoothly. ;-)
    Yes, I also have not figured out how-to/if Mercalli can be used for
    this material - but I use stabilization less anyway. I do not try to
    shoot "still-camera" video for two reasons: I prefer to "look around"
    with the camera; and when moving the camera intentionally, it often
    looks smoother/steadier than when an attempt is made to look that
    way without using a tripod (ugh, but!).
    50 Mbps MP4s can retain the 60p aspect and the full detail and
    smoothness of the original material, and this can be played smoothly
    from the computer to a TV (and the free CineForm player helps with
    this).
    Sounds like the way I shoot - and I do a LOT of corrective work
    while editing...
    The TM700 offers noticeably superior sharpness, color, and motion
    smoothness compared with that of other small hand-held cameras, and
    good editing software permits not only retaining that, but making some
    corrections/improvements to cover shooting "misses" - so I prefer to get
    the highest (and amazingly high) quality results I can from video shot
    with this camera.
    Yes. For you, since you shoot what becomes 30p with things of little
    motion, that would be fine. I like (intentional!) camera movement
    (sometimes rapid), and I often shoot things that are moving, so 60p
    is preferable for me.
    Internal Blu-ray writers are now under $100 and players under $70,
    so........;-)
    Since HDV days I have seen no compression artifacting ***so long as
    a good codec was used with sufficient data rate***, but I saw a lot of
    it even with HDV with Ulead (Corel) and Adobe software (but not with
    Vegas, with the exception of when trying to use too low of a data rate).

    But, I think there is nothing we really disagree on...8^)
    --DR
     
    David Ruether, Apr 19, 2011
    #29
  10. Gary Eickmeier

    HerHusband Guest

    Your editing software cannot make RAM previews, I guess.

    Pinnacle Studio 14 does make previews, but I think they are disk based and
    not in RAM.
    Yep, that's why I originally started using MPEG2. My computer plays it
    perfectly in real-time. Of course, I developed many of my editing
    procedures years ago on slower computers, so it may be time to experiment
    again and see if anything works better.
    Nope, I'm cheap. :)
    Unfortunately, even slightly shaky video makes me feel very nauseous in
    just a couple minutes. I even get a little queezy watching some TV shows
    these days that have those handheld shots. That's one of the main reasons I
    place such a high value on stabilizing video. Reliving old memories
    shouldn't make you sick! :)

    I spent a fair amount of money on Mercalli and never could get decent
    results from it. Certainly nothing near what I can do with Deshaker in
    VirtualDub.
    I will have to experiment and give it a try when and if I can find the
    time.
    I rarely do any corrective work other than deshaking and minor sharpening
    to regain some of the detail lost from deshaking. I have calibrated my
    monitor with a Spyder 3, but I don't know what I'm doing and would probably
    make the video look worse if I tried tweaking colors or anything. :)

    On some occasions I will process some video clips with "Neat Video". This
    really helps remove the grainy appearance of videos shot in dark
    conditions. But, it is painfully slow even on my Q9400 quad core, so I
    reserve that for special clips I can't bear to part with. :)

    More than anything, I discard a LOT of video when editing. On a couple of
    recent vacations, I only kept about 30 minutes from 8-10 hours of footage.
    If I have the time, I will often shoot a scene two or three times so I can
    pick which one turned out best when I get back home. Of course, the
    wildlife doesn't always cooperate and stand still so I can get a better
    shot. :)
    Until I have a reason to burn a blu-ray disk, that is $100 I could spend on
    other toys. :) Although, I wish my mom would get a Blu-Ray player so I
    didn't have to downsize everything to standard SD DVD disks.
    Yes, the blocky artifacts appear mostly with low bitrate material. MP4
    seems to handle that better than MPEG2. I just assumed that behaviour
    would translate into the higher bitrates also, even if I can't see them.
    Agreed... :)

    Anthony Watson
    Mountain Software
    www.mountain-software.com/videos.htm
     
    HerHusband, Apr 20, 2011
    #30
  11. [Stupidly trying to write while recovering from a "stupid" event...]
    Yes. The RAM previews arelikely faster-forming, and they play
    smoothly with any kind of material - but files made to HDs often
    will not play smoothly on the timeline. The RAM preview feature
    is something I like about Vegas. ;-)
    Ah, the care-free days of MPEG-2 HDV... (it played smoothly on
    the timelines on just about any fairly recent computer...;-).
    So am I, in addition to having a low income - but still with a desire
    to make high-quality video. It can be done, but it does require more
    effort and time.
    8^)
    I don'y like "shaky" video, but I do like camera motion, preferably
    *smooth*, though (as with a smoothly "flying" camera with slow
    pan/zooms included - but I no longer have the muscle-control to do
    this well, sigh... (I'm not sure what abilities I will have this summer.)
    Yes. It works for you, but Mercalli worked well enough for me for
    the few times I needed/wanted it (and I found ways to minimize
    sharpness loss with it) - but I would not want to need to switch to
    30p from 60p (with the motion I like, 30p is clearly inferior).
    You may like it - but not if you lose your stabilizer. I'm also considering
    the use of a light-weight tripod (with no fluid-head) for stationary
    camera shots (ugh, but if I must, or stop shooting, then....).
    Try it - you might be surprised! ;-) I use a 1920x1200 side monitor in
    addition to the 1/2-sized in-program preview window (Vegas can run
    both [or the program plus an HD TV] symultaneously off a dual-head
    video card). This has helped enormously for judging what I'm doing,
    especially for sharpening. With practice comes confidence with using
    filters. I find that almost all TM700 (and other camcorder) footage needs
    a bit of brightness reduction and some contrast increase to look right,
    and often mid-tone adjustment (and black-end and sometimes highlight
    darkening) with the "color curves" filter to get the right tonal response
    throughout the image, often key-framed. I also use color-correction
    filtering to match-up clips, and sharpening and often also unsharp-mask
    sharpening to get the most out of an already good image (although some
    may say I overdo things - but see Gary Eickmeier's comments [first in
    this thread, 4/15/'11] on a Blu-ray disc I sent him...;-). Or, "Sometimes
    artifice looks more real than reality..." 8^)
    If you are using the TM700 (I seem to remember you are), you can
    enable "slow shutter" and go to 1/30th second for an extra stop of
    "reach"...
    8^)
    I generally also shoot 2-3 (short!) takes since I have problems with muscle
    control and tremors (phun - NOT!) and choose/cut-parts later while editing.
    One video this year had about 500 clips in it (MUCH narrowed!) for
    an 18-minute video.
    Well, get the writer, then have her get the cheap player so she can view
    your discs in all their original grandeur! 8^) That's easy! 8^)
    Nope. Think about taking a still photo and "jpg-ing" first at a compression
    factor of three, then of 12. You will easily see the difference at 1:1 pixel
    viewing (which video is often done at).
    --DR
    www.donferrario.com/ruether
     
    David Ruether, Apr 20, 2011
    #31
  12. Gary Eickmeier

    HerHusband Guest

    Hi David,
    The Deshaker plug-in for VirtualDub actually helps smooth out those pans
    and zooms too. I use a cheap monopod almost exclusively these days which
    has eliminated the vast majority of the "shakes". But, my panning can still
    be a little jerky at times. Deshaker really helps smooth those out.
    With Deshaker, I get the best results by deshaking and leaving the black
    borders that result. Then I use separate filters to crop those out, resize
    back to the full frame, and a light sharpen to perk it up a little. In most
    cases, it's hard to tell the difference between the source and final
    product, except it's stable.

    Anytime I tried to let Deshaker handle the cropping stuff automatically I
    got weird results as it zoomed in and out depending on the severity of the
    correction needed.
    I don't remember if I've ever tried deshaking 60p material. Something to
    try when I can find the time... :)
    I have never owned a tripod with a fluid-head, so I don't know what
    advantage it would offer. Maybe smoother pans? But, I rarely use a tripod
    unless the camera is completely stationary (filming myself working on a
    home improvement project or something). A cheap fixed head works fine for
    my needs (I think I paid less then $30 for my tripod, and less than $25 for
    my monopod).
    Thanks for the tips, I will see what kind of damage I can do next time I
    edit video. :)

    Unfortunately, I'm still using a 1280x1024 monitor, so it's not an exact
    1:1 pixel representation of the video I'm editing. I work on my computer
    all day, so I'm REALLY picky about backlight bleeding, viewing angles,
    color oddities, etc. I tried a newer monitor recently but had a really bad
    experience with it and returned it. I have been a little apprehensive to
    try another one after that.
    Another great tip, thanks. I'll have to save this message. :)
    Don't you hate it when you get this nice panning shot and someone walks in
    front of the camera at the last minute? Or you're zooming in slowly and
    you shift or something and cause this super quick zoom? :) The fixed zoom
    speeds can help with that, but sometimes I want to zoom in faster.
    Unfortunately, she lives on the other side of the state and doesn't keep in
    contact with me. For the most part, communication is one-way only, me
    sending DVD's to her. So, I don't really have any say in whether she gets a
    Blu-ray player (or even know if she already has one for that matter). Sad
    but true.
    I checked out some of the videos on your web site. Good Lord, you are rock
    solid compared to anything I ever shoot handheld. :) Looks good.

    Anthony Watson
    Mountain Software
    www.mountain-software.com/videos.htm
     
    HerHusband, Apr 21, 2011
    #32
  13. Your videos look very steady.
    Let us know. I don't yet know if Mercalli works with 60p.

    I think we've covered all the ground, and we understand our
    differences (with no thought that one approach is better than the
    other, just different, with different needs/wants for the resultant
    video...;-).
    Fluid heads come in three grades - cheap and useless; moderately
    priced and often useless unless you buy VERY carefully and try
    a few samples to select the smoothest and choose legs that don't
    "wind up" with head movement; and the GOOD ones, but these are
    *** V E R Y *** expensive (think many thousands of dollars) - but
    with these, you can make VERY smooth pan/tilt/zoom combination
    shots. With a steady hand, braces, a good back, etc., you can simulate
    this well enough for casual work, but it will not look as professional
    unless the movement defects are consistent with the style of the video
    wanted (which is my "out"...;-). I was lucky many years ago to get at
    a reasonable price what I call "The Wreck of the Cartoni", and I
    modified the head arm with a joint that would flex some to give with
    my jerks (the fluid head provides the smooth and constant resistence
    to do what was needed, with just a finger tip at the rear of the arm).
    Fortunately, even though only one each of the several adjustments
    provided on the head still worked properly, those were the right ones
    for me. I have since moved the heavy head to mid-light legs - and I
    hope this will work well enough. I'm also prepared, if necessary,
    to do as you do and just plop down the camera on a light/cheap
    tripod (monopods and I don'y get along at all...).
    I like my Acer 24" 1920x1200 monitors (cheap [about $225], sharp,
    with good color). If you don't do gaming, choose one with an 8 ms
    refresh rate - it may have better color and tonal relationships. I bought
    a 25" Hannspree 16:9 for a side monitor, but I could not tone down the
    highlights enough to see what was going on there, so I traded it with a
    friend for his Acer 24" who now loves the bright/snappy color and tones
    for gaming of the Hannspree...;-) It is true, though, that you must "light
    the room" properly for LCDs, and they are critical of viewing angle.
    I set my two monitors at an angle side-by-side so both are viewed
    on-axis - which causes some "neck-cricking" as I turn between them
    and bob my head up and down to check the top-to-bottom brightness
    of the full-video screen on the right (but I still much prefer them to
    CRTs).
    8^) I think you need to go into "MNL" mode to access it, though...
    Jes' part o' th' lan'-scape, huh...? ;-) Just cut the tail, if necessary, I
    guess.
    What gets me bugged is when I'm shooting "nay-chur", and people come
    through yakking noisily. There goes the "ambient" sound...! ;-( But, I
    guess it's their "nay-chur" too - but they COULD be quieter, and more
    involved in that, I think! 8^)
    The HV20/30/40 had a nice feature of pre-selectable zoom speeds, so
    all I needed to do was "mash" the zoom control. Canon has recently
    introduced a $71 hot-shoe Lanc port so their $350 6-speed(?)
    controller can be used with it. Even with my jerks, I was surprised
    to find how easy the TM700 zoom is to control smoothly, and it also
    has a VERY slow minimum zoom speed, which I like... The controls on
    this camera are VERY smooth-operating - although the menu navigation
    is another matter...:-(
    I know the feeling...
    Thanks, but my "shivers-'n'-shakes" have been getting ever worse. I
    remember being able to manually focus and hand-hold a 35mm f1.4
    lens at f1.4 and 1/4 second and get about every second or third frame
    sharp during candle-lit receptions way back when. Now, 'course, stabilizers
    and effective "film" speeds FAR above the 400 ASA I worked with
    are now available, making this kind of still shooting MUCH easier. With
    what you saw, I used the "trick" of rarely trying to hold the camcorder
    still,
    since it is easier to move it and make it look steadier. Now, though, I'm
    losing that ability, sigh...
    --DR
     
    David Ruether, Apr 21, 2011
    #33
  14. Gary Eickmeier

    HerHusband Guest

    I'm also prepared, if necessary, to do as you do and just plop
    I LOVE my monopod. It's about all I use these days. It takes up very
    little space and sets up quick so I can leave the camera attached and set
    it in the floorboard of the car next to me. Pull over, grab the camera,
    flip a couple of levers, extend, latch, film. :)

    It works just as well shortened to prop on a rock, hood of the car, fence
    post, or whatever.

    It even makes a halfway decent stabilizer by leaving it collapsed and
    using it as a counterweight for handheld video. This works better
    partially extended, you just have to be careful not to extend too far and
    accidently bump the ground while moving (ask me how I know). :)

    It doesn't take any space to use, so I can stand in the middle of a crowd
    and use it, something a tripod doesn't do well. In fact, sometimes I use
    it as a pole to stick the camera up in the air to look over the top of
    everyone. :) I did that recently in my Leavenworth video to get a view
    of a waterfall I couldn't find any other way to get the right angle.

    I have even used it hanging upside down to make a "flying bug" type of
    video along the ground (inverting the video in VirtualDub in post
    processing). It was with one of my old camcorders that didn't have a very
    good stabilizer, and the interlaced video made it hard to stabilize in
    post, so the quality isn't that great. I didn't put it on my web site,
    but it was fun to make. :)

    I usually hold the monopod in my right hand, then flip out the camcorder
    screen and hold the outer edge of the screen to steady tilting and
    rotating movements. I keep thinking a longer "outrigger" arm would make
    things even more steady (getting farther away from the monopod to
    minimize movements), but I would have to rig something up and probably
    lose the portability factor.

    One final bonus, a monopod makes a great walking stick. I used it a lot
    when we were hiking up the virgin river in the Zion narrows last summer.

    Oh, and in a pinch you can use it as a stick to defend yourself against
    jealous husbands or approaching bears. :)

    I don't use it much, but I like my little cheapie tripod too. It's small
    and lightweight so I can fit it in my suitcase when we go on vacations.
    Though I have mostly stopped taking it since getting my monopod.

    I like my tiny Ultrapod II for vacations though. I can fit it in my
    camera bag, or even stick it in my pocket if we're going hiking or
    something. I occasionally set it on a rock or the roof of the car (did
    that in Arches national park recently to get a shot of my wife and I), or
    use the velcro strap to attach it to a tree, post, or fence (I strapped
    it to a fence to get the sunset shot in my Maui video). I also used it
    with our digital camera to take family portraits on our Canada trip a
    couple years ago.

    There are lots of expensive (and home made) stabilizers out there, but
    most come at the expense of portability, weight, or just looking like a
    dork in public. :)
    I can't stand most of the TN monitors on the market today. They're cheap
    and fast but the color accuracy, backlight bleed, black levels, etc. all
    suck. I don't play games, so the speed is of little interest to me.

    I currently have a S-PVA Samsung P193+ monitor which I really love. It
    cost me something like $600 when I bought it, but it has perfect colors,
    no backlight bleeding, excellent viewing angles, etc. It has a tiny bit
    of black crush and some gamma issues, but I don't notice these issues in
    typical use. My only gripe is that it isn't 1920x1200. :)

    These days most of the high end monitors are IPS based, though I still
    prefer the look of PVA monitors. It's also getting hard to find a high
    end 1920x1200 monitor, most are 1920x1080. That's great for video, not so
    much for daily computing.

    I bought a Dell IPS monitor recently (I can't remember the model number).
    It was highly rated but the viewing angles were terrible. If I stood up
    next to my desk, the screen looked completely black, I couldn't see
    anything. I also learned how awkward the 1920x1080 screen size was for
    computing. Anyway, I was completely disappointed and returned it two days
    later.

    So, I'm staying with my current monitor a while longer.
    That's why I usually delete the sound and insert my own. :)

    Anthony Watson
    Mountain Software
    www.mountain-software.com/videos.htm
     
    HerHusband, Apr 22, 2011
    #34
  15. Gary Eickmeier

    Steve King Guest

    BIG SNIP>
    ..BIG SNIP> --DR
    David,

    What Acer monitor model do you have? I have a P244w, which has a
    manufacturer's listed resolution of 1920 x 1080.

    Steve King
     
    Steve King, Apr 22, 2011
    #35
  16. As you have noted earlier, a monopod does little to resist horizontal
    rotation, a big problem for me. I used to have a monopod that had
    short legs at the bottom to help with this, but it didn't help very much
    then, and likely less now - but maybe it is worth giving it a try again...
    I've used a small tripod for this with a fisheye pointed down, lying on the
    edge of a cliff near a big falls (Taughannock - see it from a distance
    here --
    http://www.donferrario.com/ruether/digital-photos1.htm - the spot was
    where the smaller part is on the left where it is dry much of the year, and
    also from an overhang up the left slope [now gone - BTW, this falls is just
    up the road from me...]). I also used this technique for shooting from other
    high places, as here from the top of the Cornell bell tower with a 6mm
    fisheye
    (notice that the 220 degree angle of view shows the sky, too - and you can
    see the folded tripod in the photo at --
    http://www.donferrario.com/ruether/eyes-view.htm ). I've also used this
    for shooting over crowds (easier now with side-screens that can be down).
    I like these too, and the non-interlaced 60p footage makes it easy to
    invert the footage without degradation.
    See mine here, to which I've added a "chest-post" supported by a neck strap
    for shooting this year -- http://www.donferrario.com/ruether/brace.htm . The
    additional piece (not in the photos) was kindly provided by Mike Price.
    I would need a VERY strong one...;-)
    Um, not the light-weight ones I have - they would just make the beasts
    madder! ;-)
    Good ideas...
    I used to have a gyro stabilizer, but it wasn't very practical.
    Then, see above...;-) I gather there are three main types - fast and cheap
    but with the poorest color; 8ms, not much more expensive, with very good
    color and tonality possibe; and the VERY expensive, intended for critical
    work. Neither of us needs the last, but the middle group suffices for me
    and I like the Acer (although there are likely other acceptable ones). With
    it, I can judge sharpness FAR better than on a CRT, and color quite well,
    once adjusted. Good room lighting takes care of most of the rest, with
    "head-bobbing" still necessary for top-to-bottom brightness checks...
    Good enough - and it's nice to have all that "real-estate" available on a
    3840x1200-pixel "desktop" at low cost.
    Ah, yes. How about running it as the side monitor for color/etc.-checking?
    Yes. That's why I recommend 1920x1200 (or more) to people - and two
    or three pages of text fit nicely side-by-side for working, with the
    remaining
    space reserved for menus, web sites, etc. How/why ever did we
    work-with/think-15"-monitors-were-adequate ??? 8^) Gear changes,
    fortunately, and improves and gets cheaper (I remember paying $350 for
    a 15" monitor[!]).
    See above - if your software and video card supports dual monitors, uh...;-)
    I've had to do that with unsolved wind noise problems, but I prefer ambient
    sound and I can now deal with wind.
    --DR
     
    David Ruether, Apr 22, 2011
    #36
  17. Gary Eickmeier

    Steve King Guest

    big snip>
    I am a great fan of using natural sound. If something interferes, like your
    noisy people example, I just clip some nat-sound from another place in the
    clip and patch it in. I do it all the time, when shooting in factories, to
    cover up worker and my clients' conversation, extraneous noise caused by
    events off camera, etc. Sound provides as much a sense of place as the
    picture IMO.

    Steve King
     
    Steve King, Apr 22, 2011
    #37
  18. "Steve King" <
    I have the Acer X243W and the P241W, both 1920x1200...
    http://support.acer.com/acerpanam/MONITOR/2010/Acer/X243W/X243Wsp2.shtml
    http://support.acer.com/acerpanam/monitor/0000/Acer/P241/P241sp2.shtml
    These were bought before 16:9 became more common, and
    I'm happy to have them (I traded a new 25" 16:9 Hannspree
    for a used Acer which had better color and tonality, and it
    better-matches [surprise...;-] my other one ;-).
    --DR
     
    David Ruether, Apr 22, 2011
    #38
  19. Gary Eickmeier

    HerHusband Guest

    As you have noted earlier, a monopod does little to
    Holding the very outer tip of the view screen really cuts down on that,
    at least for me. It steadies both the horizontal rotation and the side to
    side leaning. Not so much on the front to back leaning, but that's
    usually not as big of an issue.
    You have some beautiful photos. Sadly, I have just never had an eye for
    photography. I try to compensate by buying bigger toys, but my daughter
    takes amazing shots with her little pocket camera. She see's the world in
    ways I wouldn't think to look at it. Ironically, she has no interest in
    photography. :)
    Too funny, I already had that link in my collection and never made the
    connection with you and that link... :)
    I was actually surprised how well it held up. I thought for sure the thin
    aluminum would bend or the clamped sections would collapse, but I leaned
    on it heavily several times without incident. Since I was the only
    person crazy enough to take a $600 camcorder hiking up a river, it also
    worked well to hold the camera up high in the air as I walked through
    waist deep water. :)

    If you need strength, I'm pretty sure they make dedicated solid walking
    sticks with the 1/4x20 threaded mount on top for cameras/camcorders. They
    usually have a knob that threads on when you don't have a camera
    attached.

    By the way, if you need a cheap way to temporarily waterproof your TM700
    (for storage, not filming) I discovered it fits nicely inside a cleaned
    out Miracle Whip container. :) I slipped the camera inside a zip lock
    baggie for secondary protection, then slipped those inside the Miracle
    Whip jar. I tested it several times at home before leaving to be safe,
    and it survived a couple of dunks in my backpack before I got brave (i.e.
    stupid) and just stuck the camera in the air on my monopod.
    Don't beat them with it, poke 'em in the eyes! :) Or throw it at them and
    run!
    Sounds cool. I've often wondered about suspending the camera from a
    helium balloon. :) It would make for some cool "floating" shots, but
    would probably take a rather large ballon to support the weight. They
    have those robo-copters but I don't know that I'm ready to crash my TM700
    into the ground from 50' in the air. :)
    What model do you have?
    Ironically, my video card is the oldest component in my computer. Since
    I sit at the computer all day, I'm really picky about noise levels so I
    made sure my video card was fanless. It does what I need, so I haven't
    had any real reason to upgrade.

    Not to mention, I don't have room for additional monitors. My laser
    printers and scanner eat up all my desk space.
    On the few occasions when I keep the ambient sounds, I will copy sound
    from earlier or later in the clip and use that to replace someone talking
    in the background, or a jet flying over. Obviously you can't do that in
    every situation, but in many cases you won't notice the duplicated sound.

    Anthony Watson
    Mountain Software
    www.mountain-software.com/videos.htm
     
    HerHusband, Apr 22, 2011
    #39
  20. Yes - but my jerks can be rather "aggressive" now... :-(

    I meant to add that the 215' waterfalls is in the last photo on that
    page - but you probably found it...
    HRUMPH! Some? SOME!?!? They're ALL beautiful!!! 8^)
    I'd been a photographer for (too many to admit....;-) decades, and
    prided myself on my ability to see and organize compositions quickly
    and easily - but then along came digital, and (I'm actually happy to say)
    every "Tom, Dick, Harry, Sally, and even Aunt Margaret" became
    good photographers. I've been astonished by the work of people
    who, slowed down by older processes, would not have reached their
    current abilities to make fine photos using digital photography. With
    video, though, digital has helped A LOT, but good work in that
    medium is more difficult.
    A good idea. But, the monopod would need to sustain 270+ pounds of
    pressure, not always straight down...;-) The other idea seems good for me.
    (Now, if only I could get the stick to actually walk, and also to carry
    me...8^)
    I don't like Miracle Whip, but I guess substitutes are available...;-) I
    leave a 46mm-->52mm adapter, Nikkor 52mm multicoated UV filter,
    and a Nikon (HN-3? the one for 35mm lenses) shade on each of the
    two cameras (I gave up on using a 46mm-->58mm adapter with a
    ..66X Raynox on the camcorder since even though it is sharp,
    low-distortion, and W I D E, unlike with the HV20, the ghosting is
    horrendous). I also leave a mic on the camera, with a "fuzzy" wind
    shield, so the rig is no longer small, alas...;-)
    Someone around here does shoot aerials that way... He uses a radio
    VF for aiming.
    AGREED!!!! ;-)
    X243w and P241w. Not perfect, but I like them.
    Put one above the other...;-) But, this can drive you nuts while trying
    to move the mouse across screens (I use a "heavy-looking 3-D" mouse
    pointer, and I also turn on the "concentric-circle" targeting feature for
    showing the mouse position when the "Ctrl" key is hit).
    I've done that too - and it can work well.
    --DR
     
    David Ruether, Apr 22, 2011
    #40
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