Video Work
April 6, 2005 5:07 AM   Subscribe

Want to do start doing some video work, curious what are my best options for some quick "post-to-web" type videos, as well as being able to store them.

Problem 1: Camera
Do I do the camcorder thing, which I don't really like DV, or go with a camera such as a DSC-M1 from Sony, which records in MPEG4 30 fps 640x480 on a memory stick.

Problem 2: Software
I've looked at Adobe Premier Elements. It looks good, but I don't think it would import MPEG4 if I took that route. I've looked at purchasing a mac mini or something like that with a superdrive, and using iMovie, not sure if that's worth the cost there, or not.
posted by benjh to Technology (5 answers total)
Why don't you like DV? It's the easiest way to edit.

RE: MPEG4, I wouldn't recommend it. At 640x480 you wouldn't want to output to tv at that resolution also:

"Proprietary MPEG-4 videos require an MPEG 4 CODEC or Sony's software to view and convert". Screw that.

Premiere Elements is a good choice for the PC: it's cheap and can do most of what a more expensive program like Premiere Pro can do. It can also output directly to DVD w/menus.
posted by jeremias at 7:32 AM on April 6, 2005

The reason I don't like DV is the fact that with something like MPEG4, my thought was that I could just drag and drop the video file. With DV, I have to capture in real time, which frustrates me a little. (Yes, I know I'm impatient.)
posted by benjh at 7:38 AM on April 6, 2005

It's not really faster. MPEG 4 uses interframe compression and can't easily be edited. In fact, when given things in such a format, the first thing you usually have to do is convert them to DV so they are manageable. That process alone is longer than capturing.

Capturing DV is quite painless. You just set it to begin and eat a snack. It's not like you have to baby sit while it happens.

As for editing software, I'm not familiar with Premiere Elements but I highly recommend Sony Vegas. Like Premiere Pro, there is a "lite" version called Vegas Movie Studio that can also output DVDs and the like. It's $99 ($49 if you're a student).
posted by aaronh at 8:45 AM on April 6, 2005

Another vote for Vegas & Vegas lite. I bought Vegas after a lot of comparative research, and trials of demo versions, and I've never regretted it. Very capable, easy to use, pleasant interface, and even on my older PC it runs rock-solid, where some competitors were known to be crash-prone. To just get started I'd suggest a secondhand DV camcorder and Vegas Movie Studio. Either it will be all you ever want, or it will help you learn what more you need.
posted by Tubes at 9:24 AM on April 6, 2005

The latest version iMovie has no problem editing videos made on digital cameras, and the quality isn't the big a deal if they're going on the web.

The real problem you'll have is that they aren't really suited to shooting video - they're hard to hold still for long periods because of their shape, they don't have the right kinds of controls, and they usually only have a short zoom lens (and the ones I've used don't let you adjust the zoom while recording). Also the audio quality is usually awful and you probably can't hook up an external mic.
posted by cillit bang at 10:02 AM on April 6, 2005

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