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Thread: Camcorder questions: USB interface? Edit of HD videos?

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    Default Camcorder questions: USB interface? Edit of HD videos?

    After pondering this for a few years, I'm very close to FINALLY purchasing a camcorder. A new Panasonic camcorder (HDC-HS300K) has caught my eye, and I'm tempted to purchase this rather expensive (but presumeably fun) toy.

    It would be preferable if it could connect this camcorder to a Linux PC (to download images and also process images).

    I note it has a USB-2.0 interface, and given the camcorder has a 120 GB hard drive built in, I assume one simply mounts the drive, and copies movies to one's PC.

    It is an HD recorder, recording videos at 1920x1080 in MPEG4-AVC/H.264 format. Does anyone have any experience with such high definition formats under Linux?

    Any views on the best ways to handle such videos? Do any users have experience with programs such as Kdenlive, Kino, or Cinelerra handling the newer HD formats?

    I use Kdelinve a lot for simple formats (640x480 videos, and higher res digital still pix from my digital still camera) but these High Definition (HD) videos are in an entirely different league.

    I'm probably going to ask Panasonic these questions, ... but I don't anticipate an answer (many manufacturers "clam up" when one mentions Linux).

    Some articles on the nice (but rather pricy) camcorder I am considering:

    Panasonic page:
    HDC-HS300K - Hi-Def Camcorders - Shop and Compare at Panasonic

    Panasonic HDC HS300 youtube video
    YouTube - PANASONIC HDC-SD200, HDC-HS300, HDC-HS100 Camcorder

    1st. Panasonic HDC HS300 Review:
    Panasonic HDC-HS300 HDD Full HD Camcorder Review | Techalites

    2nd. Panasonic HDC HS300 Review:
    Panasonic HDC-HS300 First Impressions Camcorder Review - HDD

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    Default Re: Camcorder questions: USB interface? Edit of HD videos?

    Quote Originally Posted by oldcpu View Post
    After pondering this for a few years, I'm very close to FINALLY purchasing a camcorder. A new Panasonic camcorder (HDC-HS300K) has caught my eye, and I'm tempted to purchase this rather expensive (but presumeably fun) toy.
    Reading the above, I realize it looks like I made my mind up. Actually, that is not quite true. I'm also looking at the Canon Vixia HF S10, which also appears it could be a superb camcorder. It does not have a hard drive, but rather uses a large SD card for storing the video clips. I'm assuming if I plug that Canon into my openSUSE Linux PC (using a USB cable) that I will be able to mount the SD card as an external drive. I suspect (I don't know yet) that the SD card uses NTFS format (so that recorded movies can be many gigabytes in size) ... but I need to find that out.

    I also need to find out (for both Panasonic and Canon camcorders) if the HD video format can be edited with Linux non-Linear video editing software, such as kdenlive. I'm thinking I need to check out the kdenlive forum to see what I can learn there.

    I've been using Canon digital still cameras over the years, and I am very happy with their compatibility with openSUSE Linux (for image transfer and compatibility with the video files for image editing of the short video clips from those Canon digital still cameras).

    Sony also have some nice camcorders, but I confess I typically avoid Sony products for "political" reasons. While all camcorder hardware suppliers use proprietary technology, sony tend to use proprietary more than others, and hence that runs contrary to my opensource free software views. I don't like the Sony use of their custom hardware memory stick , ... etc ... Now if Sony were known to support Linux more than other hardware suppliers, that would probably sway me in their direction, but I've seen no evidence of that.

    So for the moment, I'm looking at the Canon Vixia HF S10 and the Panasonic HDC-HS300K . If anyone has any "Linux" specific interfacing experience with those (or similar) models, I would be curious to learn.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Camcorder questions: USB interface? Edit of HD videos?

    hi oldcpu;

    thanks for raising this issue; would be very keen to hear your experiences if you treat yourself;

    I was concerned about the HD format; when I read a US magazine that I seem to read about once every two years: I can find the title but it was something ..Camcorder": it was the size of the HD format that concerned me: how big the files were; they were talking about many hours; or days!! to render a file;

    I resolved that if I were to buy an HD, it would be to plug directly into an HD-capable TV;

    I would be very interested to hear how it goes for others;

    I can quickly find one or two references;

    How To: Editing HD Video in Linux | Compiler from Wired.com

    and

    Non-linear Video Editing in Ubuntu Linux - What tools to use and how to do it! - PenguinTutor Linux Blog

    I have an older Panasonic camera; it is a 3CCD; it has firewire, and that works well for us; you may have seen me say we use MainActor; and we still have Suse 9.3 on one partition, as it is just so good; I like the firewire, as it controls the camera and we can move to segments, and uplift;

    the HDC-HS300K looks a beautiful camera;

    the other aspect of video cameras for some is sound; I use mine at some conferences to record; using a Sennheiser gun mic on top; the older cameras had shoes; mine does; now they are not fitted; equally one can get dedicated sound units,that mount under the camera but one still needs a mount for a mic

    it is what you are going to record too; holiday views?

    I bought a monopod pole; it helps me a lot to steady the image; to take nice scenic shots on hols, a tripod seems the best;

    you may cringe at being seen setting one up, but with an HD camera, producing glorious images, a bit of shake and shuffle may spoil things; (even with electronic image clarification)

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    Default Re: Camcorder questions: USB interface? Edit of HD videos?

    Quote Originally Posted by pdc_2 View Post
    I can quickly find one or two references;
    Thanks for the references. As noted above, I have a Canon Ixus that takes videos at 640x480 @ 30 fps and hence I have played with kdenlive a lot. I note on the kdenlive forum, the authors of that package are trying hard to make it high definition capable. For example this post:
    News about AVCHD and hardware decoding | Kdenlive

    Here is some information on non-linear-video editors and linux, that someone else started, and I tried to update to make more current:
    Video editing - openSUSE

    Quote Originally Posted by pdc_2 View Post
    the other aspect of video cameras for some is sound; I use mine at some conferences to record; using a Sennheiser gun mic on top; the older cameras had shoes; mine does; now they are not fitted; equally one can get dedicated sound units,that mount under the camera but one still needs a mount for a mic
    Thanks. These are the sort of tips and tricks that I really know NOTHING about, and I am very keen to learn.

    Quote Originally Posted by pdc_2 View Post
    it is what you are going to record too; holiday views?
    Yes, mostly to create holiday videos/movies. Together my wife and I have created over a dozen home videos (each typically 10 to 20 minutes in length) documenting our various vacations. My wife used WinXP movie maker, and I used kdenlive. We used a mix of still images and videos from our small Canon Digital Ixus.

    Using higher quality video images from a camcorder will be a step up in our "video production".
    Quote Originally Posted by pdc_2 View Post
    I bought a monopod pole; it helps me a lot to steady the image; to take nice scenic shots on hols, a tripod seems the best;

    you may cringe at being seen setting one up, but with an HD camera, producing glorious images, a bit of shake and shuffle may spoil things; (even with electronic image clarification)
    I have 4 different tripods (all very small) for my Ixus, so I definitely understand the benefit of a camera stand. I know NOTHING also about a monopod pole, so anything I can learn there would also be appreciated.

    My wife and have our next major vacation (a few weeks) planned starting in mid-June. Hence I would like to purchase the camcorder sometime in April and definitely no later than end-May (as I need to know how to use it by mid-June).

  5. #5

    Default Re: Camcorder questions: USB interface? Edit of HD videos?

    thanks;

    the panasonic looks really good; I hope you and your wife treat yourselves to it; looks great;

    I have always regarded you as very knowledgable on kdenlive; so you should do well there and maybe innovate on HD for the rest of us;

    monopods: I bought a hiking pole from LL Bean; it is designed as dual-purpose: hiking pole, and monopod for camera; it is extendible; lightweight; excellent; I cannot now find it on the LL Bean site; nor does it have a serial number, but ... made in the Czech republic; LEKI technology; extendable; good for walking; unscrew the comfortable wooden top and screw into video camera; much steadier; you are in Germany? so you could source something there one would hope; I also bought a Manfrotto monopod, but to be honest, not used it much; the LL Bean pole

    but not as good as tripod; while on holiday last year, I had brought the tripod (Manfrotto), and on a windy afternoon two guys went kite surfing; .. I!! thought they were really good video runs .!! and with the tripod; very steady and able to zoom in and out as the boards flew across the water, towards and away from the camera;

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    Default Re: Camcorder questions: USB interface? Edit of HD videos?

    I ran across the following interesting thread describing one user's experience of using Linux with Canon HF10 camcorder:
    linux tips with canon HF10/HF100 - AVS Forum

    That (above) URL also references this blog, which has some interesting "hacks" for handling High Definition under Linux:
    Linux & HDTV | Acmelabs' Blog
    ... its definitely not for the beginner, nor possibly average user, but the advanced user may be able to "run with" the information in that blog.

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    Default Re: Camcorder questions: USB interface? Edit of HD videos?

    And since I started this thread (collecting links on using modern camcorder under Linux), here is another one with information on AVCHD .m2ts conversion for Linux
    AVCHD .m2ts conversion for Linux - AVS Forum
    ... its a long thread ... and I'm still working my way through the various posts.

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    Default Re: Camcorder questions: USB interface? Edit of HD videos?

    Personally I would avoid USB models and look at models with firewire interfaces.

    I have used both firewire and USB and the firewire is faster, and can be controlled from within applications like kino and kdenlive. In other words, the applications can start the cam, stop the cam, rewind, fast forward, pause.............

    USB is cumbersome in comparison, constantly downloading files from the device then opening in the desired application............then the issue of compatibility, some USB devices are recognized and some are not, some require hacks and workarounds. Hit or Miss, Plug and Pray

    Firewire just works!

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    Default Re: Camcorder questions: USB interface? Edit of HD videos?

    Quote Originally Posted by brucecadieux View Post
    Personally I would avoid USB models and look at models with firewire interfaces.
    I thought the same, but you can take a MASSIVE performance hit with that restriction. Basically, its not a consideration as the firewire camcorders are not as good. At least I could not find any.

    Quote Originally Posted by brucecadieux View Post
    I have used both firewire and USB and the firewire is faster, and can be controlled from within applications like kino and kdenlive. In other words, the applications can start the cam, stop the cam, rewind, fast forward, pause.............
    Thanks. Neat to know. I have both firewire and usb-2.0 external hard drives. I prefer the firewire.

    Quote Originally Posted by brucecadieux View Post
    USB is cumbersome in comparison, constantly downloading files from the device then opening in the desired application............then the issue of compatibility, some USB devices are recognized and some are not, some require hacks and workarounds. Hit or Miss, Plug and Pray

    Firewire just works!
    Indeed, but as noted, firewire does not appear to be much of an option. The better camcorders that I have looked at do not support firewire.

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