Thursday, December 16, 2004

Beware Digital Camcorders

For years we had one of those old VHS camcorders. And I'm not just talking about the ones with the mini tapes that went into the big tape so you could watch it on TV. I'm talking about the big one that held an entire VHS tape. We got it when my oldest child was born, and used it extensively when he was a baby. Which is to say we filled up almost one tape. When our second kid was born, we didn't bother taping him. And when our third child was born (yes, we are breeders), the camcorder continued to sit on the shelf.

So after almost nine years with the camcorder, we decided to go digital. We got a very nice, very small Canon ZR85, which was supposed to make it easy to record. And the truth is, recording is easy. It's watching the tape after you record that is difficult.

Not to worry, I thought. I can hook the camcorder up to my Mac, download the tape, and burn it onto a DVD. So I uploaded the tape onto the Mac, which went into the computer in real time (1 hour) and used up 14 gig of my hard drive, which wouldn't have been a problem if I had more than 16 gig of space left.

This is my blog, so I get to tell the long the story.

I ran it through i-movie, so I could edit the tape, throw in some titles, delete scenes, and add some music. So far, so good. The computer was running slow, but I figured I would dump the file onto a DVD and erase it from the hard drive in no time.

I tried to send it from i-movie to i-DVD, and that's when the real problems started. I had upgraded i-movie, which was free, but had never bothered to upgrade i-DVD, which was not free. All that meant was the programs couldn't talk very easily to one another, and the version of i-DVD that i had really sucked.

So it was on to ebay to find a cheap i-DVD, and after a week I finally won the program. Next came waiting in the mail, and thanks to christmas, the mail ran slow, which added another week of my computer running at half speed.

Finally, the program arrived. I put it on the computer, which burned up the rest of my hard drive space, leaving me with 500 meg. I bought recordable DVDs, put them into the drive, and it didn't work.

Who was genius who thought of making DVD+R and DVD-R? And why didn't anyone bother mentioning that little fact.

So it was back to the store to exchange DVDs, and finally, I had everything I needed. I put the Recordable DVD into the drive. And then the computer spit it out. It seems that in order to burn something onto a disk, you need to have that same amount of space on your hard drive, so that the computer can make a copy of what you are copying, and put it all on the disk.

The DVD holds 4.3 gig, so i had to go through my computer and delete 4.3 gig worth of files and programs.

Do you have any idea how many things you need to delete when you are trying to find 4.3 gig of space.

Finally, I got rid of enough junk from my computer that I could get the DVD into the machine.

I click burn, and it is finally happening. Soon, I will be able to delete the files from my machine and have my hard drive back.

It takes hours to burn though, and finally, at 11:30, after coming home from hockey, I put the DVD into my DVD player to see how it came out.

The results - Terrible.

When it burned, all the audio went into the disk, but not all the video went in. So you can hear people talking, and it has no relation to the picture on the screen.

So here I am. My hard drive is still hijacked by my home video. My DVD is crappy, and its back to square one to create a working DVD.

Should you buy a digital camcorder?

Absolutely. But only if you aren't interested in watching your video.


Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Halleluja!! Air Time has arrived! Welcome to the world of blogging. Good first post. I just bought a camcorder too (Canon Elura65) though I haven't had the cajones to attempt to transfer the video to other media. Being that I don't have a mac I assume it will be easier ;-P
Keep posting and I'll keep checking.

December 16, 2004 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have the same problem. i own a cool imac with the latest os, have a cool sony dv camcorder, all the right wires, and yet, the pile of little mini dv tapes is starting to stack up nearly as tall as my pile of old fasioned vhs tapes.

Putting stuff on cd/dvd/dvd-r/dvd-rw/who-can-keep-track?? is a pain.

hear anything about reel-to-reel movie projectors coming back in vogue...?

December 20, 2004 1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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March 16, 2007 6:50 PM  

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