Middlebury

Camcorders

Revision as of 22:56, 27 February 2009 by Adam Franco (talk | contribs) (Added tag: 'Hardware')

Introduction

There are a number of types of cameras you can take out from the circ desk for recording video.  The two types of cameras are the hard disk cameras and the dv cameras. 

The hard disk cameras are made by cannon.  They have a hard drive in them very similar to the one you might find in an ipod.  To this end they have less storage space than an ipod -- about 32GB.  This will allow for about 10 hours of recording at DVD quality.  The hdd is not removable and hence the footage must be imported from the camera before it is returned to the Circ desk. 

The other option is a mini dv camera.  These cameras have no built in storage.  Instead the user must purchase a dv tape from the campus store or an outside vendor.  The quality of this footage is somewhat better than the footage coming from the HDD (Hard Disk Drive) camera.  The HDD camera records in a compressed format, the DV camera is raw.  As such when recording with a DV camera it is necessary to have sufficient storage and backup storage for your footage (around 18GB per hour).  That said, you have more encoding and quality options with the DV footage because it is largely uncompressed.   

Canon Hard Drive

Importing

Although the import process with the new HDD cameras does not signify a reduction in complexity over the import process for DV cameras it is much more reliable.  The DV cameras suffered from a multitude of connection problems due to their reliance on Firewire 400 as opposed to the much more resilient USB 2.0 standard.  The import process is slightly different on Mac and pc.  The instructions below will cover both platforms and assume that the user wants to transfer the footage into an editable format. 

Mac OSX

  1. Plug in the camera (there is a usb cable provided for this purpose the small end goes in the camera the large end in the computer)
  2. Look at the screen on the camera.  A little yellow prompt will appear at the bottom of the screen with two options.  One of the options is for a PC.  Choose this option (Choosing on the camera is accomplished using the little joystick on the left side of the screen.  The item selected will be highlighted in yellow by toggling you can choose other items.  Depressing this joystick affirms a selection)
  3. In a few moments a little disk drive icon should appear on the desktop.  Wilson media lab will have a program as of March 2009 that can automatically handle these next steps. Otherwise.
  4. First create a new folder on your desktop or another directory on the computer give this folder a descriptive name.  Now double click on the canon camera icon on the desktop.  Click into SD_Video then find the PRG (project folder corresponding to the date of your project.   Copy all the MOD files from here to the folder you created on the desktop.  You now have imported your videos to the computer.  The camera can be returned to the circ desk.
  5. On a Mac in order to edit or view these files you need to convert them.  A free program called MPEG streamclip can do this.  It can be downloaded from here
  6. Open the each seperately with MPEG streamclip.  Then click export to DV.  Choose the regular ntsc settings.  (A tutor in the Wilson Lab will be able to help you do this faster with the batch settings but because it is tricky I will not detail it here.)  Then press save or export.  Once the process is done the video can be used in a video editing program or it can be viewed.
  7. MPEG streamclip can also convert to other formats for use on middmedia etc see instructions here

Windows

  1. Plug in the camera (there is a usb cable provided for this purpose the small end goes in the camera the large end in the computer)
  2. Look at the screen on the camera. A little yellow prompt will appear at the bottom of the screen with two options. One of the options is for a PC. Choose this option (Choosing on the camera is accomplished using the little joystick on the left side of the screen. The item selected will be highlighted in yellow by toggling you can choose other items. Depressing this joystick affirms a selection)
  3. In a few moments a little disk drive icon should appear on the desktop.
  4. First create a new folder on your desktop or another directory on the computer give this folder a descriptive name. Now double click on the canon camera icon on the desktop. Click into SD_Video then find the PRG (project folder corresponding to the date of your project. Copy all the MOD files from here to the folder you created on the desktop. You now have imported your videos to the computer. The camera can be returned to the circ desk.
  5. On Windows movie maker recognizes the MOD file and can work with it so your process is done.  Go to files accessories moviemaker and have at it.  Alternitively you can follow the OSX instructions above for MPEG streamclip (note: download the windows version).  

Mini-DV

Importing

The import process for DV cameras is relatively straight forward but it can be somewhat time consuming and finicky. 

Camcorder

Essentially on a Mac or PC you should be able to plug the camcorder with the DV tape loaded into the computer's firewire port.  You can then go to your film editing program and press capture then play.  This will play the DV footage and capture it.  

DV Deck

On a DV deck in the media lab the process is largely the same as above. 

Troubleshooting

  • Make sure the camcoder is set to playback mode before plugging in. 
  • (The camera isn't recognized) Turn off the camera or deck.  Turn off the computer.  Unplug the firewire cord.  Wait 10 seconds.  Replug in the firewire cord.  Turn on the camera or deck.  Turn on the computer.  Try to capture video again.
  • (i-movie) make sure the toggle switch underneath the video preview screen is set to the camera icon instead of the scissors icon.