Middlebury

Camcorders

(Redirected from Cameras)

Two types of video recording cameras are available at the Circulation Desk: hard disk cameras and dv cameras. See Borrowing Equipment - Camcorders for more information on checking out these types of camera.

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 mini dv 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 - Using Automator Scripts

(this option is currently only available on Wilson Media Lab computers)

  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. Now open one of the Automator scripts for the CANONFS11 located in the dock at the bottom of the screen (the icon looks like a little robot). CANONFS11-DV will convert your videos to high quality DV files, which take up more space and are compatible with iMovie and Final Cut Pro. CANONFS11-MPEG4 will convert your videos to lower quality MPEG4 files, which are smaller and more appropriate for use on the web without editing first.
  5. Read the script's onscreen directions carefully and make sure that you won't be overwriting any previously imported clips by continuing. Click "Grab Video" to browse to and choose the small yellow icon of the camera's hard drive. It should be located in the left side of the browse window as a small yellow icon named "CANON". Click on this icon and then click the "Choose" button.
  6. Once the script starts it will copy all of the video files (.MOD files) off of the camera's hard drive and place them in a desktop folder called "video_files_from_camera" overwriting any pre-existing folder with this name in the process. These video files will then be converted to either DV or MPEG4 depending on which script you are using. This may take a long time depending on how many video clips are on the camera. While the script is running there will be a small progress animation next to a red dot located on the middle-left side of the Main Menu bar at the top of the screen. Please be patient, an on-screen prompt will pop up when the conversion process is over. (Note: The script will import and convert ALL clips on the camera, so if the camera was not erased before you checked it out you may end up importing the previous user's clips as well.)
  7. Once the script is over all of the converted files will be located in the "video_files_from_camera" folder on the desktop. Please move these files somewhere secure such as a file server, flash drive, or an external or local hard drive as this folder (and all of its contents) will be overwritten the next time this script is run.

Mac OSX - Manual import and file conversion

  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 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. You can also convert multiple video files at once using MPEG Streamclip's batch list function. This option is found under the List menu as "Batch List". An empty list will pop up which will allow you to add files to be converted by clicking the "Add Files" button. Choose your import settings and repeat for each file you wish to convert. When all the files have been added to the list simply hit go to start the batch conversion.
  8. 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. 



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