IEBA Review: Datavideo DN-60 Solid State CF Card Recorder

When it comes to camcorders, most everything is moving to flash media.

There are, however, an incredible amount of HDV and other tape-based HD camcorders out there, still working hard and producing great images. How do you get these camcorders up to speed with the new flash-media workflow? With an external recorder.

Thus far, the need for external devices to record HD footage has primarily been served by Focus Enhancements’ FireStore line. However, there has been growth in the segment recently and Datavideo has entered the fray with a unique design and price point under $500. Does the Datavideo DN-60 Solid State CF Card Recorder give the more expensive recorders a run for their money? Let’s find out. Continue reading “IEBA Review: Datavideo DN-60 Solid State CF Card Recorder”

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Canon XF300 on the way for review. Questions? Tests? [UPDATE] It’s here.

Canon says that the Canon XF300 Professional Camcorder is on it’s way to me for test & review. This camera features 50Mbps MPEG-2 4:2:2 recording to Compact Flash (CF) Cards. This high data rate should push aside all issue with compression, even though it does use the older MPEG-2 codec as opposed to the newer MPEG-4 / H.264 / AVCHD codec that a lot of newer camcorders and cameras use. The advantage to MPEG-2 is that, with a lot less compression, today’s even faster computer should handle it with ease, as opposed to the much more difficult time today’s systems have with AVCHD footage. Continue reading “Canon XF300 on the way for review. Questions? Tests? [UPDATE] It’s here.”

Consumer Digital Still HD video shoutout.

If you can get a consumer camera that shoots HD for just a couple hundred bucks, why not load up on the cameras and get multiple angles of an event for next to no cost. img_6430w.jpgPlus, you can move them around easily, perch them in unusual places and you don’t need a half-dozen video camera operators. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Well, the reality is that the rolling shutter CMOS image distortion in video cameras is just as prevalent in digital still cameras. You can easily see it when you bounce the camera up and down lightly, or pan the camera side to side. Things that you naturally do when you are recording video with the camera in your hands instead of on a tripod. These motions distort the image from what really exists in reality. Camera flashes are partially bad- partially illuminating multiple frames. When you play that back, it looks completely unnatural.

To quantify these CMOS distortions, I secured two brand new digital still cameras that shoot HD video and pitted them side by side in some critical tests and the results clearly demonstrate the difference between CMOS and CCD when it comes to capturing video that faithfully represents what happened.

Continue reading “Consumer Digital Still HD video shoutout.”

Ya get what you pay for.

eventdvapril.jpgA good friend of mine, and fellow video pro, asked me:

By the way, EventDV is going all paid and digital?
I’m dropping my sub, don’t know about you.  

Well, The other mags are considerably thinner. I literally blew through the “NAB” issue of DV in 10 minutes- including reading the editor’s letter and several of the ad pages with products I hadn’t seen before. As ad revenues are down, it’s hard to pay for a gaggle of talented pros to spend hours, or even days testing, reviewing and writing. So articles get shorter, or thinner, or disappear altogether.  

So is $2 an issue is really worth it? Continue reading “Ya get what you pay for.”

Is a digital still camera’s “HD Video” for real?

tricams.jpg Just in for review and testing are the brand-spankin’ new Canon SX1 IS and the SX200 IS digital still cameras.

Both of these “super zoom” cameras also shoot HD video… BUT the 10 MP SX1 shoots 1080 with a CMOS sensor, the 12 MP SX200 shoots 720p with a CCD. I’ve spoken about “sensor issues” with the imagers in these cameras before. For comparison, I also have a Canon S2 IS  that seems to be about a stop to two stops faster with its larger, 5 MP, SD video, CCD chip. 

Which camera shoots better video… this is what I intend to find out in the coming days.

Secret MacBook Upgrade = FW400 & nVidia!

picture-25.pngApple sure pissed off a lot of Macintosh users when the addressed the key limitation of their MacBook computers- namely the shared graphics processor- when Apple introduced the unibody MacBook… and completely removed the FireWire port. This made the new MacBooks completely unable to import DV or HDV footage from almost every such camcorder and deck on the market because they all do so over one interface: FireWire.

Well, perhaps Apple has actually listened to their customers this time and provided this same powerful graphics capability in their polycarbonate $999 MacBook, which still has FireWire 400.

Continue reading “Secret MacBook Upgrade = FW400 & nVidia!”

Apple says: Firewire be gone!

picture-4.pngAs I watched Apple revise the MacBook line with graphics performance that trounces the integrated Intel graphics, I began to think that the MacBook could well be the mythical mid-range desktop machine we’ve been waiting for- dual core, powerful graphics chipset capable of Dual-link DVI output, all the ports on the “back” & optical drive on the front… Plus the nifty ability to pick it up and take it with you!

No longer hamstrung by the Intel integrated graphics chipsets, this powerful new Mac could be had for just $1299… but there’s one BIG problem… Continue reading “Apple says: Firewire be gone!”

WIP: Alaska Video / Camcorder Review

circle.jpgIt’s tough keeping a blog going when you are busy with projects and one of those projects takes you up one of the loneliest highways— the Dalton Highway, up to Prudhoe Bay / Deadhorse, Alaska, where the oil is pumped for the Alaska Pipeline.

I was re-shooting an episode of IEBA’s Alaska outdoor adventure series, Wilderness Adventures Off The Beaten Path and shooting it in HD. That’s full HD, not HDV.  But using two different high-end consumer camcorders and writing about it for Event DV magazine. 

Continue reading “WIP: Alaska Video / Camcorder Review”

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