Digital video recording

I plan to start making a few on bike videos soon.

I’ve narrowed down the technology to record the footage to MiniDV. This is because it seems that it offers the best price to performance of other video recording technologies. I’m not including any technology that uses Mpeg4 or other derivative that record video to hard drive or SD card.

I want as clean a source recording as possible and Mpeg2 like video compression that MiniDV uses, is still the best for quality.


The next dilemma is whether to future proof for HD video now, or invest in the technology later.

It’s a dilemma because of the price premium for HD gear, and the fact that Blueray DVD recording is still in it’s formative years.

Consider that a Sony GV-D300 (standard definition) video recorder, I can get for under £400, yet the Sony GV-HD 700 is just under £900. Plus then there is buying the actual HD cameras which tend to cost a lot more.

I’d like to hear the opinions from people working with video.


I wouldn’t like to say which way to go as i don’t work with video that often but I’m guessing SD or any solid state drive would be less likely to break as there are no moving parts in them for writing data. Which is a good thing on a moving bike.
Hard drives would be cheaper at the moment but solid state drives are becoming cheaper.

As for the camera, it’s a ever changing market like DSLRs - with new better camera’s coming out all the time.

I’ll probably be buying a EOS 500D when it comes out next month as it shoots HD footage as well as being a DSLR - sadly i can’t afford the EOS 5D mkII - it looks good for HD filming albeit it’s only manual focus in video mode.

TWO BAD - Canon 5DmkII CAR RIG test from Marko Butrakovic on Vimeo.

Cheers Nivag…That camera looks very nice :cool:

I don’t think I was clear in my post though as by SD I meant Standard Definition video not Secure Digital memory cards. Still you make good points for SD card based recorders. I just don’t like Mpeg4 compression they use.

To be honest, I think I may buy the High Def recorder and shoot in SD for now. That futureproofs me and means I only need to buy one recorder.


Yeah it’s a difficult call at the moment Afro - obviously everything in tv land is eventually going to be HD - by which time prices on HD equipment will have come down.

On the other hand - if you are on a tight budget (aren’t we all! :wink: ) I wouldn’t worry to much about getting HD - I work in TV and the dust still hasn’t settled on what HD codec/format etc is going to win out over all the others - we are getting closer to that point as the take up of HD is increasing - but there is still confusion surrounding this subject.

The take up of HD in professional production will probably be slower than anticipated by the manufacturers anyway - as TV is getting a right kicking at the moment (along with everyone else) in the recession - and there isn’t the money or confidence around at the moment to go for a once a decade change in format - which will require everyone to ditch their expensive SD infrastructure of decks and cameras and move over to HD.

This has and will be happenning at the higher end of production - but a lot of people are going to continue using SD for the forseeable - and in tech terms you can always use your SD material in future HD projects.

I’ve worked with digital video most of my career. I’d say for certain go down the HD route and specifically AVCHD.

Two of the nicest cameras around at the moment are the Canon HFS10 or the HF20, depending on your budget.

SD (DV) will be much cheaper but will look crap on any plasma or LCD panel.

If you want to edit your HD stuff you’ll need q pretty beefy computer.

SD for the road, and HD for the bedroom! :wink:

Cheers and yeah I found that out recently when making that GSX-R 1000 launch video on a HD MiniDV cam and then editing the footage on a Pentium M 1.5 Ghz with 2 GB RAM.

Sloooooooow :smiley:

As a rule of thumb, avoid HD for now… christ most industry folk still aren’t actually cutting HD… its like this big badge of honour, but very few people 'cept the really big broadcasters can afford to switch all of their editing equipment to HD capable.

I’d recommend recording onto solid state if possible - ie straight to a memory card, like modern digital stills cameras. Tapes are ON THE WAY OUT… although you were right, MiniDV would have been your best, most relaible and cheapest option… just not really future proof any more. Solid state is far more reliable and quicker for editing than tape… literally electrical all the way… no heads, bouncing off tape giving you drop out issue.

It’s just that most consumer solid state recorders use a poor compression algorithm to store the video on whatever medium they use (hard disc or high density memory cards).

The quality isn’t that bad but it’s not a patch on the broadcast like quality you get from MiniDV.

I like to take videos as I am very interested in that.

City centre Hotels

HD is ace… well my HD Hero is, the footage i get off my bike is awsome but its abit bulky stuck on my snowboard helmet so im gona get the contour HD for that as my mate has one and it gives realy good footage aswel although even though the Contour has lazers for aiming my Hero gets a better veiwing area cause it has such a wide and even high coverage. I’ll use the Hero for paintballing and the bike and the contour for snowboarding and the bike so i can get front and rear recording when on the bike :smiley:

Soon as i get a new laptop i’ll get some clips onto the net for all to see but as said it needs a powerfull system to play and edit the footage and this laptop im on aint good enough it is 4 years old mind

I saw a review of the HD Hero on the Gadget show last week.

The video quality was almost as good as the shows broadcast quality when they did a side by side comparison.

I may have to change my opinion of solid state recording cameras.

I thought Betamax was a winner. (closes door gently on way out).