Posts tagged “JVC”.

Upgrading Video

My Everio HDD video camera.

My Everio HDD video camera.

I’m the kind of person who waits until a crisis to act. It’s a trait I’ve always had. My mother called it procrastination. I like to think of it as acting with complete clarity. With no choices left the option at hand is what must be done. There is no second guessing. Is there?

Maybe. I knew my miniDV JVC camera was acting up. It completely failed on me at the Winter Program at VHAC. But I thought I had worked through the glitches. I was ready to validate the tape was loaded properly before using it. I was ready for… nothing.

I taped my youngest daughter during her holiday performance and even knowing the current state of the miniDV camera, I could not get it to function properly or reliably.

So, I reached my crisis. I’m convinced that if I kept trying to use this camera for recording, I would lose memory after memory. Once is a fluke, twice is the start of a pattern. So, after this second heartbreaking camera snafu I had to act. And act decisively I did. I picked up a 30Gig HDD JVC everio GZ-MG130U camcorder on sale at Best Buy.

The camera is pretty nice. Simple interface. Just a few buttons. But still surprisingly complex, robust, and feature rich. It can hold seven (7) hours of video in the highest quality setting on the internal hard drive. And honestly, that’s the only setting I’ll use. It fits into the palm of my hand. And the most compelling feature, you ask? Well that would be faster than real time (RT) capturing.

In video editing RT capture was the norm. You couldn’t get faster than RT. It was like trying to go faster than the speed of light. Couldn’t be done. Crazy talk!

Well, now it can. Really! No more firewire. This camera has a USB 2.0 connection and mounts on my iMac as an external hard drive. Using iMovie ‘08 I can batch import all or a select portion of the clips on the camera, convert them for editing, and do it all faster than RT.

Read on young Video Padawan. This was not figured out in minutes. I had to work very hard at this. You see, the camera only comes with Windows based software. Inside the manual it states that you can purchase software for the Mac separately. Doesn’t that make you feel loved? But based on the reviews, I didn’t want their substandard software anyway. All the reviews I saw said, “Great camera! Crappy software.”

So, I tried working with the raw MOD files straight from the camera. Backing up the files to my iMac via the USB 2.0 connection. I then changed the file extensions to MPEG which allowed me to view them in VLC and other Mpeg-2 players. But iMovie ’06 would not edit the MPEG file. So, I worked out that with MPEG Video Stream Editor I could convert the MPEG file to DV and then import it into iMovie ’06 and use it. The only problem was that all these steps combined were not a batch process (I’d have to automate them, no click-and-walk-away-steps without a lot of hard work), and all of these steps were approaching RT just to get it into iMovie to start editing it.

I was seriously thinking about returning it for a Firewire miniDV camera and saving half of what I spent on this camera. Until a friend pointed me to the iMovie ‘08 upgrade.

Apple had listed some everio cameras from JVC as being compatible with iMovie ’08. Mine wasn’t on the list, but it was worth a shot. I have iLife ’08 already, I just hadn’t let go of iMovie ’06 yet. But it was time. After the upgrade I chose the “Play on Computer” option on the camera, and viola! The movie clips batch imported into iMovie ’08 in half the time they took to shoot. In my book, that’s a 50% time savings and I’ll take it.

I’m keeping my camera, I’m keeping the iMovie ’08 upgrade, and I’ve put together a little christmas video.

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