My El Cheapo camcorder (the Samsung SC-D365, with an average Amazon.com rating of 3/5) has crapped out on me.Â I can’t capture digital video recorded on it without losing timecode every minute or so, so whenever I try to capture a segment of video, I end up with lots of minute long segments separated by 5 to 20 seconds of gap.
Once I realized this, last Thursday night, I went to Best Buy and bought a new, much nicer, camcorder.Â It’s a Canon HV20 (average Amazon.com rating of 4.5/5), and so far I’m extremely happy with it.Â It can record (and, of course, play back) HDV.Â And even though it’s just a one-chip imager, it’s got very nice picture quality.Â It’s got a number of features my old camcorder didn’t have, too, such as a 24P mode and manual control over lots of things (like white balance, aperture, exposure length, etc.).Â And it’s got a remote control which may be handy at some point.Â Admittedly, it’s a little bit flimsy and lightweight, and it doesn’t have an XLR input for audio, but it’s a consumer camera so that’s par for the course.Â I guess it better be a big step up since it retails for over 3 times the price as my Samsung.
I also decided to go for the highest end purchase protection plan (or whatever they call it).Â The main selling point for me was that it lasts for 4 years, and covers accidental damage including things like dropping it by accident into the Colorado River.Â Given that bad things seem to happen to my cameras, I thought getting some insurance for this purchase would be worth it, especially considering the camera cost almost as much as my motorcycle!Â Usually the Best Buy insurance plan thing is a bad deal, but the last time I bought one it paid off.
I decided to shoot my latest documentary film on HDV 1080i, even though most people will watch it on DVD (which will waste most of those pixels).Â But I figure a couple years from now, the BluRay vs. HD DVD war will be over, and my family will start to get HDTVs.Â If not sooner.Â Plus, the next generation, such as my niece Kristina, to whom this documentary will be dedicated, won’t likely know of a world prior to HDTV.
I also broke down and bought the upgrade to Final Cut Studio 2.Â Not cheap!Â It’s $500 to upgrade to the latest suite, but there are just so many new features that I think it’ll be worth it.Â Besides, my film collaborators and clients will be using FCS2 eventually, and the upgrade price isn’t going to go down, so I’ve got to buy the upgrade sooner or later.Â So I just bit the bullet and did it now.Â A couple things I’m looking forward to playing with: the Color application, improvements to audio editing ease-of-use, and lots of new features in nearly all the parts of the suite.