August 28, 2006

Curious George - Full Sized DVD Camcorder? Needed: a camcorder that records directly to full size DVD, and not that mini-DVD 3" format. We need the big one. Not the mini.

This is for a classroom, and the current solution is a VHS camera which is already mostly obsolete. For various reasons, a hard disk camera-to-DVD solution isn't an option, nor is a Hi-8 or even mini-DVD-to-regular-DVD. Look Sony, just make with the camera that records directly to full size DVD and nobody gets hurt. Hello? Anyone? Beuller?

  • We need the big one. Not the mini. Don't we all. *is not helpful*
  • I feel your pain. I recently borrowed a Sony camcorder that records directly to the 3" DVD. My, um, a, slot-loading Mac with nifty video-editing software doesn't like those pesky 3-inch'rs. So, um, it's too short to accomodate the slot, so-to-speak. Hmm, seems I'm not much of a BIG help either. Ahem. *cough*
  • I'm assuming you want to record directly onto DVD for easy sharing of the video. Here are two suggestions from a quick google. 1) JVC Everio series hard disk camcorders. JVC offers a 'Share Station' accessory that let's you burn DVDs directly from the camera. You plug the camcorder into a box about the size of a hard cover book and it spits out a DVD. 2) This might not be as flexible as you are looking for, but I suspect someone makes the following accessory for hard disk camcorders - that is, an external hard drive with video outputs that you could plug the camcorder into, dump the video, then pass the external drive around for people to plug into TVs for viewing.
  • I'd say a cheap mini-dv camera plus a laptop with a DVD burner would be the cheapest path, but of course it's not realtime... I don't know of any standard DVD camcorder. Sony's industrial division has the XDCAM series of camcorders record to optical disc format, but that's not consumer DVD by any means.
  • i don't know that such full size dvd recorders exist. The mini-dvds will work in regular dvd players and computers. However, unless you don't want to ever do anything with the dvd after you have recorded it, the mini-dvd recorders are bad since they add lossy transcoding to the process.
  • I'm also not aware of any full-size dvd camcorders. Is getting two pieces of equipment, a stand-alone DVD recorder and a standard camcorder, not an option?
  • What jccalhoun said. The image quality of those DVD camcorders is not as good as mini-DV tapes if that's a consideration at all.
  • Thanks Nal et. al., I forwarded the JVC Everio links as the best current candidate. The Tape-to-DVD dubbing would be next in line, just slower. The context is that students are filmed doing whatever it is they do, then *poof* given the tape of the performance so they can critique it immedately as opposed to "next week." Increasingly, students look at the VHS tape and say "what's this?" (@$#%! stupid kids) A mini-DV-to-DVD or other transfer process involving one of them newfangled computertatinal devices may be no sweat for you or I but in this case I'm trying to limit the potential for process breakdown so to speak. Thanks again for the suggestions. Does anyone know WHY they don't make a full-sized-DVD-disc recorder? Sheesh.
  • the mini-dvds can be played in dvd players. Is there a reason not to use them?
  • Yeah, but I forget why. Checking on that.
  • I think is the combined problem of bigger mechanisms and a low quality, compared to miniDV. For the pro market it would be useless (pros need the highest quality for further editing, which isn't easy for the audio/video encoding that ends up in the DVD format) and for the consumer, bulky, compared to most camcorders.
  • But why not the full-sized DVD? Is the mini-DVD format higher quality somehow? I'd imagine it'd save some battery, but that's about the only benefit that seems obvious over mini-DVD (as opposed to miniDV tape)
  • My last post was referring to the 'Why no full-size' comment... From what I've seen, the video quality from mini-dvds from sony and other camcorders is on par with that of commercial discs; of course, it's one thing to see a movie that was originally filmed with $100K-plus cameras than the image your $500 camera with a minuscule lens can capture. The context is that students are filmed doing whatever it is they do, then *poof* given the tape of the performance so they can critique it immedately as opposed to "next week." I take it the review is done right there in their classroom or media workshop? Not to flog a dead horse, but given that you seem to have a budget, a simple camera with firewire port, a cable and a cheap ibook/powerbook is what I'd implement. Capture performance to hard disk (no tape/disc time limit constraints, just get a big harddrive), take laptop to media room, patch to TV/monitor, review to your heart's content. Want to archive it? Burn it to DVD, otherwise trash it, no tape/disc expenditure. I'm sure your students will be comfortable with such approach and stop beign perplexed by anachronic analog formats... : )
  • I've taught public speaking in the last year and we have cameras in the room and have the students tape themselves and watch temselves at home and some have said they didn't have a vcr. However, at least here, the media center in teh library has vcrs and most of them are freshmen and live in the dorms so they know someone who has a vcr (the vrc-dvd combos are still popular) Regardless, I bought a vcr at goodwill for $5 this summer because i had some stuff i wantd to copy to dvd and this was better quality than the one I already own. Therefore, there are vcrs to be had.
  • Agreed, and I'm only "a tech consultant" on this, but apparently the whiny kids with slot-drive Macs are the mini-DVD sticking point. Heck, I'd take a hot-rodded PXLcam-via-USB and upload their .avi to their webspace but what do I know. It still confuses me why a full-size DVD camcorder isn't out there somewhere, but okay then. If it isn't, it isn't.