I Haz Video?

Last modified on August 26th, 2008

As I alluded to in my previous post today, I’m definitely looking at getting into video sometime in the near future. Considering I ordered a camera shortly after writing that post, “near future” is actually more like “early next week”. I spent a solid twenty minutes or so trying to figure out what type of camera I wanted to purchase, and eventually narrowed it down to a few different ones.

In terms of features, I’ve always wanted a camera that could do 24P. Most consumer cameras shoot at 30 frames per second in an interlaced format, which is quite different than how film is shot. Most big budget films are shot in 24 frames per second, so I wanted a camera that could simulate that effect. Right away, that criteria shaved down the available cameras to just a few.

The second feature I wanted was optical image stabilization. Without it, it’s pretty hard to shoot a convincing hand-held scene that doesn’t look completely amateurish. And third, I was hoping to be able to hook an external microphone up to the camera in case I wanted to do ever shoot a small short film or something.

With those three requirements, I finally settled on the Canon Vixia HV30.

Canon Vixia HV30

That Canon HV30 offers full high definition video at 1080p. In addition, it supports 24P and 30P cinematic modes that emulate how traditional film looks. The only thing I was worried about in the end was that this camera uses MiniDV tapes, whereas most new models use flash or hard drives. After talking to Jay, he recommended the tape version since a) tape is cheap and b) you automatically get a backup of everything when you shoot it. Also, the HV30 has had the top image quality for several years now in this line, which was pretty paramount to me making the decision.

I ordered the camera online, so hopefully it’ll be here early next week. I don’t really have any big plans with it yet, but I’ll slowly experiment over the next few months and see what it can do.

11 responses to “I Haz Video?”

  1. 24P – why?

    I guess I’m of the (likely wrong) opinion that a higher frames per second rate would result in a better video… What is the advantage of 24P over 30P?

  2. John Biehler says:

    Kevin: 24 fps gives a more film like look to video – especially when used natively incamera. ‘Regular’ video is typically 29.97 fps.

    Being able to shoot in 24fps, in HD is pretty much ‘teh awesome’.

  3. John Biehler says:

    Oops…I meant to add that 24 fps IS film speed.

  4. Duane Storey says:

    Yah, traditional film cameras (8mm,16mm,35mm, Super 35mm, etc) all shoot at 24fps. That, in addition to the response curves of most of the films, product what is traditionally viewed as a cinematic experience. So the closer you can get to emulating the frame rate at the response curves, the more like film the experience seems.

  5. Kasia says:

    Are you thinking of getting into videography? I recently stumbled across StillMotion; it’s totally inspiring, check it out: http://www.vimeo.com/1468695

  6. Ciavarro says:


    Sorry, that’s all I can think about when I see a video cameras.

  7. Duane Storey says:

    Let me know if you’re volunteering Chad — I’ll go pick up a larger zoom lens.

  8. Gregg says:

    When we bought late last year, we purposely also got a Canon unit that saves to DV tape; not just for the reasons you outlined, but also because this is still the best quality of the options you mentioned. Basically, hard drive or flash drive cameras have in the camera MPG conversion that is performed on the fly before saving the video, whereas the DV Tape cameras save the raw data to the tape. I know you recently started shooting RAW instead of JPG on your DSLR so that you get all the data possible and can make the conversions later after getting the most out of the RAW data. By buying a DV tape camera, you are allowing yourself to do the same thing with your videos.

  9. Duane Storey says:

    Good to know. Thanks Gregg.

  10. Alan H says:

    I was also looking at the HV-30. Last year I test drove a SONY HD tape unit and the Canon HV-20. The Canon was instantly familiar and clearly built for regular use. The SONY had a touch screen and functions would move around. I always felt it was endless clicking and tapping to do things that I might want to do while shooting. I found the Canon units to suffer significantly less from this.

    There is also a flash unit from Canon that compares to this. I do not know if they save raw DV streams or if they are MPEG or H.264. If that is the case, then the HV-30 will be my camera too. I don’t like the linear nature of the import process with the tape cameras, but at least you can archive your raw footage economically.

    Good job Duane – I find it amusing that you chose the same unit I am looking at and therefore I am anxious to hear how it works out for you.

    Keep posting.


  11. Duane Storey says:

    A couple of friends of mine are big into video, and they told me tape is still the way to go. Apparently the flash and HD versions are forced to compress the video that much more, and the quality isn’t as high.

    I completely underestimated the workflow involved in playing around with video. I still don’t think I’m figured out how to get 24p off the camera (it’s actually shot in 60i, but 3:2 pulldown information is added that FCP needs to do the conversion).. I’ll do a post once I figure it all out.

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