Technology that just works.

So recently I was in the market for a new video camera.  For years and years I had sworn that I’d avoid anything that records to harddisc or flash memory purely because to me, tape was god.

Anyway, like God, I soon realised that it really wasn’t for me and I needed to change because capturing from tape sucks, takes ages and if the tape gets fucked, the footage gets fucked.  So fuck that.

So I was looking around at various options, and I didn’t want to really sink a whole load of cash into a camera, because in all honesty I probably won’t really use it all that much outside of filming Arcane shows and other little bits of bullshit to waste time.

I decided to go the flash memory camera route.  SD cards are cheap as anything these days and go up to stupid amounts of space, so I figured I’d go with that.  There were a couple of cameras I was looking at, each had their pros and cons and I was to-ing and fro-ing between them for ages.  There was the JVC which was supposed to be pretty great, but the menu system and control just SHITTED me to no end, and there was the Panasonic which had familar menus (have 2 other Panasonic video cameras), but wasn’t supposed to be a spectacular low light performer.

I decided that I’d go with the Panasonic, because it was a brand I knew and could trust, and while low-light would be important for what I’d be filming (bands), it’s not like I’d be shooting for professional release quality BluRay or anything.  I was just looking for pure unadulterated standard def glory.

So the Panasonic was it.  Took SD cards which I have an abundance of and all was great…I’d deal with any low light issues as they arose.

So I head down to my friendly JB HiFi and look at said Panasonic camera in the cabinet.  But my eyes, they did wander.  Up and down the cabinet I looked…past the JVC with their horrible “laser touch” navigation system…to a Sony .

“Sony?!” I asked myself.  “Why the HELL would you want to get a Sony?  Sure they make awesome cameras…but dude…Memory Stick?  What the sweet fuck is that shit?  The only other thing you have that takes Memory Stick is your PSP that you never ever ever ever play.  Eyes off the Sony and back on the Panasonic damn it!”

So I look at the Panasonic again…and my eyes drift back up to the Sony and the little note on it’s price tag that says “4gb internal memory”.  This gets my attention. “A puny 4GB?!  Is that all?!” I ask myself.  “You wouldn’t fit much on that you tool!” I say.  But then I look back at the Panasonic which has a grand total of zero GB internal memory.  Some has got to be better than none right?

So my mind is torn in two directions.  If I was Wang…that bottle just wouldn’t slice in half.  I’d have to rely on Jack’s reflexes to catch it.  No horse shit.

The attractive sales girl comes over and I ask if I can have a look at one of the cameras.  She says “Sure thing, big boy, you can have a look at any of my cans.”.  I had to correct her “No no, I said cameras…can I look at a camera.”.  She blushed and got the key out.  OK so that totally never happened, but she did open the cabinet and I pulled out…THE SONY!  Holy crap what was I doing?  I had extensively researched the JVC and the Panasonic so that I could be sure I was getting a camera that would best suit me and my needs and compliment my other technology!  Why was the Sony in my hands?!

I turned it on…it gave a delightful little chirp.  I panned and tilted around the store, scoping DVDs and TVs and other customers.  I zoomed.  I explored the menus, all of which were operated via touchscreen on the LCD panel.  “Jolly gosh” I said to myself, and my sultry and seductive sales girl sidekick.  “This camera is quite snazzy and fun to use!”.  Inside I was screaming at myself “PUT IT DOWN YOU FOOL!  PANASONIC ALL THE WAY!  WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”

The voice in my head was telling me truths I didn’t want to have to think about.  “What if Sony do some strange things with the files it saves…what if the codecs are bizarre and make it impossible to edit without re-encoding first…what if they use some proprietory Sony file format…remember you read about that somewhere?”.  These things were all valid points that one would usually research at length before making a purchase.

I don’t know what happened next because I’m pretty sure I blacked out in the store.  I awoke in my car to find that I had bought a Sony Handicam. “Quick, go back inside and exchange it!” I told myself.  But I felt that to be on the safe side, seeing as I was sure I had just passed out, I thought I probably shouldn’t get up out of my car right away.  I decided to investigate what I had purchased in my state of unconciousness.

Turns out what I bought was a fucking brilliant little camera!  It came with a 16GB Memory Card Pro Duo or whatever they are.

I took it with me to the Arcane/HOSN album launch on Saturday night to film Arcane’s set and it performed just amazingly for what it is.  A cheap little flash memory camcorder.  Low light picture turned out great, the mic didn’t blow out from the intense loudness that the in-house sound guy somehow thought Arcane needed.  It did it’s job absolutely amazingly.

“AH HA! But what about the file format?” I hear you say.  Well…it records to mpg.  Which I can drag directly into my editing software, which works a breeze with absolutely no problems.

It was a purchase that could have ended so very horribly.  No research on it, the complete opposite of what I planned to get.  Yet it works brilliantly.

Thanks, Sony!

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3 Responses to “Technology that just works.”

  1. Wow, low light, can handle high volumes and encodes to mpg, sounds like the holy grail.

    What editing software do you use?

  2. I edit with Sony Vegas…So really, compatability with whatever crazy business Sony wants to do with their encoding should really be a given hah.

  3. Hey Salty, do want HOSN and Arcane bootleg. Lemme know 😉

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