Technology Electronics

The "ABC" on How to Use Your New Camcorder

Beginners guide

The times of the tape and disc video camera are almost over, even though they didn't have any disadvantage of picture quality or size compared to a hard drive or flash memory camcorder. The HDD and memory card camera is not just a different recording medium; it also has new possibilities to access your pre-recorded videos and ways to archive your recordings.


There is a major difference and advantage to the tape camera playback. Every time you press the record/pause button, the camera generates a little thumbnail of the scene you recorded. Once you scroll through all the different thumbnails displayed on the flip-out screen, you not only have a good idea what has been recorded on the camcorder, you can pick and choose a scene and play it back immediately! There is no need, like on a tape camera, to cue for minutes backwards and forwards to find the clip you are looking for.

Connectivity - TV monitor

Most cameras feature an A/V (Audio/Video) socket, which enables the playback from the camera directly onto the Big TV screen.
Tip - Make sure the AV cable is supplied with your new camera, as most of them are unique and quite expensive if you have to buy it separate.

Computer connection

If your camera records still images on a separate memory card, you need to use the USB connection on the camera to transfer the images onto the computer. This is often a special shaped socket, which requires the matching cable. In case there are any issues, you could take the memory card and put it directly into the computer, or use a card reader connected to the computer.
Video images are transferred in most cases via a standard firewire connection. It requires a standard cable, which usually can be purchased in a computer shop or at a video camera retailer.
More recent camcorder releases use one USB connection for video and still images. This will require a special cable, which should be supplied with the camcorder.

Video archiving

This is the part, where we have to rethink, adopt and learn new methods.

Here are the options to transfer the video from camera/memory card, to make space for new recordings and playback your video footage without camera:

* Transfer from camera to DVD/HDD combo using fire wire or AV cable.

* External DVD burner, which sometimes can be obtained as an accessory for the camcorder.

* Connect to computer for temporally storage. Editing and Disk burning later.

* Connect to computer, file conversion and copy onto thumb-drive for direct viewing on TV monitor or via DVD player, which supports a USB input. For details about file extensions and formats, read my article/post 'Video files/Formats'.

This is it, a basic explanation about the work-flow of HDD and memory card camcorders. It requires some adjustments on your behalf, as you handle your recorded videos, but the advantages are huge and well worth the effort to adapt to these changes. Sooner or later you have to learn how to control your camcorder with a computer.

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