[Gllug] OT: HD Camcorder (Linux and PS3 compatibility)

damion.yates at gmail.com damion.yates at gmail.com
Tue Sep 16 14:09:24 UTC 2008

Okay this is sort of on topic as I only use Linux, so compatibility with
Linux is a must.  My question is, does anyone have any recommendations
for an HD camcorder, this can include "don't bother, you're not an eagle
and can't tell the difference on your telly from more than N metres" or
similar :)

I'm due a 2nd baby in a day or so and want to record it in something
that is better quality than my camera phone.

I have a broken Sony MiniDV camera, which I used to firewire in to Kino
for video editing and creating DVDs.  I now find that I watch almost
everything through my PS3.  I used to transcode things with the various
tools (ffmpeg, mencoder, etc.) until they grew the PS3's supported
formats by so much that this is rarely needed.

If I get a SD card using HD camcorder, my hope is that the format of the
files is such that I can simply play them on the PS3.  Or at worse, that
I'd need to just change container formats, with something like:

ffmpeg -i camera_file.{avchd,mkv,ts2v} -acodec copy -vcodec copy compatible.mp4

I fear this will be unlikely and faced with the prospect of transcoding
video, and waiting umteen hours for that to finish before I can play the
HD video back on my telly, I will soon regret bothering.

So does anyone already have one and have any experience of this?

My research so far has found some articles about compatibility with
Linux, mostly that you probably need to transcode the video which is a
shame, but these are articles about Linux with very specific cameras,
not a run down of all the formats that the various HD cameras can do.

I know that ones which write to 8cm DVD are useless, those disks only
work in dvd players that can fit them and if the video was recorded in
dvd format, so not HD.  If you use HD then you'll need to adapt it, not
to mention the increadably limited recording time you're left with in
this case and probably decreased battery due to the moving parts.

Other than that, I don't know if I fancy HDD ones, I don't imagine I
need the capacity, so it would have to have other advantages.
Compatibility with my existing archive or MiniDV would be a bonus, but I
don't know if the mpeg2 encoded format HDV will confuse firewire linux
capturing tools.

Anyway, over to you...


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