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Laptop to go?

 
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SantaFefan



Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 11258
Location: top of the cliffs in Norfolk

PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:30 am    Post subject: Laptop to go? Reply with quote

The question is, do I take it on holiday with me? normally I'd say no but having used my new Camcorder and studied it's instructions (yeah right!) I'm thinking it might be handy.

The Camcorder has a hard drive only - no card, so once it's used up I'm stuffed!
It'll record about 22 hours on standard play and about 45 hours on long play.. I did a test using both speeds and to be honest, I couldn't really see any difference.

But, if I take my Laptop with me, I could download the unit and free up the disc?
Plus it might be handy to Google stuff...

Do you think the Laptop would be safe in the cargo hold?


Colin may be able to answer this.. the battery chargers for both the Camcorder and Laptop reads " AC in 100-240v 50/60Hz" so it seems to me I could plug the same charger into the US mains? maybe this is common nowadays.

Mrs SF reckons I'm worrying too much.. 45 hours is about 2 hours of recording a day.
Maybe she's right. We never watch our old holiday VHS tapes anyway!
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Minx



Joined: 09 Dec 2006
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Location: France/Spain/Peterborough/Tenerife

PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We always take our laptops with us when we go on holiday, but NEVER put them in the hold luggage - always in cabin hand baggage. The amount of knocking about the luggage gets, not to mention the risk of having it pinched persuaded us.

We download our photos throughout the holiday so we always have bags of room on the cameras.
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:21 am    Post subject: Re: Laptop to go? Reply with quote

SantaFefan wrote:
The question is, do I take it on holiday with me? normally I'd say no but having used my new Camcorder and studied it's instructions (yeah right!) I'm thinking it might be handy.

The Camcorder has a hard drive only - no card, so once it's used up I'm stuffed!


What's the capacity of the HDD? (or, better still, which camcorder is it?)

SantaFefan wrote:
It'll record about 22 hours on standard play and about 45 hours on long play.. I did a test using both speeds and to be honest, I couldn't really see any difference.


Is it Standard Definition or High Definition? Either way, you won't notice a difference on scenes in which there's not a lot of movement, but scenes will suffer from "compression artefacts" where you've recorded a scene containing a lot of movement on a high compression (ie: less space used) setting. Static scenes can survive heavy compression - but movement scenes can't. They'll go all blocky on playback

There's nothing to stop you mixing settings according to the scene/s you're recordng, of course, but in general it's better to use as high a setting as possible. This is even more important for high definition when you're viewing on a large HDTV via HDMI connection.

Quote:
But, if I take my Laptop with me, I could download the unit and free up the disc?


Yes. Assuming you have enough HDD space on the laptop, that's the easiest thing to do. What I would do is connect the camcorder via USB and then archive off the lot. It's always useful to have a backup anyhow.

Quote:
Do you think the Laptop would be safe in the cargo hold?


Yes, if you wrap it in bubble wrap etc it will be fine. You could put it into the middle of a suitcase containing towels, etc. However, I always take my laptop and camera/s into the cabin with me. I've had problems with baggage handling before and I just don't trust them.

I'm flying out to Portugal very early Thursday morning and I'll be taking a couple of yet-to-be-released HD camcorders with me to test in the Western Algarve. I'm also taking a laptop and I'll be using it for archiving in exactly the way that you suggest.

Quote:
Colin may be able to answer this.. the battery chargers for both the Camcorder and Laptop reads " AC in 100-240v 50/60Hz" so it seems to me I could plug the same charger into the US mains? maybe this is common nowadays.


You should have no problems at all. North American voltages are within the same range. Test the supply with another appliance first, if necessary.

Quote:
Mrs SF reckons I'm worrying too much.. 45 hours is about 2 hours of recording a day.
Maybe she's right. We never watch our old holiday VHS tapes anyway!


She's right. On the last two occasions I've done this with HD camcorders I've rarely recorded more than 16GB of material (which is 4 hours of HD video) over seven days. You can always delete clips that are no good to make space, of course!

Colin
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Helen May



Joined: 10 Dec 2006
Posts: 18191
Location: Cheshire

PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sante Fe,

I'd take it, O/H always downloads his photos on to his while we are away.

Don't put your laptop in the hold though! Apart from anything else you could use it offline on your flight if you wanted to.

H
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SantaFefan



Joined: 07 Dec 2006
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Location: top of the cliffs in Norfolk

PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the replies! Razz appreciate your thoughts...

Quote:
What's the capacity of the HDD? (or, better still, which camcorder is it?)


It's the Sony DCR-SR37E Colin, it has a 60GB hard drive.

I've just noticed the Camcorder also accepts a "Memory stick - Pro Duo" which is like the SD card but being Sony, it's slightly smaller... Rolling Eyes
I reckon it would give another 12 hours or so on long play..

I'm aghast at the price difference though..
Currys price for a 16GB card - 130
Amazon - 70
Some company called Eferret at 45

The exact same thing from Walmart is $60... so I'll be buying a couple from over there.

Yes, I reckon I'll use long play for standard stuff which only I will look at and save the standard play for a particularly nice steam locomotive we're travelling on which will undoubtably be for my eyes only! Laughing
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SantaFefan wrote:
It's the Sony DCR-SR37E Colin, it has a 60GB hard drive.


Ah yes, I know it. It's standard definition and not HD, as well. To be honest, even recording at the full quality setting, you'll be hard pressed to fill up the HDD - and if you do you'll never get to watch it all (as Mrs. SFF says), so I wouldn't worry.

SantaFefan wrote:
I've just noticed the Camcorder also accepts a "Memory stick - Pro Duo" which is like the SD card but being Sony, it's slightly smaller... Rolling Eyes
I reckon it would give another 12 hours or so on long play..


Memory Stick, in all its forms, is Sony's proprietary memory card format and it's a bit of a pain because it's not compatible with any other physical format like SD/SDHC/SDXC, etc. However, you could use it to backup by copying direct to it from the camcorder's HDD (you can do this in the menu system). Alternatively, if you have a separate card reader, just pop the card into that and slot it into one of the laptop's USB sockets.

Try to avoid recording at any other than the top quality setting at all costs, because the camcorder uses the same codec (compression/decompression system) as used by DVD. That's called MPEG-2, and it suffers badly as compression increases, especially in less than optimum light. MPEG-2 doesn't require great storage space, though, so you'll have to shoot a helluva lot of clips to fill up the camcorder's HDD!

SantaFefan wrote:
I'm aghast at the price difference though..
Currys price for a 16GB card - 130
Amazon - 70
Some company called Eferret at 45


It's because Memory Stick is nowhere near as popular as SD in the UK, and it's specific to Sony.

SantaFefan wrote:
The exact same thing from Walmart is $60... so I'll be buying a couple from over there.


Beware! Sony is starting to phase out Memory Stick in all its forms. Don't ask me how I know - I just do! Wink

SantaFefan wrote:
Yes, I reckon I'll use long play for standard stuff which only I will look at and save the standard play for a particularly nice steam locomotive we're travelling on which will undoubtably be for my eyes only! Laughing


Only if you have to - see my note above about quality.

One more thing to note: if you decide to archive files off (say) every evening, then keep each day's clips in a separate folder on your laptop otherwise you run the risk of over-writing anything with a similar filename (only appropriate if you clear down the camcorder's HDD).

I tend to do this and give each folder a date-reference name.

Colin
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SantaFefan



Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 11258
Location: top of the cliffs in Norfolk

PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
However, you could use it to backup by copying direct to it from the camcorder's HDD (you can do this in the menu system). Alternatively, if you have a separate card reader, just pop the card into that and slot it into one of the laptop's USB sockets.


Now that's a good idea.. I didn't realise I could do this.
I also read that I can record straight to the Memory Stick instead of the Hard Drive so maybe I'll use the Sticks on "special events" and the Hard Drive for the usual stuff..

Funnily enough, over the years I've found it's the "boring and incidental clips/footage" which turns out to be the most interesting!

I looked at an old "C" series video cassette recently, shot when we first visited Los Angeles back in 1983. There's a very shaky section on it of Mrs SFF at 24 years old munching the contents of a huge Popcorn cup whilst attempting to read all the inscribed names in the concrete at Grauman's Chinese Theatre... she looked sooo young! and very embarrassed.
but, haven't you found that with old audio cassette tapes too? I went through a spell of "clipping off" by dubbing over all the run offs from TV recordings ( mike in front of the tele stuff ) thereby wiping out my dad talking, dog barking, doorbell, mates coming in etc.. how I wish I hadn't done that during my desire for perfect recordings.. Sad


I've just looked at my "newish" PC and it has a SD slot but also a slightly smaller one too so maybe it'll read the Sony Memory Stick..

Thanks so much Colin!
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SantaFefan wrote:
I've just looked at my "newish" PC and it has a SD slot but also a slightly smaller one too so maybe it'll read the Sony Memory Stick..


No it won't. Any dedicated SD card slot (whether it's the full-size SD or the smaller "MicroSD") is completely incompatible with all Memory Stick formats. Unless it's a Universal slot you'll need a separate reader that plugs into a USB port. They're only a few quid though.

SantaFefan wrote:
Thanks so much Colin!


Luckily, you've hit on my specialism (digital video). I've written three books on the subject!

I'm kinda lucky because I'm off to Portugal to test some new camcorder products and file tech reports on them for advance QA purposes - a sort of "expenses paid holiday" - and the wife can come along too!

Just hope it's warmer there than here. It wasn't last time I went.
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SantaFefan



Joined: 07 Dec 2006
Posts: 11258
Location: top of the cliffs in Norfolk

PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Three books? Shocked I'd be pushed to string a couple of sentences together! Laughing
Yes, we're off Thursday too. I believe the weather in San Francisco is about the same as ours at the moment and maybe snow in Lake Tahoe so it'll be varied.
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