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Video production - Camera & video software suggestions

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Matt Stephens
Video production - Camera & video software suggestions
on Aug 29, 2010 at 12:34:54 am

Okay, new here and never posted on a forum like this before. Here goes.

I first think I should give some background to my question.

I have two projects going at this time. The first project was I had a guy video me teaching people how to play the piano by ear. He used a nice video camera and iMovie to do his editing. He created videos and put them on DVDs. We've created about 9 hours worth of video (3 years of instructional material or more).

Now I'm working on doing my own video production. I've recently quit my job (as a public school teacher) to do this. I want to be able to create quality videos and edit them myself.

I purchased a Sony DCR SR200 and then realized that it won't work with a Mac (out of luck).

So, then I got a Canon ZR60 and used it to record live video on Screenflow. I like Screenflow because as you can see in the video link below, I can add a midi keyboard above the live keyboard and make it where the keys light up while I'm playing. (This helps the student). The problem with this is that I want the "live video" to be bigger but drag it bigger, I get a somewhat grainy video.


Recently I got a Flip Camera and imported this video to iMovie and messed with it. I like it pretty well, but when I export the video to DVD, it's a bit grainy. Maybe I don't know what settings to use.

Today, I downloaded a trial version of Sony Vegas Pro video editing software and am going to see what it can do.

I also have another project in which I'm teaching elementary, junior high, and high school students how to compose written work properly. I will then put them on DVD.

Right now I need to decide what works best in regards to camera and video editing software. Here are my ultimate goals:

1. Provide my students with quality videos that can be used online and exported to DVDs.

2. I need to know what video camera's (along with video editing software) work best with what programs in order to get excellent video/audio quality.

3. I need to know what settings to use when exporting my videos to get the best quality.

4. In my "writing" videos, all I need to do is be able to add titles and text (easy to do in iMovie).

NOTE: Made a video through iMovie and iDVD (live feed via firewire with the Canon ZR60) and it was decent when played on a DVD player hooked to a TV. On the handheld DVD player, audio/video was out of sync.

5. In my "piano by ear" videos, I need to be able to record the midi keyboard and my "live" keyboard as you see in the video link I left above.

Ultimately, I guess I just need an excellent video quality for my students.

My current setting is a classroom setting and I have lighting that I use in order to make myself clear and illuminated.

Any suggestions based on my desired end result?

Thanks! matt

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David Basulto
Re: Video production - Camera & video software suggestions
on Aug 29, 2010 at 6:34:34 am

Matt sounds like things are headed well for you! I edit on PC and Mac via Adobe Premiere Pro CS5. This new version is blazing fast. It allows you to have multiple formats in the same timeline with no problems whatsoever.

Here are some suggestions:

1. The Adobe CS5 Production Premium Suite comes with Encore DVD. You can edit in Premiere Pro then Export the sequence to Encore and create DVDs. No pre renders. Also you can export to Blu Ray!

2. I use Canon XHA1's, 7D, and Panasonic HVX200. All work fine with Premiere on a PC or Mac. We just got in some JVC HM100U. Those shoot to SD cards.

3. Try exporting to H.264.

4. The Premiere Pro CS5 titler allows you to create lower thirds, text, graphics etc really fast, and easily.

Here is a link to a free 30 day trial of Premiere Pro CS5.

Best of luck! Dave

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Matt Stephens
Re: Video production - Camera & video software suggestions
on Aug 29, 2010 at 1:29:40 pm


Thanks for your response. With little knowledge of video camera's, a recommendation from you is helpful. I'll check out all three cams and also Adobe CS5.

So, just to clarify, with this video editing software and these cameras, you've had NO trouble with audio/video being out of sync during play back after burning to a DVD? Is that correct?

Also, can you record live via firewire cable with the Panasonic HVX200?



I have an excellent lighting set up, however, still getting the grainy picture when expanding the video to full screen. I think it's got to be this camera.

Plus, audio and video are still out of sync.
Thanks for your input!

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Dennis Radeke
Re: Video production - Camera & video software suggestions
on Aug 30, 2010 at 10:22:25 am

With the HVX200 and other P2 type devices, the media is most often recorded as an MXF file to a p2 card. You can edit the MXF files natively in Premiere Pro. If however, you want to record DV with the HVX200, Premiere Pro can capture it via firewire.

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Craig Alan
Re: Video production - Camera & video software suggestions
on Aug 29, 2010 at 7:43:15 am

If you want a sharper image, you need to add more light. These small cams will not shoot well in low light and then if you blow up part of the image in post you will make the grainy image even more obvious. If you are serious about professional looking quality, you need to invest more in production gear. The biggest problem with the video is a constant buzz over your voice. What do you use to capture sound? Did you record this live or record a voice over? The keyboard sounds fine but the vocal quality and buzz are distractions. All that said the instruction is well presented.

This is a FCP forum so asking about Imovie is a little off topic. The FCS is a worthy investment. You can capture almost any format out there and then use compressor to get the best quality possible for either DVDs or on-line.

OSX 10.5.7; MAC Book PRO (EARLY 2008); Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30, Sony vx2000/PD170, Canon xl2; Pana, Sony, and Canon consumer cams; FCP certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.

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