Master Video Camera

3 Wednesdays from 1/8 9.30am - 12.30pm

Week 1
Welcome to the exciting wonderful world of digital video cameras! I dont know if any of you have had experience in using the older analog system but if so you probably would have been recording to VHS tape. Check out the ancient device my mate thought he was doing me a favor by giving to me a couple of years ago. I think he was trying make room in his shed actually!

To create a dvd or computer based movie required that this information be digitised using purpose built video capture cards. This process converted analog vhs video into digital video stored in a range of formats.

Then there was mini DV or digital video format which uses much smaller versions of tapes. This is tried and true mature technology - but that doesn't mean its fault free or couldn't be done better. At the same time was developed secure digital or SD cards that are used in digital cameras of all sorts that typically can store the video generated by digital cameras. Now we have hard drive storage of digitally acquired video in the latest hand held handycam or camcorders.
A note regarding technical stuff and video cameras - this is a very technical subject but there are some basic principles that apply to photography and film. Don't try and understand everything straight away or maybe even in a year - learn to use the equipment you've got and the understanding will grow as you have a need to find out more.
The internet is an amazing resource for all things video camera - dont buy one without checking out reviews carefully (see Jay's comparison spreadsheet below) or without having a good hard look on ebay for base level prices before deciding what you want.

Then when you've created your masterpiece you can showcase it to the world for nix using Youtube

Week 2
In 2006 Ros and Jay were involved with the Harnessing Rural Skills program run at YCEN during which videos of the Strath Valley Wiltshire Horn Stud and also of Jay's Tai Chi the Yackandandah Fair were taken.
We checked out the new Acer notebook computers running Windows Vista Home Premium and tried to capture some of the video from the Panasonic NV-GS300 video camera in Moviemaker but had no success. We then captured successfully to Jay's notebook using Windows XP and Moviemaker and transferred the movie of Ros's sheep stud to the 3 new notebooks via usb stick. We then played with the movies creating titles and credits, muting the recorded sound and adding music to the video clip and editing out unwanted frames.
Jay had brought in some catalogs showing information on various video cameras and with some hard work prepared a features/price comparision

Week 3

The new video camera has arrived and we've had some fun with it. There are a few technical issues surrounding getting it to work with Windows Vista but they were overcome with the download of an update to the supplied software (Picture Motion Browser 1.1) that came with the camera. This was installed on the 5 new notebook computers. We used phtocopied diagrams that were in the user manual to learn the controls of the camera. The LCD screen that folds out is great because its so large - it also operates as a touch screen - it doesnt seem right to put finger marks on the screen but you certainly don't notice it when viewing movies and making choices and selections.

The New YCEN Camera is the Sony HDR-SR1

The manual for the Sony HDR-SR1 is an 11mb pdf file and can be accessed online at the Sony website

For a very in depth coverage of the topic of handycams or camcorders go to - if nothing else read the section on uses of camcorders
And for lots of technical stuff about digital video go to


Setup and use a digital video camera

Panasonic NV-GS300 user manual

Making Movies

Video formats
Internet bandwidth