Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Edit Functions in HD2000

I found the built-in editing functions of the HD2000 extremely useful while preparing my videos for uploading into Vimeo. Since I have only the free Vimeo account, I can only upload one HD video per week (just as well or I'll be spending all my time editing my videos), up to 500MB size. Since it also take ages to upload in Vimeo, I have decided to limit my videos to be within 3 minutes which is about 3 hours of uploading time in my case. Thus I need to do a lot of trimming and joining all the short videos that was shot by my wife.

This is where I use a lot of the built in editing functions of Cut and Join in the HD2000. At times I just wish there is also an "Unjoin" function and that would make it complete. Before I proceed to describe the two built in editing functions, here is the link to my latest video uploaded in Vimeo. This one was taken in a public park at the foot of the Pamukkale travertine in the early evening. As most of the park was in shade, it was a good test of the HD2000 as my wife zoomed and panned all over the place from the sunlit travertine to the shaded stream, the open sky to the shimmering water of the lake; the distant trees to a close-up of the ducks and everything else in between. There was also the walking shot as she approached the lake. So you can see how the HD2000 performed in the changing conditions.

Here is the Vimeo link,

Despite all the bad press of the poor Image Stabilisation, I think the HD2000 did reasonable well as the shots were completely hand-held and unprocessed. But you can see the auto exposure, auto focus and auto White Balance hard at work as the lighting conditions changed rapidly. It seems a bit slow but it gives that artistic feel.

OK back to the editing functions. There are just two of them - Cut and Join.

The Join function is to join several videos into one big video and the limit is that you can only join a maximum of 9 clips at any one time and the 4GB file size limit also applies. You just simply select the clips to join in the order you want by pressing the Set button and numbers will appear on the clips that are selected so that you see if that is the right order.

Then you press the Record button to save the joined videos and you have a choice to save it as a new video or overwrite the existing videos and you can view the joined videos before actually saving it.

The next is the Cut function. As this is very basic, you can only set two cut points.

Thus you can only cut or save part of the video in the beginning, the end or somewhere in between. To cut more you will have to repeat the process. The only good thing is that by toggling the Set button down you can reverse the portion to be deleted and to be saved. Just as in the Join function, you can save the video as new or overwrite the existing video and to view the edited video before actually saving it.

Since there is no undo function, I sometime wish that there is an "Unjoin" function since at times I want to breakup what is already joined. But you can do it in a roundabout way by using the Cut function twice. Still these two edit functions are very useful as I could not find a video editing software so far that can edit and save the file back in the original HD2000 format which can be played back by the camcorder. I think not many other camcorders has built in editing functions, all will just have the delete video function.

So enjoy your HD2000.

Ronald Kwok

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

HD2000 as a card reader

I tested out the function of the HD2000 as a card reader or an external disk drive by connecting it to my laptop via the USB cable supplied. The camcorder detected the USB connection and the selection screen came on. Once you select the Card Reader, the camcorder will appear as an external disk drive in Windows. You can then just drag and drop files to and fro between the SDHC card and the PC. BTW, the AC power need not be on but the camcorder must first be on to select the card reader function. Thus the HD2000 can act as a SDHC card reader, though a very expensive one!

Other functions under the USB Connection for Computer are MTP (for Vista), Screen Capture and PC Camera.

I tried copying different types of files to the SDHC card and it works but when you you want to play back the files with the camcorder, it must be of the same mp4 format and has the file name SANYxxxx.mp4 where xxxx can be any number. One video clip is just one mp4 file so it is very easy to archive your files on the PC and to copy old files to play back on the HD2000. This is a quick alternative to using the XACTI library when you have a PC around.

For this week's video on Vimeo, I have uploaded a clip taken at an indoor stadium where a few kindergartens (including the one my grandchildren attend) were having their joint sports day.
This is from one of the kindergartens where the performance was easily the best among those taking part. Though some of the kids were out of sync, it was even more fun to watch. Hope you'll also enjoy the video.

This was taken with the HD2000 on a tripod, zoomed and panned. Unfortunately the tripod was not of very good quality (it came free with the camcorder) and the horizontal panning was very jerky. So I learn the first rule of choosing a tripod - make sure the movements are smooth in all directions. The built-in mic also did pretty well as it captured both the very loud music and also the voices of the kids, with no distortion.

Here's the
Vimeo link to click on.

Happy viewing.

Ronald Kwok

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Video sample in mixed lights

I have uploaded another composite video in Vimeo, this time it is made up of tourist sites in Istanbul both taken outdoor as well as indoor. They are shot at the highest resolution of 1920x1080, 60p (60fps). Probably will not see the difference in Vimeo but if you download the original file from Vimeo, you may see the difference but you need to do it within a week since the original file will be removed after that.

Here's the link,

One thing I discovered when editing my videos using the built-in cut and join functions in the HD2000 is that you cannot join videos taken with different resolutions. I am not sure if it is the same using external editing program. However, there is no problem when I burn videos on DVD (SD quality) using Nero Visions; I could mix all the different resolutions and can burn them onto one DVD. I suppose this is because they are all down converted to one common file type.

Another thing I found out is that the camcorder (actually the battery) gets quite warm if used continuously and it will not charge when plugged into the docking station. The indicator light on the camcorder will flash red and it will only charge after it has cool down. The light is a solid red when the battery is charging so this is one of the safety feature that prevents the battery from over-heating. So don't panic when you see the flashing red light, just cool it!

Ronald Kwok

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Video taken in bright outdoor light - Turkey

I have posted another video of my recent trip to Turkey, this time taken in good outdoor light and hopefully it will also put the Sanyo HD2000 in better light! Nevertheless, you will notice a lot more shakes especially the one taken in Goreme Valley where my wife was shooting while walking. You can view it here:

But it took so long to upload and even longer for the conversion before it appeared in Vimeo for download. The most frustrating part was that I had to try uploading several times when the process hanged. I suppose that is because it is a free account and it would be faster (at least for the conversion) if it was a paid account. So there is a price for everything.

Some notes on the video. It was shot in 1920x1080, 30p; totally hand-held and no processing apart from simple cuts and joints. I uploaded it directly into Vimeo so I do not know if the Vimeo conversion has any effect on the video quality. Comments are welcomed.

Happy viewing.

Ronald Kwok

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The 4GB file limit test - retest and updates

This is in responce to one reader's query on the gap between the 4GB files if a different class of SDHC card is used. A class 6 card has higher read/write properties than a class 4 card so in theory, the time taken to start and store a file should be faster on a class 6 card compared to a class 4 card; the only question is whether it is noticeable in real life. (Note: A class 2 card should not be used with the HD2000 since it cannot handle the videos at the higher resolutions.)

Since the last time I used a Kingston class 4 card for my test, I did the same test again using a Transcend class 6 card. The result I got proved the above theory since the gap was only 5 seconds compared to 10 seconds the last time. Out of curiosity, I repeated the test again using the class 4 card and the results surprised me.

No, it is not because the gap was shorter than using the class 6 card but because it was shorter than what I measured the last time. This time it was only 7 seconds compared to 10 seconds previously! Not sure if this was the SDHC card itself that affected the results, I repeated the test again with my 2 other Kingston class 4 cards. The results were very similar, one also gave 7 seconds and the other, 8 seconds. For some unknown reasons, the gap is somehow shorter than when I tested it the last occasion. I can only suspect that the cards are now more seasoned after being in used many times and the read/write is a bit faster. Who knows?

To confirm the results, I tested using the Transcend class 6 card again. The result was, thank goodness, consistent at a 5 seconds gap.

For those of you wondering, this is how I did the test; nothing elaborate but something very simple and which I think is fairly accurate. I left the camcorder to run on recording and when the end of file countdown come on, I video the Windows clock. Thus it will show the time the recording stop and also the time when the next video starts again. The difference in the two times captured on video will be the gap. There is a possible error of +- one second but good enough for this purpose.

BTW, there are also slight differences for the length of the video of the 4GB video among the cards used and it ranges from 23:39 to 23:48 using just the length of the video shown on the video playback listing screen.

To sum it up, these are my findings. You'll be the judge to say whether it is conclusive or not.

1. There is a gap between the end of the first 4GB file and the start of the next 4GB file.

2. Using the higher class 6 SDHC card will reduce this gap as compared to a class 4 card which is about 5 seconds as compared to about 7 seconds from the test carried out

3. The length of the video at 4GB also varies slightly depending on the card in use and ranges from about 23 minutes 39 seconds to about 23 minutes 48 seconds.

4. Use a class 6 SDHC card as far as possible.

If you are recording a long video that may exceed the 4GB limit and knowing the above figures, it is best to stop the recording manually at a suitable time before it stops automatically in order not to miss out any critical moments that you wish to capture, should they occur during the gap.
I believe this gap will also occur in all camcorders that uses the FAT32 file system but it may vary for the different brands.

Happy shooting.

Ronald Kwok

Friday, July 3, 2009

First video at Vimeo

As poor Alice thought, "what is the use of a book without pictures or conversations?", you may also ask "what is the use of a video blog without videos?"

So at last you will get to see some videos on this Blog. I just joined Vimeo, a video hosting site, this morning and I uploaded my (or rather my wife's) first video in Vimeo. Since mine is a free account with Vimeo, I can only upload one HD video a week and for my first upload, I have chosen one clip taken in a restaurant in Cappadocia, Turkey during my recent visit there. This was taken in low-light to demonstrate the capability of the HD2000 in this area. The upload was very S-L-O-W and that 2 minute clip took more than 2 hours so I don't know if this is normal or it is because of my slow laptop, my bad line or both.

As most of us know, all the HD camcorders performs pretty well in bright, outdoor lighting; it is only in low light and indoor lighting that we separate the men from the boys. I believe the HD2000 didn't fare too badly and stood among the men as I am more than happy with the result for the money I paid for the camcorder.

The video was shot using 1920x1080, 30p rather than at the highest resolution since it would be easier to edit later on. The camcorder was totally hand-held and set to fully auto mode. No processing was done except for trim and join and hence the raw audio. Comments are most welcomed.

The link for the video is


Ronald Kwok