The 3d Camcorder – is it time?

If you have the urge to escape the flat-lands and keep your video blog or journal in 3D, there is likely a 3d camcorder that will meet your needs. With each passing month new models appear and it becomes easier…and cheaper to try out 3D. From big name brands such as Fujifilm, Panasonic and Sony to newcomers like the Taiwanese company, Aiptek, every camcorder manufacturer seems to be joining the 3D club.

Panasonic led the pack in summer 2010 with their HDC-SDT750. Critics were quick to point out that the 3D mode was finicky and the front lens design is a bit unbalanced (see image below). Many of the controls are manual and the focal length is shallow. If you don’t get things just right, the picture is fuzzy and the 3d effect falls…well, flat.

This Spring Sony is releasing a new user friendly 3d video camera, the HDR-TD10 that records two simultaneous 1080p video streams. These are subsequently combined to create the 3D effect. The HDR-TD10 will shoot in a 2D mode as well, and sell for the relatively reasonable price of $1499. If this still falls outside your budget, Sony is also releasing a 3D version of their Bloggie camera that will sell for around $250.

All of the above assumes that you have a 3D TV to watch your 3D footage on. Sales of 3D televisions have been slower than expected. The push to release 3D camcorders is seen by some industry insiders as being a ploy to give people a compelling reason to make a 3d flatscreen purchase. But this strategy is primarily geared toward users who will primarily be making and showing home video.

Does it make sense to keep a video blog in 3D?

Are you the type of person who likes to be FIRST at everything? Do you want the chance to carve your own little niche out on YouTube before everyone else gets there? Well then 3D may be just your ticket. YouTube launched their new 3D channel where users can upload 3D content.

Guess what – you don’t even need a 3d camcorder!

If you have the technical know how, you can use two camcorders to record the necessary images and upload the dual streams to YouTube. I’ll be recording my own 3D blog in the coming days and will be posting a tutorial as to who to do this shortly. Meanwhile, monitor manufacturers are coming out with reasonably priced 3D monitors such as the Asus VG236H.

If you are like me, when you first heard about 3D you pegged it as another fad. However the more I’ve learned about it the more I see this to be as the inevitable next step toward video and an exciting leap forward for the potential of video blogging and video journaling. Video blogging is connecting the world like never before and the depth and realism that 3D video cameras takes that further. Let’s see how far we can go.

Xilisoft Video Converter Review

If you keep a video blog it will happen eventually. You will need to convert video. (Insert SCARY MUSIC here.) The Xilisoft Video converter is software that converts video. Whether you want to move video to your Google Phone, iPhone or an iPad this software can probably do the job.

But is it worth it? Following is my review of the Xilisoft software.

The video converter software comes in three flavors: Standard, Premium, and Ultimate. Each version handles HD video.

  • The standard version is unable to convert picture to video or video to picture nor does it allow editing, cropping or watermarking video.
  • The Platinum Version can edit video and handle pictures but it can’t crop video, add video watermarks, edit video effects or add subtitles.
  • The Ultimate Version does all of the above as well as having the ability to compare source video and customized video.

Consider what functions you actually need. Video editing software such as Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro can also edit, crop, add effects and subtitles. If you have such software you may be wasting money on the Ultimate Version. Of course Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro can also convert video, BUT not always in every format and often with quirks in the way the conversion is managed. The Xylisoft Video Converter specializes in video conversion, and this is definitely a big plus.

However, before you rush out and buy this software, consider what you can get for free.

Handbrake is an open source freeware package for MacOSX, Linux and Windows that can convert between many variations of video files and output as MP4 and MKV. It also has a built in subtitle function. The support is lacking compared to paid software but it’s fairly simple to use and is a completely free option that works well.

MPEG Streamclip is another free (and powerful) piece of software for MacOSX and Windows that converts a wide variety of formats including MPEG (DVDs). However the learning curve is a little bit higher.

To sum up my xilisoft review (or if your eyes glaze over when you read technical information) here’s what I recommend:

  • Download Handbrake, attempt the conversion. If it works – great! You saved yourself some cash. If it doesn’t work, move on.
  • Download MGEG Streamclip. Repeat the above.
  • Finally, get the trial version of the Xilisoft software. You’ve tried the free ones, you understand their capabilities. Now you are in a position to make a fully informed decision. (The Xilisoft hd video converter download is available at numerous sites and will allow you to try the software out for free for five minutes of conversion).

Is this software worth it? Try it. The rest is up to you.

The Xilisoft 3gp converter works with the following formats: AVI, MPEG, WMV, DivX, MP4, H.264/AVC, AVCHD, MKV, RM, MOV, XviD, 3GP, and audio MP3, WMA, WAV, RA, M4A, AAC, AC3, OGG.

MPEG Streamclip works in these formats: MPEG, VOB, PS, M2P, MOD, VRO, DAT, MOV, DV, AVI, MP4, TS, M2T, MMV, REC, VID, AVR, M2V, M1V, MPV, AIFF, M1A, MP2, MPA, AC3.

Handbrake imports a wide variety of formats and outputs in MP4(M4V) and MKV.

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