Home movie making has come a long, long way from the days of 8mm, when dad would gather the family in the livingroom and drag out the bulky projector for a night of Universal horror films. The whole livingroom having that special smell of heated film base and emulsion. The whole room a'flicker by the hot incandescent lamp, while the smoking contraption, with almost steampunk, clap-trap precision, loudly ticks away each frame, burning the dust of the surrounding air. Or how you'd have to hold that jump from the high dive at the local pool, while dad wound the old Bell & Howell 8mm camera to capture that priceless moment of fear and intense uncertainty as you stared into the gaping maw of the 'deep end', before plummeting downward toward that painful belly-flop 15 feet below. Cameras, and projecting the images they capture, have come a long way since the 50s and 60s; the golden infancy of 'Home Movies'.
8mm brought it home, Polaroid made it instant, and Kodak kept it coming right into our front doors with their ingenious kiosks, Fotomat. The glory of the 110 Silky Finish era of home photos, eecch. Then we entered the tape era and the chance to become cameramen, writers and directors of our own stories and home-spun Americanna. Still, the hands-on availability to affect all areas of the creation and production of your vision, were limited without access to an AV studio of some sort. Not to mention, duplicating and distributing your production on massive tape cartridges, the independent film industry was still a rich man's game. Or quite possibly the venue of students on campus' where 16mm productions and projects were the mainstay of classes Film Production I & II.
Enter the digital age: digital authoring becomes available to anyone owning a laptop, or a cell phone, pathetically! Tah-dah, elementary school kids become producers and get paid for monetized, playfulness on YouTube! How times have changed and will continue to rapidly unfold before our eyes. There is so many more necessary uses for videography. That is why a family camcorder is so important to archiving events in the passing of your family's lives. Which makes finding an affordable one like the Panasonic HC-V500P, at a price in the $200 range instead of the $400 dollar price range it's selling in, a miracle. But, miracles abound online and it can be done with the help of outlets such as Newegg and TigerDirect (this article is being created on and written about products purchased through these two vendors). Many outlets like Geeks.com have been the source for articles about products found here, as well. Every on-line vendor wants a pipeline into it's consumer shopping base; from Amazon to Zudu, and will gladly deluge your email server with exclusive offers and promo codes. Savings like a Lenovo daul-core desktop retailing at $600, had with code for $329.00, the promo said 47% discount (review of that unit later to come) or the HC-V500P, retailing at $450, let go for $229.00, are easily had by just giving up an email address.
The convenience and sheer compactness of this hand-held recorder make it ideal for any kind of archiving and its in-unit conversion software appeals to storytellers and Vbloggers alike. The most voluminous stick to fit into this unit, a 64 GB SDXC (30MB/s) allows for over 3 and a half hours of its highest definition capture at 1080i or 1080p., but affords emailing size compressions for the messages being sent to loved ones as we travel or fly about our lives. It is no bigger than your palm, and its LCD display is touch sensitive. There are two types of batteries; 2 hours to over 3 hours, although night shooting is somewhat lame (Sony dominating the night vision landscape). No bulky recharger to lug around though, the camera plugs into an adapter and Li-on tech tells you when you're fully charged by turning off LED indicators. Some thought we'd never see the likes of FireWire again, enter Multi/Mini HDMI, gold plated swiftness to LCD televisions with editing software, no doubt!. At the time of this review's writing, the potential of this unit hasn't even been fully realized by the reviewer due to a limited demand upon its capabilities. Mostly, it will be used to send small SD card/Vblog/letters to a daughter's multi-card reading laptop. It may also serve this reviewer's needs well in documenting his work, if he ever finds himself in the Sudan. But as far as conversion of 2D images into 3D images for the 3D televisions of this generation, this reviewer will not be examining, hands-on, those features. Let us be content to say this; there is more to come, from the HC-V500P.