Well, first I think a lot of what you are dealing with is getting used to a new cam, figuring out its limits, its pluses and minuses.. which takes time. Second... you have it in easy mode which to a large extent generalizes all the settings. When you get better with the cam you can customize you settings to match the surroundings.
Auto-focus, even with high end cams takes time. If you shoot one thing and swing the cam around really fast and shoot at another, you will see the first part of the new shot as being unfocused... nothing you can do about this... it happens with all auto focus systems....The sensor has to pickup the new distance, that distance must be transformed into motor movement and the lens has to move to the correct position.... AND.... the more expensive the lens, then the greater its capacity for depth of field... which means more adjustment is needed for smaller movements of the cam. So you need to get used to the speed at which you can move the cam around without losing focus... This holds true for speed of zooming as well.
These focusing systems are also extremely sensitive. when shooting through a window for example, a lot of time the system will end up focusing on something it picks up on the glass instead of focusing THROUGH it.
HD cams in general do require more light than a dv cam, and this tends to be a bit of a sore spot with them... shooting in low light will always produce less than perfect shots. If you shoot in low light often then you should get yourself a lamp for your cam... it will improve the situation.
If you wish to create Hybrid hd dvd's you don't NEED Sony Vegas... I use it because it's a higher quality editor which allows you to do some pretty amazing things. But Pinnacle studio 10.7 is capable of capture/edit/author and disk burning, all within the same program. To do HD DVD's you need to purchase the program as well as the hd dvd plugin at an extra $50.
The hybrid hd dvd does NOT work in the Xbox 360 Although there are other programs that offer what is called 'Xbox compatibility mode", it is suggested that you do not use it. Pinnacle has discussed the situation with Microsoft and Microsoft WILL be issuing upgrade patches to the x360 so that they are equivalent to that of the Toshiba players. If you use a system with "xbox compatibility mode" then you may end up with disks that are unusable in BOTH the Toshiba player and xbox when the patch comes.
Your last question about PS3 I will avoid since I do not have one... there are others that are better suited to answer this one. I will say however that you may be a bit confused... As far as I know, you can not use USB for downloading video... the firewire connect is for this. The USB is for downloading still shots only. The HC7 cam also does not use AVCHD... it uses a mpeg2 compression to tape
Pinnacle xbox360 quote:
We believe this will be addressed Microsoft's Xbox 360 update. Unfortunately, there's no indication of when this will be available.
We're still looking for anything we could possibly do from our end to make this work, but as of right now, we're waiting for the Xbox 360 update as well.
Pinnacle Systems, Inc.