It's time to upgrade my old video camera. I'm still in the 4:3, standard definition era. Upgrading comes with a price, however: handling massive amounts of data in new formats.

I'd like to move into the 21st century with HD, but I also need to create DVDs. So far I'm looking at a Sony CX220 and a Canon HF-R400. The Sony camera will make both HD and SD videos, while the Canon will make only HD.

I would probably wind up recording in HD but converting all my videos to SD at first.* Most of my current video editing is with Avidemux, which is lightning fast (like 5 minutes of rendering for an hour of video), since I don't usually have to transcode. Some people use ffmpeg for conversion to SD. Am I going to regret this? Does the software work? Does it wind up being too inconvenient?

I know there's vast amounts of info available (too much?), but I guess I just need a little reassurance. It would be nice to get a few brief answers from people who have been through this? And if there are any great tips, those would be great too.

* I need to make DVDs for other people. Plus, to play HD back on my 4:3 TV, I would need a Blue Ray player and a blue ray burner for Linux. I have modest equipment -- a 2.6GHz, Dual Core Pentium running Precise, with a 500 GB drive. I'm currently using Avidemux, PiTiVi, and OpenShot for editing and Bombono for DVD authoring.