PDA

View Full Version : New Camera Tips




Bloo Ice
Jun 7, 2005, 12:24 AM
Hi. I like shooting and editing videos, but right now, my quality is terrible. I need a new video camera. Right now I'm using a cheap Panasonic VHS-C camera, and the quality is pure ****. I'm wondering what to look for when buying a camera. I don't want to spend a bunch, and won't be buying it for some time, but I can start shopping now. I don't want to spend more than around $500 for one though. What specs should I look for? Thanks



2jaded2care
Jun 8, 2005, 03:05 PM
Decided on a format yet? I prefer miniDV, picture quality is great. Haven't used a DVD camcorder, but it seems a pain, you have to finalize the discs, etc. Haven't used Sony's Digital8, but it seems like a transitional, proprietary format that will disappear sooner or later.

Panasonic has some 3-CCD camcorders in your price range (especially from e-tailers). These should give you better video in low-light situations.

Also, your shooting method will determine what model you should get. Use an external microphone? (Need an ext. mic jack.) Headphones to monitor audio? (Phones jack.) Remote control for zoom? (LANC - which most entry-level Panasonics lack.) Use a tripod and need to change tapes quickly for live events? (Top-loading models are much easier.) You should consider all this before buying.

Also check out www.camcorderinfo.com .

My 2 cents.

JDOG_
Jun 9, 2005, 01:27 AM
-Definitely go Mini DV. It's an estabished format, the tapes are cheap and the quality is pretty solid.

-JVC and Sony make great camcorders (IMO). I currently have a Canon and would suggest it for beginners, but you obviously have some experience so you can probably handle the other two brands better.

-Get a camera with an external mic port, you're going to want to do it if you have a project that needs better sound or something like an interview.

-Night vision is AWESOME. Just ask Paris Hilton *cough*

-Get a camera that loads on the side...bottom loaders are a beeeeotch when you're using a tripod and need to switch tapes while maintaining a position.


Good luck.

Bloo Ice
Jun 9, 2005, 02:06 AM
-Night vision is AWESOME. Just ask Paris Hilton *cough*

LOLL :p

Time for more questions:

I know I'm going to get one with a mic port, but probably don't need a headphone jack. I have an old VHS camcorder with both of these options, but the thing is sooo old and big and heavy. I'll get one with night vision....would come in handy. So many times I needed it but didn't have it, and that little built in light just drains the battery and nothing more.

About how much do mini dv camcorders cost? How long do the tapes last, like setting on a shelf, like how many years are they good for?

Do you have a sample clip of the mini dv raw quality, like w/o any computer enhancements or anything that I could see?

My cheap Panisonic is a side-loader. The VHS is a top loader. I prefer the top loading best. I've never used a bottom loader, but it sounds like a big pain.

What about those digital camcorders that record straight to like a CF card? Are those any good? I've seen them on those shopping channels while channel surfing, but you can never really tell the quality from what they show you.

wn3_z
Jun 9, 2005, 02:12 AM
Avoid Sharp. They stinks. Just do a search on google with "Sharp camcorder" and "Dew". I'm so pissed with mine.

2jaded2care
Jun 9, 2005, 03:05 PM
LOLL :p

Time for more questions:
...

About how much do mini dv camcorders cost? How long do the tapes last, like setting on a shelf, like how many years are they good for?

...

Do you have a sample clip of the mini dv raw quality, like w/o any computer enhancements or anything that I could see?

...

What about those digital camcorders that record straight to like a CF card? Are those any good? I've seen them on those shopping channels while channel surfing, but you can never really tell the quality from what they show you.

You can get low-end MiniDV camcorders starting around $300, up into the thousands for the "prosumer" and "professional" models. I've recaptured tapes as old as 5 years without any problems, but I'm sure that can vary.

Not to scare you off the format (it really does work well), but I have read some warnings about changing tape brands without cleaning the heads on your camcorder/deck. Supposedly the tapes can leave some residue which might not be friendly to other brands of tape. (Also I don't think JVC brand tape likes my Sony equipment as much as Sony and Fuji brand tapes do.) Another thing to be aware of is, always record in SP mode if possible, there can be compatibility issues between camcorders/decks with tapes recorded in LP mode.

Sorry, don't know any easy way to show you the tape quality... be assured it's much better than VHS.

I've read about JVC's Everio camcorder which uses flash memory cards, haven't used one though. This one seems to use MPEG-2 compression, which can be problematic with editing since not all the video frames are "real" (unextrapolated from other frames). DV format compresses within individual frames, but they stand alone as separate frames.

Also, while flash memory cards would not deteriorate like tapes, they are not currently a very economical way to archive video.

Hope this helps.

2jaded2care
Jun 9, 2005, 03:29 PM
Forgot to mention... I always use a headphone, at least plug it in once, to make sure the built-in microphone is working OK. (Yes, they can and do go bad.) Plus, it's better to figure out early that the nattering children behind you are too loud and distracting to hear the talent clearly on tape (so you can then move away), instead of figuring that out after the event.

It's amazing how much ambient noise your brain can filter out while you're recording -- or what your assumptions of the microphone's pickup pattern are -- but, of course, the microphone usually records everything it's designed to, regardless of what you think (or wish) it would.

Good luck!

Bloo Ice
Jun 9, 2005, 06:30 PM
Not to scare you off the format (it really does work well), but I have read some warnings about changing tape brands without cleaning the heads on your camcorder/deck. Supposedly the tapes can leave some residue which might not be friendly to other brands of tape. (Also I don't think JVC brand tape likes my Sony equipment as much as Sony and Fuji brand tapes do.) Another thing to be aware of is, always record in SP mode if possible, there can be compatibility issues between camcorders/decks with tapes recorded in LP mode.

I imagine that would happen with any kind of tape, mini dv, hi 8, vhs, vhs-c, w/e. But, not too sure about that.

Forgot to mention... I always use a headphone, at least plug it in once, to make sure the built-in microphone is working OK. (Yes, they can and do go bad.) Plus, it's better to figure out early that the nattering children behind you are too loud and distracting to hear the talent clearly on tape (so you can then move away), instead of figuring that out after the event.

It's amazing how much ambient noise your brain can filter out while you're recording -- or what your assumptions of the microphone's pickup pattern are -- but, of course, the microphone usually records everything it's designed to, regardless of what you think (or wish) it would.

Now that you mentioned that, it does make sense. The last thing I did, using my cheap Panisonic was a short 3 minute project for school. Because we were pressed for time to get it shot, and I didn't have anyone around to film it, I had to use a tripod. The camera was about 5 ft from us, but it picked up the people in the house, behind the camera, about 100ft away BETTER than it did us, and their dog, and the wind. You could barely hear us. But, after running it through my ATI TV Wonder VE, the quality dropped so much, it didn't really matter. Just popped the subtitles for english on, and saved it to a cd. Now, I would have re-done that if I would have had more time, and if I would have had a mic and headphone jack, I would have used them.

Thanks