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I need a HD Camcorder but i have NO clue on how to choose. Please read and help!

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by w...b, May 25, 2009.

  1. macrumors regular

    Ok so I am running my own personal training company and i want to create exercise videos which i can send clients. They will be edited and sent to clients via DVDs/CDs or Jump Drives which the client can then put on iPods, Blackberrys or other devices (TVs, Computers etc.).

    I want to get the best video quality possible so i was thinking of getting an HD camcorder. I will most likely be buying them from futureshop (in canada - futureshop.ca). Unless someone else has a better place around Toronto.

    Right now i am looking at a panasonic Flash memory one for $649.

    Any suggestions or input would be appreciated.


  2. macrumors regular




    Your requirements are a bit inconsistent.
    On the one hand you say your educational material is meant for diplay on DVD, CD, iPod and Blackberry. All these devices have a image size smaller or equal to Standard Definition (SD-NTSC 720x480 of SD-PAL 720x 576).
    On the other hand you want the best video quality ... and you are thinking of High Definition (HD: 1920x1080).

    Let's help you with a clue ;)
    • For your (current) target audience you do not need the image size of HD.
    • HD camera's do not necessarily produce better video quality than SD camera's. Especially if they cost the same.
    • Do not get tempted by the marketing spree: more pixels is better. Find a camera that is easy to operate and has good colour details.
    • Find a camera where you have good control over the (auto)focus (you do not want a mediocre autofocus kill your educational message)

    Go for a top of the line consumer SD camera (is a expensive as a mediocre HD camera).

  3. macrumors regular

    Thanks for all the input. I really appreciate it.

    So SD camera is the way to go? Would it matter what type of device they watch it on? for example if they watch it through an HD tv, which everyone seems to have today.

    Could you recommend me a great SD camera? I am starting up a new business and relying on myself for all the technical details.

    From what i have read, it seems that HD cameras are better for colour and sound, is this true?
  4. macrumors regular



    Indeed more and more people at home have a HD or HD ready TV.

    The big issue :( for those TV's is in getting HD content. If your cable provider delivers a HD signal you are lucky. This may cost you somewhat more and is not available in all states/countries.
    Of course you could buy a blu-ray DVD player. Drawback: the options in making a blu-ray disc yourselves are very very limited.

    So, though many people have a HD screen, very few are able see any content you make in HD.

    As a videographer, for the time being, you will be stuck on video material distribution by SD DVD (web based distrubution is at even lower resolution than SD DVD - see YouTube).

    Do not be alarmed by quality issues. Most HD TVs are very well capable in upscaling SD material on HD screen resolutions.

  5. macrumors regular

    So SD would be more then appropriate for what i want?

    Basically, I can always upgrade the camera in the future.

    So HD and SD won't really have a difference when viewing the videos on the computer?

    Could you recommend me a great SD camcorder? I am looking to spend $700 or less.
  6. macrumors regular

  7. macrumors 65816


    w...b you said that you've read that HD camera's have better colour and such. But that's not true. First of all, most of these HD camera's have CMOS censors. And with motion such camera's are bad. because of the cheap shutters the image get weird with motion. What it does is that when you pan (go from left to right with your camera) a straight bar (for example the street lights) will get oblique because of it's shutter (google it for more information).

    And what Coen already said is that when you buy an sd camera with the same price as an HD camera, the sd camera will have better quality because you pay for the extra pixels in an Hd camera.

    Check google for the differences between CCD CMOS and 3CCD. If I were you, I would buy a 3CCD camera. They come in both SD and HD, but go for the SD. (3CCD HD camera are also way more expensive). 3CCD beats every HD CMOS camera in colour. There's 1 chip for each colour (that's red, blue and green). So you have dedicated chips that interpretate the colours better than one chip would by interpretating all colours on it's own. So SD has better colour (although, when you're outside the differences become pretty small as all camera's make good quality with good light, sunlight. It's going about the inside recordings).

    Because you want enough light, so you don't get dark pictures or pictures with noise because of the gain, check the chip for it's size. The smaller it is, the harder it is for the chip (3CCD,CMOS or CCD) to have collect enough light (that's logical). So try to buy one with a not too small chip.
    But that doesn't matter when you're shooting outside, cause there's enough light.

    You're making an instruction video. So you need to be audible. All camera mics (mic=microphone) are pretty much crap. So when you have an HD camera with 5 mic's to get surround sound, you get 2,5 times more the crap. So it's not better. Only nice to have it surround.
    But as you won't go spinning around the camera, and stand only in front of the camera, you won't need it.
    What you need is a good mic with it. You need to buy an external mic. For example the RODE video mic. Or get a set from e.g. sennheiser, with a wireless microphone on your head or jacket.
    To connect such microphones you need a camera that has at least a mini jack microphone input. (XLR will be better with more expensive microphones, but maybe a little bit too expensive).

    So what do you need if you ask me:
    A camera:
    with 3CCD
    not too small chips that "collect" the light
    an external mic

    ps coen je zei of i.p.v or bij the sd resoluties
  8. macrumors regular

    Thanks for the great reply.

    What do you mean by not a small chip? Do you mean the processing speed?

    I will look into SD camcorders with 3CCD.
    I am guessing the 3CCD is the optical sensor chips? Would 3CCD = Advanced HAD CCD?


  9. macrumors 65816


    I mean the size of the chip. So how big it really is. Future shop wont tell you, so you need to search the internet for the model specs.

    the panasonic nv gs 230 for example
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Arjen92 has made some worthwhile points but is not entirely correct. CMOS chips are not universally worse than CCD, and HD can produce a wider range of colours than SD.

    But I don't think these are big issues for you.

    Are your viewers going to be watching the videos you make now for years to come? Will people be wanting copies of what you are making now in 2012? If not, then I'd recommend you go with SD. As tcgjeukens said, the ways of getting content to viewers in HD are not simple and not widely adopted at this moment in time.

    I'm not clued up enough to recommend a particular model but I'd second tcgjeukens' recommendation to look for camcorder with good manual controls. And spare a thought for sound. What kind of audio are you going to have? The trainer speaking directly into camera? Voiceover? This will dictate what kind of audio equipment will be appropriate.
  11. macrumors regular

    Ill give you an idea of what im doing.

    I will be filming various exercises inside a gym/court and outside on a football field. I will also like to film some of the runs that my clients and I go on during the week (but this is later on).

    Some videos will be posted on my website to give the client an idea of what they are getting.

    The other videos will be selected and sent to the client. Either by downloading a file (would have to be small) or by sending it to them in the mail (a DVD/CD package). I want the clients to be able to play them on iPods or Blackberrys so the videos should be mp4, but i want the best quality videos possible.

    I am looking for a camera that would best fit all these situations. The camcorder i am getting now is only temporary until i get more business.

    Thanks for all the help.

  12. macrumors 65816


    Anything in the class of a Canon GL2 will do the job for you (MSRP ~$2000). It has the benefit of manual controls and does a decent job with audio if you provide a nice microphone for it to work with. As the others have said, you don't need HD.

    Here's some better advice:

    Find somebody near you who can train you in producing these videos, if you're doing it yourself, because you're going to want to have all aspects of production well handled. Learn about lighting, audio, editing, DVD authoring, and so forth. It's harder to get decent (training quality...) video than you might think. And these videos will give people an impression of your competence. So you want them to be done well...
  13. macrumors 6502

    just dont decide 100% on online information. go into futureshop, bestbuy or henrys and really give the cameras a try. whichever looks better, you buy (of course in your budget). it could be that simple, oh and if you're going to be filming a lot of outdoor stuff, like on a football field, you also will want a camera with a high optical zoom.

    thats my 2 cents
  14. macrumors regular

    Thanks for all the info.

    I ended up getting the Panasonic HDC-HS9. It seemed to have everything i wanted and the price was very reasonable after taxes. I also got warranty and a case for free.

    I have the option of using an external mic with this camera, something i will look into in the near future.

    I will be filming this weekend, so i will post some videos for you all to check out.

    Give me some opinions you have on this camera.

    Thanks again.


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