camcorder advice needed

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by mad deck, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. mad deck macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2008
    Hi Everybody,

    I am looking for some advice for a camcorder.

    I'm a guitar teacher and writing a guitar method. I want this method to be accompanied by an instructional DVD. This means that I will be filming myself, indoors, with the camera on a tripod. I will use the camera for students as well under the exact same conditions.
    I want to be able to then edit this material in imovie on my new macbook pro. Maybe email this material to someone, post on a website etc.
    It seems some camera's have an extra microphone input. Now I already have a very nice audio recording setup (RODE NT1A and an Edirol FA66 Sound Card) so it would be nice if i could use that for the sound.
    The Video quality doenst have to be professional. If my method is finished and tested and everything I think it would be best to hire a professional to make the "movie"

    So, the requirements in short:
    -good audio quality
    -works with imovie/macbook pro
    -easy to operate and fast to export material

    Thanks in advance!

    Beste tip gets a free guitar method ;)
  2. amysig macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2008
    Being that video quality isn't your top concern, you could probably get by with a decent MiniDV-based Standard Def camcorder, provided that you have proper lighting. This means more than just typical household lighting.

    The limiting factor is going to be the mic input. Most of the lower range (cheaper) consumer cams do not have a mic input. You may also want to look for a camera with both mic input and headphone jack, so that you can monitor the sound.

    But...If you have decent sound recording equipment why not just use that? You should be able to import the video and audio into iMovie separtely and then sync them together on the timeline.

    If you go this route then any MiniDV cam from Panasonic, Sony or Canon will do you well. I typically stick with those 3 for video cams. The Panny's have 3CCDs for nice colors. Canon has good optics and lens. Sony's are good in low light.

    Good luck with the project. Sounds fun.
  3. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
    IMO if you are thinking of hiring a professional to make the movie, you really want a camera better than a bog-standard Mini DV one. I would consider a reasonably priced HD camera more suitable.
  4. mad deck thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2008
    Thats possible wth imovie? That would make me very happy because I am already very much satisfied with the quality of my audio recording setup.

    After searching the web, filtering all unneccesary option, I came across this one: Panasonic NV-GS230

    I wouldn't be hiring anyone yet since the method itself is not even half finished. For now the material would be distributed only to my students and used as a way to monitor them. I'm not going to put it for sale or anything.
  5. aloofman macrumors 68020


    Dec 17, 2002
    By all means record the audio on your own setup, since it will be vastly superior to what the camera can do. (We're talking night and day here.) But record the audio on the camera anyway so you can use it as a reference and you can sync up your good audio to the final timeline.

    Make sure to put some thought into lighting and framing. Do you want closeups of the fret board? Or just wide shots of the whole guitar player and instrument? Or a mixture of both? Also, try hooking the camera up to a small TV so that you can see what is being recorded live. Then you'll know if you've moved too far out of the frame or whatever.
  6. mad deck thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2008
    Using my inbuilt webcam I experimented a little yesterday and I have to admit that this mac-thing amazed me once more. Coming from years of PC use, I must say that using his computer has really made my life so much more productive!

    First I was thinking:"I have to record the image from the webcam using imovie and use the outboard audio-card to record the audio into Garageband (as I always do). Then mix the audio to the preferred bitrate or have it undergo some other manipulation in order for it to fit /sync into the movie".

    But guess what..... After first checking Garagebands recording results, I checked the video. I pressed play and..... The audio had already been captured by the outboard audio-card! Image quality wasn't great but still, for a webcam, very decent.

    After exporting the video to quicktime the size is very small (28 mb for 1,5 minute video with very high quality sound). Sound was recorded in AAC format 128bit, but i changed that to 256bit.

    So I think that I can get by, buying a very simple camera without the microphone input such as the panasonic GS320. It has 3CCD, hardware 16:9, records to miniDV, and gets great reviews.

    One last question; Do camcorders use the same tripod connections as camera's do?
  7. McDughf macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2007
    Great Britain
    Cameras And Camcorders Both Share A Universal thread, So Yeah, Your Tripod Should be Good For Both.

    Just One Other Thing To Note Is that If Your Are Going To Capture Your Sound And Video On Separate Devices, You Need A Clapperboard Or Some Other Device To Make Sure That The Sound And Video Are Perfectly In Sync. Failing That We Used To Clap Three Times On Camera At The Start Of The Scene, Which Served Well But Make Sure You Get A Good Profile Shot Of Your Hands.

    One Suggestion For Your Setup Is That You Could Record A Wide Using Your iSight And Use The Camcorder For Closeups On The Fretboard, That Way You Can Make The Video A Little More Interesting Buy Cutting Between The Two Shots, And Having More Then One Angle Is Also Great For Covering Up Mistakes You May Want To Edit Out Later. ( Not Saying You Do Make Mistakes, Being A Professional Teacher And All, But Its Just Handy To Have Some Spare Shots, Thats All! :-D )

  8. CMD is me macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2006
    My 2 yr old mid level Sony miniDV does an excellent job in low light and the SD format look very good even on a 8' screen... but I really do want HD now! You may wan to try looking at some of the camcorder forums as well.

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