Help in finding a camera that suits my needs

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by redbird259, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. redbird259 macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2008
    I have a new imac and am also new to imovie.

    I want to get a camcorder that will allow me to take decent movies for making short instructional movies that I can then edit and put on the internet. I have read that mini dv is a good format if you wish to have good editing capabilities. But there seems to be so many other things to consider that I do not understand very well.

    They will be instructional sewing videos so will involve using a sewing machine, the noise and the movement being fairly clearly recorded are important.

    I also want to be able to make good edits using I movie so I can streamline all the unwanted stuff out.

    I can spend up to approx 1000.

    There are so many reviews out there, I am having difficulty sorting it all out.

    If you could help with recommendations I would greatly appreciate it.

  2. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    Take a look at the Canon HV20 as a starting point, a basis for comparisons. You can find that one for ~$750, give or take, and even if you looked no further, should provide everything you want.

    Regardless of the particular camera, for the type of work you plan on doing consider a tripod, and external light & microphone. In the case of the last two, the ones on the cameras out there will always look (& sound) no better than home movies.
  3. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    I second the HV20 or HV30 on a $1000 budget.

    The sewing machine will have lots of motion which sub $2000 cameras will have difficulty capturing cleanly. The Canon HV gets you a camera capable of wide screen and HD as well as SD resolution. With good lighting, it is about the best you can do in that price range. You can experiment with capturing at 24P. If its a noisy environment, then the camera mic will probably be adequate (unless you want to focus, then a shotgun style may be better). The HV has several settings so it adapts to a wide variety of environments, and its OK right out of the box.

    The people that frequent the following forum may be able to help you decide if the HV can meet your needs.

    Oh and the HV20/30 intergrates well with the MAC, Apple offers them in their store.
  4. redbird259 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2008

    I appreciate it. I was having a hard time sorting thru all the specs and reviews. I havent had much camcorder time in my life and have much to learn.

    I will certainly look into this model.

  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    For your application yu don't need or even want high definition. Standard def. is good enough as you will be making it even smaller for the web. Get a good SD camera.

    You also want Mini DV format. Don't get a hard drive or dvdcamera. You want tape.

    But this is the bigest thing. It mattersmore than what camera you buy...

    (1) Buy lights, big lights. get them at Home Depot Aim some 500W work lights not at the subject but at the wall/ceiling so the light is reflected back. All cameras work much better if they have lots of light. Even a cheap camcoder can make a clean image if you work in bright lighting. It has to do with shutter speeds and signal to noise ratio but you don't need to worry about that, just get loads of light.

    (2) Buy a microphone. Do NOT use the camera's internal mic. Nothing is worse and more amitureish then poor quality sound. Set the mic close to the subject. You don't need a $300 mic like the pro-sound guys will recommend. Almost anything is 100X better then the on-camera mic. Spend $60 to get one that is very good for your use.

    Buy a cheaper camera if you can't afford lights and a mic. they matter more.
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The target distribution channel here is the web. It will be highly compressed. So even if the motion were cleanly captured will the viewer be able to see it on the computer screen?

    I'd concentrait more on getting nice color and sound. If I were ddoing thins on that budget I'd hunt down a used Sony VX1000. But I'd not recommend such a complex camera to a beginner nor one that old.
  7. redbird259 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2008
    I have decent lights, I bought them when I bought my digital rebel, so that I could take good still photos of art. I will have to get a mic, are they about average in the lower price range.

    I guess there is a bigger learning curve with some of these cameras, they do way more than I even understand at this point.

    I dont suppose there is one that will suit my needs that is a bit on the simplier side. These are going to be short videos that go with pdf patterns I design. No lengthy in depth recordings at this point in time.

    I appreciate all the info, like I said there is so much to consider. I need a smaller learning curve at this point, I will have to grow into a larger one as my business grows.

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