I want a Camcorder

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by nelsencaleb, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. nelsencaleb macrumors regular

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    #1
    I am looking to invest in a decent Camcorder to video tape stuff. Could someone please recommend some decent cameras for me? My budget is probably $350 max.
     
  2. spinnerlys Guest

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    #2
  3. MisterMe macrumors G4

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    #3
    How do you want to use your video?
     
  4. nelsencaleb thread starter macrumors regular

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  5. spinnerlys Guest

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    #5
    That's not really an answer full of information.

    You can do short films with your mobile if you want, there are even some competitions around.
    At university we mostly used miniDV cameras, though those were at the upper end of the food chain.

    Do you want to shoot in low light situations, to you want to shoot fast scenes, do you want to shoot in SD or HD, do you want to .... ?

    And when I asked earlier about that "video tape stuff" comment, I wanted to know what kind of storage medium you want to use, tape, flash memory, HDD, ...?

    We need more information on your specific needs to give you good advice.

    Also look for similar threads via MRoogle. MRoogle is quite a good tool to search these forums.
     
  6. nelsencaleb thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    Reply

    I do not understand. What is the dif. between flash and hdd?
     
  7. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    #7
    Flash Memory is the kind that you find in modern iPods and Cellphones, and tends to be either a Memory Card or just an internal limited capacity storage solution that tends to be more durable. HDDs are standard, non Solid-State, easier to break Hard Disks. Then there is also MiniDV which records to Digital Tape. (This tends to be higher quality and is found in most Professional Cameras).
     
  8. spinnerlys Guest

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    I have to disagree about the comment, that DV is found in most professional cameras.
    There is also DigiBeta and BetaSP (analog and older) and IMX (MPEG-2 stream) for SD cameras, HDCam and HDCam SR for HD cameras.
    Those are tape based.

    Then there are tapeless recording media like XDCam (Blu Ray) or P2 (Panasonic HVX for example) or Solid State like in the Sony EX series.


    OP, I get the impression that you do not really know what you want to do, except filming short movies. That is not meant as an insult, just an observation.

    I don't know how serious you are about making short films, but you should consider the processes that go into filming and how important they are to you.

    Like lighting, sound recording and camera equipment (tripod, ...) on the "set".
    What kind of editing solution do you have? Most likely iMovie?
    How important is the sound quality for you?
    What is the final destination for your finished movie?

    Do you think you can answer some of those?


    If not, almost any camera will be able to do short films, you just have to make sure that you're okay with the camera and how it handles the light, sound and the storing of the footage, so that you can easily process the material without too much of a hassle.
     
  9. MisterMe macrumors G4

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    #9
    I agree with everything that you said except this. Although it is true that almost any camera will do short films, the OP may want to edit his footage into a project. There are a lot of cameras that meet this restriction. However his $350 budget pretty much limits him to miniDV camcorder with a FireWire port.

    He can then edit in iMovie and then setup, design, and burn his DVD using iDVD.
     
  10. nelsencaleb thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    Quoted Reply.

    I just want a side hobby, to do something when I don't have anything to do:eek:.

    Wouldn't I sort of like play around with all of that stuff since I've like only used a camera recorder only a few times in my life? I have used a lot of tripods before though.

    I earlier in the year had a chance at a GL1 for $260, my friend has one, so I asked him some questions I should ask the seller. And he said something about something, that if they were bad it'd be grainy picture. I do not want this grainy he is talking about.

    I have an iPod:apple: classic. I use it a lot. I wouldn't mind this Flash stuff.
     
  11. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    #11
    Maybe I shouldve worded it better. I just meant that in my experience most professional cameras are Tape based and certainly use tape over SD-DVD (Bluray is an exception ofc - nice shiny HD Cameras - if only I could afford one xD). Damn my Epicly Bad English at night :eek:
     
  12. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #12
    That's okay. Even me prefers tape based cameras, even though I work on multi-camera shows and our production company produces 1300 tapes (Digi Beta and miniDV) per show per year.
    It might be a hassle, but I can't imagine the problems occurring when there is no tape backup.

    Hmm, now that I think about it, we would need 20TB of storage, which isn't that much, but we would have to mirror it, so 40TB. That would be 40 x 1TB HDDs for around 70€, which would cost 2800€.
    900 miniDV tapes should cost around 2000€, 400 Digi Beta tapes, one tape around 15€, will cost 6000€.
    40 HDDs take up less space than 30 Digi Beta tapes, one now just has to figure out the handling of files on set or off set if necessary.

    Sorry for my derail, just had to word something out.



    That's why I wrote almost any.


    What stories do you want to tell, or do you just wanna make "fun" movies?

    I'm not sure I understand. Either you talk about the past or the future.
    I don't know how ambitious you are on how you wanna pursue this hobby, so I can't really answer here.
    When i wen to university we made lots of short films, 5 to ten per year, in varying capacities. As we were quite ambitious into film making we often focused to much on the production values, like proper and good light, excellent sound, ...., but often forgot the story and its necessities.
    If you look at some of the films that were made in the 90s using only miniDV camcorders, albeit more professional ones, you find the story was the important feature in all of this, and the production values came second or even fourth. Have a look at Dogma 95 (if you're even interested), they made some of the best films I ever saw with just a DV camera and only one light and microphone. Or look at the current phenomenon of Paranormal Activity. Low Budget is not even a word for this, as I have seen more money spent on a 90sec graduation commercial.


    That's the so called "noise" one can see, if the motive is too dark and the camera has a small lens (thus a small CCD or CMOS chip) which results in not enough light being captured by the camera.

    [​IMG]
    Noise Detection


    The iPod Classic still uses an HDD, albeit a small 1.8" HDD. Flash memory can only be found in the iPod Nano, iPod Touch and iPod Shuffle.


    [​IMG]

    Wow, 48h straight hours frack with your brain. Third time is the charm.
     
  13. nelsencaleb thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    Maybe I'm closer this time.

    If I do not use these things as a hobby or profession, I would not have any clue how to play with the lighting, the sound, etc.

    I don't know how I'm supposed to explain this..other than above.

    Yes, thats what it was. He called it CMOS.


    So, Amazon sent me a special offer the other day as a promotion.

    http://www.amazon.com/Canon-Memory-Camcorder-Optical-Silver/dp/B001OI2VXG/ref=br_lf_m_1000478251_1_1_ttl?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&s=photo&pf_rd_p=100891202&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_t=1401&pf_rd_i=1000478251&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=10275P1PRN16FY89RF58

    If I act quickly, I could easily get the refurbished one for two hundred. Is that a good beginners camera? Refurbs are somewhat safer right? Because arn't they like tested individually once they go back in?
     
  14. bsamcash macrumors regular

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    #14
    With the direction video is taking, I wouldn't recommend getting anything under 720p. So you should probably just save your funds up a little more because the options get much better and more competitive around $450.
     
  15. nelsencaleb thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
    That's only like 50% true. In most small towns which I would imagine make up a decent amount of the population of the United States, do not support higher than 720 res.. My moms LG can only get 720 res. when it's max is 1080 res.

    $450 though? Only $100 more, but then that's like saying $750, only $400 more..I don't know. I've have bad spending habits, so I sort of need to be careful if I go that high. When I go to high, I go way to high and put myself pretty far in the hole. How about we wait and see what other people say OK? I'd just like a second opinion about breaking my budget.
     
  16. bsamcash macrumors regular

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    #16
    I can't tell if you're being sarcastic and facetious. But if that's the case, I'm only trying to help.

    I suggested the higher resolution not because of the playing medium, but because of the editing medium. You can end up with much better quality videos if you start off with a higher res, regardless of the final res, because you lose quality in all the transcoding.

    And $450 is a decent place to shop, especially if you like using Amazon. Of course, you could save more and spend more, but that's a matter of your own self-control. Like everyone here says, "buy the best you can afford when you need it."
     
  17. nelsencaleb thread starter macrumors regular

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    #17
    My bad..

    I'm not being sarcasitic or
    ; I've no clue what that means..

    Interesting. I never knew that you lose res. when you upload it to your computer for editing. Is that always true or does that depend on monitor res.?
     
  18. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #18
    Right click on "facetious"
    [​IMG]


    facetious |fəˈsē sh əs|
    adjective
    treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor; flippant.
    DERIVATIVES
    facetiously adverb
    facetiousness noun
    ORIGIN late 16th cent. (in the general sense [witty, amusing] ): from French facétieux, from facétie, from Latin facetia ‘jest,’ from facetus ‘witty.’



    The loosing of quality depends on the recording medium and the in-camera compression.

    If you shoot on DV tape, the footage captured onto the computer has the same quality as the footage on the DV tape.
    But if you shoot onto an SD card or any other flash medium or optical medium or even HDD, the footage is very likely to be compressed with an MPEG-4 codec.
    So to edit the footage properly you have to transcode the MPEG-4 encoded footage (or any other compressed video) to something that can be edited.
    During that compression you might loose visible image quality, but which should be neglect-able due to compression in the first place.

    And if you start with a higher resolution image (720p, 1080p/i) and down convert the video to SD (NTSC in the USA) for burning it to a video DVD, the visible image quality loss will be recognizable due to down converting of the resolution you will loose some information, as 1280 x 720 can store more information than 720/640 x 576/480 of pixel.
     
  19. MisterMe macrumors G4

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    #19
    It has nothing to do with the monitor. It has everything to do with the nature of compression.

    Between me, you, and the gatepost, it appears that you know nothing about video or how to edit it. This makes for a very poor starting point. I strongly suggest that you temporarily lay aside your plans to buy equipment. Instead, spend some time to learn some of the issues that you must deal with if you want to shoot and edit video. You have several options:
    • Take classes at a local college.
    • Get a job with a local video production company. [Even tiny towns have at least one.]
    • Join an Internet forum dedicated to video.
    • Subscribe to magazines dedicated to the subject.
     
  20. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #20
    I have the slight feeling we make this thread more complicated than it should be, myself included, or why is Dogma 95 even mentioned?


    http://www.creativecow.net/ is a good forum to start if you somehow are more serious with making short films.

    Or you could just buy a camera for 350/450 USD and go from there, but you may regret that step, as the camera might be not as good as you hoped.

    Every search engine on the 6u (www) is capable of finding you introductory texts and tutorials on the subject of movie making. Some maybe over the top for you, but many are made for aspiring beginners.
     
  21. danimal99 macrumors regular

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    #21
    Or go ahead and get the SD Canon camcorder mentioned a few posts back and start practicing now. You can always upgrade to something better later on when you've developed your skill set and ideas more.
     
  22. nelsencaleb thread starter macrumors regular

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    #22
    So..I got confused..

    I can check out that forum..

    Telling me to buy and not to buy..

    My town does not have any video production companies here, but there is a kid at my school who's dad edits commercials as a profession from his home. Kinda a cool job..just work at home all day..that'd be fun.

    I'm currently in a film class at my school right now, but the teacher doesn't really give us an opportunity to experiment..she's all about the story board. She gives us about a day for the story board, and maybe another day and a half for filming.., we also work in groups, so your not always the camera person, because you might get in a group where someone else wants to be the cameraman/women, or multiple people want to play it, etc.

    I could take a college class this summer I bet..

    I don't think I can subscribe to a magazine as I feel those are extremely expensive. Should probably be like 10$ for a whole year instead of the like $50's they want..

    ..
     
  23. danimal99 macrumors regular

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    #23
    Sure, if you're prepared to buy a camera, then buy one that fits your budget. You aren't going to learn the important concepts by reading about it in a magazine or Internet forum, things like framing, composition, pacing, story, etc. You only learn those by experimenting and doing.

    Look at all the great filmmakers - they didn't start off taking a class or buying the equivalent of today's thousand dollar HD cameras. They started off making simple little homemade films off dad's old camera in the attic or something they bought at a pawn shop for $10.
     
  24. gødspeed macrumors regular

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    #24
    True, but I do find it inspiring to work with a good camera, especially having an interest in cinematography. That's one reason I really like HD-capable DSLRs -- it's easy to produce highly cinematic videos at filmic 24fps, and with that lovely shallow depth of field look. Unless you're planning on transferring your videos to the big screen, Canon's current line of DSLRs put out video that compares favorably with cameras that cost up 10-20 times as much.

    But it's definitely better to start with a simple cheap camera and learn the fundamentals, than to buy an expensive feature-packed camera and be overwhelmed by it all. I feel like the value of storytelling is being lost on the latest crop of filmmakers. I'm guilty of it myself -- I am too concerned with the aesthetic value of a scene, and not concerned enough with depth of content and how each image works to advance the story.

    So if you want to make something meaningful with a $200 camera, good for you! I think there is something to be said for that path of progression.
     
  25. Rizvi1 macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    The OP of this thread is asking the same questions I feel everyone asks when they just start taking an interest in this topic. Unfortunately, it's hard to comprehend that there is so much more to it.

    I commend the responders for being patient in this thread in their help. But I'm not a fan of the "before you get a camera you need to..." advice, I feel when you have a camera and start doing things, that's when you really start learning.

    I like the Canon HV20/HV30/HV40 as a starting point. Maybe we can make things simple and say get started with that? The reason why is that I've seen some really nice looking things coming out these cameras once the user knows what they're doing. It's a good learning camera and not too bad - I myself I bought the HV20 refurbished from the canon store for $399+tax and shipping back in April. I'm sure deals better on newer models (Which from what I understand, aren't really too much better) can be found.

    I myself am still far from being able to do anything professional, but I am starting to get a decent understanding of everything at the hobby level. I started playing around with things in 2000 w/ a regular Sony Hi8 digital camera and me and my friends aspired to make a film with no understanding of anything really. It came out pretty horrible but of course was a great learning experience. I then moved "up" to a panasonic minidv camera. I really started understanding what I could and couldn't do with a camera when I got my Sony HC1 back in Spring 2006 for $1200ish. I finally moved up to an XH A1 in Fall 2008 and was ready to start learning the ins and outs of the camera. At the same time, all the other things that started going with it - audio, lighting, etc. Unfortunately my house caught on fire and I lost the camera (luckily insurance covered everything). I have an HV20 for now but am hoping to move up to something better in the coming months when I'm ready to get back into things.

    Hopefully this helps
     

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