Camcorders And Your Needs
Camcorders And Your Needs
Tim Smith (Camcorder Training Specialist) gives expert video advice on: What camcorder features do I need for making video blogs?; What camcorder features do I need for sports?; What camcorder features do I need for family events? and more...
What camcorder do I need if I'm just starting out?
If you're just getting into this, if you're really a beginner video artist at recording, you need to look at what you want do with the camcorder; how far you want to go. Is this camcorder just something you're going to take it out on the Fourth of July, Christmas, or New Year's? Or are you really going to start shooting video? Do you really want to turn this into a hobby? After you have made that decision, you will be better prepared to go and pick a camcorder. I think you're also going to find that the more you want to use a camcorder, the more money you're going to need to spend on one, because you don't want to outgrow it. Look for the key features that interest you, based on your decision of whether or not you're just going to shoot occasionally or going to shoot a lot. Then, go to your local store, tell them what you want, and let them step you through all the different options. There are many camcorders that are going to come up for the best camcorder for what you need.
What camcorder features do I need for making video blogs?
If you're into video blogging, is the camcorder the right choice? Well you could go with just a video webcam; they're fairly inexpensive but they deliver kind of a limited picture. If you were to step up to, say, even a low-end camcorder you'll get much better results than going, say, with an inexpensive webcam. Then take into consideration things just like you would anything else--exposure, lighting. Sound plays into this. When you're video blogging you can either use sound off the camera if it's acceptable, or off of a separate microphone. So, features you would be looking for would be: maybe a nice wide lens to go with your camcorder, because you're going to get a tighter shot; some sort of microphone jack input, if not, then you can mic directly into your computer at the time. The key to it is keeping those clips pretty short.
What camcorder features do I need to shoot concerts and plays?
You're going to have to step up. The entry-level camcorders really don't offer the feature set that you need or the kind of control that you need, to shoot those types of events. For example, the unique lighting situations or the distance between you and what you're shooting in a sporting event, the zooms that you need aren't available on entry level camcorders. I would even recommend that you look for an optical stabilization system, especially when you tie it into the longer zooms. So really, what you're looking for, in order to tape concerts and plays is manual control. You want exposure control, shutter speed control, as much image control, a simple focusing system so that you don't have to rely on the audio as much as possible. You can find those in the mid-level camcorders.
What camcorder features do I need for vacations?
So if you're thinking about a vacation or you're thinking about going out to purchase a camcorder for that vacation, size and weight play big into that decision. If you're into hiking or sports, sometimes the smaller the camcorder the better. The best camcorder for you is the one that's with you and not sitting at home because it's too large or too heavy. So the smaller ones, the lighter ones. Also think about battery times and things you have to lug around. When you're shopping for that look for longest battery life. The smallest one, the easiest one to take with you would be my suggestion.
What camcorder features do I need for sports?
If your primary reason for buying a camcorder is to shoot sports, the features I would look for first are: The longest optical zoom you can buy. Optical zoom is going to give you the best image quality and when you're looking for zooms, typically, manufacturers put on there the total zoom, which is the combination of optical and digital zooming. Although digital zooming will get you closer, it will cost you in picture quality. So, look for the longest optical zoom you can find when shooting sports. Also, look for the best stabilization system you can get. You might want to consider the low-light properties of the camera as well; you're shooting under all sorts of conditions when you're shooting sports. But for sports, zoom is your biggest issue.
What camcorder features do I need for family events?
If you're picking up a general purpose camcorder or something you're going pull out at July and Thanksgiving, then one of the features that manufactures today push are stronger zooms, but in family event environments, it's about shooting something wider. So, look for a camcorder in that case that gives you widest angle possible; that gives you as much more information in that view finder left to right as you can get. You want to get that whole Thanksgiving table in there and you want everybody in the picture. You don't want to have to keep panning around or moving the video to try to get all that information in. So, look for something that's really wide. Stabilisation plays big into shooting video in general so that's something you want as well, and again, what's your platform going to be.
What camcorder features do I need for business meetings?
If you're looking for a camcorder for a more professional application for shooting business meetings, training seminars and those type of things you will probably you need to step up a little higher in price range. Get something that gives you a little more control may be necessary. You find yourself anywhere from boardrooms to convention centres where you have to shoot. The lighting conditions can be dramatically different. The other thing people don't think about when they're buying higher end cameras is audio. Audio in these environments plays big into this. Look at the audio options of the camcorder you're choosing. Look for manually microphone level controls, microphone inputs. Mic inputs are not on a lot of cameras these days, so you really need to step up to one that has that.
What camcorder do I need to get a "film look"?
Currently there are a lot of people out there looking to achieve what's called a 'film look' with a camcorder. They're trying to emulate the look of film but do it in video. There are a lot of ways you can do that. One of them is a feature called 24P; 24 progressive. It's also known as 24F or 24 frame, which is what's recorded onto tape. That's going to give you the same frame rate, or the same information which passes before your eye if you were seeing a typical film or sitting in a theatre where they were projecting 24 frames per second. That, in combination with creative lighting techniques as well as what you can do in the editing environment, can give you a real experience of film when still staying in the video world.