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AV and Multimedia Related Thread, Camcorder recommendations in Technical; Can anyone recommend a good quality camcorder? It will be used to video Lessons and be played back via the ...
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    Camcorder recommendations

    Can anyone recommend a good quality camcorder? It will be used to video Lessons and be played back via the projector to a room of staff. The ability to plug into the sound system and the projector via VGA or S-video on the wall socket would be good so that files do not have to be transferred to the laptop.

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    Would you be better with a tape based camcorder rather than a hard drive based camcorder?

    Am just thinking from a point of playing back that tape might be easier than hard drive?

    Not a recommendation for a specific camcorder so apologies, but just thought i'd mention the above as a possible train of thought?

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    mrwobbly (13th April 2011)

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    Thanks, tape seems like a good option as they could save different lessons to different tapes and write labels. The only experience I have is just one camcorder that saves to a mini DVD and I struggle with all the menu options on the camera to playback. I need this to be simple to record, operate and setup tfor playback as possible.

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    Bare in mind tapes are a proper pain in the back side to download, also you have to rewind them to playback footage. This doesn't sound like the end of the world, but it makes it very easy for someone to record over something without realising.

    If you want removable media I'd say go for SD.

    EDIT: Make wise Canon are good.
    Last edited by K.C.Leblanc; 11th April 2011 at 03:32 PM.

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    mrwobbly (13th April 2011)

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    No point doing anything except SD these days

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    mrwobbly (13th April 2011)

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    john's Avatar
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    Don't get a tape one please! They are horrid things, need firewire to download if they need them on a PC and people always drop the tapes and mangle them in my experience. I only have HD Broadcast Camcorders that use Tapes now everything else is HDD based so much easier. In terms of PC part of it, plug in with a USB lead they appear like a USB Flash Drive, double click the mpg its playing away much simpler and easier. Drops straight into video editing software and is really easy, a lot easier than cables I can assure you of that from recording lessons and supporting others doing that.

    Sony are the make of my choice and very good at that

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    mrwobbly (13th April 2011)

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    But remember AVCHD needs a heck of a lot of computing power to edit.

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    mrwobbly (13th April 2011)

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    The only reason I mentioned a tape based camera was due to the fact we found it much easier to 'stream' video in realtime using that than a hard drive or SD based camera....we only have 1 tape based camera and the PE department use it for playing video back in real time and with delays via some software they have i.e. they video the pupils doing gymnastics or javelin or whatever, then either project that onto a whiteboard to show ranges of movement and angles etc in realtime or with a 20 second delay through some software. We found we couldn't do this with other camera types.

    I imagine in the situation the OP is finding himself he wont need real time playback but will be recording then having the time to take it off the camera etc....

    If that is the case then hard drive is better than tape in terms of 'drag and drop' the footage and not have to play it back realtime to capture.



    We use Sony Handycam's at the moment for Media and Film Studies and they are sturdy little things and give decent quality recordings etc

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    I'd go for John's advice here. Get an HDD camera if you can. If you check what type of files a camera produces (different manufacturers save different file formats) and pick one suitable to you (MPG is a safe bet), you can copy it from the device like you would any file from a pen drive making it easy to back up, it'll work in most editors and shouldn't take long to burn to a regular video DVD if that's what you need to do.
    Our school use Sony cameras for it's media studies course. The students get on fine with them, and recent ones have nice touch-screen displays rather than fiddly buttons, so are not too difficult to use.

    If you want easy, as laserblazer says, avoid anything that says 'AVCHD' on it. It's a pretty strong high definition compression system that (unless you have suitably accelerated graphics) will push your average computer even to play it back.

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    mrwobbly (13th April 2011)

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    We bought a Panasonic HDC-HS700 last year and it's the business. Great picture quality, sound quality is pretty good even outdoors over a distance. It has a 240gb hard drive plus an SD card socket for cards upto 64gb. Various outputs for display including HDMI. It also comes with a quick and easy editing package for editing all you films. It may cost a bit more than others but worth it in the long run.
    This is an AVCHD camcorder but the film gets run and produced on a bog standard PC with onboard graphics.
    It also takes really good stills while you are filming.
    Last edited by steve_nfi; 12th April 2011 at 10:06 AM. Reason: additional information

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    When you say 'bog standard pc with onboard graphics', what are the onboard graphics? What is the editing software called?

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    The editing software came with the camera (HD Writer AE 2.1), graphics Intel G41 express chipset. Main board Intel core duo 2 @ 2500mhz with 2 gb of ram.

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    dayzd's Avatar
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    Ah, I see. The G41 chipset is an accelerated chipset, I believe, which is why it's fairly capable.

    Sadly for us, the majority of our machines are not new enough to have boards with this chipset, so most of our 'bog standard' machines wouldn't cope!

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    Echo the sentiments for Sony. We have a Sony HDD camcorder (standard def) that's done several years of PE, Drama, Performing Arts etc evidence, it has been superb. No messing with transcoding - just drag and drop into Windows DVD Maker for the exam boards. So glad we got rid of tapes!

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    Thanks for all the replies.

    Following the collective advice I recommended a Sony DCR-SR78E.
    This seemed to tick all the boxes. 120GB Hard drive, mpeg and USB.



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