Just my thoughts though :)
If it's for drama, then the audio is probably twice as important as the video and you just won't get that from an internal microphone in any camcorder. The Rode videomic is very good, I use one as part of the kit I use to record shows. Trouble is, that's £70 and you then need a camera that has an external mic. socket and you won't get one of those cheaply. I'd be inclined to get some more money to spend and then buy something second hand off Ebay.
Not sure if this relevant but we had a similar situation before the summer. After a lot of searching I managed to find a Panasonic HDC-SD90 HD camcorder with external 3.5mm mic input. Along with this we purchased a Audio Technica ATR6550 shotgun style mic that attaches to the camera for large group audio and a Audio Technica ATR3350 lavalier mic for 'interview' style audio. Whilst they are by no means pro standard the audio is certainly better than the built in mic and the equality of the video is more than ok.
Not sure if the SD90 is still available or if its been replaced but all in (camera, mics and SD card) the cost wasn't too bad!
Can I ask what kit it is you use to record with. I am sold on the idea of a Rode videomic but need to find a quality video camera that will be able to record in low light and obviously have an external mic socket. Budget isn't unlimited but there is no point buying something cheap that just won't do the job.
I've got a Canon XM2 and a HF S100. The XM2 is only SD but a brilliant camera and you can get some good deals on Ebay. All of my stuff goes onto DVD, so SD is not a problem at present. One thing I don't like about the Canon cameras is the mic. needs to provide phantom power. Panasonic doesn't, which can make life a little easier. The Rhode videomic does supply phantom power though.
I think that we are in the "fast, cheap, good" loop here. You can have any two...
Sound on hand held recorders is seldom even acceptable for anything at all. A camera which has sockets for external microphone/s won't be "cheap", and with external mics is won't be easy for numpty teachers to operate.
As to specifics, I'll be watching for recommendations as we want one too. I'm looking at second hand from the BB List at the moment. Hold on to your hat when you see how much some of this stuff goes for!
I'm glad this thread got bumped actually because I was going to give everyone an update this morning. The news is actually good. Although my days are mostly spent running around our school being an 'IT legend' (as the PE staff put it), I managed to find some time to do some more in-depth web research about the whole issue of finding a camcorder or DSLR with a wide-enough lens AND hot-shoe for an external mic, AND hi-def, AND recording to SD card.
There's actually a lot of useful information online about this particular conundrum, but I got lucky and found the following:
Camcorder: Panasonic HDC-SD700 - £287.00
Panasonic HDC-SD700 Full HD Camcorder
Rode Video Mic - £72
RODE VIDEOMIC: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics
And I was lucky and found this helpful video on Youtube which not only confirmed the quality of image but also sound - "Rode VideoMic Pro" + "Panasonic HDC-SD700" - YouTube
So, all-in-all I think we've gotten a good deal here. That camera for £287 is excellent and allowed us to spend the right money on the external mic too. We've even got some budget left over.
Thanks for everyones input. I now have some ideas to look in to.
It was hard to see from the photos, does the HDC-SD700 have a standard size accessory shoe? Otherwise you will need an adapter to mount the mic.
We have got one of these for drama exams:
Panasonic SDR-H85 Camcorder With 80GB HDD, X78 Enhanced: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics
Panasonic SD camcorder with 80Gb hard drive. Because Panasonic use an open source codec I can top and tail in Adobe Premiere. We also bought the largest battery we could find for it, which lasts about 6 hours of recording. It's perfect for setting up at the back of a room and just leaving it. Sound wise, we also use the hall's PA system with the kids wearing mice, so the camcorder picks up all the sound. In the past before we had the mics, I have used two camcorders, one extra at the foot of the stage for audio.
For performances, we have some slightly older 3CCD miniDV camcorder and the quality is markedly better, but then they have to be manned. We also have a Panasonic T750 which is an excellent 3Mos HD camcorder, but both of these options are well beyond the £200 budget.
I smell a rat! :)Quote:
with the kids wearing mice,
The camera in front of the stage is a good trick and improves the audio vastly and is easy to sync. If you put it on a tripod pointing up towards the stage, you can get some interesting shots.