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Thread: Do we need a new budget camcorder with external microphone capability?

  1. #1

    Default Do we need a new budget camcorder with external microphone capability?

    We need to create a "good but not studio quality" video to put on a website.
    And I need to know if I need to buy a new camcorder, and/or a new voice recorder? (or what!)

    I am a 'PC literate' but am a total newbie at this video stuff...
    But here is the background of what we are trying to achieve:

    My client is an e-commerce website, and because the site uses a rather quirky selling mechanism, we are trying to create a video to put on the website that explains how the site actually works.

    We are planning some talking heads. Probably both indoors and outdoors. We will probably also use some screen capturing stuff too later on.

    Regarding picture quality, because it will be hosted on the web (possibly via [or similar]) there is obviously no need for ultra high resolution video picture. Basically we want the video to look 'competant' - i.e. 'good quality'. But on the other hand we definitely do NOT want it to look like it came out of a professional studio - just competent that's all !

    We have almost zero budget for this project, but I have been given a Samsung Sports Camcorder (VP-X220L), which has 2GB of internal memory but is a couple of years old now.

    From our initial experiments but it seems clear for most people to look good, you dont want to got too wide angle on the person you are shooting, but that if the camcorder is not physically close enough to the person then the quality of sound suffers a lot. Thus it seems like we'll need an external mike in order to get half decent sound.

    To recap, what we are trying to create is a video, that will be hosted on the web (possibly The video needs to appears to be amateur but "very good quality" amateur.

    It has been suggested that we buy a separate sound recording device and match up the sound with the video later (e.g. a little Olympus voice recorder). This seems like it will be a pain to synchronise the sound with the moving pictures, but if necessary I suppose we might have to go this way. (Cheaper than buying a entire new camcorder I strongly suspect!)

    Should we try and buy a new (mid range) camcorder that can take an external microphone?
    (And if so any recommendations - which models have this?)

    OR should we record the sound separately on a good quality voice recorder?


    Shiperton Henethe

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008


    We use panasonic camera's and we have exceent quality with them.

    panasonic DV - Google Product Search

    What software do you currently have because if you do use an external audio device, you will need to sync it (as you already know). It will be almost impossible to do it with something like Windows Movie Maker but i'm saying it's not impossible. other problems you may come across are if either the video or audio is playing slightly at the wrong speed. you wouldn't notice this to start of with but it will it worse. I'm not saying it will happen, i'm saying it could.

    To help you sync it, a loud but clear clap at the begging is a good idea.

    Another option would be to dub it. you play the video and then talk over it in time with the performer. If done well you can get good results but it is hard to do first time.

  3. #3

    Default We are using "Ulead VideoStudio 9.0 SE" (but are trialling "Corel Video Studio 12")


    Thanks for your suggestions smifis (esp the start with a clap idea!).

    FWIW, the software that came with our original camcorder [which is a Samsung Sports Camcorder (VP-X220L)] , is "Ulead VideoStudio 9.0 SE" - although I am now trialling an upgrade called "Corel Video Studio 12".

    Do you think this will let us paste in a new audio channel ? (For when/if we buy a separate voice recorder).

    [Apologies for being a total newbie!]

    To recap - the core problem is that our camcorder does not have an external mic socket and this means that the audio ends up sounding extremely "tinny" / amateur when we use the built-in mic.

    So the debate is whether to spend say GBP 35 to 100 or so on a voice recorder + external mic, and take the pain of pasting in a new audio channel, or whether to buy an entire new camcorder from scratch (GBP200+??) that *does* allow an external mic (and if so which camcorder to buy? - on pretty tight budget!) .

    Shiperton Henethe

  4. #4


    Lighting is more important than a new camera. A properly lit scene will work best.

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