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Thread: Martial Arts Instructional Video equipment

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    Default Martial Arts Instructional Video equipment

    Hi. I'm a complete novice and know nothing of camcorder or video production. I do know a bit about encoding and software in general being a programmer, so I'm quite willing to try to convert even more obscure formats, but I know that I need to have decent source footage as a starting point.

    It is a given that these will be uploaded onto sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, etc.

    I was wondering what the best camcorder for my requirements. Generally I would need to be "fairly hands" off. Two reasons: Will be doing little tit bits vlog style like coordination exercises, where I may not have anyone around to help me; secondly I don't have a large amount of time for the learning curve for entirely manual operations. I also think these types of high end cameras would be wasted money for me realistically. Despite that I am technically minded, so Iím willing to learn a little in terms of setup/tweaking.

    I do have quite specific requirements based on experience of what works and what does work in the end product. There are basically two categories of martial arts instructional videos: The first is purely demonstrational but flashy/stylised and most people arenít going to learn a great deal out of them, the second is much more educational and doesnít have so much of the special effects. Iím focusing on the latter. In a way the first should be easier to achieve.

    From looking at what at what is available in the semi armature field there are some problems, or areas for improvement. The main thing is I cannot have any graininess, the images must be clear, the motion must be crisp, and there must be suitable definition on parts of the body so the viewer will have a better idea of where they are in relation to one another, the sound must be clear and in dialogue with the viewer. I donít have pretences about location or ďimageĒ otherwise. I think this can be part of the problem. For example people try to ďplain outĒ the background resulting in a glary over bright and saturated image where you canít see definition, and this also effect what you can see of the motion. Practically speaking it make little sense because combat/self defence application doesnít happen in nowhere land. Reiterating have no pretences or need to sugar coat how it was made, but want to pull out all the stops I can for clarityís sake.

    Locations would be my living room (has longish clear area with plain wall/ceiling, and standard light coloured wood veneer snap fit floor, lighting adaptable), gym (larger planish two tone walls, also has stage area, wooden floor, strip lighting, canít change much), and possibly outside when it is nice weather and not too gusty (for the sound )

    Now I would be doing simple exercises aimed a beginners, thing that they can realistically practice on their own. With my teachers mat be doing much more spontaneous sparing and subsequent breakdown of whatever happens. So the first I can reasonable guess will be possible to shot in single shot on a tripod, the second can definitely will not be shot this way. I know that one of my instructors has recently bought a camcorder I think it is a cannon or Panasonic as he said he had a sony before and didnít like it. It will definitely be a standard high street type, and Iím pretty sure he wouldnít have researched it specifically for this. However it may still be possible to use this in a supplementary way, given that standard modern home use cameras are presumably getting better on the whole.

    For the most part I am mostly concerned about my exercises tutorial at the moment. Because if Iím successful with what I can pass on the experience.

    Iím pretty sure it will need to be in high definition, so those that can get the most out of it. I realise that no professional this is not lossless, but as long as there is some gain then it will be worth it.

    I do know that frame by frame manipulation is not trivial for a view on Youtube (using the time line is very approximate so you have to persistently pause until you have the right image), so I canít expect them to be able to capture the FLV so I may offer them alternative sources. However I would like decent low motion capture if possible it order to demonstrate real application of moves. I use this example and my (fair use) freezes to try an outline what is happening, which is something that happens just too fast to be able to notice.

    So obviously if I could show these points in my videos that would be useful. Me simulating the motion is completely different from real speed application.

    In term of sound would it the mic it come with be suitable or would a separate accessory be better.

    Is second hand a good option for what I want?

    Thank you very much in advance for your help.

  2. #2


    In your long description you omitted to mention what your budget is. I would definitely recommend an external shot gun microphone for what you need.

    Don't fall into the trap of thinking you need to shoot in HD. If you are uploading to YouTube etc. you don't really need HD so long as you have good SD footage. The example you posted is SD and was easily viewable and clear enough to see what was going on.

    I'm sure most modern high street cameras could do what you need what's important is using it correctly to get the best out of it and secondly make sure it has an input for the external mic.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010


    Thanks for the advice I take on board what you said.

    I was just working out what I will resonably spend. I think £350 is the upper limit for the cam. I like to be a bit of tight wad see what I get out of, istead of spending money on something spangly but doesn't do what i want.

    I looked at second hand stuff, a lot of it is 2004 era sonys and cannons. There is pansonics from 2008.

    Although markets like to make out there are advancements in technology all the time, in reality it is often stepped. There might a period where nothing much changes. I gather that there have ben recent advancement relevant to me? This need to be considered with regard to whether i buy second or first hand.

    From intial research on this forum I gather I may have to compramise on the slow motion?
    Last edited by x00; 03-21-2010 at 07:47 PM.

  4. #4


    With a budget like that you won't get anything like the quality of equipment you need to make a pro looking video but spending £100 on a microphone and £250 on a second hand camera will get you started. Like I said before using the equipment correctly will make your videos look 10 times better than most YouTube stuff.

    If you get a reasonable cardioid microphone this should be ok for your needs. I can't recommend a specific one as I don't really know much about them. Make sure your camera will take the mic. You also need a tripod something like a Velbon DV7000 would be fine for you.

    You also need editing software. I would recommend Sony Movie Studio it's about £50-£60.

    You may need extra lighting depending on your situation. A living room is usually a bit dark. You could just use a couple of 200w point-able lamps from B&Q etc.

    With the budget you mentioned I'm finding it hard to recommend anything really.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010


    This is a sort of benchmark of the type of videos i'd like to make.

    I would like to make some improvment on the clarity, and sound if I can.

    Let me know what sort of budget is reasonable. The £350 was for the camera. I be willing to pay more for a mic.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010


    Lighting wise the central light unit is four mains 50W 30 degree point-able halogens 1.5-2.5 meters away from a plain background wall. I have a rig-able mini spot that fits halogens and lighting gels. I have a freestanding adjustable lamp, fits standard incandescent reflector bulbs. I have a LED T8 strip for another project and diffuser which is equivalent to 50W florescent, but is not harsh give a nice cool white illumination. Plan to get another at 1m maybe in a warm white.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010


    There are plenty of standard and high definition pansonics in my price range on ebay. I'm just a little bit spoilt for choice. Not sure which specifications are most important.
    Last edited by x00; 03-22-2010 at 12:15 AM.

  8. #8


    This is where you will have to do the homework. Find a camera in your price range and google it for reviews. That's how most of us do it.

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