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Thread: Which type of Camera? Please help!

  1. #1
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    Apr 2010
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    Default Which type of Camera? Please help!

    Hi all

    I really need help with this question.

    I am just about to buy a new camcorder. The last one I bought was a Sony handy cam about 10 years ago so I can see that things have moved on a great deal since then.

    I will be using the camera to recored interivews that I will later webcast in a flash format.

    Now I know that many people say "well if you are going to heavily compress it anyway for streaming out on the web you may as well just use a consumer camera"

    However, from experience ( I have worked with hundreds of different videos over the last few years) I can see that footage taken with a professional camcorder, or a semi pro, always seams to produce a far higher quaility image than film shot with a consumer style camcorder, like mine. Even though both may be compressed using the same commpression software etc, I use sorenson squeeze.

    My question is this - do the consumer camcoders that I can now buy today, at about the £500, produce footage that will be as good as a semi pro. Its says that they film in HDV, and some are filming at 1080p, so are they as good? I noticwe that most film straight to hardrive, I cant see that ever capturing the same anout of data as DV tape, but am I wrong here?

    Alternativley, I would buy a Sony HVR 1AE, but these are a lot more money. Still entry level for the professional user but much more money than any of the consumer cameras.

    Will the footage be similar, am I just paying for extras like XLR sound facilitites.

    Please could someone explain - I cant see a consumer camera producing the same quaility picture, but I don“t really understand the basic differences to make any kind of informed decision.

    Thanks in advance for any input
    JMPC
    Last edited by jmpc; 04-09-2010 at 03:13 PM.

  2. #2
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    For the web, HD consumer camcorders will do fine when compared to expensive pro ones as the visible difference will be negligible. Though, with semi-pro camcorders you'll obviously have more manual control options, and stuff like that.

    It's all down to how you use a camera; taking rubbish video on a really expensive pro camcorder won't make it look any better. Maybe you have seen better looking footage from pro camcorders because the footage is more likely to have been shot by a pro, not the average consumer?

    Seeing as you're doing this for internet viewing, I think you should look for one with a progressive mode. Mic input would also be a good thing to look for, unless you're planning on recording audio with an external device.

  3. #3
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    Thanks Matthew,

    Waht does 'progressive' mean and are you aware of any consumer camera that have 2 mic jacks?

    Also, what compression software do you use, are people using software other than sorenson squeeze, is there better stuff around?

    Thanks
    JMPC

  4. #4
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    I don't think there are any consumer camcorders with two mic inputs. However, if you're recording voices, there isn't any need for stereo, so you could use a y cable to effectively get two mic inputs (though each one mono).

    Progressive video is basically just one solid image, rather than two interlaced images, per frame. All computer monitors are progressive, as is pretty much all internet video. There's a good article about it on Wikipedia Progressive scan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
    It's different from interlacing in that it stores half the motion information (25 images a second, instead of 50) but twice the verticle resolution. If you were recording interviews for TV viewing, progressive wouldn't be preferred. However, seeing as you will have to de-interlace interlaced footage for the web, it helps to have the option to capture it progressively to begin with.


    I don't render videos for direct web-viewing, so I can't really help you out with the compression I'm afraid. Though, most video editing software has decent export functionality, and I believe FLVs or MP4s are the best codecs for direct net viewing. If you're planning on uploading to YouTube then it doesn't really matter what format you choose, just so long as you use a high bitrate to avoid quality loss when YouTube transcodes your uploaded footage into the format that they use.

  5. #5
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    Thanks Matthew, very helpful. I had not realised y cables existed, but that's a perfect solution for me and another main reason not to purchase a pro model.

    I have looked-up 'progressive' on wiki and it makes sense.

    So to conclude I should look for an HDV, at 1080p - with progressive shooting - is that correct?

    Thanks for takeing the time to offer such a comprehensive reply - much appreciated

  6. #6
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    Yep, that's correct. Perhaps something like Canon's HV line, because they have pretty much what you're after - progressive shooting, mic input, HDV, and exceptional quality.

  7. #7

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    When you see 1080p, the p means it shoots progressive at the resolution of 1920 x 1080. If you see 1080i, the i means it only shoots interlaced at the resolution of 1920 x 1080.

  8. #8
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    Thanks Matthew, and thanks to you too midnight blue

    BTW Midnight Blue - do you agree with all of Matthews“s comments?

  9. #9

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    Pretty much. I wouldn't worry about splashing money out on things like Sorenson Squeeze. You editing software will render anything you need for YouTube. I always use mpeg2 only because I've personally had the most success with it than mpeg4.

    As for the cameras I'm not really familiar enough with them to comment.

  10. #10
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    Just jumping in a little late, if you're recording interviews then as you are no doubt aware the most important thing here is the sound.
    If you use a "Y" splitter make sure you get one which has two mono inputs and a stereo output - one channel to left and one to the right. Most I've seen are simple stereo to stereo - designed for sharing headphones on an MP3 player.
    Better still would be to get a Beachtek. This allows you to connect two mics with blanced XLR connectors and has separate gain controls for each. There's a powered one as well for if you need mics with phantom power.
    Tim

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