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Thread: A little help and advice please (otherwise i lose my job eeeek)

  1. #1

    Default A little help and advice please (otherwise i lose my job eeeek)

    Hello one and all, i wonder if you can help,

    My boss at work has asked me if i could do some research into camcorder equipment and i know nothing, as in not-one-thing about camcorders, so any advice would be great.

    He has given me this 'moon on a stick' criteria so it may be tough;

    light weight
    good zoom (optical)
    EXCELLENT sound and vision (even in wind)
    Suited to shooting in low light ie, attic space (although i understand i can attach an LED light with a hot shoe with certain models - this worked well on one of the videos ive seen)
    Simple to use
    Not overly expensive.

    OK, so thats that, any help would be amazing, any websites or links great! Anything to give me a starting point as i feel like i am drowning in possibilities! Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    I have assumed in my response that as it's your boss asking, he wants to make videos either fit to present to clients or as advertising material. If he just wants to spy on employees an old camera will do!

    That's all rather general. It would be much mnore useful if you gave some indication as to what the intended use is and hat the budget might be. It's all very well saying "as much as it takes" but there mist come a point where it's more cost effective to do this a different way (eg get a pro). if a budget is £500 there's little point anyone recommending kit costing £4000 or £20,000.

    What do you consider lightweight? A shoulder mount camera?
    Good zoom - what does that mean? 10x? 20x?
    Robust - what environment are you using it in?
    Excellent sound and vision - define this.
    Suitable to use in low light - eg attic space -Ah-hah! That's the sort of specific requirement we're loking for.
    Simple to use - buy whom? - an experienced video operator? someone who's familar with photography? Someone who's never picked up a camera in their life?

    See what I'm getting at?

    For starters, no camera has good on-board sound. you will need an external mic which means you'll either need a camera which can accept an external mic or you will need a digital recording device and some means of syncing in post production. On board camera mics are used for mainly for sync purposes or sometimes for a bit of ambient sound. This then begs the question - what type of mic and this again depends on what you are recording - do you want a tie clip (lavalier), or a "semi directional" hand-held mic or a directional mic on a boom etc etc. All these are important factors and add to the budget. If this is for business, I'm imagining the sound is important. At the budget end you shoudl expect to spend at least as much on the sound equipment as on the camera.

    You've touched on using a camera mounted LED - will this be enough? Rembrant Rob recommends a couple of these for if you're on a tight budget. Search his posts for "LED"

    How about mounting the camera? Is it all to be handheld (which will look it). If you want better results you'll need a tripod. If you want any camera movement (pan and tilt) you'll need a tripod witha fluid head, which means you'll need good sturdy legas as well. So that's something else to add to your shopping list. Failing that, you might get a way with balancing the camera on a bean bag. this is just as effective, so long as you don't want to pan/tilt, but does rather depend upon having something handy to put the nbean bag on.

    Now, what are you going to do wth the footage? I presume you're going to need to edit it somehow. Got someone experienced with video editing? No? Well expect to spend a lot of time getting up to speed, even just getting to a point where you can upload footage to a computer (do you have a powerful enough one?), trim the clips, sequence them, add a few captions/titles, add voice over/commentary and music, balance the sound and export to the required format will take a long time. If you're doing it, make sure your boss gives you pleny of time to learm. If someone else its, make sure he gives them time to do it. And don't let him give editing to someone who doesn't want to do it. Anyone who looks upon it as a chore turn potentially good footage into something which will not impress your clients.

    Sorry if this seems like simply adding to your list of things to consider. Your boss needs to appreciate that just because a £500 camera can produce stunning results, the camera is only one component in a long list of things needed to make an adequate video.

    If you fancy getting into this as a hobby - fantastic - you can do it at the expense ofy(or at least partly funded by) our boss. If not annd nobody else fits the bill, give him a copy of this response!

  3. #3


    I think currently all my boss is doing is testing the water, and I can see how my first post was extremely general, but it was the first stop in my research, so I thank you for your response.

    So to narrow it down I bit, the footage that we are trying to put together would have to be fit for public consumption – it will have to look and sound ‘good’. In terms of a budget, well I would say between £500 - £1200, just as a guide and this is looking extremely unlikely – but again we are just testing the water.

    By lightweight I mean something which can be carried and operated for long periods of time, isn’t too bulky that you are likely to be knocking it when moving around in tighter spaces. Thus I think shoulder mounted would be out.
    Good Zoom? Well lets say 10x Optical for the time being.
    Robustness and environment, well every kind of weather as well as in doors.
    Sound and vision, the camera has to be able to pick out precise and small detail, whilst recordings may well be outside in windy unfavourable conditions. I understand the reasoning behind an additional microphone enhancing sound quality so this is certainly something to bear in mind. As far as synching and post production goes I think this would begin to over complicate the matter.
    By the simplicity in usage, ideally it would be something that someone with limited knowledge would be able to pick up and use the major functions after a brief induction.

    I was very impressed by the camera LED demonstrations ive seen, but are there models which allow for the inclusion of both an additional microphone and LED?

    As far as editing software goes, well I have very little experience with it and I completely accept your point that it is expensive, takes time to learn and requires enthusiasm. What are the options here?

    I had a quick glance at the Panasonic HDC-TM700, the reviews are generally good and its not overly priced.

    Thank you so much for your help, its certainly food-for-thought.

  4. #4


    The Panasonic HDC-TM700 is a very good camera. Well worth considering. NO camera will be able to cope with wind. You have to deal with wind as a separate action. ie get an external mic and put it in a wind jammer etc.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    I sent a really extensive update to this earlier. It's gone. I really can't spend another 30 mins typing it. Sorry!
    Except to say. TM700 excellent choice (as Midnight says) - leaves plenty of money in budget for other stuff.
    It is easy to use as a pont and shoot. Less easy if you want to do manual anything - this is where pro models score - they have dedicated buttons/controls for each function whereas consumer cams have them hidden away in LCD menus. At least the TM 700 has one multi-function ring which is a step up from none!

    First accessory must be a clear or Ultra Violet filter. Let that get scratched, not the lens on your camera.

    Also conside a rain cover.

    Vemon D7000 is a good budgey tripod with fluid head (don't get the D6000 - head seises up - I know from persona experience)

    Your biggest problem is going to be sound. External mic is a must.

    Syncing in post isn't as difficult as you may think. There are even sodftware solutions available. A friend swears by Plural Eyes. I swear by doing it by hand/ear. His method is quicker. Mine is cheaper!

    Vegas Movie Studio HD - the cheapest version gves you 4 video and 4 audio tracks which is adequate for most stuff until you want to get creative. But it doesn't include DVD Architect studio - if you want that then go up a level.
    Last edited by TimStannard; 08-03-2011 at 08:22 PM.

  6. #6


    Thanks so much guys! I think i may be getting somehwere slowly.

    If anyone else reading this wants to push me in any direction, or warn me to stay clear of certain cameras or software please go ahead!

  7. #7


    Have you ever thought of going self employed.

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