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Thread: Camcorder advice - 500 budget

  1. #1

    Default Camcorder advice - 500 budget

    Hello,

    I'm new to the forum, but have joined as I'd like some advice on which camcorder I should get.

    I have a budget of around 500... I can go higher if necessary, but am trying to avoid going as high as a Panasonic X920 (which I was looking at today!)

    I dont need 'fancy' features as such. I just want the best image quality with a good optical zoom.

    I will be using the camcorder to film aircraft taking off and landing on a once in a lifetime trip. Hopefully in nice sunny weather but thats not guaranteed!

    I was attracted to the X920 because of its Leica lense, but it is a little more than I want to spend.

    At the moment I am thinking of a Panasonic V720 or a SD600, but I really would appreciate your thoughts / comments / advise - I have no experience in this field at all!

    Many thanks
    Mark

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    If you shop around you may just find someone with an X900 at around your budget. When the X920 was released the 900 was going for really silly money.
    An SD900 on eBay for around 300-350 is always a good bet and leaves you money for the all-important audio.
    Tim

  3. #3

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    Thank you Tim,
    Can you please give me some guidance as to what the all important audio consists of? I assume you mean an external mic?
    Sorry for my ignorance but I'm a complete novice!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark282 View Post
    Thank you Tim,
    Can you please give me some guidance as to what the all important audio consists of? I assume you mean an external mic?
    Sorry for my ignorance but I'm a complete novice!
    Apology not accepted. We are all ignorant and the stupid thing is not to ask questions We were all novices once (and I haven't progressed nearly as much as I pretend I have).

    There's quite a bit about microphones in the Stickies at the top of this section Don't be put off by the fact that the threads seem rather old - the simple fact is that sound recording - or at least microphone technology - is mature and what was good 20 years ago still stands today (the go-to mic for vocals in a band, the Shure SM58 is the same now as it was hen I was playing in bands in the 1970s - and even then it was "old hat")

    However the main thing about capturing sound is to get your mic as close to the source as possible. This is why a 15 lavalier (tie clip mic) ideally placed can sound just as good if not better than a 1000 shotgun mic a few feet away, for a voice.

    I'd go as far as to suggest that a lot of the effort in designing different mics is aimed at compensating for the fact that the mic is not in the optimal position. (Obviously the rest of the effort goes into focusing on specific frequencies for different jobs).

    What would I suggest? At entry level, something like the Rode VideoMic Pro (preferably not the origial RodeVideo mic) is a good general purpose "directional" mic. you can use this on the camera for ENG (electronic new gathering) type shots, hand held (or on a stand) for an interviewer/presenter or on a boom for drama, or where you wanty the mic out fo shot. It's definitely worth investing a very small amount of money in something like the ATR3350 - lavalier. you might also consider a digital recorder, like the Zoom H1 or H2 (H4n at 250 is possibly aspirational ATM, although i now highly regret cutting corners and getting the H2) The advantage of these devices is that you can place them, either using their in built mics (which are great for ambient sound BTW, but also, positioned correctly are not bad for any voice pickup) or with external mics some distance away from the camera. I've used one with a lavalier on a presente and it worked brilliantsly. There are two downsides with this approach (1) you need to sync the audio with the camera in post (not difficult if you make sure you have a short sharp clap in each take) and (2) you cannot monitor what is being recorded from the camera (though you might place a sound engineer with headphones near the device.

    Once you start to progress from this, even at the low end of professional mics, you are talking about balanced cables for which you'll need XLR connectors - - but lets not go there yet, eh? A Zoom, a 150 shotgun and a 20 lavalier would be an excellent starting kit.
    Tim

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    I think OP needs to get some experience using (whichever camcorder) before this "Once in Lifetime visit" - if anything can go wrong, it will and without some experience you may not discover "what" until too late.
    The Must-have feature of the 920 is the WiFi connection - but you need a suitable phone/etc. to work it.

    I'm not sure how OP is concerned about Audio? Is this recording these aircraft? - I'd expect them to be pretty loud! - but easily faked by taking some shots nearer the take-off point (perhaps?) to get cleaner audio (if that's possible at an airport). This can be slipped-in at the Edit stage, but you need several "in the bag" so the audience doesn't realise they are the same track.
    For loud audio OP might like to get a m/c karaoke mic probably locally will suffice, Remember to take plenty of adaptors but DO not plug an adaptor into the camcorder - those skts are not strong enough! Always use a cable/adaptor to minimise any strain. You may need some closed-back headphones, but not for monitoring - to protect your ears.

  6. #6

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    Thank you for your help and comments so far. vidnammers, you are right... I do need to get some experience before the trip. I cant go into details, but I have been invited onto an aircraft carrier to see aircraft operations around the ship. It certainly is once in a lifetime stuff for me hence I want / need a good video camera. I'm now looking at upping the budget to buy the x920. Are there any other cameras that I should be looking at in that price range? I really cant afford to go any more expensive than a 920, but if there are other cameras that I should look at then it would be good to know!

    Tim, Thank you for the information on mic's. Until you posted here its something that I hadn't even considered so good to know. Thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark282 View Post
    I'm now looking at upping the budget to buy the x920. Are there any other cameras that I should be looking at in that price range?
    Canon G25?
    Tim

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    You should ask for recording permissions first ( But then maybe you have this included in the Invite) . . . and I suspect the noise-level will force you to wear protective helmet, supplied from the Ship's stock....The noise-level might well distort most microphones and you should seek specialist advice on such noise-sources.
    I have a CD of microphone comparisons (sadly misplaced) which compared their odd-shaped mics against the best of "named" mics . . those that you will see pros using. These mics are surprisingly small and have a tapered body. They have amazing responses in freq and I suspect they laugh at seriously hi levels of audio. It is a US-based co. whose products are sometimes seem in thorman (German) website . . . starting at 500....possible a search?

    As to cabling, I suspect you may find that "ordinary pro" stuff isn't permitted, as there will be strict regulations regarding any cable and this could include a Mil-spec . . . such cables will have sealed connectors with screwed security and internal O-rings . . . . the spec of "our" camcorders would not even approach this level of spec. You may also find the pressure-waves create vibration-levels that a conventional camcorder won't like. One way round this (if permitted!) might be a stainless steel case with a thick glass window, sealed with O-rings - not unlike an underwater approach. by padding the inside (or supporting by nest of bungees) much of the vibration should be lost.

    Back to my original post, re Audio . . . as there is no obvious "sync" issue, you may be able to record the audio separately . . . but ideally using a similar-spec housing.... and a serious mic


    The problem as I see it, is that this is a 1-off - so you can't go back to yr shed and "tinker" - however any ship will have specialist machinery available to make things, so it's possible this might help, depending on the level of permissions you hold,
    ie. Specialist advise in advance might help secure that unique footage . . . .

    - however, I'm surprised you've not be warned about this prior, by the Powers that Be . . . .

    EDIT:
    I occurs to me that "maybe" you are going to be in the observation area, behind protective glass . . . if this is the position then you will get poor audio (with room "crosstalk"). A further issue will be reflections from the glass, which will seriously destroy any pictures. There are ways round this, but it depends on the level of permission you have ...er, IMHO.
    Last edited by vidmanners; 08-03-2013 at 12:35 AM.

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