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Thread: Discussion (again) - Demise of the Camcorder

  1. #1
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    Default Discussion (again) - Demise of the Camcorder

    I thought I'd raise this under a new thread rather than divert the thread in User Videos from discussion of Marc's excellent Goodwood event vid.
    I've cut and pasted a few comments and I hope I haven't misrepresented you, Marc.

    Marc:
    One thing that surprised me was the abundance of DSLRs, and the lack of camcorders. Very few people took video

    Tim:
    I'm surprised that you're surprised! The constant barrage of comments about how great DSLR footage is (with some justification), the comparatively low cost of very good DSLR footage over the past few years means that anyone with an interest in producing good video probably isn't even offered the choice of a camcorder. People who, like myself, got into video because they wanted a few moving snapshots of their kids no longer need to start off with a "beginners" camcorder as they have a perfectly good one on their phone. Depending on the type of film they progress to (if they do progress) they are likely to progress to a GoPro or a DSLR or both.

    Marc:
    It's less that people had expensive stills cameras and more that no one was taking amateur video. Sure, one or two had a gopro (with no screen) and a few used their phones, but the number of stills to video was a massive ratio. I see the same pattern with tourists in London. It's no wonder the forums are no where near as busy as amateur photography sites (and the really busy video sites are those that aimed at pros or wannabes).

    It also supports why I can never find videos on YouTube of events like goodwood (other than one or two truly awful ones).

    Whenever someone posts a car video, I always think "I reckon I could have done better". Now that I've done a few, I can say that it's tricky to get some decent stuff to work with, particularly where you are a spectator with limited access


    I would like to think that the reduction in filming car events is that people have become a bit more discerning about what they film. Maybe people with DSLRs have begun to understand how difficult these events are to film and therefore prefer to capture a few good stills rather than some rather dodgy footage. If only this applied to everything else.

    It would appear YouTube uploads continue to increase (from quick research currently - 100 hours per minute, 2012 - 60 hours per minute, 2011 slightly less).
    Tim

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    Perhaps the amount of time and processing power required for video production compared to preparing stills is a major factor. There's a lot more to it than a quick crop and balance.

  3. #3

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    not done much filming of any description of late but when i have its with my little HX20V. potability and ease of setting up dictate
    as for stills 9 times out of 10 ill use the camera on my phone which while no substitute for my DSLR is pretty damned good in lots of situations.
    'No longer are the pleasures of Home Movie Making limited to those with ample funds. Now the man and woman of moderate means can join the sport'..... Kodak catalogue 1933

  4. #4

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    It's an interesting situation. I think a lot of people jumped on the video bandwagon when vDSLRs came along and phones started including video as well.

    Then they started to realise that the video they were getting was both pretty crap and they didn't have any way of making a polished piece that they could/would watch over and over.

    Add to that, many people film upright on their phones instead of sideways then wonder why it looks crap on a TV! Well Doh! And then next time they do the same thing over again.

    It takes a serious interest and willingness to experiment in order to shoot 'good' video, not to mention the investment in a decent computer and then the time invested leaning how to edit. Few people stick with a 'hobby' long enough to master it, leaving only the true enthusiasts in their wake.

    Stills are much easier to get results that most people find acceptable and most people get lucky once in a while and get an awesome picture often by mistake. Like video truly awesome stills takes more time to master than most people have the time, patience or money to invest, but then most people aren't looking for 'awesome', they just want memories.

    In terms of the humble camcorder, it still has it's place. We're on a shoot tomorrow that will require multiple cameras, all of which will be camcorders (XF100), partly because we need the timecode in order to do a rapid sync of footage shot over a 4 hour period (for same day edit) and audio sync is out of the question based on how long this process would take and how reliable it would be given that some cameras will be remote so won't be capturing the same sound anyway. We don't need fancy shallow DOF, just good capture and easy workflow.

    Do we use camcorders all the time? No. Each tool has it's place in the box, but camcorders remain as valid today as they have ever been, given the right subject and circumstances.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Partington View Post
    It takes a serious interest and willingness to experiment in order to shoot 'good' video, not to mention the investment in a decent computer and then the time invested leaning how to edit. Few people stick with a 'hobby' long enough to master it, leaving only the true enthusiasts in their wake.
    But this was the case with camcorders too. The point Marc was making (wjhic i'd misunderstood in my initial response) was that very few people at events seem to be shooting amateur video at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by David Partington View Post
    In terms of the humble camcorder, it still has it's place. We're on a shoot tomorrow that will require multiple cameras, all of which will be camcorders (XF100), partly because we need the timecode in order to do a rapid sync of footage shot over a 4 hour period (for same day edit) and audio sync is out of the question based on how long this process would take and how reliable it would be given that some cameras will be remote so won't be capturing the same sound anyway. We don't need fancy shallow DOF, just good capture and easy workflow.
    All absolutely true, but actually proving the point I made in Marc's original thread (though not extracted and posted here). The relevant bit is here:
    The camcorder will very soon (if it hasn't already) become obsolete as a consumer product. It will still be necessary (for a while?) for broadcast - especially ENG, but this means that entry level will be considerably more than the 250 I spent on my first camcorder.
    The XF100 might well be a budget camcorder, but it's certainly not a beginner's camcorder. It's either a pro's B-Roll camera or useful compact camera (as in your case) or something that an enthusiast might progress to from a cheapie camcorder (as in my case). It is not something someone is likely to buy as a first camcorder.

    My prediction is that the cheapie traditional camcorder (1/6" or 1/4" in chip in a "barrel" format, with some manual capabilities via a menu and maybe a couple of buttons, external mic input) may well have had its day, and my guess is that entry level into that format will before long be the low end pro cameras. There are still a few decent camcorders about - the Panasonic X920, the Sony AX100 and CX900 but these are expensive investments as first cameras (ie for people who do not know whether they'll take to it). If I was considering video for the first time now, given the vast amount of stuff praising DSLRs I'm certain I'd spend my 600 on something like a Canon 700D with stock lens rather than a Panny X920. That way if I didn't get on with video I'd still have a decent camera.

    Without cheap "traditional" format camcorders to get people into the hobby, here will be less and less demand for the better consumer camcorders (eg AX100) which will drive the prices of those upwards.

    I have no comment as to whether this is a good or a bad thing. What I can say with almost certainty is that if we were at that position when I first bought a camcorder, well, I never would have done so and so I'd have missed out on what I discovered to be a fantastic hobby.
    Tim

  6. #6

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    I see this as a good thing if only from the point of view we may see less silly cat videos on YouTube.

    My first camer in 2003 cast me about 800. It was a great camera at the time but it's not as good a resolution and any of the smart phones this does not mean I would choose a phone to film with over this camera (yes I've still got it), as my camcorder is much better to use control wise so I can control what I get easyer than using a phone. I do however use a DSLR and often use it over my "big camera". It all depends on what I'm shooting.

    If the moving image market is slowing down then I haven't noticed yet BUT it will be interesting to see what the market do about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blue View Post
    I see this as a good thing if only from the point of view we may see less silly cat videos on YouTube.
    In that sense yes (although i suspect silly cat videos are more likely to be taken with a phone anyway), but my concern (possibly too strong a word) is that potentially reasonable film makers will not ever get into it as a hobby because of the barrier to entry of a decent point and shoot with manual options not existing at a sensible price. Of course my personal concern is that as the camcorder format becomes more specialised and aimed at pros there will no longer be something on the market i can afford.
    Tim

  8. #8

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    I've seen some awesome videos made with sony RX100 P&S cameras at 300. How low an entry to do want?

  9. #9

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    I understand your "mild concern" but it never stopped some great film makers in the past from making films and suspect that film makers will find a way of making films no matter what equipment is available to them. What did they do before digital or tape for that matter. Where there's a will there's a way. I think you think that because of "entry level" cameras changing may stop some people who may not realise they are great film makers from starting but I don't have this concern not even mildly.

    My daughter told me yesterday about her making a video at school with her friends using an iPad then editing it together. These are the things that will ignite the spark in people then they will have to spend a small fortune on equipment like the rest of us poor schmucks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blue View Post
    I think you think that because of "entry level" cameras changing may stop some people who may not realise they are great film makers from starting but I don't have this concern not even mildly.
    Yep. That's how I started. If it hadn't been for cheapie camcorders the world would have been deprived of my fantastic body of work .... erm, OK point taken
    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blue View Post
    My daughter told me yesterday about her making a video at school with her friends using an iPad then editing it together. These are the things that will ignite the spark in people then they will have to spend a small fortune on equipment like the rest of us poor schmucks.
    Indeed. When we had the kids round to make Tut Tut!, those wo weren't actually filming at the time were running around making their own film. Elise uses an app on her iPod called "Video Star" which basically does a better job than Pinnacle Studio used to of making a music vid. They love it.
    On the other hand, this sort of thing brings instant gratification and makes me wonder whether when they see the work involved in making a "proper" video (camera training, lighting, composition before we even get to editing and post) they might be seriously put off.
    Tim

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