Equipment: Digital camcorder recommendation

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I was recently asked by several people to recommend digital camcorders. While I've previously recommended tape-based HDV camcorders, I'm now recommending SHDC flash memory based camcorders for most people. Flash memory is now very cheap and so is hard drive space.

I personally use a Canon Vixia HF100 high-def digital camcorder to tape meetings and talks here at school.

CanonHF200.jpgThe current model is the HF200 which is listed at around $750. You also have to budget for a
16 gigabyte SD card ($50~), tripod ($100), and microphone ($50).

If your budget is less, then I think the Canon Vixia FS21 at $400 would be
just fine. You lose high-def but if you're just uploading to the web,
then high-def is overkill. You'd still need to get an 8 gigabyte SD
card, tripod, and mic.

Be sure to buy a good tripod as most cheap tripods have plastic heads that herk-and-jerk when you try to pan or tilt. If you've ever used a good fluid head, it's hard to go back to el-cheapo tripod. Personally, i wouldn't touch a tripod under $300, but I realize that's not in most people's budgets.

The AVC format that these cameras used makes it fairly easy to dump the video to your harddrive and then onto a DVD for archival purposes. AVC isn't terribly great for intensive editing since it's highly compressed, but it's not terrible either with today's fast CPUs.

Would I use either of these for ethnographic filmmaking.... hmmm... most probably not. But this is only because my 'A' camera is the Canon XL-H1 which is a prosumer HDV camera. When I edit in Final Cut, it makes sense to not mix and match between different HD formats, so my current 'B' camera is a Sony HDV tape based camera as well.

If I was all digital, I might consider it, but I'm not sure..... I don't have enough funds to buy an all new flash based 'A' camera, so it's a moot point anyway.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on April 29, 2010 1:51 PM.

No way to type x-bar in Pages! was the previous entry in this blog.

Things That Caught My Eye: DSLR Sensors in Tiny Bodies and Beautiful Pictures From Ugly Videos is the next entry in this blog.

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