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Camcorder Recommendations


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#1 robert hollenbach

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 02:26 PM

I have been looking at many different digital camcorders in the 4K and below range and wanted to see if anyone had any recommendations on cameras that I should highly consider as my first camera based on the types of projects I want to use it for. Since I am not in the market for a Blue Ray burner (if it even exists), most of my videos will be in SD. I may use HD for the web, but I don't believe my single processor (I have a Dell Pentium 4 3.4 Ghz 2mb Ram with an Nvidia GeForce 6800 GTO graphic cards) would be able to handle the uploading and editing of a high def video, but I can also hire someone for editing HD videos. So I would like a video camera that does both HD and SD video, or film it in HD and have it converted in camera or through software down to SD (whichever looks better) should I want it burned to DVD.

I would like a digital camcorder for posting movies (such as interviews (outdoors and/or in a properly lit studio), short comedic videos, and news style videos where I can add a background to a green screen or other graphics, animations, texts or videos in the video (similiar to what they do on the regular TV news or on comedy news shows like the Daily Show and The Colbert Report). These videos would be posted on my web site and/or on youtube.

I am also interested in doing some freelance work such as personal videos for other web sites or high quality home movies and some corporate training videos and budget commercial work. No weddings or other events where I don't have control over the lighting and very disruptive noise or flashes from still cameras.

As far as the picture type, I would like it to look more like what you would see on The Daily Show and reality shows like American Idol; in essense, I prefer that it not look like a Hollywood film on DVD (which I assume is 24p). However, since I am also pursuing commercial or for-pay projects, I would like option for a more film-like look if that is what the client prefers.

The other major concern is producing the video for the types of TVs/monitors that are on the market. So the camera has to be able to produce videos that will play on DVD players (standard definition), as an avi or other computer file, plasma/LCD TV's, and old style letterbox TVs that have a DVD player attached to it.

Right now, I am considering the Sony FX1000 (with an XLR adapter for better sound options), a DVX100B (even though it's only SD), or maybe a used JVC HD100U (for its wide range of shooting modes. I may even consider a used Sony HVR-Z1U, but I am less enthusiastic about that camera since it is interlaced only.

Sorry it's a long post. Any camera recommendations?
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#2 Hal Smith

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 03:00 PM

Don't overlook the Canon HV-40. There's a huge knowledge base about the HV-20/30/40 series and the HV-40 added true 24p. I've got an HV-20 and I am astounded with how good the picture looks on my 58" Samsung plasma TV.

There are starting to be some pretty well established workflows for taking the 1920X1080 HDMI output directly off of the camera and recording to hard disk. That adds options not possible with the camera's HDV recording.
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#3 robert hollenbach

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 10:02 PM

Thank you Hal for your recommendation. I took a look at the HV40 and it looks like a pretty good camcorder for some projects (such as interviews) that I will be doing, but maybe not so much for freelance projects (in cases where a paying customer may see the camera) or for films where I need a little more control over the settings to achieve the best picture. I don't anticipate doing any films with really fast movement (like car chases, flying birds, bike riders). I believe the vast majority of my films would be filming people eithe standing or sitting still (like an interview or newscast) or moving about a stage (like actors in a play or models on a runway) so I don't know how many manual controls I really need, but I'm more interested in a prosumer to professional camcorder that is capable of creating a good film either on the web or DVD vs for the big screen, but also can give potential customers the impression that I'm using better equipment.

Don't overlook the Canon HV-40. There's a huge knowledge base about the HV-20/30/40 series and the HV-40 added true 24p. I've got an HV-20 and I am astounded with how good the picture looks on my 58" Samsung plasma TV.

There are starting to be some pretty well established workflows for taking the 1920X1080 HDMI output directly off of the camera and recording to hard disk. That adds options not possible with the camera's HDV recording.


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#4 Ram Shani

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 10:21 AM

take a look at

canon 5d mark 2 now with FULL manual control

panasonic gh-1
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#5 Thomas James

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 10:58 AM

If you like the American Idol reality look I would go with the JVC HD200 which allows you to shoot 720p high definition video at 60 frames per second. With the JVC you can also shoot at 24p or 30p for a more film look.
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#6 robert hollenbach

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 09:52 PM

Thank you for the camera recommendation and educating me on the recording settings to achieve the reality look of the video which is more of the look I will be filming for the most part (rather than the film look).

I've had my eye on some of JVC's high def camcorders like the HD100U and the HD200U for some time because of their range of recording settings. For now, the HD200U is out of my price range since by the time I purchase other equipment like lighting and microphones, it will cost me a pretty penny. A used HD100U is a slightly a little more affordable. I found JVC model GY-HM100U on the B&H web site, but not much additional information in the way of reviews and I believe it must be so new that there isn't a market yet for people selling used ones yet. But it also does 720/60p as well as 24p and 30p.

If you like the American Idol reality look I would go with the JVC HD200 which allows you to shoot 720p high definition video at 60 frames per second. With the JVC you can also shoot at 24p or 30p for a more film look.


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