Wishlist Addition: New Camcorder
I suppose that the first thing that some will say on seeing the title of this post is something along the lines of “What do you need with another camcorder? You’ve already got a good one.” and to a point they’re correct. I DO already have one and it is a pretty good unit. With the 4GB memory card I have installed it’ll record up to two hours of High Definition video.
So what do I need with another one? Well for one thing the unit that I’ve got right now has a built in microphone only. There’s no way to plug in an external microphone in order to improve the sound quality. It has been ok for the “in studio” videos that I’ve made that are all shot entirely inside in my home studio but if you take it outside, or even just to a larger room inside where the actors will be farther from the camera, and you’ve got a problem with the sound dropping off fast as you get more than five or six feet from the camera’s built in microphone.
Another thing about the built in mic on the camera I’ve already got is the location of that mic. It’s on the top of the camera, positioned near the back so that the one voice it’ll pick up really good is that of the person operating it. I suppose it was done to make it easy for people who are shooting vacation or birthday footage or some such to narrate their stuff as they shoot it and have it sound good but it doesn’t work out so good when all the action, and the actors, is six to ten feet in front of the camera.
Another thing I don’t care for about that camera is the fact that it saves the video as .MOV (quicktime) files. This is fine and dandy if you’re editing on a Mac but working on XP I found out early on that I have to transcode them to .WMV or .AVI in order to be able to do any editing. That can take a long time if you’ve got more than just a few minutes of video to convert.
So I’ve been browsing to see what’s on sale in an effort to find a camera that’s more suited to what I’m using it for and has features that I very much wish the old one had.
I’m not giving up the search yet but so far the best looking unit that I’ve found is this Cannon Flash Memory Camcorder. First off I appreciate the Cannon name. They’re known for quality equipment.
Then there’s the fact that it’s actually got a place to plug in an external microphone. That means that sound quality can be a lot better by having the microphone somewhere MUCH closer to the actors, instead of pretty much pointing at the camera operator.
In addition to that, it records in MPEG-2 format, which means that I wouldn’t have to use up lots of time waiting for video to transcode into a usable format before I get started with the editing work.
It uses a standard SDHC Memory Card for storage so there’s no need to buy tapes, CD-R’s or DVD-R’s to use with it or even have to deal with wear & tear on the moving parts of a hard drive based unit.
All in all, it looks to me like it’s a LOT better suited to how I’d be using it. Frankly, what I’d really like is to have two of ’em so I could shoot multi-angle stuff in one take but I suppose that might be pushing it a bit don’t you?
Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!