Camcorder question

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by wonky, Feb 10, 2019 at 12:18 PM.

  1. wonky

    wonky Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    berlin, germany
    Dear all, first time post in this part of hoffman forums:

    I would like to buy a camcorder for educational project work, meaning filming interviews, educational activities and so on for use on Youtube or embedded on websites.

    I think the possibility to connect a good external microphone is necessary. My budget is about 500 €.

    Any recommendations are appreciated!
     
  2. Dubmart

    Dubmart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    I like both the Panasonic HC-VXF990 and slightly lower HC-VXF980, both are 4K and I've used them with external Rode mics, Panasonic recently brought out a newer model the HC-VX1 which is likely just as good and may mean you can find the older models cheaper, I bought mine for just over £400. The Sony FDR-AX53 and FDR-AX33 are also both good, but usually more expensive and possibly over your budget, other than Panasonic and Sony I'm sure there's a good option from Canon as well, but I'm not familiar with their current range.

    Don't forget to budget for a good and fast 128gb or larger SD card, a decent tripod and as mentioned a good mic, I'd wholeheartedly recommend a mic from Rode's range which start at quite affordable prices, if you are doing a lot of interviews then something like the Rodelink filmaker kit is very good although being in Germany Sennheiser also make nice mics for video work.
     
  3. wonky

    wonky Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    berlin, germany
    Thanks a lot, very helpful! I will look into the products you mentioned. I will also get a tripod, but camera and mic first.
     
  4. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    I've found excellent deals at Canon's Refurbished Camcorder store.

    Canon Refurbished Consumer Camcorders | Canon Online Store

    I just managed to buy a Vixia HF G40 for $799. At B&H it's $1199, discounted from $1,300.

    This is technically a "Consumer" camcorder, but it's the exact same camera as the "pro" XA-10, but lacking the handle with the XLR inputs. But I can get those with my Rolls MX34c mixer. Not useful if I'm doing "run and gun" video, but my HF G40 will always remain on the tripod.

    If you shop the Refurb store, DO NOT buy any of the "R" models. They have a very long lens, but that's because the imaging chip is so tiny. They are not currently offering any of the "M" line, which is the best deal - larger imager and good controls.

    I don't own any 4K cameras. The size of the files and the difficulty of editing the material keeps me from it. For my purposes, a whole bunch of HD cameras is better than one 4K one.

    If you're doing interviews, you need lavaliere mics. A shotgun is no replacement for actually getting the mic actually on the subject's body. If that's not an option, a shotgun over their head via a stand just out of camera range is the next best option.
     
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  5. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    I think you would get better, more current advice on the DVXUser forum.

    I also think €500 is a very low budget these days if you intend to pursue this professionally (even on YouTube), because the expectation of quality is pretty high from modern viewers. You might find you get more for your money just renting a camera and lighting gear through Kitsplit and similar online companies (and apps):

    Kitsplit.com
    FatLlama.com‎
    ShareGrid
    BorrowLenses.com
     
  6. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident

    Location:
    US


    Life is too short for the average home filmmaker to deal with encoding 4K. Feggitaboutit!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2019 at 11:12 AM
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  7. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    I've been tempted to get one 4k camera but only so I can go and crop it down to 1080 as a post-production zoom.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2019 at 11:13 AM
  8. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident

    Location:
    US
    Maybe save the footage for when processing power is on our iPhones. .

    Guilty admission: cutting movies on 2006 iMac. It’s OK I slave over every frame so it’s not like I’m in a rush


    M latest dubbing masterpiece. Time consuming. I do everything on my iphone these days thank god I found LumaFusion it’s amazing. Like FCP on the iPhone. I can honestly pull off every effect I’d want to do in final cut pro on my iPhone using LumaFusion. Light years above the rest. Every new version better. My iMac is in storage. Grrrrr

     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019 at 11:36 PM
  9. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    If I had to do 4K processing, I'd buy last year's gaming card. The editing software I use can use Nvidia GPUs for compression.
     
  10. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    Can you fix audio in LumaFusion?

    Edit: Apparently so. I found this tutorial:

     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019 at 12:38 AM
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  11. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    @Ghostworld does LumaFusion have reverb?

    Edit: It does.

     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019 at 1:09 AM
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  12. wonky

    wonky Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    berlin, germany
    The reason I'm asking my question here is because I don't do it professionally but need it from time to time in an environment of professional educational work. I want to avoid rushed work with an iphone or something with lousy sound, cause i sometimes come across examples of this. At the same time there is mostly no budget. Thats the reason for buying a camera in decent quality, to be independent and above board qualitywise. But it will only be for websites and Youtube.

    As i understand, 4K is not good for me? Then HD is what I should go for?
    I realize now I know nothing about modern gear and I probably should go to a shop and get basic advice first.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019 at 2:48 AM
  13. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    I'm not saying there's no point, but I make a living shooting video and I can personally can't justify 4K.

    If I were in your position I would check eBay for used Canon HF-S200. You can get one for around $250. It's an HD camcorder with a really nice set of manual controls in addition to the automatic ones. Decent audio quality depends on not having an automatic gain control; good video requires manually controlling the exposure.

    You can invest in an inexpensive light kit, a shotgun mic and a lavalier. I use an inexpensive Rolls mixer to bring professional quality microphone into the Canon camera. I've shot 350 concerts using Canon HF-S200s as my bread and butter - I have a rack of four of them shooting left center right and wide shots of the stage, and another that's handheld. A supplement that with a camera with a 20X lens and a couple of GoPros.
     
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  14. wonky

    wonky Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    berlin, germany
    That's what i thought too, that gain control should be manual. Thinking about the situations where i will use the camera, i will need a not complicated camera with a microphone that is attached directly to it most of the time. Sometimes the mic can be on a desk/tripod in front of a person speaking, sometimes you have to follow the action in a room(presentation, etc.). Maybe i was thinking in the wrong direction and should get a decent camcorder advertised for family-holiday use or something, thats still better than an iphone.

    I will look into the Canon you mentioned.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019 at 3:25 AM
  15. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Something cheap and relatively easy to use would be a Canon EOS-7D, which you can pick up used for about $700. That plus some lenses and a little tripod would be fairly affordable, and there's hundreds of free tutorials out there on how to use them for low-cost video production.
     
  16. Dubmart

    Dubmart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    Firstly why would you not shoot in 4K and future proof, (to an extent), your footage, you can easily convert the 4K to HD for editing, but at least you have the 4K capture and with 8K on the horizon I'd rather have 4K archived than not, storage is cheap.

    Secondly the £500 domestic camcorders from Panasonic, Sony and I assume Canon are incredible value for money, sure everybody has gone the DSLR route, but meanwhile camcorders give you a ton of quality and features for less than a half decent DSLR body will cost, you also get a decent lens, better mics, no recording time limits in Europe where we are limited to 29 minutes on DSLRs, no overheating, higher bit rates, etc., if you don't want or need the DSLR look or have a DSLR plus good lens budget get a camcorder, they are also incredibly simple to use.

    You can pick up a Rode VideoMic Go for around £50, it's reasonably directional and pretty good budget on camera mic for filming presentations, I've used it and was surprised by how good it is although as I mentioned above a lavalier kit such as the Rode or Sennheiser would be ideal for interviews if budget allowed, personally I wouldn't trust a cheap brand unless I was running back up audio.

    Obviously lighting, a selection of mics, external mixers and audio recorders are all nice to have, but with such a low budget I think a tripod is more important as a first step and I think the OP can achieve an excellent camcorder, Rode mic and possibly used tripod for around his 500 Euro budget which will get him finished results he should be very happy with.
     
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  17. wonky

    wonky Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    berlin, germany
    Thanks again, dubmart. Will the Rode Video Mic be fitted on the camera? I think that is a solution i will go for, instead of mic on extra tripod.
    I couldn't find the panasonics you recommended for sale here anymore, only the more expensive VXF999(online). But this week i will go to a proper store and find out about the current products.
     
  18. Dubmart

    Dubmart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    Always hard to recommend things in a different market, but hopefully German shops still have the models I mentioned, also in the UK Panasonic have an eBay shop for refurbished products, (usually as new), maybe they have one in Germany as well? The Rode mic fits onto the hot shoe on the camcorder, one difference between the 990 and 980 is the 990 has the hot shoe on top under a flap while in the 980 it's detachable and slides into the back of the camcorder, both have a mini jack socket for the mic lead.

    Here are some links to UK sellers so you can see them and get an idea of layout and features:

    Panasonic HC-VXF990 4K Camcorder

    PANASONIC HC-VX980EB-K 4K Ultra HD Camcorder - Black

    Newer Model:

    Panasonic HC-VX1 4K Video Camcorder

    Sonys

    Sony FDR-AX33 4K Camcorder - NOW WITH FREE UK DELIVERY - UK STOCK

    Sony FDR-AX53 4K Camcorder | Wex Photo Video

    All of them have been at better prices, so maybe this isn't the best time to buy, hopefully German prices are better.

    This is the Rode mic that will be a good starting point, sometimes Amazon have really good prices on Rode:

    Rode VideoMic Go | Wex Photo Video
     
  19. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    I'm not a fan of using DLSR cameras to shoot video either. You get depth of field, but equipping one of those for real world shooting is incredibly expensive, and you almost always have to do sync sound.
     
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  20. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident

    Location:
    US
    My old $700 Panasonic tm900 has a focal length that would cost a fortune in DSLR lenses. And it’s tiny and compact.
     
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  21. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    Sorry I didn't pay attention to the fact the original poster was asking about PAL cameras. Canon does make most of the Vixia series available in PAL, but it has a different name - Legria.
     
  22. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    I see all these hipster types shooting with DLSRs and I have to keep wondering "why?" They don't have a variable speed zoom, they have terrible audio, the balance in your hand is awful, controlling exposure is a pain. They are wonderful for stills but they're just not well suited for shooting video. The only thing they're getting that I'm not getting with my Canon HF-S200s is depth of field - the ability to throw the background out of focus. And I just don't think it's worth it.

    Here's a video shot with four HF-S100, an HF-M52, an XH-A1 and two GoPros Hero 3+. There's some flaws, but it was shot and edited by one person with equipment that fit in one carry-on bag and a tripod bag.

     
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  23. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Coudn’t agree more. I shoot shows a few times a year and after a certain point in time buying newer computers really isn’t necessary. Just make SURE you have the ports or dongles you will need. If you don’t need 4K, and I agree completely with those that don’t see the need right now (you can go broke trying to keep up...better to buy a top of the line camera from 2-5 years ago imo) I have three Canon XS-A1’s and two of their top of the line larger models in that series. I can’t imagine you would need anything better. It is a high end camera, is HD which is plenty good enough in most cases, and outputs via firewire and tape (I think it’s essential to have a backup, so tape is great in that case). And I assume because it has a tape drive, they are cheap cheap. I paid an average of $450 on eBay (the “big” one’s can be had for under $800 now...those were $7995 new and I believe still are, but they do take an sd card now). They also look impressive if you are filming a gig and others see what you are using...that is important with what I film as I need people to feel what I’m using will allow me to get a quality product they can’t get with their phones. It also has two xlr inputs for audiio. You can’t beat it for the money.

    There is one major issue: you cannot film directly to an sd card. So, the work around is to use the port to output the video to a digital capture unit. They are cheap on eBay as well. No, it’s not as convenient as pulling out a card (though outboard recorders have cards, or an internal drive) but you are saving more than enough money to make up for it, and you will have a ton of useful controls for your camera on board! Good luck.
     
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  24. wonky

    wonky Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    berlin, germany
    Great, thanks a lot!
     
  25. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident

    Location:
    US

    Good video, Chris. :righton: Those kids can wail.
     
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