Camcorders Recomendations for Theatre

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    • #96772

      Hello everyone! I'm planing to buy a budget camrecorder (for around $250) to record theatre plays. I was wondering if there any any specific parametras I should be looking at, as most plays will be in deemed or low light, so I don't want to video end up being dark. Any advices would be much appreciated.

      Some questions if I may 🙂

      I probably need to be looking at ISO and lens sizes for better quality with low light?
      Does having an external microhpone help?
      I would need to record around 5 hours non stop on max quality. Will 32gb card be enough?
      Does the recording format matter (should it be MOV or AVI maybe) ?

    • #278246

      I think your budget is a bit unrealitsic for this, to be honest, The demands of theatre shooting (there's another topic on this active) mean that you need low light capability and focus and exposure are always tricky. In the cheaper cameras, pretty well everything has to be auto – and even if you can turn it off, manual control is a pig. Often focus and exposure are on the same switch, and you have to switch between functions. I have a small SD9 Panasonic I've had for a while now and occasionally I'll hide it somewhere, and it is on full auto. It messes up exposure sometimes and if the lights go down, it hunts for focus when people move across the frame going OUT of focus, then back in. If the stage is dim, then by convention, the video should be too? Ramping up the gain reveals details presumably the director did not want seen?

      I suspect you really need to go up a but in budget.

    • #278247

      Have to agree with the posting above: nowhere near enough budget to shoot theatrical material.

      What I'm going to suggest will be considered heresy by some, but I would buy a used Sony PD-150 or 170. These cameras won't shoot HD, but are excellent in low light situations, come with a good shotgun mic and lots of audio control if you're able to connect to the theatre's sound board. Having an external microphone is absolutely essential and I doubt seriously that you'll be able to find an inexpensive consumer camera that has a microphone  jack. Moreover, you'll have full manual control of focus and exposure during your shoots. The cameras are readily available used on eBay within your budget range. You'll be recording to tape — 83 minutes max — in the AVI format which will be easy to edit in most NLE programs and you can play back from the camera into your computer.

      Once you've gotten the hang of using cameras such as these and have produced some income from your shooting you can think about moving up to a good prosumer HD camera in the $1200 to 1500 range.

    • #278265

      I tend to agree. For me the shape is important. is the proscenium opening 16:9 or 4:3 – in theatres, both are common. All my stuff still ends up on DVD – so I drop my HD 1080 material down to SD. The Sony cameras produced very good results – as do the JVC 500 and 5000 series that I still have (I never sell cameras, and I've still got the Sony BVP-300s that I used to use – one still even records on BetaSP tapes. The recorder in the other has died.go for 


      The JVCs are still really nice cameras and on ebay got for less than 500 quid!

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