NEWBIE Shooting Training Videos…Best camcorder?

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    • #89183

      I am putting together my first equipment package to shoot training videos for online educational sites i.e. Udemy, etc. With a minimal investment, please recommend best camcorder to start with. Thanks!

    • #213522

      Here’s what your camera needs: an input for an external microphone; an input for a headset; a recording file system that is compatible with your editing software. Virtually every camcorder manufacturer builds relatively low-cost cameras — i.e., $400 to $1000 — and, provided they meet these criteria, any one of them should prove adequate.

      That said, there’s the question of what your training videos will be about. If you’re teaching snowboarding you might find a Go Pro to be the better choice, while if you’re teaching needle point techniques having a camera with good macro capabilities will be important.

      Our company has shot dozens of training videos with Sony’s PD-150, an industry workhorse standard definition tape camera. For work in construction and industrial settings, where HD really isn’t important, we still find this camera with its low-light capabilities to be an excellent choice.

      So the answer to your question is “it depends” — on what you’re shooting, whether HD is important, what software you’ll be editing with and the technical requirements of the company you’re selling your videos to.

    • #213538

      I would like to expand on Jack’s excellent comments with some of my 2 cents’ worth of ideas.

      Not every camera will do everything well, different cameras are designed to do some things very well for specific situations.

      For some training situations, it may be a good feature to look for a camera with slow motion capabilities.

      Another aspect may be low light performance requirements.

      In general, the larger the image sensor of the camera, the better the low light performance because a larger sensor produces less image noise. Under bright light conditions, a larger sensor also provides for better dynamic range; i.e. there is better detail seen in shadows.

      Another consideration is to use optical filters, to enhance colors and to balance the bright and dark regions of a frame.

      If the amount of shooting does not exceed 10 to 15 minutes, a HD DSLR camera may be a good alternative. For a reasonable cost a HD DSLR has a good sized sensor, and shoot full HD video, if slow motion is not a major consideration.

      Another benefit of DSLR’s is the availability of interchangeable lens cameras.

      The advantage of learning to use a DSLR is the ability to experiment with still image photography learning about optical filters, shooting angles, lighting; the lessons learned can be applied to videography work with the same DSLR camera.

      The reason for the 10 to 15 minute shooting time, is that due to the DSLR cameras’ smaller form factor the image sensor tends to overheat, requiring stopping video image capture to allow the sensor to cool down.

      A camcorder form factor means that under reasonable ambient temperature conditions, the camera can shoot for much longer times.

      If slow motion is a requirement, may I suggest two cameras for consideration; the Panasonic HC-VX870 or the Sony FDR-AX53, for less than US $1000 video at 120fps in full HD (1920 x 1080) can be shot with these two cameras. In addition, these cameras offer the option of shooting at Ultra HD (3840 x 2160).

      The Sony FDR AX-53 offers the additional capability to shoot at 24fps at Ultra HD, which is the frame rate used by Hollywood cinematographic cameras.

      Both camcorders also have TV news style of image sensor sizes; the HC-VX870 has a 1/2.3″ image sensor, and the FDR-AX53 has a slightly smaller 1/2.5″ image sensor.

      The HC-VX870 is available now and the FDR-AX53 is expected for a late March release.

    • #213541

      Just make sure you save money for other things, too.

      A wireless lavalier is invaluable and have a way to record that audio with either an external recorder or by proper inputs into your camera. Good audio cannot be stressed enough.

      A basic lighting kit is practically a requirement. And a GOOD tripod to put your camera on will make a huge difference.

    • #213543

      Thanks for the detailed feedback. Focusing on the correct criteria certainly helps. I am half way there with the lavalier, lighting and tripod. I wasn’t quite sure how to prioritize the camcorder features when doing my research within the budget I’ve established. I feel much more confident about shopping now.

    • #213542

      Thank you Jack… Given that criteria I believe I will be able to make a good decision.

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