OK…Please take this as c


OK…Please take this as constructive advice. DON’T BUY ANYTHING right now! This forum is a very patient and helpful group, but the questions that you ask demonstrate that there are some fundamentals that you need. If you have been looking for a HD camcorder for a while, you have got to get some basics down.

I am surprised that people were willing to even bother with such vague and general question(s). Notice that in order to get the right help, you must be as specific as possible. “I want something HD…compatible with mics & stuff…don’t want to spend a ton of money…” Come on, you can do better than that!

Try this:

I am a 17 year old, have been into video for ___years.? I have been using a_______ camcorder (minidv tapes/SD card/Hardrive) and edit on my (or my schools) budget/power PC/mac desktop/laptop with premiere element6/pinnacle/imovie2008/moviemaker etc.

I typically shoot ________ (my freinds for youtube/class projects/ short films/ football games/ceremonies/short films/interviews of classmates _______for 15 mins to 1 hour in length.

I want to go to film school next fall at ___________ and my parents have given me a $1000 budget for a camcorder and accessories. I need one with an external mic jack so I can get good audio for street interviews for ____________. I am interested in a wireless mic setup as well.

I want to make ________ (regular dvds/blue ray/web video/iphone) videos primarily for________ (myself/family archives/school year book/commercials/cable access channel/portfolio for film school or job)

I’ve looked at /heard about these (3) camcorders, but I don’t know which best fits my needs/budget to ____________. -what you want to do 70% of the time-

Can you help?

Based on what we know, I would say:

1. For a tape based HD camcorder the HV40 may even be over kill it just depends on what you want to be doing. I would definitely buy from a SamsClub or Costco because the have a generous return policy and no restocking. They have a decent selection of memory card and hard drive based camcorders as well. These however use the AVCDV format with has it pros & cons based on you software/computer.

2. As for the external mic I have used beechtec adapter ($120) and shure wireless lavaliere mics $250.

3. I would definitely spend $100 on a good tripod/head. If you are outside, get a uv filter to cut the glare.

4, Finally, remember LIGHTING is KING! Spend $100 on a basic light set up(Ritz) or get a camcorder with proven low light quality. ( the HV30 was not as good as I hoped)

5. Find out about the films school(s) you want to attend. What they use, what they suggest for their incoming students. Volunteer to help out you public tv station, church, or non-profit for training with their equipment.

As these good folks will tell you, the camcorder is just 1st base.

Just remember, like the music business, film and video is a business. Its not all art and creativity. Its about communication, etiquette, technical language & precision, but mostly the right attitude.

Try to present questions (yourself) in the most professional manner as you can at all times with people that’s not your family/friends.

As for the parents, let them know that you don’t want to waste their money by rushing out and getting anything under $1000. Matter of fact, Jan-March has great deals on camcorders, and that also would give you more time to make a better decision. (I’m a parent, so trust me, they will really appreciate that!) Also consider that 2-3 month subscription to Lynda.com may get you started on the right foot, and you will know the right questions to ask.

Sorry if I appear to have been hard on you. Just think of it as a professional courtesy to an up and coming filmmaker.

Best of luck.

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