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help buying camcorder to tape disabled daughter

by Beronika / March 29, 2005 9:47 AM PST

Hi. I have a severely autistic daughter living in a residential situation in Massachusetts. Whereas I live in Florida. Altho she may not miss me so much, I miss HER! So I thought I could get a relatively inexpensive camcorder (like $300?) and ship it to the home she resides in and ask them to regularly flim her going about her day or for special activities. The filming would be 75% indoors. Would not be needed for very long periods of time. They have there a 7 yr old gateway computer and a vcr and a dvd player. I have a dell dimensions desktop with cdr and I am getting a new tv with dvd player on it. What will I need to buy - not only the camcorder, but for them to send it to me and how can I play it?For example- I saw in JCPenneys, a canonzr65 mini dv digital at a very good price, but I still do not understand how what they tape would play here in Florida! Sorry for being so totally ignorant!

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A good option
by gemaz / March 31, 2005 12:03 AM PST

You will probably want to keep this very simple for them so they will be more likely to tape your daughter more often. I would recommend just having them tape your daughter and then sending you the tape. This can be done rather cheaply by getting an older format camcorder, VHS-C for example. Then all you need is an adaptor (Amazon still sells them) so when you get the tape in the mail you place it in the adaptor and watch it on your VCR. If you go with the two newer formats it gets a lot more expensive. You could buy a DVD camcorder but that is an expensive camcorder and so are the DVD's. If you buy a Mini DV the camcorder would be expensive and no adaptor is available or ever will be available because the format is not compatible (digital vs. analog).
You might want to try E-bay because people are upgrading to newer format camcorders and lots of good deals can be found. Just buy lots of tapes because the format is being discontinued. FYI the tapes are rerecordable.
Hope this helps.

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by Beronika / March 31, 2005 12:43 AM PST
In reply to: A good option

OK, here is what I do not understand. On the mini dv camcorders- how and where do people see the movie they made? On their computer? On the camcorder only? On a dvd player?
So if I got the mini dv digital- which is listed as $599 and I have a price at $289- what will I need on MY end to play what they tape?
There must be some adapter for dvd players or something as I am assuming most people watch these movies on their tv sets. And I am scheduled to get a tv/dvd set this weekend as it is going on sale at BJs and I also have a $40 coupon. Maybe there is an adapter I need to buy to play what THEY tape in my new dvd player?

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by jcrobso / March 31, 2005 2:21 AM PST
In reply to: clarify
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ditching the min dv digital
by Beronika / March 31, 2005 6:52 AM PST
In reply to: clarify

Yes, I see I made a mistake in trying to get the mini dv one.(Just canceled the Penneys order.) I think these 3 are easier for them at the residential house, and I can provide them with self addressed stamped envelopes and blank vcr tapes. Do they all use regular VHS tapes or is there some other kind, like the little tapes the size of cassettes I have seen in stores? And which of the 3 units would you recommend? I can afford any one of them.

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Going digital?
by gemaz / March 31, 2005 3:36 AM PST
In reply to: clarify

Mini DV can be played from the camcorder or it can be downloaded onto a computer. Once on the computer you can burn a DVD. With a DVD camcorder all you need to do is own a DVD player that can play the format of the DVD's. DVD camcorders have two different formats; DVD-R/RW and DVD RAM. DVD-R/RW is the most compatible with today's DVD players. So all you would need to purchase are the DVD's (check prices) and make sure that they are compatible with your new DVD player. It is also important to note that the DVD's can only hold about 35 minuets of video while mini DV can hold an hour (or more).
So, if you want to go cheap, easy to do (but going out of production) the old VHS-C would do it. If you want to play on your DVD player (which is digital), and easy to do (but more expensive) DVD-R/RW is the way to go. I really doubt they would be willing to burn a mini DV to DVD for you so you would need to buy a camera just to play the tape or download it to your computer, then you would need to have the software and a DVD burner to burn it to a DVD to view on your DVD player.

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