Camcorders

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Welcome To The Camcorders Forum! Start Here for Tips!

by whizkid454 / April 2, 2007 10:32 AM PDT

This forum is open to the many people who post their helpful tips and suggestions here. Everyone benefits from this information, and we do not want anyone to miss out!

This sticky is where you can post all of your helpful tips and suggestions that will help out the many camcorder users or potential buyers!

In your tips, please keep the Forum Policies in mind.

This sticky is dependent on YOU and your tips so keep 'em coming!

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Search the Forum...
by whizkid454 / April 3, 2007 12:52 AM PDT

You may have a question that has already been answered many times before you. Before posting your question, start by searching the entire Camcorders Forum with your question. Chances are that your questions may have already been answered.

This is necessary because these forums are littered many times with the same questions. Doing this simple step will help keep the Camcorders Forum clean and free of repeat questions.

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TIP: Use Firewire, not USB for Video download
by Dan Filice / April 3, 2007 3:28 AM PDT
In reply to: Search the Forum...

In general, most if not all mini-DV camcorders (digital tape) have Firewire. Most, if not all camcorders, only come equipped with a USB cable. Buy and use a Firewire cable. If your computer does not have a Firewire port, install an inexpensive Firewire card to support this method of download.

DVD or Hard Drive camcorders may or may not have a Firewire port. Generally, downloading video from these camcorders will require special software to extract video from a pre-recorded DVD.

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Do you REALLY think you want a DVD camcorder?
by boya84 / December 18, 2007 7:57 AM PST

Check these posts before you buy...

http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7594_102-0.html?forumID=59&threadID=276224&messageID=2656737

http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7594_102-0.html?forumID=59&threadID=219705&messageID=2329050

http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7594_102-0.html?forumID=59&threadID=275732&messageID=2653659

http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7594_102-0.html?forumID=59&threadID=273232&messageID=2638353

http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7594_102-0.html?forumID=59&threadID=273275&messageID=2638710

http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7594_102-0.html?forumID=59&threadID=254041&messageID=2525037

http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7594_102-0.html?forumID=59&threadID=269697&messageID=2617301

http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7594_102-0.html?forumID=59&threadID=269726&messageID=2617418

http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7594_102-0.html?forumID=59&threadID=269606&messageID=2616669

http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7594_102-0.html?forumID=59&threadID=269052&messageID=2613148

http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7594_102-0.html?forumID=59&threadID=267548&messageID=2604144

There are many more examples... but if you need more, you can find them... I am only 12 pages into the forum of 155 pages (as of 12/18/07).

Recommendation: Do not buy a camcorder which uses DVDs to store your captured video. It just is not worth it... Even if you have no plans to edit your video, you may change your mind - at which point, it will be too late... plus, the few $ saved cannot be worth the aggravation so many people have had.

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TIP: Audio / Video Sync problems
by Dan Filice / April 3, 2007 3:31 AM PDT
In reply to: Search the Forum...

Most camcorders have an option of recording audio in either 12bit or 16bit. Use 16bit. For some reason, 12bit audio loses sync after a few minutes when the video is loaded into an edit program.

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Do your research...
by whizkid454 / April 4, 2007 12:41 AM PDT

Before asking your question about "Which Camcorder Should I Buy?", do some research and come up with a short list of camcorders that you have narrowed down. Give some reasons as to why you chose them and include in your post the necessary specs such as price, etc. Doing your part in the camcorder buying process is necessary too.

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Set a budget.
by boya84 / April 5, 2007 3:22 AM PDT
In reply to: Do your research...

You know what you can afford. You can set a budget then find the camcorder or build your wish list and find the camcorder... Please keep in mind that the camera itself is only one part (yes, a large part) of the budget. Other items to consider:

Tripod or monopod: The screw hole on the bottom of the camcorder is for mounting on a tripod or monopod. It is a standard size. Keeping the camera steady can be a challenge - especially if you are recording something for longer than 10 minutes or so. Consumer camcorders are small and relatively lightweight - but staying in one position for anything longer than about 5-8 minutes will get painful.

Rechargeable high capacity batteries: There is no battery included with the camera in the box that will last longer than about 30 minutes. Whether you get an external charger or not will be up to your power requirements.

Sturdy case: You just made an investment in electronics. Camcorders are supposed to be portable and used all over the place. Getting the camera to and from those places safely is what this is about. This can be a soft-sided travel case or a hard-sided pro-grade case like a Pelican or SKB (or others - there are lots of manufacturers out there). You know your use/travel requirements. Remember to protect your investment.

External microphones: This can be an entire post on itself. Not all cameras have a mic-in jack. Some Sony cameras use a proprietary accessory shoe that allows Sony-proprietary mics to be used. For this post, suffice it to say that the closer the microphone is to the audio source, the better your audio will be. If it is possible, get a camcorder that can connect external microphones. You may not use an external mic immediately, but when you want to, you will need the audio-in jack. Better to have it and not use it than need it and not have it.

Video light: If you are doing a lot of low-light shooting - and your subject(s) don't mind, consider a video light. There are lots of options on these; local battery vs camcorder battery vs belt-pack, brightness, camera mounted or external mount... another option - if you are shooting indoors - turn on a lamp or two so you are no longer in low light...

There are many other accessories that you can get (LANC, lens filters, lighting, etc), but the items above are probably the most common you should consider during your initial budgeting activity. This does not mean you will get them all when you get the camera - but at least consider their merits and your ongoing video capture activities. A few of what I consider the "higher runners", due to postings in this forum, are listed below:

Lenses: Some camcorders include screw-on threads for optional lenses. Typically, these lenses are either "tele" to increase zoom or wide-angle to increase nearby field of vision. Not all cameras have these threads for mounting lenses.

Harsh environment protection: If you think you (and the camera) will be getting wet, lots of dust, extreme cold or heat, or any other harsh environment, you may need to get some sort of housing for the camera. These can be very expensive - sometimes more than the cost of the camera.

Helmet cams: These external cameras connect to the video-in on the camcorder. Not all camcorders allow for this connection (have video-out only). Do your homework and be sure you know the helmet cam and camcorder will actually work together - when in doubt, ask the helmet cam manufacturer before you buy.

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Built-in microphones and audio
by boya84 / April 5, 2007 10:28 AM PDT
In reply to: Set a budget.

Consumer camcorders have built-in stereo microphones. These built-in mics are (obviously) part of the same frame as the rest of the camcorder. Any noise from the camcorder will likely end up on the audio track of the video you are shooting. This includes tapping or brushing up against the camcorder or perhaps the motor noise of the miniDV tape mechanism, hard drive motor, miniDVD motor, zoom motor... pretty much anything that makes noise in the camera. Yes, there are isolation mounts and possibly some sort of cancellation circuitry to reduce that noise, but that works only to a certain point.

The other "feature" many consumer camcorders have is an auto-audio leveling circuit. With this, audio levels are kept relatively constant... so when there is only a little noise going one, the auto-level increases gain - and when there is loud noise going on, it decreases gain. And the person operating the camcorder doesn't need to do anything. That is why "feature" is in quotes.

When it is very quiet (and the auto-level gain is really high), that is when things like motor noise from the camcorder are picked up. When it is very loud, sometimes, the auto-level circuit cannot handle it. If you ever record a rock band and happen to be near a speaker, you will probably not be happy with the audio - it will sound very muddy. Once recorded, this muddy audio cannot be corrected.

Since the camcorder's job is primarily to record video, it does that job, typically, very well. Audio can sometimes suffer. Microphones work best when they are close to the subject and camcorder mics work best when the sound level is not really soft or really loud.

If you do ALL your camcorder work 3-8 feet away from your subject, and your subject emits audio at a normal (not too loud and not too soft) levels, then using your built-in mics (and even the auto-adio leveling "feature" will probably be just fine.

But that is not how the world works. Sometimes you will need to be further from your subject. Sometimes the subject will be REALLY soft or REALLY loud. Sometimes you will be moving with the camera, but the subject will stay in one place - and you want the audio to "stay" with them. Sometimes you want to capture the video moment - and you don't want ANY sound... or you don't want that strange auto-level background noise to be picked up - but you want the audio to be picked up even if it is low volume.

If you use an external mic and the manual audio level controls, you can get past these items. Not all camcorders have an external mic-in jack. If you are shopping for a camcorder, try to include an external mic jack on your feature requirements list. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

Typically, when you put the camera into manual audio level mode, a meter indicating what the camera is "hearing" appears on the viewfinder (and the LCD screen). Adjust the the audio levels so the meter only occasionally hits peak (if at all) but typically is around the 3/4 mark. Remember, since it is manual, this is one more thing you need to watch - if it gets really noisy and the meters are peaking a lot, you need to turn the levels down... and if it gets really quiet and only a bar or two are registering on the meters, you might want to increase the gain (not to the 3/4 level - but just a little).

Typical external mic types used with consumer comcorders will be covered in another post...

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External mics for camcorders
by boya84 / April 6, 2007 6:26 AM PDT

This will not be too detailed - but will cover the typical microphones used with camcorders and how they can connect.

In the previous post, camcorder internal mics were discussed at a high level. They have advantages and disadvantages. If your camcorder has no mic-in jack, this "External mics for camcorders" post does not apply to you. If your camcorder has a mic-in jack, or you are shopping for a new camcorder and your are developing your requirements list, this section applies to you. Sony proprietary "active accessory shoe" microphone connectivity may happen in another post and will not be covered in this post - though some of the principles may apply.

When a consumer-level camcorder has a mic-in jack, it is typically a 1/8 inch (3.5 mm) stereo jack. This allows either a stereo mic or a mono mic to be used. If a stereo mic is used, the spatial qualities of stereo audio separation will be included with your video. If a mono mic is used, those stereo spatial qualities will be lost. Some cameras may require an adjustment on a menu somewhere that selects a mono mic so that the same sound goes to both the left and right channels. In these cases, if this selection is not made, it is possible that the captured audio will be on only one (left or right) side. This will be specific to your camera model. If your mono-audio ends up on only one channel, there are ways to fix this in the edit process once your video is in your computer (but will not be covered in this post).

We also know mic placement can play a big role in the quality of audio captured with video. When the mic(s) is/are built-in to the camcorder - or mounted/attached to the camcorder - the camera being closer to the subject is better.

Within the broad categories of stereo or mono mics there are many different sub-categories. Not all microphones will be discussed - only those (I think) commonly used with camcorders.

Shotgun: Typically, shotgun mics are relatively slender (~3/4 inch diameter), cylindrical tubes - one end has the cable, the other end has the mic element which picks up the targeted audio. These mics have a useful characteristic of "picking up" the audio source at which they are pointed better than hearing audio sources to the side of the mic body. Generally, these mics have some method of hearing the audio coming from the sides of the mic and rejecting that audio - so it is not picked up very well. Generally, shotgun mics are mono mics, but there are (very expensive) stereo-shotgun mics available. This is an example of a shotgun mic:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Shotgun_microphone.jpg

Stereo: For camcorder use, an external stereo mic essentially replaces the built-in camcorder stereo mics. A stereo mic is two different microphone pick-up elements contained in the same space and they both pick up audio on their separate channels - much like your ears do. Since they record in stereo, they provide a richer audio experience than a single mono-mic can provide...

Clip-on or lapel or "lavaliere": This very unobtrusive mic is small and light enough to clip on a shirt, jacket lapel or other piece of clothing (closer to the audio source, i.e., speaking person's mouth, is better). In some cases, taping the mic to the person's chest - with appropriate skin-sensitive tape/adhesive - might be needed. lavaliere mics are generally mono, but stereo versions (very expensive) are available.

Hand-held: Generally with a "cardioid" pick-up pattern, this would be like the hand-held (mono) mics you would see being used by newspeople or field reporters or in some documentary situations. Notice that the mic element is located pretty close to the sound source.

Specialty mics like those used in recording studios, headset mics, boundary mics and others, the differences between various mic technologies and discussion regarding polar patterns will not be covered here. If you are interested in additional detail, start with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microphone

Many camcorders have a cold-shoe accessory mount on top of the camera. For those which do not, it is easy to add one by adding an accessory bar or bracket. These can be a straight bar or be angled - and can be found at most camera supply shops (brick/mortar and online). They are between US$9 and US$16 or more. They mount to the tripod screw mount on the bottom of the camera. The mounting screw on the bracket also has a mounting screw hole so you can mount the tripod quick-release plate to it.

Examples of these brackets:
http://www.adorama.com/FABS.html
http://www.adorama.com/FABL.html

(This is not a recommendation for a particular vendor or manufacturer - this is for example purposes only.)

Shotgun, stereo and hand-held mics can be mounted to the cold shoe adapter with an appropriate mic-mount. To reduce the potential for picking up camera noise, it is recommended that a "shock-mount" be used in place of the normally included (with the mic) hard-plastic mic clip.

Example of a shock-mount (check out the SMM-1):
http://www.transaudiogroup.com/sabra_som.shtml
(This is not a recommendation for a particular vendor or manufacturer - this is for example purposes only.)


A couple of posts regarding wired vs wireless microphones and 1/8 inch (3.5 mm) vs XLR connectors will follow...

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Wired and Wireless microphones - ok - wireless mics...
by boya84 / April 7, 2007 1:23 PM PDT

Stating the obvious: Wired mics connect to the camcorder with a wire.

Wireless mics use a battery to power a transmitter and connect, wirelessly, to a base station using radio frequency (FM, VHF, UHF or bluetooth) or infrared signalling... the base station connects to the camcorder with a wire.

Because wireless mics connect to the base station as they do (wirelessly), there is a possibility of picking up noise in the form of static, hiss, pops and other Radio Frequency interference (RFI). If multiple wireless transmitters are used, it is possible that one or more of them could use the same frequency. If they are on the same frequency, neither unit will work until one is turned off or moved to a different frequency (if that is possible). Electro-Magnetic interference (EMI - typically from lighting) can also impact the quality of the audio. The bigger issue is the interference that could be picked up from other sources - i.e., two-way radios - over which you have no control... so you can't clear the frequency for your gear to work correctly.

Good (pro-grade) wireless units are typically UHF and allow channel selection. Generally, wireless units are needed when wires will get in the way. That said, the RFI and EMI will be minimized when the wireless mic and the base station are relatively close to each other.

Examples of wireless microphone gear:
http://shure.com/ProAudio/Products/WirelessMicrophones/index.htm
http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/wls_systems/19c515dd44e66da5/index.html
http://www.sennheiserusa.com/newsite/category.asp?transid=cat50
(This is not a recommendation for a particular vendor or manufacturer - this is for example purposes only.)

The best wireless applications I have seen for video capture is using a clip-on lavalier for the speaking person because a hand-held or boom-mounted mic was too obtrusive... like the person presiding over a wedding ceremony or someone riding on a bicycle or skateboard or other moving vehicle where the camera person is not in/on the same vehicle. In the case of the wedding ceremony, that lav is close enough to the speaking members of the wedding party to pick up their vows as well - though another wireless clip-on rig on someone else in the intimate gathering would not hurt... The wireless handheld mic application would be in the "news gathering" or documentary mode, especially if the speaker is moving and it does not matter that the mic is visible - a wired shotgun mic (and a boom person or a mic stand) would also work if the mic needs to be out of frame (and there is limited movement).

If the mic is going to stay mounted on the camcorder, then wireless is not required... again with the obvious - what's up with that?

There are some (expensive) wireless adapters that can connect to a (normally) wired microphone. There are wired clip-on mics. If the activity can have it's audio covered using wired mics, do that - if not, wireless can work well. Good wireless gear is not inexpensive. If you decide to go this route, get good gear - the reduced EMI and RFI impacts to your audio will be well worth the investment... Generally, good wireless audio gear is pro-grade and as such, uses XLR connectors... but that is another post.

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Using completely separate audio recorders with camcorders
by Steven W Rose / December 23, 2007 4:54 PM PST

In most cases, good audio is the key to good video. Camcorder mikes have issues due to their location. However, being tied to a microphone by a wire drastically limits mobility, and wireless means knowing where the audio will be occurring in advance, and is typically limited to one location. And some cameras don't have an external audio input.

In the "good old days", having an external recorder implied having some complex electromechanical linkage to maintain synchronization between the two devices. However, these days, each device generally has a crystal controlled (very accurate) internal source of timing, comparable in accuracy to a quartz watch. As a result, they can operate independently at record time. They can synchronized once during editing, and there is a reasonable expectation that they will maintain synchronization over a usable period.

This normally means starting all of the video and audio recorders at about the same time, then doing something to make later synchronizing easy (such as a clapboard, or just clapping once in a position visible to the cameras). If recorders are to be stopped and restarted, remember to clap each time.

This approach allows scattering audio recorders wherever audio input might be anticipated, or setting up for multichannel recording. It also allows recording with multiple camcorders even when working alone, with locked off wide shots or area coverage. When all tracks are aligned for editing, editing can resemble a multicamera realtime shoot. But it doesn't have to be that elaborate -- it can be used for a single audio recorder and single camcorder.

As for the recorders, some inexpensive mp3 players with voice recording capability can produce very good results. You need to test the quality and nature of the encoding, as most are very poor (e.g. wav encoding at low bit rates, or noise and internal interference). The old iRiver IFP 7XX and 8XX series (now an eBay item) offered good pickup quality, along with the ability to encode the audio at high bit rates with MP3 compression. This allowed a 256MB MP3 player, "useless" as a player due to its limited recording time, to record high quality audio for several hours! These can typically be purchased for about $30. The best I've found is the Zoom H2 at about $200. Audio from the iRiver has to be uploaded and converted (fast), while with the Zoom its just a matter of moving the SD Flash card (faster).

If you do go wireless, remember you want the receiver to be small and battery operated if you are to remain mobile with your camcorder. Most wireless setups are the opposite, with an AC powered large clunky receiver. Also, if the transmitter has an external input, it can be driven from a mixer with multiple wired mikes. This is great, for example, if you are shooting a band and want the best audio quality (subject remains in a relatively fixed position), along with the freedom to move. Use at least one locked off wide camera for cover between moves, and remember to not stop your mobile camera between shots so sync is maintained during editing.

If you are going with wireless, look for the term "diversity" on the receiver, and go that way if you can afford it. The receiver has two separate RF channels, and whichever is stronger at that instant is the one used. This helps considerably to avoid fades and interference, which can happen over very short distances.

A big thanks to whizkid454 and boya84, who have both given lots of excellent advice and information. I'm very impressed and grateful.

Aloha,
Steve

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1/8 inch or 3.5mm microphone jacks and XLR (Updated 5/8/08)
by boya84 / May 8, 2008 7:34 AM PDT

Consumer-grade camcorders are manufactured without and with 1/8 inch (3.5 mm) audio-in jacks, also known as a mic-in jack. If your camcorder does not have a mic-in jack, this post does not apply to you. If you are shopping for a camcorder or if your camcorder has a mic-in jack, keep reading. This post does not address the Sony proprietary "active interface" shoe.

As written in previous posts, there are advantages to having an external microphone. If you have decided to get an external mic, you will find that the choices can be overwhelming. If the external mic is going to be mounted to the camcorder, the cable connecting the mic to the camcorder will be short. Among other things, this means that the mic cable can connect to the camcorder using a 1/8 inch (3.5mm) plug.

You will find that most inexpensive mics - including those which can connect to personal computers and certain PDAs use the 1/8 inch jack form factor. These mics will probably not provide the audio quality you want on your video. There are reasons why microphones have such a wide range of prices - research and development, materials used, expanded audio dynamic range pick up and workmanship, are a few reasons.

We know that, generally, the closer the microphone is to the audio source, the better the resulting audio (presuming that audio source is providing sound at reasonable listening levels). If you find yourself at the back of the auditorium with your camcorder - and your mic is mounted on your camcorder - chances are pretty good that the audio you get will include the auditorium echo. A better solution would be to place microphone(s) closer to the source of the audio. We already discussed wireless mics - and while they will work, we know they are expensive.

If we need to run cable(s) of greater than 10-15 feet to our wired mics, we should be using balanced cables which typically use XLR connectors to connect to a balanced mic and the camcorder (and mic stands...)

For more details about balanced cables and mics and XLR connectors, please refer to
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balanced_audio
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XLR

The issue we need to resolve is these XLR connectors will not fit into the 1/8 inch mic-in jack on the camcorder... so, an XLR adapter is needed. The mic plugs into one end of the XLR cable, the other end of the XLR cable plugs into the XLR adapter, the XLR adapter plugs into the camcorder with a short cable-length 1/8 inch (3.5 mm) jack.

Examples of XLR adapters:
http://www.juicedLink.com
http://www.beachtek.com/prod.html
http://www.signvideo.com/xlr-pro_xlr_adapter-audio-mixer.htm
http://www.studio1productions.com/xlr-pro.htm
(This is not a recommendation for a particular vendor or manufacturer - this is for example purposes only.)

In a previous post, use of the camcorder's manual audio control was suggested under certain circumstances. The problem with consumer camcorders that have manual audio control (most don't - even if they have a mic-in jack) is that adjusting the audio levels from the LCD screen or elsewhere on the camcorder is a bit of a challenge - but most of these XLR adapters have mic gain controls, so (with the camcorder in manual audio mode - start with a little over 1/2 way) it is easy to adjust the audio levels to where they should be using the control knobs on the XLR adapter.

Phantom Power:
Some microphones require power provided by a battery. Higher-end mics (that also use balanced connections) can can sometimes use "Phantom power". Mixing boards (generally AC powered) and some XLR adapters (which are battery powered) can provide that Phantom power to the mic... that is, instead of drawing power from the battery in the microphone, power from the mixing board or XLR adapter can supply the required power to the mic. There are some mics which use a battery - but cannot use Phantom power (and might be damaged if Phantom power is sent to the mic). Read your manuals!

External mics seem like a pain... and frankly, they can be - but once you have used them, you will understand why some folks make such a big deal about the vastly improved audio experience as an integral part of the videography.

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Cheaper way to do it.
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Don't be fooled when looking at a camcorder's zoom...
by whizkid454 / April 5, 2007 12:11 PM PDT

There are two types of zoom that manufacturers include on their camcorders, optical and digital. Pay attention to the optical zoom and not the digital zoom.

The reason for this is simple. Digital zoom will make your entire video useless if you use it even at a small amount. This method basically takes your video and zooms in on the individual pixels making them extremely larger than what they originally were. This makes the video appear pixelized and is not a pleasant sight when watching your movies. If you see a label on the side of a camcorder pronouncing "800x DIGITAL ZOOM!", disregard it. The only zoom you should care to look at is the optical zoom.

Optical zoom is actually "bringing you closer" to your subject(s). This type of zoom does not "blow up" your video and keeps it at its highest quality. Usually this is around 10-20x in high-end consumer camcorders where the CCD sensors are large. In the low-end consumer range, it can range anywhere from 10-32x where the CCD sensors are small.

Stay focused on optical zoom and you'll be on your way to pleasant and crisp movies.

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Explain your shooting environments...
by whizkid454 / April 8, 2007 6:05 AM PDT

The key to choosing the right camcorder is to pick one that is best suited for the environment in which you are going to be shooting. Try to include which environment you will most likely be shooting, but don't leave out the other environments you will be shooting in because those are important too.

For example, if you are going to be doing a lot of indoor parties or school plays, you will want a camcorder that produces good video under low-light situations. If you are doing outdoor sports, you want a camcorder that captures bright and clear colors without "blowing out" the subject(s) or surrounding areas with a bright white.

Remember, the more details you provide in your original post, the easier it is to find the best camcorder for your needs.

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Use of acronyms...
by whizkid454 / April 13, 2007 6:58 AM PDT

Be sure when posting to first type out the entire phrase then at the end of the phrase include the acronym in parentheses.

Ex) HD. "HD" could mean either High Definition or in some people's minds Hard Disk Drive which is actually referred to as HDD.

A good example: "...I would like to buy a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) camcorder..."

This simple step helps you to get answers to your questions quicker so the responders do not have to guess at what you are referring to.

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Post ALL Questions as a new Discussion!
by whizkid454 / July 8, 2007 5:02 AM PDT
ANY QUESTIONS PRESENTED IN THIS THREAD WILL NOT BE ANSWERED! This includes buying questions and troubleshooting. If you have buying questions or need troubleshooting help, please create a new discussion by clicking the "Create a New Thread" button in the top right hand side of the Camcorders Forum main page.

Thank you!
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Choosing the best sensor..
by whizkid454 / September 28, 2007 3:16 AM PDT

You might have read the Spec sheets on camcorders and think, "Why is this one better than the other?"

Here is something to think about:

The two sensor configurations (3 smaller CCDs or 1 larger CMOS) have their pros and cons.

A single large sensor will provide better low-light quality provided that the manufacturer does not try to cram too many pixels onto this chip. Cramming too many pixels onto the same area means that each individual pixel is not able to take in as much light as if it were if it was larger. The smaller each pixel size is, the less light can enter. The less light that enters, the worse the video quality in low light situations. After this being said, the next thing you should look at after the sensor size is the amount of effective pixels used on the chip. Fewer, larger pixels will create better low-light situations but will suffer when you are trying to capture crisp details whereas many, smaller pixels will not do well in low-light but will excel in capturing fine detail.

A three sensor arrangement will give better color representation and most likely a better picture overall. Because each sensor is assigned its own job of capturing each color separately (red, green, blue) colors appear richer and create a nice image. With this configuration however, it normally does not perform well in low-light situations. Again, look at both the sensor size and the effective pixels.

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JVC GR-D90 Camcorder Lens Cap Problem or Dew Sensor
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 26, 2007 3:05 AM PST

Since so many ask for the Dew sensor disable procedure I've added it to our forum sticky. I will not email this to anyone. As usual, all the responsibility for this is disclaimed by all.

by R. Proffitt Moderator - 6/10/07 10:55 AM
In reply to: Request for info on the condensation problem.

Only for the brave. Please read http://www.pechorin.com/m/2007/03/08/Re_Panasonic_PVL600D-286355.html

"Panasonic PV-L600D
Ed - 7th Mar 2007 19:17

ok the dew error sensor on the pv-l600d is located on the flex cable that control the on and off one's you remove the rigth side cover you will have to remove the power switch to see it since the sensor is on the cable there is no way you can jump it or add a resistor, all you can do is follow the flex cable and add a resistor of 3.4k ohms at the connector FP3 PIN 3 AND PIN 13 that will fix the dew error the connector is located under the chasis on the control board you will have unsolder two legs from the chasis to get to it. remember that you will need a soldering iron with sharp tip and a magni-glass good luck."

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From our member jbs138
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 26, 2007 9:20 PM PST

"JVC Canada. - New!
by jbs138 - 12/27/07 3:32 AM
In reply to: No Repairs if you live in Canada

As a person who has been sending out comprehensive advice on this problem for nearly three years now (receiving approx 35 min requests per month) I know through feedback from people experiencing difficulties in obtaining the "free" repair that "all" problems were associated with the Canadian wing of JVC, as anyone requesting service under the special repair programme was either given incorrect information or just generally shuffled about from department to department, something not experienced by anyone else with a similar problem but who happened to reside in America, Australia, New Zealand or the UK to name a few places.

The official published ending date for the free repair is 31st Dec 07 for everywhere, but of course as JVC Canada never published any admission that the fault existed in the first place it leaves an "iffy" situation, but one I do not see how JVC Canada can alter to suit themselves, as its Sony who are tied up with compensating JVC for the repairs as it was they who supplied the faulty modules to JVC.


The main contact number is 1-800 964 2650 or 416 293 1311."

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jvc lens cap error
by NBAMOM / March 19, 2008 3:34 AM PDT
In reply to: From our member jbs138

THANK YOU SOO MUCH!!! I have been trying to get my camera fixed and couldn't find a number that wasn't "voice mail jail". I called the number you posted and got right thru. They gave me an address to send it and they are going to fix it for free. Thanks again!

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From member C.Griffis
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 1, 2008 3:24 AM PDT
In reply to: From our member jbs138
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If you are considering buying a camera that shoots AVCHD you
by whoismatt / June 14, 2008 8:58 AM PDT

Note: You can either read what I typed here or just see this handy video that I uploaded to Youtube that explains in detail what I have done.
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clQWfa4fUwo

When I was searching for an HD video camera to purchase, I did some very thorough research. The one difficulty that I had when doing this research though, was the need to know what video quality an AVCHD video camera would produce. After scouring the internet I ended up with no videos that showed what the camera had to offer in terms of video quality. I eventually ended up taking a leap of faith and purchased the HDR-UX1 from Sony's AVCHD lineup of cameras. It ended up being a very solid camera.
In my desire to fix the difficulties that I faced when buying an HD video camera, I have created several (18 to be precise) test videos with my new
camera. Each of these will showcase the various quality settings of the camera.
The Sony HDR-UX1 came with four quality settings:
-HDHQ+: 12 Megabits-per-second recording quality.
-HDHQ: 9 Megabits-per-second recording quality.
-HDSP: 7 Megabits-per-second recording quality.
-HDLP: 5 Megabits-per-second recording quality.
The camera records at a native 1080p 1440x1080i but with Sony Vegas it can be re-rendered to any quality that you prefer.
I recorded 8 clips outside my house, each of varying quality from the HDHQ+ to HDLP and rendered them in both AVI and WMV for quality and size purposes.
There are also two clips that I resized to 720p and uploaded to Vimeo for HD streaming.
Overall the shooting for the clips only took 30 minutes, but the editing itself took hours because it required constant rendering of each video. Its finally finished though, I hope you like it!

You can find all 18 of the various video clips taken with my HDR-UX1 at: http://whoismatt.com/index.php/Videos/The-Sony-AVCHD-Quality-Test.html

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