Video Cameras forum

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help selecting camcorder and mic

by funtimesvan / September 21, 2008 7:19 AM PDT

Hi, I need to purchase a camcorder to capture brief interviews with multiple subjects. Since I will need the capability to edit my video, I am going with a MiniDV camera and want to spend $300-$800 on it. I am looking for a camcorder that can work with a very simple lavalier microphone (prerably wireless and one that is, to repeat, simple--aren't there ones that just have two pieces--a piece that mounts on the camera and a piece that is clipped to the interview subject?). Using CNET's camcorder search, I seem to have several options. However, I have no idea what kind/brand of microphone to purchase to go with them. Can any one out there take a look at the cameras on my list and tell me what simple, wireless microphones are campatible with them? Thank you.

Panasonic Palmcorder PV-VM202

Samsung SC-D963 - camcorder - Mini DV

Panasonic PV-GS29

Canon ZR930

Canon ZR900 miniDV Camcorder

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I won't bother to check the others....
by boya84 / September 21, 2008 12:07 PM PDT

The Canon ZR900 and ZR930 do indeed gave a 1/8" mic jack - and the last time I checked were the least expensive miniDV camcorders available with a mic jack. I don't know if it makes any difference to you, but they do not have manual audio control. Some of the Canon flash memory camcorders (FS-series) might.

The last time I checked, the least expensive camcorders with a mic jack and manual audio control were the Canon HV20 and SOny HDR-HC9.

The other option is to get which ever camcorder you want and use a field recorder to grab the audio (Marantz, Zoom, Sony, Tascam, Edirol, M-Audio, among others) and replace the audio that comes with the video with the audio from the field recorder during the edit process.

Yes, wireless Lavaliere mics have a body pack (with a little wire to the lav mic) and base station. Audio Technica makes a low-end portable (battery powered) Pro88
that is OK and affordable...
Sennheiser makes a GREAT system
as does the Shure pro audio group
but they are pricey...

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thank you
by funtimesvan / September 22, 2008 1:46 AM PDT

Thank you so much! I'm going with the Sony HDR-HC9 and the low-end mics.

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a few additional alerts on the
by boya84 / September 22, 2008 3:50 AM PDT
In reply to: thank you

portable lavs and the camcorders with 1/8" (3.5mm) jacks...

==> The good news is that the lower-end portable lav base stations use a 1/8" jack. The not so good news is that when you plug that in to the camcorder 1/8" jack, only one mic can be used. If you need to use two (low-end) portable lavs, you will need to get a Y-connector/splitter that plugs into the camcorder's 1/8" stereo mic jack and has 1/8" mono connectors for each of the lavs. One of the lavs will be on the right channel, the other on the left channel.

==> You will also find that if you plug a single lav directly into the camcorder, that lav's audio will be recorded to only one channel (right, I *think*). This can be fixed in editing, but is something to know up front.

==> These camcorders' manual audio control does not have different Left/Right controls - a single control sets left/right levels together (even though they are stereo, not mono).

==> More expensive (pro-grade) camcorders have two XLR audio-in jacks and sometimes a 1/8" mic jack, too. Sometimes the left/right levels can be adjusted independently, sometimes not. My HDR-HC1 and HDR-FX1 have a 1/8" mic jack and manual audio control - and I use either a juicedLink or BeachTek XLR adapter even if I use a 1/8" connecting mics because of the independent left/right gain controls on the XLR adapter - and the ability to select "Mono" or audio pan "Center" so a single lav's audio gets recorded to both left and right channels. Though I typically use mics that use XLR connectors.

==> Many of the wireless mic portable base stations come with an accessory shoe mount - if you find your camcorder does not have an accessory shoe that fits, you can add one - or more - buy using a straight or angled camera bracket. Or you can clip the base station to your belt and get a longer wire from the base station to the camcorder's mic jack.

==> You will use a lot of batteries (the base station needs batteries and the body pack needs batteries) so always carry spares.

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a wealth of info
by funtimesvan / September 22, 2008 1:03 PM PDT

Again, many thanks. For now, I am just going to wait to get my goodies in the mail and then take it from there...

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