Camcorders forum


What's the best camcorder for indoor sports (volleyball)?

by TrixiRacer / May 23, 2011 10:14 AM PDT

I need to purchase a new camcorder to shoot my son's volleyball games. I'm not the most tech savvy person...and really need something that works well with indoor (low) light AND is easy to transfer to my computer so that I can edit it into highlight reels for college coaches. I have a brand new HP PC and like to use Sony Vegas for editing. Currently using a Sony cam with little discs and having a horrible time transferring the footage to edit (we can watch it but can't save it or edit with it.) Budget is somewhere under $1500 hopefully. Would LOVE any suggestions and advice!

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All Answers

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several things gong on...
by boya84 / May 23, 2011 1:32 PM PDT

1) Current camcorder process flow.
Too bad you did not tell us the model number of the DVD based camcorder that you are using. Assuming it is standard definition video being captured, the normal process flow for editing would be to:
capture the video;
finalize the disc in the camcorder;
take the finalized disc out of the camcorder;
insert the finalized disc into the drawer loading DVD drive of the computer;
use a DVD ripper (like HandBrake - ) to rip the video to a low compression WMV file;
quit the ripper;
launch the video editor and drag the converted file to the video editor's "storage" or sequence area.

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by Bonney_Lake_Panthers / August 23, 2011 8:19 AM PDT

I'm wondering if an SLR may be a better option for Volleyball?
It seems like getting some short clips of action and some great stills would be better than trying to record the entire match.

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by Bonney_Lake_Panthers / August 23, 2011 8:22 AM PDT
In reply to: SLR

On that note any Ideas on SLR's?

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In my opinion...
by boya84 / August 23, 2011 1:05 PM PDT
In reply to: SLR

A dSLR is a possibility, but has its share of issues.

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by teesalmon / December 17, 2013 1:19 PM PST

Thanks for your post. I have the same issue. I record about 70-100 lacrosse, football, and basketball games per year. I am not satisfied with the quality of the indoor basketball videos. I did try a $1,000 JVC GC-PX100 camera, but in a direct comparison test, I can not discern any significant improvement over the Canon HF-M301. I have come to the conclusion that I need more light, or a better lens/sensor/image processing. It appears that the shutter speed of each frame is too low for crisp looking, smooth motion video. I might be willing to venture into the $1500+ range, but I'm not willing to purchase anything in the $5,000 range. I can deal with 1:1 import times. I also appreciate your post on using an SLR. I thought about trying my wife's 60D and her f2.8 L-series lens, but that's not really a solution for me, just an experiment. If there are any other suggestions for cameras I would be interested since this post is almost three years old.

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Interestingly, not much
by boya84 / December 18, 2013 1:13 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks

has changed in the last few years. Consumer camcorders are still saddled with AVCHD compression, low compression camcorders appear only in prosumer and above.

The Canon HF-M301 has a 37mm lens filter diameter and 1/4 inch single imaging chip.

The JVC GC-PX100 has a 58mm lens diameter with a 1/2.3" single imaging chip. This is quite robust for consumer grade. I guess I'd like to understand how you are viewing the video from the different camcorders where you are not able to see any major differences - or what their video quality capture settings were...

The upside is that some of the higher-end consumer cams (like the Canon HF G20 and I suspect your PX100), while using AVCHD compression are able to apply a lot less compression. This should help a little, but the whole AVCHD 8-frame group that defines the AVCHD compression algorithm is not in your corner with fast action.

In your case, since you can't make the lighting better, you may be able to get away with the larger lens diameter and imaging chip (though you say you did not notice any difference). This might allow you to slightly increase the shutter speed to where you want it even under the lighting you are encountering - it will also be helpful to use the white balance settings (rather than "auto").

Video capture is not getting a bunch of still images and putting them together like a flip book. And where there is motion, there will be single frame blurring. That is not how video is watched... Video is motion. If your goal is to capture awesome video that can be used for amazing slow motion or still image capture like you see on TV when the TV stations broadcast, I can assure you they are not using a consumer handheld camcorder... Those cameras start at about $80,000 and go up - then get the lenses added (and they don't record locally, but feed into a control room or truck for storage/switching/graphics and audio is handled separately).

The last high school basketball game I did was a couple of years ago. The most useful video I got was from a tripod-mounted Sony HDR-FX1 (replaced by the HDR-FX1000). Shutter was set to 1/250, I think... I was on the floor, not the stands (so no vibration from folks walking on the bleachers). The lens diameter on these is 72mm with a 3CMOS 1/3" imaging chip array. The low compression and non frame-group compression is more useful for fast action. I through some slow motion in during editing (it is much better and more technically challenging to capture at a high frame rate and play it back at normal 30 frames per second). Capturing at 30 frames per second and slowing to about 15 frames per second worked fine. The 1/250 second shutter speed worked well, too - any faster and on playback you can get an odd strobing effect that is not fun to watch for long periods.

I would expect the daytime games (sunlight) to look pretty good with either the Canon or JVC you used. The indoor lighting for basketball or night-light outdoors could pose issues.

Another item on using a dSLR - check the manual. Normally, there is a note on the dSLR overheating (after about 20 minutes and automatically shutting down until cooled (about 10 minutes). There is also a note on the sequence length limited to 29 minutes and 59 seconds...

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