Help I need a camcorder !!!

Mozzer

Active Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2004
Messages
434
Location
Stratford Upon Avon
Car
Disco and E250 Cab
Ok need your advice again :rolleyes:

As an attempt to keep costs down at the wedding, I have employed the son of a mate of mine to video the event - don't worry I have a professional doing the proper photography, but just want someone roving around.

So I need to buy / hire / steal / borrow a decent cam corder for the event and don't have a clue about said items but :

I don't think I want 8mm tape - would rather be able to download direct the laptop rather than need Jessops et al.

I don't think I want DVD as they seem to be VVVVV expensive at the moment.

So my options become SD or CF storage I think ? I have a 1gb of each, but how long will that last before he needs to download to a laptop I can give him, etc ?

Also how many batteries am I going to need ? I guess because he will be filming for a few hours, the best option would be to get something that runs on AAAs and get him a big box of them for the day ?

Also what zoom do you think I need optical / digital zoom / combined ?

What about MP, how many pixels does a grown man need ?

What about sound recording, flashes, etc ?

Anyone on here know what I want and what I should be looking out for and whether my best bet is to buy or rent, to ebay or not to ebay ?

By the way quick update on some of my previous posts - we have got 240 bottles of booze for the event at the moment 80 champagne €12.50 / bottle and the stuff is gorgeous (PM me for details), 80 spanish red, 80 french white, and we are looking at 7-10 days safari in Kenya followed by 15 days on a beach on W.Zanzibar with a couple of days in Stone Town - Ian B watch your inbox we will be looking for any pointers as you offered ;)

Cheers

S
 
Last edited:

A-AvantGarde

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 11, 2003
Messages
4,685
Location
South Bucks
Car
2016 BMW F86 X6 M, 2016 BMW F30 320d, 2001 Mercedes C320 Elegance
I think you should look at getting something that uses DV or MiniDV, many of these camcorders have 'Firewire' which allows you to connect directly to the 'Firewire' port on your computer or laptop. You can buy DV camcorders for about £500 or even less. Something like the one my Dad uses was closer to £1k. With DV you can then still edit directly on a PC. I've used my Dad 's Sony (PCR-120?) and uploaded footage onto the PC for editing although this does use up quite a lot of hard disk space & processing power on the PC.

When you're uploading to the PC don't do anything else on the PC, just let it get on with it! I made the mistake of multi-tasking the first time and got pauses through the DVD i was writing :crazy:

Run the camcorder off the mains if you can otherwise have at least 1 spare battery. You don't want it to run out when the speeches start (or maybe you do!!!) You won't get very long running anything like this of regular batteries, even digital cameras don't last long on them. As for memory cards & writing straight to DVD I wouldn't bother yet. The quality from DV is great and lots of professionals also use it (I've been reliably informed that it can be close to broadcast quality).

Anyway, there are probably loads of other people that know more about this than me, but I have managed to record onto DV using Dads Camcorder & burn to a DVD and create a DVD Menu / titles. I think the software was Pinnacle Studio. Can check the version if you want?
 

Madferrit

Active Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2005
Messages
511
Location
London, NW
Car
'06 B150SE, '99 E220 CDi, A160, Ferrari Mondial and a Smartee! Now Sold: G300 LWB (sadly missed)
What you need is something with a miniDV cassette. DVD Camcorders are new to the market and have a lot to develop over the coming months/ years.

I've always prefered Sony, for ease of use and features.. and the one I have is pretty small (just a touch bigger than my palm) and is not heavy at all.

Features you may want to look out for;

1 - 3CCD (i'm guessing this is like clarity in the picture)
2 - Flip out LCD screen... fantastic and easy way to make movies, rather than peering through the viewfinder
3 - Large, or 2nd battery. The downside to the large battery is weight, but with a 2nd battery you can usually have one on charge, whilst using the other.
4 - Long play .. this allows you to record more onto a cassette but i believe it may compromise on quality.
5 - Firewire - allows fast connection to your PC, but you must have firewire enabled on your PC too (most modern pc's already have this)

MiniDV cassettes are fairly reasonable at the moment. a pack of five will cost between 15 and 25 quid... or there abouts.

I'm not sure about all camcorders on the market, but my dv camcorder can link to my pc, allowing me to load the movie onto my hard drive, editing it and then burning onto cd/ dvd. a great feature. You can even add titles and stuff. Depending what you buy (if you choose to buy), you might even find a camcorder with a software cd to allow you to do this. If all else fails, ask me and i'll find something in my archive :D

One final thing.. what i found with my camcorder was that it had a load of special effects you could set from the LCD screen, ... sadly i learnt that the person who used it for my nephews b'day was a little too happy with this feature and we watched a movie of fading in and out.. and sepia.. and .... well, you get the message. If you do give someone else instructions to take a movie, be sure to be specific.. as special effects can be added at a later stage with software on your pc.

Hope that helps.. and good luck!
 

A-AvantGarde

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 11, 2003
Messages
4,685
Location
South Bucks
Car
2016 BMW F86 X6 M, 2016 BMW F30 320d, 2001 Mercedes C320 Elegance
 

pammy

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 2, 2003
Messages
7,468
Location
North Yorkshire
Car
hers - slk 320, his - dull diesel BMW fleet :/, Xtrail, Honda CBR 1100xx, Yamaha YZF600, Ribble Road
Mozzer - does this chap have any idea what he's doing? Shooting video is not that easy. You need to know the gear you're using and what to do with it to get the best results. I know you're trying to save a few bob with this but be prepared for it to be very disappointing.

Many camera's while having lots of auto settings are also still dependant on how you set them and looking at going from daytime to nightime etc he'll need to be familiar with using the back light and white balance settings if you're to have any chance of getting a video you'll be able to watch in times to come.

It could be worth your while going into your nearest camera shop - decent one - not PC world type place and see what they hire out and let them show you how to acheive the best results. Practising on your wedding day isn't the best way. ;)
 

Alfie

Authorised Forum Sponsor
SUPPORTER
Joined
May 5, 2004
Messages
7,859
Location
Surrey/Cotswolds
Car
W169 A, W205 C, W451 smart
pammy said:
Mozzer - does this chap have any idea what he's doing? Shooting video is not that easy. You need to know the gear you're using and what to do with it to get the best results. I know you're trying to save a few bob with this but be prepared for it to be very disappointing.

Many camera's while having lots of auto settings are also still dependant on how you set them and looking at going from daytime to nightime etc he'll need to be familiar with using the back light and white balance settings if you're to have any chance of getting a video you'll be able to watch in times to come.

It could be worth your while going into your nearest camera shop - decent one - not PC world type place and see what they hire out and let them show you how to acheive the best results. Practising on your wedding day isn't the best way. ;)
Very wise words.
 

Alfie

Authorised Forum Sponsor
SUPPORTER
Joined
May 5, 2004
Messages
7,859
Location
Surrey/Cotswolds
Car
W169 A, W205 C, W451 smart
One idea you might like to conside is buying a load of cheap disposable cameras and dishing them out to people and saying 'just take some snaps and let me have the camera back afterwards' That way you will get a lot of snaps taken by all sorts of people. There are bound to be a few good ones in amongst the others. Be prepared though for some photos taken in the gents etc! There will always be one or two who do this :rolleyes:

Have a great day. What Spanish and french did you go for?
 

Madferrit

Active Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2005
Messages
511
Location
London, NW
Car
'06 B150SE, '99 E220 CDi, A160, Ferrari Mondial and a Smartee! Now Sold: G300 LWB (sadly missed)
Wise words from Pammy.... it doesn't matter how good the equipment is.. if you don't know how to use it.

from the few that A-AvantGarde has shown you.. the 1st and 3rd one is better shape and more user friendly.. the 2nd is more of a handful. Also.. if you do still decide you want a camcorder... you're better off opting for something a little more up range (around the £500 mark +) for something that will have a decent spec for years to come.
 

Madferrit

Active Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2005
Messages
511
Location
London, NW
Car
'06 B150SE, '99 E220 CDi, A160, Ferrari Mondial and a Smartee! Now Sold: G300 LWB (sadly missed)
Alfie said:
One idea you might like to conside is buying a load of cheap disposable cameras and dishing them out to people and saying 'just take some snaps and let me have the camera back afterwards'
This is a great idea... saw this at a wedding recently, where every table had a camera and people just snapped away. Worked a treat as at the end of the night you had a load of pictures of things that you would normally miss :)
 

GordonTarling

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 29, 2004
Messages
1,682
Location
Grantham
Car
2007 E63 AMG V8 Estate
Mozzer - I have a Sony camcorder which gets used very little and may be able to be 'loaned' out for a small consideration. I see you have 80 bottles of champagne to get rid of. :) Don't know whereabouts in Bucks you are, but I'm not a million miles away. PM me if you're interested.
 

A-AvantGarde

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 11, 2003
Messages
4,685
Location
South Bucks
Car
2016 BMW F86 X6 M, 2016 BMW F30 320d, 2001 Mercedes C320 Elegance
Alfie said:
One idea you might like to conside is buying a load of cheap disposable cameras and dishing them out to people and saying 'just take some snaps and let me have the camera back afterwards' That way you will get a lot of snaps taken by all sorts of people.
We did this at our wedding in Dec 2002, everyone thought it was a great idea. A couple of the disposable camera's disappeared, but it was great getting a varied collection of shots, groups of each table etc. Still haven't gotten around to putting them into an album though!

Agree with what Pammy suggested, it's a bit of a risk to take for a wedding day buying a camcorder & getting a novice to use it!. It's definitely worth hiring something if you're not sure, the camcorders I linked to were examples of ones I know people own. Good luck!
 

mark.t

Banned
Joined
Nov 22, 2003
Messages
1,114
Location
manchester
Car
E300 td tomtom sat nav in car dvd
Weddings

I videoed the brother in laws wedding.....for the same reason as you,just a few shots of various wedding bits + the marriage ceremony its self,if you choose a middle of the road 8mm camera you could always copy onto blank tapes for people who don't have DVD ...and for people who do copy the tape onto a DVD recorder hard drive and put onto DVD they make a great thank you gift for all the presents you get ...which could be a camcorder and a DVD - VHS recorder 2 birds one stone. ;)
 
OP
OP
Mozzer

Mozzer

Active Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2004
Messages
434
Location
Stratford Upon Avon
Car
Disco and E250 Cab
Hi all thanks for your help so far.

Alfie we will be putting disposables on every table as well as the professional camera man and the camcorder kid - so it should really feel like paparazzi fest :D

Pammy - I understand your point and we will never get anything like a professional job, but in truth I hate camcorders and didn't want one at teh wedding, so we are doing this as a token effort becasue a few friends recommended it. I was planning to buy him a camcorder now and that gives him 3 months to get used to get familiarised with it (wedding mid September) if he's cr*p, I wont ask him to do the christenings ;)

Gordon that is a very kind gesture and thank you for it, but as you can see I will need it for months rather than days, so will have to buy our own.

I might be a bit dense here, but do some camcorders record to tape that I can only get converted by Jessops or someone and others record to tape but I can link using USB and play it back saving it digitally ?

Cheers

S
 

Madferrit

Active Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2005
Messages
511
Location
London, NW
Car
'06 B150SE, '99 E220 CDi, A160, Ferrari Mondial and a Smartee! Now Sold: G300 LWB (sadly missed)
Mozzer said:
I might be a bit dense here, but do some camcorders record to tape that I can only get converted by Jessops or someone and others record to tape but I can link using USB and play it back saving it digitally ?
I think i'm right in saying that there are two ways in which you can connect your camcorder to other devices, i've listed them below;

1 - SCART
You've seen the SCART socket on the back of your TV and video for some time now, and in most (if not all) cases you can connect your camcorder to the tv via the scart socket. You will usually see three phono sockets on the side of the camcorder, colour coded red, white and i think yellow. Those will connect to the TV or Video.

The plus side, is that you can link your camcorder to the Tv directly and watch the footage, .. alternatively, with a little trickery you can connect it to the video and record it directly to a VHS cassette.

The downside, is that editing the footage would be difficult to say the least, and forget about putting titles in, unless you can get yourself some specialist software. Also, transferring to DVD may be expensive.

2 - Firewire
This is the new way to connect your camcorder. You simply connect your camera to the firewire port on your PC and it can transfer things pretty quick allowing you to edit it and record onto DVD etc.

The plus side.. well there are many, but most of all it does everything you wish number 1 would do. If you want something future proof, this is the way to go.

The downside. You need to ensure that you have a firewire connection on your PC. If u don't a Firewire might set you back around £30 (don't take my word for that price). A slow pc and transfer times could make watching paint dry look interesting. well..maybe not that bad, but it depends on the footage you have and how serious you're going to take the editing side of things.

At the end it all depends how much of a geek you are. I admit, i love gadgets .. but you may just want something that will be practicle.

You always have Jessops who can do the work for you.. but then you'll always have the option to do it yourself too.

HTH

EDIT: i should add that with a firewire camera, you should still get a connection to connect with leads to a scart socket. So you get the best of both worlds
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
Mozzer

Mozzer

Active Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2004
Messages
434
Location
Stratford Upon Avon
Car
Disco and E250 Cab
Madferrit said:
from the few that A-AvantGarde has shown you.. the 1st and 3rd one is better shape and more user friendly.. the 2nd is more of a handful
Typical, just bought the second one :D but from what I can make out, I have SD and firewire capability which means I can download to my laptop and use software to burn to DVD, is that right ?

By the way, what does a firewire port look like - I think I only have USB on my laptops ???

Cheers

S
 

Madferrit

Active Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2005
Messages
511
Location
London, NW
Car
'06 B150SE, '99 E220 CDi, A160, Ferrari Mondial and a Smartee! Now Sold: G300 LWB (sadly missed)
you can see what kind of port you should be looking for on your pc atlink .. ignore the foreign language :)

Also, you can see the other end of the cable at this Link The larger picture at the bottom is the clearest.

Size wise its all down to preference, but i've had a few different styles of camcorders and my preference was the style in 1 and 3... but then, i tend to use mine a lot.. taking footage of family at every opportunity. :)

You've still got the receipt ... right? :D
 

A-AvantGarde

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 11, 2003
Messages
4,685
Location
South Bucks
Car
2016 BMW F86 X6 M, 2016 BMW F30 320d, 2001 Mercedes C320 Elegance
Mozzer said:
Typical, just bought the second one :D but from what I can make out, I have SD and firewire capability which means I can download to my laptop and use software to burn to DVD, is that right ?

By the way, what does a firewire port look like - I think I only have USB on my laptops ???

Cheers

S
Firewire looks like a bit like a squashed USB port, look at:

http://www.johnlewis.com/Shopping/Product.aspx?Type=SKU&ID=230209672&source=7533

Hope the camcorder turns out well & gives you good results...
 
OP
OP
Mozzer

Mozzer

Active Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2004
Messages
434
Location
Stratford Upon Avon
Car
Disco and E250 Cab
Don't have any holes in laptops that shape, think I will be going to PC world for one of the adapter cards shown in the links.

Thanks guys for the help - will let you know it all goes :) might even be able to post the moment when she changes her mind and runs back up the aisle :eek: ;)
 

GordonTarling

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 29, 2004
Messages
1,682
Location
Grantham
Car
2007 E63 AMG V8 Estate
Mozzer - before you go spending more money on bits and pieces to get your laptop to work with video, you should be aware that you need a VERY highly-specced computer to be able to edit video without any problems. My desktop that I use is a 3ghz Athlon with 1gb of RAM and I still get the odd dropped frame or noisy one! If your laptop isn't up to the job, Jessops may be a better bet. No problems on the loan - I hadn't realised you'd need it for a couple of months.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top Bottom