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Re: digital camcorders

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From: Melissa Enderle (melissa_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Oct 17 2001 - 13:29:42 PDT


I have a Sony TRV10 digital camcorder. This small lightweight camcorder has
a good zoom, controls, and a large LCD screen. I especially like the still
photos feature. It has a memory stick on which I can take stills, then put
them on my computer through my PC card slot on my wonderful Titanium
Powerbook G4. When I went to Dogon and other areas in Mali, I could take a
photo of the people, then immediately show the image to them on the large
LCD panel. Yes, things have greatly improved since I bought mine well over a
year-and a half ago, but some things haven't changed.
    When buying a camcorder, I would focus on the optical zoom, not the
digital zoom specs. The optical zoom is the clear focus part - once you go
over into the digital zoom, the interpolation results in pixelation,
especially at the higher zoom levels. If I bought another camcorder, I would
once again purchase one which has a separate storage device for capturing
and storing still photos. It's my digital camera as well. Mine is perfect
for low-res stuff like photos for the internet, but (since it was a new
technology) not sufficient for detailed artwork reference photos. With the
newer models, that probably has already changed!
    The size of the camcorder is also important to me. I like the fact that
I could stuff it in my backpack or even in my purse (great when I went to
the French Culural Center to tape some awesome concerts). I can pull it out
when I need to use it, but then I can easily put it away when I don't want
to advertise that I have a camcorder (especially useful on trips). I know
they're getting smaller and smaller. Lightweight is good (especially when
you're taping a concert in your seat without a tripod), but I would make
sure that the size isn't too small so it feels awkward in your hands -
especially if you have big hands!
    If at all possible, I would suggest you get your hands on the model
you're interested in. Feel the positions of the zoom, record, and other
buttons. If it feels awkward or not intuitive, it may not be the right one
for you.
    I would also suggest buying quite a few of the digital tapes - they only
hold between 60-90 minutes. I have some that I use for recording and taping
over, while others are for completed, edited movies. Also, buy a second
battery. I also bought a larger memory stick so I could take more photos. A
tripod is another useful investment.
    Computer equipement-wise, I would invest in more RAM and a larger (or
external) hard drive. Editing movies takes A LOT of space! If you don't have
FireWire connections on your computer, you may need to buy a PCI card with
one or invest in alternative connections. For you Mac users, I would
suggest using iMovie. It's simple, intuitive, and gets the job done. I
insert still photos that I took with the still photo feature of the
camcorder, with frames I saved as stills, or with photos scanned from my
"regular" camera. I even add accompanying music that captures the flavor of
the movie! It's fun but takes time.
    Well, I guess that's enough babbling for now!
On 10/17/2001 2:14 PM, "Donald Peters" <softsnow@hotmail.com> wrote:

> With all this talk about digital cameras got me to wondering if anybody uses
> a digital camcorder? Any reccomendations for these? I'm working on a grant
> to request a digital camera (cd-mavica by coincidence) and a digital
> camcorder (as it stands right now a Sony MiniDV Handycam) along with all the
> software and hardware needed to use them properly.
>
> Any and all thoughts on this are appreciated.
>
> Donald Peters
> Lubbock, TX

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