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Video Camcorder Guide

Before purchasing a video camera, you should become familiar with the different types of camcorders that are available in order to select the right one to suit your needs. There are a variety of different video cameras available, which all record in different formats each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Here at we have put together a quick camcorder guide, as well as some tips for beginners:

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  • VHS

    VHS is one of the oldest camcorder formats and is rarely used in video production today as it has become quickly outdated. This is due to the fact that the recorded video must be replayed on a VCR system. The picture on VHS camcorders are not nearly as clear and crisp as cameras which use a digital format as they only offer a resolution of 240 lines, whereas digital is using around 540 lines. The equipment itself is also more bulky and weighs more than digital video camcorders.

  • VHS-C

    These types of camcorders use the same type of technology as the original VHS camcorders but are only much more compact in size. Despite this additional benefit, they are less commonly used now as they have become out-dated for the same reasons as above.

  • 8mm

    8mm camcorders can record up to 5 hours of good quality footage, superior to the VHS camcorders. To view the video, the video camera has to be connected to a VCR System or TV via an input jack. The 8mm camcorder is ideal for recording over long periods of time but the footage is often susceptible to drop outs and glitches. There are several different improved types of 8mm video, including Hi8 and Digital8.

  • Mini DV

    Mini DV (Mini Digital Video) camcorders provide the cleanest and most vibrant images in comparison to all the previous video formats. Mini DV camcorders are compact in size and the camera can be easily connected to a computer system so that the footage can be transferred and edited.

  • Digital8

    Digital8 camcorders combine the image quality of both Hi8 and Mini DV formats. Despite being larger and heavier than Mini DV camcorders, they are often less expensive and the Digital8 system offers 540 lines of crisp, clear resolution.

  • High Definition

    High-definition video or HD video refers to any video system of higher resolution than standard-definition (SD) video. HD camcorders offer the best image quality available in today’s market and are becoming cheaper and more affordable for consumers to purchase.

Camcorder Tips For Beginners

Shooting footage on your new digital camcorder is often not as easily as you might expect, and the footage you do shoot can often turn out unwatchable. Here are few basic tips to help you produce amazing quality films every time.

  • Think

    Before even turning on your camcorder to record, always take some time to think about what it is you are going to capture and what it is that you want to achieve, to make the finished video more engaging and relevant.

  • Avoid special effects

    Many digital camcorders now come with built in settings like changing colours to black and white or adding fades and wipes to the starts or ends of video clips. It is recommended that you avoid using any of these special effects when recording, and instead wait until you come to edit your video to add these effects. This way you are not limited to only one effect after capturing footage.

  • Record extra video

    It is a good idea to always record a few more seconds before and after an event so that you do not miss what you intend to record. Some camcorders take a few seconds to record after you have pushed the record button and any extra footage can be edited out later.

  • Easy on the zoom

    Be careful when using the zoom function on your camcorder, as excessive use can ruin your footage, making it unrealistic and disorientating to view. Zoom in gradually otherwise the footage will not be nice to watch.

  • Tripods

    Video that has been recorded with a tripod is noticeably superior to that which has been recorded handheld. Handheld footage often becomes increasing poor in quality as the human hand naturally moves up and down, especially when moving or breathing. Tripods will eliminate these unwanted camera movements and will produce footage of a better quality with increased stability.

  • Lighting Conditions

    Camcorders often struggle when the lighting conditions are poor so any increase in light will dramatically increase the quality of your footage, this can be done by finding areas of natural light to record in or if you are inside, turn on any lights. If recording outside after the sun has gone down, use the night mode settings, if these are present on your camcorder system. Alternatively invest in a good filming light to illuminate the settings you wish to record.

  • Cleaning the Lens

    Be sure to always clean the lens of your camcorder preferably before shooting any footage, otherwise having annoying marks or dirt on the glass of the lens can instantly ruin good footage.

Finally you need to consider Camera Insurance. Have you got your camcorder insured so you are protected against theft and accidental damage? Get a Quote!

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