Saturday, December 12, 2009

Camcorders for Talking Head Videos

I have written posts about buying a camcorder before but I keep trying to find the most effective way of communicating the process for non-technical or occasional users.

This is an extract of a post I did for BlogHer on Thoughts On Buying A Digital Camcorder with a few more ideas tossed in that I had to kick out of the original post as well as finding the bug-a-boos.

Talking Head Videos – Camcorders from $50 to $99

Your basic needs are:
  • Keep it affordable
  • Easy to record video and to upload
  • Simple video editing with the software doing most of the work
For indoor talking head videos you can get away with an inexpensive camcorder provided you have enough light. The cheaper the camcorder, the more light it will need. You want to look for a model that has a flash memory card slot.
If the camcorder only has internal storage that can be a hassle. It is also a problem if you want to continue recording or, if you are a Mac user, can’t use PC software.
These devices are probably going to be standard definition 640x480 video recorders. Not a deal breaker for simple web videos.

If I had to recommend an inexpensive camcorder from a known quality computer vendor, I’d go with the Creative Vado Pocket Video Cam. This is a web camcorder that delivers.
I’d suggest not going lower than the $50 range. Between $50 and $98 you will find brands like DXG, RCA Small Wonder, and Vivitar. These are sold in places like Costco, WalMart. Sometimes they appear in drug stores or places not known for selling cameras for much less than their listed retail price. There are issues with very inexpensive camcorders. You might luck out and find a winner. I’m telling you, it is a gamble.


I’m not a big fan of cheap camcorders. Customer support is almost non-existent. A few of the vendors do not have a support web site that you can visit for assistance. Here is the clue you might not want to buy a very cheap camcorder:
  • At the store or web site they sell two of the following, beer, medicine, food, lingerie, boots or condoms.
  • The store never has sold a camcorder before and there are no other cameras or camcorders for sale.
  • You go to the vendor's web site and their isn't one. Or there is a web site but there is no support information, only promotional or sales info is present.
  • You run a check of the digital camcorder at Amazon, or other users reviews and folks go into details about the device. Two heated reviews, ok, possible user error. Seven or more? There is a problem.
Ding, ding and ding again - these are your red flags of potential trouble. The software that comes with many of the camcorders sometimes is just plain awful. In other words, you might need more than basic computer skills to troubleshoot non-mechanical problems with these types of digital camcorders.

Video Editing Software
For newbie or low-tech users, free video editors like Windows Live Movie Maker (Vista and Windows 7 only) and the iMovie/iLife suite on the Macintosh side might be more effective in simple editing of videos, upload to YouTube and creating DVDs than the software that comes with the camcorder.
If you are looking for affordable software to help you perform simple editing, and yeah you should cut that video down if you have made your point, then look at these software editing programs designed for low tech, get it done users:

This is a demo from Corel, I'm using it to show what an entry level video editing program looks like. I want to give you an idea of what can be done with a basic video editing software. No endorsement is intended.

Under $75 Video Editing Software

Other Posts of Interest

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love actual comments. Please understand that comments will be held until I get a chance to look them over or wake up, whichever comes first.

Spam and other forms of hate speech are not welcome here. And due to the actions of spam bots and the people that love them moderation is in full effect.