Saturday, December 12, 2009

Just In Case Video Camcorders - Buying A Digital Camcorder

For Just In Case Video you might want to carry your digital camcorder with you to record unexpected moments with family or friends. You don't want to be a vlogger but you do want to be able to upload or create a video or have a means of documentation personal or business. Or you might want to collect videos for later distribution on DVD.

Just In Case Video - $150 to $399

You don’t want to record all of the time. You do want to a record a special day at the beach or your experiences at Burning Man.

You are seeking:
  • Standard or high definition video isn’t that important but you’d like the choice
  • Still photo mode
  • Decent battery life


You were made for the current wave of web camcorders. The Flip, Creative Vado HD 2nd Generation, JVC's Picsio and Sony’s Webbie HD camcorders might be what you need.


The newer digital camcorders use MP4 or ACVHD video format. This means you will have to make sure that you have a video editing program that can import and properly render that file format. You either have to work with the included software or take the time to learn a new video editing program.

Also, these digital camcorders use SDHC memory cards (except for the Sony.) If you have an older computer with a standard SD card slot it may not accept the newer SDHC cards. You’ll need a card reader to access your videos if you choose not to connect the camcorder to the computer.

Psst, if you have an older computer with an SD slot it might not be able to read the newer SDHC memory cards. If you see a message pop up about formatting the card. DO NOT DO IT! You will erase the videos recorded on your card. Get a card reader and you will not have problems accessing the recorded videos.

Those of you on Mac computers need to be extra cautious with camcorders that are targeted to the PC marketplace. Some brands will not work. You might be depended on the memory card reader or you might be skunked if you purchased a incompatible hard drive recorder.

Video Editing Software

I always want to suggest that you try the trial version of the software first to see if it is a good match.
Adobe Premier Elements 8 might be a good option for you. Windows uses will need a modern computer running XP, Vista or Windows 7. The program is $80 retail for the stand alone version. If you buy the bundled Adobe Photoshop Elements/Premier Elements you can save cash if you don't have an imaging program, about $100 retail and sometimes less.

There seems to be some concerns about Adobe Premier Elements 8 in terms of crashing. I would first offer that you might have to make sure that other background programs are closed on your computer and that you have more than the recommended requirements on your computer set up.

If you aren't comfortable doing this kind of troubleshooting (and honestly, you shouldn't have to unless you are on a really old computer) here are two other products:
  • Corel Video Studio X2 Pro Very accommodating to newbie and those moving up on the skill set. Lots of features for the price.
  • Pinnacle Studio I have not used a Pinnacle product in a very long time. The product has gone through changes and a new owner, Avid. The interface is now standard and there are multiple effects that could be helpful like a steady shot mode in the editor.
This is the second extract from a post I wrote for BlogHer on Thoughts About Buying A Digital Camcorder. I've updated this version with additional information and yanking some of the bug-a-boos.

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