Monday, August 29, 2011

Why Do You Want or Need A Camcorder?

The number one question that comes to me is "I want to buy a camcorder, should I get A or B?" My first response will always be "What do you want/need it it for?"

I believe there are questions that you need to ask yourself before you step near a camcorder vendor.

Why Do You Want/Need A Camcorder?

Your answer might range from "Just in case something happens." to "I have this great idea for a web video series."

Knowing the reason why you want a camcorder can save you time and money. I've have been a witness to the madness.

A guy will by a $800 camcorder and claims he never take it out of Auto mode. Could have saved himself $400 by purchasing the second or third model in its class and would have had the same quality of video.

Or my fellow frugalistas gals who will spend $199 on a point and share camcorder and use it to record distance events, games, or anything else that will look like bugs on the screen when projected on a HD TV.

Spending $100 more would have led to a camcorder with better lens, optical zoom and recording options.

What Kind of Video Do You Plan To Record?

There are so many kinds of videos that folks are creating such as:

  • Citizen Journalism
  • Daily videoblog
  • Home and family
  • Event videoblogging
  • Demonstration/Tutorial
  • Journalism
  • Product Reviews
  • Social Activist
Matching the right camcorder to the task again saves you time and frustration. A point and share camcorder at you kids soccer game is okay, but a camcorder with a better lens, optical zoom and a tripod might be a better choice.

How Tech Savvy Are You?

Do you like to figure things out or do you want the process to be as automatic as possible?

You need to be able to operate not just the camcorder but getting the video off of the camcorder, minor editing and the ability to upload the video.

Yes, some of the consumer level camcorders have editing software to help you do that. Most of it doesn't work very well or are limited. Some of the software is flat out crappy.

You have free video editing software like Windows Live Movie Maker and iMovie that doesn't accept every video file format. You can make it work but it will be up to you to figure it out.

Do you want to?

Doing research before you purchase can help you buy a camcorder that is compatible with your needs.

How Much Can You Afford To Spend?

This is a freaking great time to buy a camcorder. Or not. Certainly there is a monetary cost but there is a cost in time and resources as well. How much do you really have?

Camcorder costs have been dropping and the equipment just keeps getting better and better. There has been a slow down in the number of new offerings but what is coming down the road is very interesting.

Mobile video technology continues to improve. That might be the place for newbies to start.

The iPhone/iPad might be what you want or need. Built in camcorder, video editing applications and a means of uploading to a video web host. That convenience has a high cost but if you can afford making that purchase the process is very easy.

Android folks currently have less options. They will come but what is currently available is less than choice. The Micro 4/3 digital still cameras are getting my attention for video capabilities, very interesting in that neck of the woods. I will be looking in that direction in future posts.

Standard consumers camcorder should get more respect; they are lighter and pack more features than camcorders did seven years ago. Some are built for newbies and others are a tech haven or complexity.

The short answer to that questions is, know the answers to why you want a camcorder. Does it meet your budget in terms of money, time and result. For others folks there is an additional questions on return on investment.

You don't want sales people and vendor to answer those questions for you.

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