Monday, December 26, 2011

Plug-A-Matic Buying An Audio+ Camcorder

A what? The focus is on the quality of the audio. The video is an secondary feature. And no, I don’t mean an audio recorder. Maybe I can describe it as an audio+ Camcorder

Audio+ Camcorders

Who would want such a thing? Podcasters! You are at a convention or social event. You are talking with the genius of the moment and you really need to get a good recording.  You could be a citizen journalist without a lot of cash. You can be a student, a historian, a hobbyist talking with an expert in the various incarnations of Namor Mckenzie aka the Sub Mariner. 

Most Point and Share camcorders have dicey microphone placements. The mic can be on top where the zoom motor can be heard. Or on the bottom where your hands grasping the camcorder is going to be picked up.

Users who are looking for an affordable camcorder with good audio include:

  • Audio/Video creators, podcasters and videobloggers
  • Musicians and singers
  • Visual storytellers
  • Journalists, reporters, writers
  • Documentary activists, historians, memory keepers and folks like that.

If we had the money we’d get the high tone stuff. We don’t. So the search is locked in at:

  • Between $150 and $350
  • Ease of Use
  • Mac and/or PC Compatible
  • Able to adjust audio to specific needs

It can be done, if you are flexible. There are trade-offs you need to know:

  • At this price point the video quality will be acceptable in the high definition side. Your budget might have to settle for standard definition.
  • You might have great audio and not as great video.
  • You will have to be more aware of lighting concerns. More external light is better, especially if you are recording indoors or in a controlled environment.
These are questions you should be asking yourself. Is this for home? For interviews? On location? Will I be uploading in the wild? Will I have time to do this? A regular camcorder with an external mic jack might be a better choice than these devices.

The Contenders

High Definition Audio+ Camcorders

Zoom Q3HD Handy Video Recorder
Olympus LS-20M PCM Recorder

Standard Definition Audio+ Camcorders

Alesis Video Track Handheld Camcorder
Zoom Q3 Handy Video Recorder

On the retail side you are not going to find the Alesis, Olympus or Zoom products at your local Target or Tesco brick and mortar (UK shout out) You will have to go to a music store which can be a trippy experience.

Don’t go to a music store during peak hours. There always seems to be some guy on symbols or drums the few times I’ve gone. It really is the headbanger's ball

Some of these audio+ camcorder are fixed in that there doesn’t seem to be a planned upgrade or new version coming out anytime soon. One of the above devices I suspect is a closeout candidate but I can’t confirm it just yet.

Mac Users: you know you have to check to make sure if the camcorder video format is compatible with your video editing software. If not, and you are not a techy kind of guy, you shouldn’t purchase the camcorder.

The Usual Vendors of Reliable On-line Purchasing Options

  • Amazon
  • Adorama
  • B and H Photo

You want to visit YouTube for camcorder reviews, and check out places like or Videomaker magazine for information.

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