Saturday, November 10, 2012

It Is Not Camcorder Buying Time Just Yet

Well, the sneak peaks at Black Friday ads are starting to appear. The best of lists can't be far behind. In fact, I have been perusing Videomaker's Buying the Best Camcorder Guide. I'll be doing virtual window shopping but, honestly, I don't need another camcorder.

Not to say I'm not going to buy another camcorder but there is no passion in it. The innovations are happening on the professional high end products with 4K camcorders becoming standard and 8K just around the corner.

This is the only place I know where the trickle down theory works consistently. In the meantime, some of you want and need a recording device. Not necessarily a camcorder.

Assessing Your Needs

I've written about this before and I'll do it again. What do you need for your particular situation?

A smartphone or camera on a media player is just fine for day to day recording. If all you want is a quick video memory of what is going on then you have what you need. Unless you need a smartphone. 

There are mobile blogs more qualified than me to give you the heads up on that minefield.

The tablets are here and educators, trainers, sales people and those that want to compose on the fly are looking hard for the best options.  Yes it is a consumption device but it is possible to wring some productivity out of it.

But you might need more than smartphone video. If you are the one that records family outings, recitals or sports events you need a camcorder with a true optical zoom lens. Not digital, optical. And maybe a tripod.

The camcorder sizes have come down to where you can purchase a good camcorder with 10x or more optical for under $250. Sometimes, way under $250; depending where you shop.

How Is Your Money Flow?

Which leads me into how much do you want to invest in this? People will pay $300 for a smartphone but kick up a fuss when the price of a camcorder is $199.

You need to understand that you are not just going to buy the camcorder.
  • You might need to pay sales tax. I believe folks in the UK pay VAT.
  • You may need to purchase the right memory card for your camcorder.
  • And a tripod if you are going to use the optical zoom on a camcorder.
  • And maybe, if you really don't like Windows Live Movie Maker or iMovie a new video editing program which you can purchase between $50 - $100; depending on what you buy and where you shop.
Time, Do You Have It?

If all you want to do is hit record and upload then you are good to go. The technology makes it easy for smartphone and tablet users to that and be happy.

If you want to edit and tell a narrative or experimental story then you need to find the 25th hour of the day. Or make room for the process in your normal work/play/maintenance day.

You have to make the time to transfer the video from the device to the computer. Then you have to sit butt in chair and do it., Export, Upload.

Two hours for quick and dirty and more if you really get to tweaking.

I feel like a granny trying to wiggle the finger at you whipper snappers. Think carefully about your actual needs, the amount of money that you truly can afford to spend and are you going to get a good return on your investment. That could be enjoyment, productivity or money.

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