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Best camcorder for capturing live performance?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Jeff Roller, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. Jeff Roller

    Jeff Roller Jeff Roller Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2007
    Maryville, TN
    I've searched the forums and have found a lot of old posts, but nothing new. I am going to buy a camcorder to capture our live performances for posting and sharing, but I am clueless as to what to buy. Does anyone have any success with camcorders in the 300-500 dollar range? I'm looking at a Canon FS300 but is doesn't have an aux mic input. Which I am totally fine with as long as the sound doesn't completely suck.

    Any advice would be appreciated, I am ready to buy now, but would like to hear from fellow musicians what works for them.
  2. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    It's not hard today to sync digital audio and digital video
    You can a zoom H2 pretty cheap and put it up near the band.

    The record video with any digital camcorder.
    Then sync the two with your PC.
    It's not too hard.
  3. There are no camcorders like that with built-in mikes as good as something like a Zoom H2 digital audio recorder. Your best bet is to get a camcorder with a mike input. Last night at practice, a bandmate did just that. Ran a cable from the headphone jack of the Zoom H2 into the mike input of the camera. The Zoom headphone volume was set at 50%; last week he didn't reduce the headphone volume and it was too much for the camera, the sound was all distorted. But this week it turned out great.
  4. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
  5. itsalljustaride


    Sep 23, 2009
    The most important things I would say to look for is:

    1: Good low-light performance, or at least decent. Most camcorders are piss-poor in this area, so you might have to do some lookin'.

    2: Aux mic input. This with an XLR adapter unit so you can get house audio feed.

    3: Possibly a manual focus option. Low-light situations can make auto-focus camcorders go nuts sometimes trying to lock in, I'd imagine this would be even worse at shows where light conditions may be fairly dynamic during a set.

    Buying a Zoom or other unit will only end up costing you just as much as an external mic or XLR adapter would, and you'd end up having to sync the audio yourself (which isn't hard, but still).

    The rest is fairly inconsequential for your needs. You could look around for something used.
  6. itsalljustaride


    Sep 23, 2009
    The camera quality on those is just above cel-phone quality from what I hear.

    That being said, if these vids are representative of what they put out, you could certainly do worse:

    And the sound quality is awesome, so it's probably a workable solution.
  7. Time Consumer

    Time Consumer

    Jan 27, 2008
    Joliet Ill.
    My manager got one of those little FLIP camera's and they surprisingly sound and look really good, I cant do a link to youtube cuz its blocked here, but if you search Once Divided on the tube and find my band the newer ones are with the flip cam, I was very surprised how good the picture was and how good you could hear the bass.
  8. justabass


    Nov 7, 2006
    Nashville TN/Old Hickory TN
    Endorsing-Trace Elliot,Peavey Basses,PedalTrain,Starkey inears
    +1 for the Flip...Get the HD one. the sounds really amazing. I'm constantly suprised at it.

    Clip from 2010 NAMM...Done with a Flip Cam...
  9. Gopher Bob

    Gopher Bob

    Nov 24, 2001
    This more has to do with the audio but if you get a decent solid state audio recorder like the sony PCM-M10 then most inexpensive camcorders will provide a great picture and you can combine the two.

    My little camcorder is some kind of samsung mini-dv cam I bought a year/year and a half ago for around $150.. picture is great but audio quality/audio distance sucks. I've used my sony mz-m10 hi-md player with great results (NOT recommending you buy a hi-md player as these are obsolete and I think the last model sony produced was in 2006 the RH1).

    The sony PCM-M10 has built in microphone and from the reviews and samples and youtube videos it sounds ultra clean and great for instruments/live band situations. It is not *cheap* by any means depending on where you get it cost will range $260-$299. Built in 4GB can do 6hours of beautiful uncompressed wav. Uses standard alkaline batteries AND from tests online it seems it will record for 24 hours on a single set. It uses sony proprietary M2 cards or MICROSD cards!

    *Biggest pro for me is you don't have to use sony's crappy sonicstage!!! you can just drag and drop to your pc (I do not know about mac compatibility but I believe it will work ok with them).

    I am going to buy that PCM-M10 for similar purposes as soon as sony confirms it will work with out problems on my windows xp pro x64 (64 bit) computer << yea I'm a weirdo when it comes to PC's! But other XP users are jealous of my 8GB of RAm!

    Summary: From my limited video recording experience you can get a very good picture from a very inexpensive camera. The same is not true for audio... I do not have much experience with using mic outputs of certain camcorders but I would bank on going cheap camcorder with HIGH quality audio recording... You know when you watch that high quality video on youtube and the audio sucks it isn't worth watching. When recording performances in my opinion the sound is 90% of the enjoyment and can make or break a recording.

    Oh and I have heard that on the cheap side of things those zoom digital recorders are good and would work well in this situation as well. $150 zoom + $150 cam would be closer to your proposed budget.
  10. Don Sibley

    Don Sibley

    Jun 27, 2005
    Fort Worth, TX
    Surprised. I thought the Flip sounded better, less compressed and noisy, than the Zoom Q3. Didn't see that coming.

    I like the idea of not having to mix audio and video later. That would make it much easier to upload on tour.
  11. just used a flip for the 1st time the other day - pretty cool! I'd still like to have a device w/ a better mic though, or a cam w/ a mic in. . .

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