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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Dear All:

I have been assigned by my school to investigate how to best record our daily lectures. A budget has not been specified (but I am looking somewhere in the $400 camcorders?)
* Best quality audio
* Battery life at least 90 minutes so that camcorder does not die while recording lecture
* Ideally, start-up time should not be horrendous, as someone will come to lecture, set up the tripod and microphone, and then start recording
* Obviously, if we have the features that we need, then cheaper is better

Our lectures are image-intensive, as we are in a very visual specialty. Thus, it is of utmost importance to capture very good quality video of the projected display. Basically, the camcorder will be fixed on a small (or large) tripod and pointed towards the projection screen - we don't need video of the person actually giving the lecture to be present for our goals to be met.

Any good options? Consumer reports seems to REALLY like Sony FDR-AX33 (see attached or https://bigfile.bcm.edu/pickup.php?claimID=1etp3w2RSZZBt5V4&claimPasscode=G0r1sYQHGJFFQViC, top 3 recommended HD camcorder) but Amazon's "most helpful" negative review (notably, only found to be helpful by 6 people, see http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-r...iewpnt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00R5LH9G0#R2Y0DMOT62JW9H) specifically mentions "terrible low light performance." Does anyone have experience with this camera for the above use? Alternately, I am pretty much open to ANY suggestions for ANY camera that would be able to do the above.

Thank you so much!!!

Yours,
misha680
 

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This same question is asked approximately once a month so a search of this Forum should help.


Low light is subjective. If you are pointing the camera at a lit screen then this is not a low light situation. Pointing the camera at the audience while the lights are dimmed is a low light situation. I have found that if the camera is good then a video editor will pull out the detail. Recently I videoed a trip on our local Halloween train, the raw footage gave no definition as it was very dark on the train, but when "brightened" in the video editor the results were perfect with every detail shown. This was using a Panasonic HC-V750.
The "rule of thumb" is the bigger the lens and chip the better the low light performance. Canon seem to have these features.


Most camcorders will run directly from the mains adapter. My Panasonics will also run from a 5v USB charger. (this includes those battery packs seen on Amazon for recharging phones etc.) So no problem there then.


Most top end cams have an external mic socket but for perfect audio use an independent audio recorder, Zoom or Tascam for example. Then sync up in your video editor.


You don't say what your screen picture source is. If it is a "powerpoint" presentation most video editors will capture directly from the PC screen using their inbuilt screen capture option and the audio could come from a voiceover into the editor. If slides, then a USB slide and negative unit will give a better picture. So no need for a camera!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
This same question is asked approximately once a month so a search of this Forum should help.

Low light is subjective. If you are pointing the camera at a lit screen then this is not a low light situation. Pointing the camera at the audience while the lights are dimmed is a low light situation. I have found that if the camera is good then a video editor will pull out the detail. Recently I videoed a trip on our local Halloween train, the raw footage gave no definition as it was very dark on the train, but when "brightened" in the video editor the results were perfect with every detail shown. This was using a Panasonic HC-V750.
The "rule of thumb" is the bigger the lens and chip the better the low light performance. Canon seem to have these features.

Most camcorders will run directly from the mains adapter. My Panasonics will also run from a 5v USB charger. (this includes those battery packs seen on Amazon for recharging phones etc.) So no problem there then.

Most top end cams have an external mic socket but for perfect audio use an independent audio recorder, Zoom or Tascam for example. Then sync up in your video editor.

You don't say what your screen picture source is. If it is a "powerpoint" presentation most video editors will capture directly from the PC screen using their inbuilt screen capture option and the audio could come from a voiceover into the editor. If slides, then a USB slide and negative unit will give a better picture. So no need for a camera!!!
Thanks so much for your prompt and helpful reply and I am sorry that I did not search the forums better before asking my question :( . Thank you also for clarifying that recording a projection screen no longer counts as a "low-light" situation.

I am quite interested also in your "video editors" option, which would also be much cheaper and probably have great quality. We are, in fact, capturing from a PowerPoint. The trick is that we use at least 4-5 different computers at different locations for the lectures, and in fact our lectures alternate between our institution and a neighboring one. Thus, the ideal solution (probably only one feasible in the initial phase) is NOT to have to install any software on each computer that will be used. Are you, thus, referring to a software product like Camtasia or a hardware "video editor"? If there is such a hardware option (that is portable), would you please point me in the right direction?

My other two options besides a camcorder (I think the camcorder option would work less well, but I'm trying to make sure I address all ideas of the faculty members) are:
1. PowerPoint narration with a USB microphone - this is by far the cheapest and easiest option, but does not record mouse moves, etc. Also, if the presenter moves backwards through the presentation, all slide audio is erased.
2. An external, fully-standalone device to carry around (I realize there are a lot of options with a dedicate recording laptop, but it seems that if we purchase a laptop we might as well just buy one for ALL lectures and use a screen capture software... maybe that is the best option?). The only matching device I found so far is http://www.epiphan.com/products/vgadvi-broadcaster/ but I am not really clear if it completely matches our needs and I am somewhat skeptical that this device will be easy to re-configure for future members of our program (I am fairly tech-savvy but most individuals in our program are not).

Thanks so much!!! I REALLY appreciate your help!!!

Yours,
misha680
 

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The video editor I use, Corel's VideoStudio Pro X8 has the Screen Capture option I mentioned.


Whatever you are recording, I suggest that a video editor is a must. Just the process of tying together and cleaning up the video before rendering it into a suitable format for distribution makes it worthwhile. The addition of titles, sub-titles, voiceovers and, possibly, music will enhance the final product. I am not familiar with Powerpoint but if it can create a readable output file then a VE could be used to process it. For example, the VideoStudio web site gives a list of input and output formats. Camstasia will probably do what I am talking about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The video editor I use, Corel's VideoStudio Pro X8 has the Screen Capture option I mentioned.


Whatever you are recording, I suggest that a video editor is a must. Just the process of tying together and cleaning up the video before rendering it into a suitable format for distribution makes it worthwhile. The addition of titles, sub-titles, voiceovers and, possibly, music will enhance the final product. I am not familiar with Powerpoint but if it can create a readable output file then a VE could be used to process it. For example, the VideoStudio web site gives a list of input and output formats. Camstasia will probably do what I am talking about.
Thank you so much for letting me know which video editor you use and for your recommendation to have a video editor for our project!
 

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Dear All:

I have been assigned by my school to investigate how to best record our daily lectures. A budget has not been specified (but I am looking somewhere in the $400 camcorders?)
* Best quality audio
* Battery life at least 90 minutes so that camcorder does not die while recording lecture
* Ideally, start-up time should not be horrendous, as someone will come to lecture, set up the tripod and microphone, and then start recording
* Obviously, if we have the features that we need, then cheaper is better

Our lectures are image-intensive, as we are in a very visual specialty. Thus, it is of utmost importance to capture very good quality video of the projected display. Basically, the camcorder will be fixed on a small (or large) tripod and pointed towards the projection screen - we don't need video of the person actually giving the lecture to be present for our goals to be met.

Any good options? Consumer reports seems to REALLY like Sony FDR-AX33 (see attached or https://bigfile.bcm.edu/pickup.php?claimID=1etp3w2RSZZBt5V4&claimPasscode=G0r1sYQHGJFFQViC, top 3 recommended HD camcorder) but Amazon's "most helpful" negative review (notably, only found to be helpful by 6 people, see http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-r...iewpnt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00R5LH9G0#R2Y0DMOT62JW9H) specifically mentions "terrible low light performance." Does anyone have experience with this camera for the above use? Alternately, I am pretty much open to ANY suggestions for ANY camera that would be able to do the above.

Thank you so much!!!

Yours,
misha680
The big issue with the AX33's low light performance is that it has a small sensor compared to its big brother, the AX100. The problem is, the AX100 might not fit in with you last requirement of being cheaper. The AX33 can be had for roughly half the price of the AX100.

Getting 90 minutes out of a camera battery is going to be a tough one. Most don't last much over 1 hour with a full charge.

Either model will accomplish the rest.

However, there's little reason to do what you want to do. I would simply use screen capture software as someone else noted. If you can't get the presenter's audio, just use a portable recorder to record it (or any cheap camera with a mic input) and add it as an audio track to the screen capture.

You'll save a ton of money in comparison.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The big issue with the AX33's low light performance is that it has a small sensor compared to its big brother, the AX100. The problem is, the AX100 might not fit in with you last requirement of being cheaper. The AX33 can be had for roughly half the price of the AX100.

Getting 90 minutes out of a camera battery is going to be a tough one. Most don't last much over 1 hour with a full charge.

Either model will accomplish the rest.

However, there's little reason to do what you want to do. I would simply use screen capture software as someone else noted. If you can't get the presenter's audio, just use a portable recorder to record it (or any cheap camera with a mic input) and add it as an audio track to the screen capture.

You'll save a ton of money in comparison.
Hi NetworkTV, thank you so much for your detailed explanation of the details re the AX33's low light performance as compared to its big brother, the AX100. Thank you also for the explanation of the camera life of most camcorders, and for your recommendation for cheaper available alternatives with respect to screen capture and/or portable recorder.
 

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If low light is a key requirement, then you need a large sensor and a bright lens. The AX100 is still the best large sensor consumer camcorder on the market. It's low light performance will crush the AX33.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If low light is a key requirement, then you need a large sensor and a bright lens. The AX100 is still the best large sensor consumer camcorder on the market. It's low light performance will crush the AX33.
Thank you so much for your thoughts and recommendation.
 

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Dear All:

I have been assigned by my school to investigate how to best record our daily lectures. A budget has not been specified (but I am looking somewhere in the $400 camcorders?)
* Best quality audio
Did you look at some Canon DSLR cameras? When it comes to low-light shooting, I'd suggest that you take a look at Canon EOS Rebel SL1 Digital SLR. If you want to get more tips or what are the advantages on different types of cameras for video recording, check out this article: valoso.com/blog/2016-video-camera-buying-guide/

Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Did you look at some Canon DSLR cameras? When it comes to low-light shooting, I'd suggest that you take a look at Canon EOS Rebel SL1 Digital SLR. If you want to get more tips or what are the advantages on different types of cameras for video recording, check out this article: valoso.com/blog/2016-video-camera-buying-guide/

Hope this helps!
Thank you so much for the recommendation and for the link to the helpful video camera buying guide!
 
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