Which Camcorder to buy for stage filming ?

  mick314h 20:03 06 Sep 2014

I'm looking to buy a new camcorder in the very near future, as I'm quite new to this subject I need some advice. The camcorder must be capable of filming HD video of a indoor stage with lighting changes. It would be a benefit if it had input for external microphone and good battery life. Can you suggest some options in different price brackets due to I'm still deciding on money available.

  Woolwell 21:36 06 Sep 2014

Until a couple of years ago I recorded an amateur dramatic groups performances using initially and elderly camcorder then a Panasonic HD camcorder. I mounted it on a tripod. The recordings were never of great quality because I had to be near the back of the audience and light levels were a major problem. Sound wasn't a problem. I ran it off mains power and in the interval changed sd card or tape. I wouldn't attempt to do it on battery only.

You have to be realistic and recognise that camcorders are not designed to work in low light levels. TV studios have bright lights and many cameras. If I was to do it again I would want more than one camcorder with an operator for each to capture the different angles and get the faces of more than one actor especially when there is a dialogue. If you have the time get a copy of the script and attend rehearsals especially the dress rehearsal.

Editing takes some time and needs a powerful PC. You may need to burn to Blu-Ray if it is a lengthy show and you want HD. But the light levels will probably mean that you will not be able to greatly differentiate between HD and standard.

  Woolwell 21:37 06 Sep 2014

What is your budget?

  mick314h 10:33 07 Sep 2014

My maximum budget will be £1000.

Thanks for the reply Woolwell.

  Woolwell 10:48 07 Sep 2014

There are a lot of camcorders within that budget. The Sony HDR-PJ810E gets some good reviews. Personally I like Panasonic but I am not sure about low light levels with them. Canon do well too.

  spuds 13:27 07 Sep 2014

The problem nowadays is the likes of 'old' style Jessops stores are far and few between, where very knowledgeable and willing staff would advice and demonstrate a product. You cannot get that sort of service from the internet.

Have you considered YouTube or Google to see if anything suitable is shown there. Even a local college or library might have a few suggestions or contacts?.

  Forum Editor 13:55 07 Sep 2014

Take a look at this. It is a superb camcorder that has been well reviewed, and is well within your budget. It has a 1.8 aperture lens, which will help in low-light situations.

It's the camcorder mentioned by Woolwell.

  woodchip 21:49 07 Sep 2014

I use a JVC Digital with good results, only draw back is it uses half hour tapes, I can run my JVC from a Car JumpStart Battery, so thats not much of a problem. Good quality video

  LastChip 13:12 08 Sep 2014

Many professional video photographers are now using SLR cameras. Indeed, there have been some noteworthy films produced solely on SLR's.

Only last Friday, I was assisting my son at a wedding and the videographer we were working with was using a Canon 70D, which features touch screen focus lock on and the ability to automatically keep focus on the moving selected subject.

Although I'm far from being any sort of authority on video, it seemed to be a superb camera and well within your budget, even allowing for a decent lens.

So keep an open mind and most of all, research and read real reviews from others using these products. That way, you'll find out about the downsides as well as the up.

  mick314h 07:46 09 Sep 2014

Thanks for all the replies, it a great help listening to other people.

  Woolwell 09:52 09 Sep 2014

For videoing drama I would still go for a camcorder. I reiterate that I consider a tripod is essential and running off mains is important too.

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