How to Choose a Video Camera

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To choose a video camera, compare consumer cameras, equipped with many automatic features, with prosumer cameras, which can be much more expensive. Find a video camera that works for specific needs with information from a professional videographer in this free video on photography.

Part of the Video Series: Using a Digital Camera
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is James Flint. I'm a videographer, and I'd like to talk to you about how to choose a video camera. There's a few different things you need to consider when you're getting ready to choose a video camera. The first thing is, what category of a shooter do you fall under? Are you a consumer, or are you a prosumer? This is the definition that's gonna, you know, determine what you're going to do with the things you're filming, and it's also going to determine a major part of what price category you fall into. A consumer camera is going to have, while it does still have a lot of advanced features, it's going to lean more towards the side of making the camera easy to use. It's for people that haven't done a lot of videography work, so if you were going to buy a gift for a family friend, you know, you might want to get 'em a consumer camera, unless they have experience with video cameras. A consumer camera's probably going to cost less than two thousand dollars, and again, it's going to be easier to use for someone that doesn't know what they're doing. A prosumer camera is a camera that's capable of producing professional productions, but it's not going to be something, you know, like you'll see on the sidelines of a Monday night football game, where those cameras, you know, are costing up to forty thousand dollars. A prosumer camera has a lot of advanced features, and it's going to have a price range of about two to ten thousand dollars. The second thing to consider when buying a camera is 'Do I want a high definition camera or do I want standard definition camera?' Obviously, I'm going to recommend, if you're a prosumer, you want the high definition camera. And I'm actually going to say if you're a consumer, you should probably go with the high definition camera as well, because that's the way of the future. Most everything is converting to high definition now, and you might even find it hard to find a standard definition camera. Anything you shoot in high definition, you can convert down to standard definition, but you can't take standard definition and convert it up to high definition. One final thing to think about when choosing a camera is what kind of storage device do you want? There's basically two options. You can store your film onto a tape drive, or you can store it onto a digital media card. The pro of using a tape drive is that it's easy to store. You don't have to worry about it hard drive crashing. You put it on a shelf, when you're ready to watch that tape you pop it in and there you go. Cons to using the tape drive or a tape storage device is that when you watch it on your computer, it will....you have to process it in real time to import it on your computer to be able to edit it. A pro of using a media stick is that you can store a lot of stuff on one device. It will sort it by clips, so you don't have to watch the whole thing or everything you've shot to find one part. And it can be easily brought into your computer for editing. A disadvantage of using a media card is that, you know, it takes up a lot of storage space on your computer external hard drive, and you run the risk, if you lose a hard drive, you're going to lose the footage you have unless you've backed it up. So these are all things to consider when you're getting ready to buy a video camera.

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