Budget Camcorder for College Voice Student

knotscott

Standard Member
Hi all - I'm looking for suggestions on a budget camcorder that works reasonably well, is easy to use, and has a port for an external microphone. Most of the usage would be for recording vocal pieces in a bedroom type setting. She sings well, but isn't particularly tech savvy, so it needs to be fairly straight forward and capable of recording up to an hour. She currently uses her phone, but both video and audio are variable, and the memory is limited.

Preferably under $100 if possible. I see lots of low cost options on Ebay and Amazon, but have no idea what's worth spending money on and what's junk. Any guidance is appreciated.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
For my money I would continue using the phone for video and get an external sound recorder - Zoom or similar. You can sync the audio and video up when you edit the clips later.
 

Terfyn

Well-known Member
Yes.
Camcorders with external mic sockets are usually at the expensive end of the market. A Zoom or Tascam are better choices for your budget. I use a Tascam DR-60D MkII recorder for quality recordings, this unit has an output for connection to the mic socket of a camcorder to supply a sync track but, more importantly, it records at high quality on to a SD card.
So in your case, is sound or vision more important?
 

Terfyn

Well-known Member
Well looking at another of your posts, your sound system is sooo impressive. :thumbsup: You would need to look at your ability to transfer from a handheld recorder to your setup. Most common are SD card or wire. Maybe there are some recorders with a Toslink output.
 

knotscott

Standard Member
Thanks. The videos my daughter makes usually get played back on a PC...very unlikely we'd ever need to figure out how to play it back on my old school stereo rig. SD card is very likely. I emphasized audio quality because sometimes her videos are evaluated by professors and directors for grades and casting.
 

dosdan

Active Member
The audio in $100 camcorders will be atrocious. It will have auto-level audio which brings up the quite bits (and the noise floor) and crushes the loud bits. OK for non-important speech, but not for good-quality singing.

You want an audio recorder where you can manually set the volume, with perhaps a switchable limiter to reduce clipping on peaks, and where the electronic noise floor/hum is low. Get a Zoom or similar audio SD recorder and sync afterwards with the video.

Dan.
 

12harry

Distinguished Member
dosdan is quite right - and if this is for her future career then that Budget needs to be bigger. You can get a good digital recorder (like Zoom) and pair it with a modest camcorder... but it's not that easy for non-techys.
So it may be better to bite the bullet and raise the Budget for a modest camcorder with mic-input. Check that it offers Manual focus and manual Audio settings. Naturally you will have to budget for a modest microphone - these can be modest or silly-prices for a "name". A budget mic-holder with "pop" screen will look the part and Karaoke mics are very robust, if not quite "studio-quality" - Make sure the mic is accepted by the camcorder! Do not use "adaptors" - get a mic with the right plug fitted..... typically these are 3.5mm into a budget camcorder. Note that it's best if the camcorder includes a headphone o/p so the levels can be judged before recording.
A higher quality recording may show the poor acoustics in the room . . . so sound deadening cloth ( old heavyweight curtains do well.) and a moderately "neutral" out-of focus background . . . . so the viewer concentrates on her, not looking at the book-titles behind. Some lighting may be needed too . . . .
I'm surprised the college doesn't have courses that include "Studio-Setup", as such self-promotion is relatively easy ( and cheap) for quality that would have been very expensive just a few years ago. Beware of suggestions to spend lots of money initially . . . colleges don't know Budgets.
Beware that your standards are "playback on a PC" as this may be true... but once in while it will be reviewed by someone with decent gear and that's when all the faults will show - better to aim for higher quality and equip the home-PC with some decent speakers, so you know what's been included on the recordings. For student-use decent headphones may be used as they also eliminate the background noises from the flat next-door.
/
Good Luck. . . .
 
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knotscott

Standard Member
Thanks for all the replies and suggestions.

Raising the budget is a possibility. Roughly how much more would the budget have to be to get a modest camcorder with mic-input that it offers manual focus and audio settings?
 

EricJan007

Standard Member
If you have a smartphone with USB-C you could also connect an external sound interface, or a mixer that has USB. there's also iRig for the Apple iPhones
Some digital audio recorders can be used as an audio interface, this saves you to sync audio in post.
for the near feature you should really invest in a mirrorles digital camera MFT like a Panasonic G7, you get a lot of features, it will come above your budget, but be well worth.
 
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