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Cheap Cam with AV and Audio in.

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Editing Forum' started by douglastoy, May 8, 2005.

  1. douglastoy

    douglastoy
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    Hey.

    I know very little about camcorders which is why Ive hunted out your forum looking for advice. I do alot of mountain biking and want to make mountain biking videos using a helmet camera attached to a camcorder via an AV in. Also would need to have audio in for the attachment of a mike. The idea is the cam would sit in my backpack out of harms way and the helmet camera would feed all the footage to it through the AV in. Correct me if Im wrong.

    Unfortunately I

    A: Am student, therefore am very poor and
    B: know nothing about camcorders.

    I was hoping that you guys, who seem to know what your talking about, could recomend me a camcorder which is cheap or which I could pick up for not alot on Ebay that fits all my needs. Thanks alot. If you need to know more before you can advise me feel free to pick my brains.

    Best regards
    Douglas.
     
  2. Roy Mallard

    Roy Mallard
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    Hi, there are plenty of av-in camcorders kicking around, you will need to check however:

    Your bullet cam, does it have a built in microphone or are you using a seperate external microphone?

    If it has a microphone built in you will need to check if it delivers a mic (audio) level or a line (audio) level signal.

    Camcorders with AV-in need to be switched to VCR mode in order to record the signal from the bullet cam, most cameras will only accept a line level signal for the audio in VCR mode.

    If your bullet cam gives you a line (audio) level then you are laughing, if it only gives you a mic level, or if you are using a sperate mic then you will need to amplify the signal before it reaches the camera.

    The easiest way to do this is to route it through a cheap dictophone with the play/rec button firmly slelotaped down. Run a mini jack cable from the headphone socket into the camcorder.

    You will also need to think very carefully about mic positioning.

    At the front of the bike you will probably only get wind noise, on your back will be a bit better, less wind noise and more crowd ambient nosie or if you have a small enough lavalier type mic (£20 form jessops) mount in on the seat or chainstays next to the rear mech to pick up the sound and tempo of the chain, gear changes etc.

    Mud will be a problem, so look at some kind of windjammer, which will a)reduce wind noise, and b) will prevent most mud & water destroying the mic head.

    Canon have a refurbished shop on ebay, any of their DV models with the 'i' designation should accept AV in, you get a years guarantee as well.

    For any bike mounted shots I've ever done I've used a manfrotto superclamp and ball and socket head, mounting the camcorder itself either on the top tube (fairly well protected in the event of a tumble) or on the stem or handle bars (for the best shots). Either method lets you also monitor your shots on the LCD if you are seeking to vary the zoom or focus (best advice, keep the lens wide, focus at infinity, preset whitebalance to daylight, set a faster shutter - 1.250th or higher if you can- you can do this on a canon, set the ae to -1 stop, underexposre is easier to fix than over exposure)

    I know the prefered method is to mount a bullet cam in the airvent of a helmet to get the riders eye view, but I'd rather trash a camcorder than have a bullet cam lodged in my brain. Some of the pinhole cameras are now cheap enough and small enough so as not to cause a problem mounted in this way, just wathc that your cable run doesn't restrict your movement or is likely to strangle you if you fall (keep your routing short and direct, run it behind your ear and downthe centre of your back. Try to use a minijack female&male socket somewhere externally, so that there is a designed in cable break should you have an accident.
     
  3. douglastoy

    douglastoy
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    Hey!

    Great response. Proved to me that I know absolutly nothing about camcorders. Im still trying to find a cheap cam that would suit my needs and was wondering if you could help me. Ive found some on the canon ebay website. Do you reckon I want any of these:

    Canon MV 700I
    Canon MV 750I
    Cannon MV 730I

    I need Av in and audio in but youve shown you know more about what I need than I do! Any advice would be much appreciated. Also, found a cheap helmet camera on Ebay, is it any good? I reckon it is but as I say im not expert. Ive included a link to it below.

    Cheers for any advice, thanks for helping a fellow Glaswegian. :thumbsup:

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=32628&item=4548437516&rd=1&ssPageName=WD2V
     
  4. Roy Mallard

    Roy Mallard
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    700i is a good enough bet, has AV-in so if your on a budget theres no real need to spend more.

    The cam you suggest isn't really what I would go for:

    You would need to carry a heavy 12volt battery as well as the camcorder, also there is no mic built in, giving you the audio problems I discussed.

    Maplins in St. Enochs square have a couple of ok bullet cams which run off of a small & light 9v PP3 battery and some have a mic built in (not absolutely ideal, but considerably less set up hassle if you aren't that technical) if you can stretch, go for a CCD model over a CMOS model.
    I'm sure they do a waterproof one which ticks all the right boxes for about a ton.

    Ask the guys to check whether the audio is mic or line level. Line is better, mic can be overcame.
     
  5. douglastoy

    douglastoy
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    Do the intigrated Headcam/mikes actually have the mike buik into the camera tube as if so mayb it would be better to buy a head cam which does not have with a mike. This would allow me the freedom to place the mike anywhere on the bike such as underneath the saddle to cut out wind noise or beside the cassette to get gear shifting noises. Just a thought. I contacted the guys who are sellking that headcam and they will provide one with an aa battery pack that runs of 8 or 9 aa's. I could then pop down to maplins and see if they could provide a mike that would do the job. That sound ok? I could be talking rubbish if so feel free to abuse me!

    Cheers
    Youve been a great help.
     
  6. Roy Mallard

    Roy Mallard
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    I would check out Maplins first, I'm sure they'll have what you need.
    If you buy a unit from australia and it isn't suitable or doesn't work then you've got the whole hassle of returning it with attendant postage charges etc.

    Maplins is local, you can see it before you buy it, if anything goes wrong you deal with them face to face (it's easy to ignore an email from the other side of the globe).


    Your thinking about the mic is logical, Maplins may do an inline amplifier that'll convert the mic level signal into a line level signal.
     

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