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HD Tutorial for Youtube - Webcam vs Camcorder

mibix

Standard Member
Hi guys,

First post here and apologies for another one of them "Recommend me xxx" posts :D I've had a look around the web and this forum, and not found an answer specific enough to my needs.

I want to start recording tutorials for YouTube. The are technology related, and will be mostly of an object on a desk close up. (soldering etc.).

I'm in two minds about what way to do this. I'm after being able to do 1080 resolution videos and am looking to spend up to £60 for a webcam (or £150 tops for the camcorder)(Sterling).

My two thoughts are either going for one of the HD webcams that are about, or going for a camcorder that can record to SD card.

My though it that a webcam is optimised for indoor use, so it should be less grainy indoors. On the other hand I would much prefer a camcorder to record things outside and away from my computer.

I know £150 isn't going to get me a good camcorder (I'm happy to get refurb or 2nd hand though), but I don't have the funds at the minute.

Does anyone have any experience with webcams, or more importantly, budget camcorders with good indoor abilities? (Not necessarily low light, I use a lamp or two to illuminate my workstation anyway).

Audio is not an issue at all - I will be using a studio condenser microphone to record audio.

So 2 questions really...

1) Would it be best to go for the webcam route as a budget cam can be a bit too 'cheap' and poor quality

2) Are there any cams available for around £150 that could do what I'm after with decent quality. I've seen reviews for cams like the Panasonic SD90, but the general consensus seems to be that anything other that Sony, Canon and Nikon are 'rubbish'.

Thanks in Advance
 
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Chelters

Active Member
Personally I'd say Panasonic are at the forefront or at least equal to Sony or Canon. They are the big names in motion imaging for the masses. At this time I'd only entertain a camcorder from one of those 3 stables.

Anyway I can't say anything about webcams, what little experience I've had with them they've all seemed quite poor. I'd say as you're using lights over the workbench, look for a 'compact' camera with video capability.

I recently bought my lad (9 years old) a Panasonic FS40 from Argos (currently £50) and in good light it takes great pictures and video......But the video is fully auto and only zooms and/or focuses before you press record and it's only 720p. Other than the 720p I'd imagine it would do the job you want. You could hunt around for a TZ27 (it's the same as a TZ30 but without inbuilt GPS - which you wouldn't want) I've seen them on ebay for around £150.

Compacts seem a great option, unless you want to apear fully in the video, the screen doesn't flip around so framing would be tiresome to say the least but for 'over the shoulder' type shots should be fine.

PS budget for a tripod if you haven't already got one :) nothing worse than wobbly footage!
 

mibix

Standard Member
Hi Chelters. Thanks for your response.

I do have a compact camera but I'm not too happy about the video quality (camera quality is amazing - for a compact), and don't fancy getting another compact just for the video.

I think I've narrowed my choice down to a Sony CX190, or a Panasonic SD40.

I think I might go for the Sony. The examples I've seen are amazing compared to the Panasonic (plus I've heard that model of the Panasonic is unreliable).

I have a tabletop tripod for my handy recorder, plus a couple of mic stands with various adapters. They should do the trick.

PS. The missus wants an LCD that swivels but I'm not going to put my ugly mush in the videos!

Cheers
 

12harry

Distinguished Member
You memntioned the SD90 and I can tell you it's a good BUDGET camcorder....
However, if you want to do tutorials and close-ups you should try for a camcorder with a screw-filter option (DYOR) as this makes it rather easier to add close-up lenses - something like a x10 will get you really close, but you have to arrange a very solid mounting - something like a Magic Arm migt do, if you can secure it to a large block of wood, say, for table-top views.
Tripods are all very good for normal use, but to view something on a table (ie Below the lens) can be tricky - hence the Magic Arm suggestion (about £16).
Then there is lighting - to increase the depth of focus you need to force the camera to use a small aperture - and more light will help. These days CF bulbs are good enough and you can adjust the white-balance to suit. . . . If you are close-in then the background will be out of focus, but you should try to make the background darker and smooth, so the audiences' eyes are drawn to the components- which need to be mounted rigidly to avoid movement. If you need to point at something you may need to introduce a steady, so the "pointer" isn't waving about. You might adapt an old Anglepoise Light to help with that.

Not sure about the condenser mic set-up - as this shoud be recorded with the camcorder (audio track) and not all camcorders have a Mic-input. At yr price range a separate SDHC recorder is about £70 (Maplin), but it would probably be better to put that into the camcorder budget....as this will improve things greatly.

Tutorials are not the easiest subject to tackle; partly because viewers are all abilities/levels and what seems obvious to one is quite baffling to someone else.

PS a swiveling LCD is useful indoors if only to set-up the shots, presuming there will be a person in the Tutorial at the start, by way of introduction...Also for overhead close-ups you can view much more comfortably. Steady/sharpness is important when doing close-ups.


+++So, good luck, and do let us know how the gear-choice pans out.
 

mibix

Standard Member
Hi 12harry, thanks for the reply.

I am a music technologist by heart, so the audio is no problem for me. My plan is to do the tutorial, and roughly speak what I want to say with the onboard mic. I'm going to leave room for edits, say take my hands out of the shot when I'm just talking. The plan is to then overdub the vocals, recorded properly with my studio mic and audio interface and make-shift vocal booth. That way, I get more control over the final video, and the quality should be excellent.

With regards pointing, do you mean pointing at the object with like my finger? My plan is to overlay rings, arrows etc. in post production to illustrate different parts if they are tiny. I'm pretty happy with audio and video editing, I've just never had a camcorder before (just used my video feature of digital camera).

The CF bulbs sound good. I'm thinking of making a bar that clamps to my workstation, to have lights above the object, as well as a couple of desk lamps either side to help stop shadowing problems. Does this sound like an idea?

The magic arm looks good. More flexibility and the option to face straight down without seeing the tripod legs. Thanks for that suggestion.

I also want to be able to do 'music videos' (or pretty videos cut together with colour filters etc), and the missus wants to record herself playing guitar.

I've got my heart set on a Sony CX190 as there's one for £140 - gotta wait till pay day though! Although it's not true HD, it seems to have the best video quality of these super budget cams from tests I've seen on YouTube. Would you advise against this? In my original post, I said the SD90 but meant the SD40. I only have about £150 to spend and can't afford the SD90.

I will follow up this thread with my purchase choice. I also might include a link to the tutorial, with a bit of info on the lighting setup etc. It might be useful to others thinking about making tutorials.

Thanks
 

12harry

Distinguished Member
It's far from a good Budget and I fear yr efforts will be hampered by the camcorder.
If two of you are going to use it, maybe raise that Budget?

As yr experienced with Editing and the Audio side - have you sonsidered trying out the Close-up Tuts with a still camera?
In Vegas Movie-Studio (get the Suite that contains the DVD program and Sound-forge), v11 and above work with -i and -p movies...but you can include stills, adding titles etc.
However, perhaps you can tell us how you manage the little-pointers on-screen, as when I've tried this is really doesn't quite do it, having to rely on Windigs or Special Characters is far from easy . . . . . perhaps you can say what Editing software youre familiar with?

That CF light-bar sounds good, you just have to watch reflections, by making them independently movable can help. Colour-gels are fine for arty shots, provided most of each clip is matched colour balance . . . it can hurt our brains if the colour-balance keeps changing.

Camcorder prices will fall after the Summer Holiday season . . . maybe wait until then?
 

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