If you’re going to do online video, obviously you’re going to need a video camera. This doesn’t have to be a big expense, initially. Maybe you even already have access to a digital video camera or camcorder. You might even have a video camera at home that uses DV tapes; this will be just fine for shooting videos. Though you might want to stock up on some tapes. The more professional cameras that are often used on commercial shoots tend to use videotape for recording. However, don’t feel compelled to get an expensive camera.
When starting out a SD video camera will work just fine and it’s a great way to get the hang of shooting video. They also aren’t as expensive as a HD video camera. Remember, HD shows a lot of detail and that means it will show both good and bad things. There’s a reason when HD first arrived there were many lists circulating about actors and actresses who would have problem on HD because it would show too many personal flaws. You can always upgrade to a more expensive HD camera when your shooting skills improve.
If you’ll be purchasing a video camera, you’re going to want to read reviews. You can find some solid expert reviews at sites such as Digital Photo Mag, CNET, and PC Magazine. Those sites offer in-depth reviews and buyer’s guides including specs that are important to look for when shopping. You should also read user reviews and Amazon actually has a lot of good user reviews to peruse.
In my experience, I’ve used Canon camcorders that use SD storage media. I personally like using SD media for a few reasons. Here are my top 5:
1. It’s re-usable. SD is essentially erasable media, so I can use one SD card to shoot tons of video. Once I’ve uploaded the video files to my computer I can erase them from the card and start with a blank “tape” for the next videos I want to shoot. Eventually, you’ll need to replace the SD card with a new one, but you can use it a ton of times before you start to see any real wear and tear on a SD card’s memory.
2. It’s multifunctional. Many digital cameras use SD cards to store pictures shot with the camera. This means the SD card I have doesn’t necessarily have to be only for use with the camcorder. In a pinch, I can also use the same SD card in a digital camera and if the camera has a video recorder feature I can record videos on that SD card using my camera and edit them in my editing software later. Depending on my camera it might not be the same high quality as that offered on the camcorder, but you can make it work.
3. It’s affordable. The cost of storage has been dropping, so it’s not going to cost a lot to get a 4GB card (plenty for recording a few short videos on a SD camcorder) – you can get one for $10 to $20. Another plus is that they are easy to find. If you’re on the road and need extra media you can easily walk into a Walgreens or Rite Aid and pick up a SD card.
4. Easy uploads. My favorite feature about using SD cards is that I don’t need to attach the camcorder to my computer to upload video. I can use a SD card reader instead. Simply take the SD card out of the camera insert it into the reader and put the camcorder away. I’ve found that accidents can sometimes happen to the camcorder when it’s on a desk during upload. It can get knocked around and maybe fall on the floor causing damage. This is definitely not a good thing.
5. I can even use microSD cards. The great thing about microSD cards (these are the fingernail size media cards that can be added to cell phones for more storage) is they work just fine with SD card adapters and most microSD cards come with SD card adapters. Simply put the microSD card in the SD card reader (make sure the SD card reader isn’t locked – there will be a slide on the card that can be pushed into the lock or unlock position) and then put the SD card reader into the camcorder and start shooting.
Read all previous parts to this ongoing series, Shooting Online Video:
Part 2 – SD or HD
Part 1 – Just Do It!