Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lights, Camera, Action

I bought a video camera! For a long time I was using my Sony CyberShot digital camera to do the video portions of videos like the one I did for Norristown Preservation Society. But the camera’s video capabilities are limited. So I decided to get a camera that would have more features, mainly being able to zoom while shooting. I had spoken to Matt Conant of Project Twenty1 a while ago who had recommended a Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG20 Camcorder. His guys were using that model when they did video work for the Arts Hill Festival earlier this month. It’s small, lightweight, and easy to use.

When I was ready to buy, I went over to hhgregg, which is close to where I work. But they don’t carry Sanyo’s, so, I ended up with a Toshiba Camileo HD30. I had not read a review of it before I went because I was looking for the Sanyo model. But I told them what basic features I wanted and how I was going to use it. The sales person was very helpful despite the fact he smelled as if he hadn’t taken a shower in a week.

The one feature that I really like is the touch screen that allows you an easier way to navigate through the options. I found the stability of the picture quite good as it didn’t pick up any shaking my hand was making holding it. After making the mistake of putting the battery in backwards and thinking it was defective, I did a little experimentation in my living room. It was late at night and the camera does not do really well in low light, despite the fact it has a built in light – something the review mentions. I did get an additional memory card with the camera even though the internal memory can be used. I found that it used a lot of memory without the card when I was experimenting but I could have had it set at a high resolution setting which tends to eat up those bytes, or maybe it was the low light setting.

I like the fact it has a rechargeable battery which charges in the camera rather than a separate battery charger – less parts to worry about losing. The battery indicator is located on the screen and easy to understand. It has a HDMI cord which can plug right into the TV if I want to view something directly from the camera, and the camera has a nice feel to it and fits well in my hand. All the cords you need for it; the HDMI, USB, charger, and AV, are included as is their software. I have not looked at the CDROM yet to determine if I am going to install their software or stick with the Windows Movie Maker software that I have been using. The camera has a direct to YouTube feature, but I usually edit first before uploading, so I doubt I am going to use that at all.

All in all, it’s a good little camera. The review states the price at $250, but hhgregg sold it for $148.54. I can’t wait to really use it.  I promise to share the next video I do.

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