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View Full Version : good camera/microphone for recording uke videos



garyg
07-01-2011, 02:33 AM
Sometime in the last month I did a search on the site for camera recommendations for recording uke videos for venues like youtube. There was a great recommendation for a camera but I can't seem to repeat my search to find it and I forgot to save the last one. This camera was relatively inexpensive and had two microphones and it was steel blue. Does this ring a bell for anyone. TIA, g2

Ken Middleton
07-01-2011, 02:55 AM
Sounds like a Zoom Q3. There is now a Q3HD too. I had a Q3 briefly but sold it. There were two reasons:

1. The completed files would not work with Windows Movie Maker (works fine on a Mac).
2. The audio quality was excellent but the video quality was poor (on the non HD version).

I now use a Flip Ultra HD and a Zoom H4n (or H2).

mr moonlight
07-01-2011, 03:02 AM
The best way is to have a separate mic that you can position anywhere you want. I know the Nikon p7000 has an external mic Input.

wolfybau
07-01-2011, 03:02 AM
I'd like more info on this as subject as well.

my camera is ok, its a little casio, takes fair quality video and photos for what it is, but i hate the sound, its so unresponsive yet noisey, Ive also got a kodak one where the sound is even worse! there is this horribe high pitched whine, and it doenst take good low-light video, the casio does though.

a lot of people get some realy great quality videos, what are other folks out there using?

Ken Middleton
07-01-2011, 03:38 AM
I'd like more info on this as subject as well ... what are other folks out there using?

If I were starting again on a limited budget, this is what I would do.

Get the cheapest Canon (or similar) compact camera that does HD video. I'd use that for just the video. You may already have this to take your photos with. I would buy the cheapest decent audio recorder. In my opinion this is the Zoom H1.

I can now position the camera where I want and have the audio recorder near to the uke. Use the audio and video with either iMovie or Windows Movie Maker.

Be aware than no inexpensive video recorder will record audio that comes even close to the quality of the cheapest Zoom product.

Hippie Dribble
07-01-2011, 03:46 AM
OK Ken...help.

I just bought a Zoom Q3. it arrived today would you believe. I am under the (hopeful) impression that this would take good quality audio and video for youtube clips, as the little camera I use now, though OK, suffers from fairly poor audio.

Is there anything I can do do make the visual quality better with the Zoom Q3...other than buying a totally different thing??? Like, is what I've got now usable or should I abandon it...sell it on straight away?

Ken Middleton
07-01-2011, 03:58 AM
OK Ken...help.

I just bought a Zoom Q3. it arrived today would you believe. I am under the (hopeful) impression that this would take good quality audio and video for youtube clips, as the little camera I use now, though OK, suffers from fairly poor audio.

Is there anything I can do do make the visual quality better with the Zoom Q3...other than buying a totally different thing??? Like, is what I've got now usable or should I abandon it...sell it on straight away?

Don't just take my word for it. Try it. Is it the new HD version or the old one? Mine did not work very well in poor light (like we get in England). Under the crystal clear skies of Tasmania it should work very well.

If you don't like it, can you return it and get your money back?

Hippie Dribble
07-01-2011, 05:00 AM
Don't just take my word for it. Try it. Is it the new HD version or the old one? Mine did not work very well in poor light (like we get in England). Under the crystal clear skies of Tasmania it should work very well.

If you don't like it, can you return it and get your money back?

Sure, I'll give it a go mate. Not sure I'm able to return it. It wasn't a massive hit cost wise, though $140 is substantial enough for me. I'll see how it goes. In all likelihood, it's going to be a step up from what I'm currently using. I guess I'm constantly frustrated in being not very tech savvy...with anything really, and everything these days feels like going back to school... :o

Laouik
07-01-2011, 05:03 AM
The best way is to have a separate mic that you can position anywhere you want. I know the Nikon p7000 has an external mic Input.

Agreed. I use my Canon T2i DSLR and a Zoom H1 mic, then merge the tracks in Adobe Premiere (due to the stupid AGC in the stock firmware of the T2i... still not ready to load Magic Lantern). Takes me 15 mins in post-production.

diego
07-01-2011, 05:21 AM
I have the Zoom H4n and it is simply amazing, can't beat those little condenser mics. And it doubles as a great recording/composing tool. I am looking for a better camera though. what I do now is hook up the Zoom to the webcam.

OldePhart
07-01-2011, 07:47 AM
I'm pretty happy with a Flip Ultra HD - video is pretty good even in low light and audio is decent as well.

Pippin
07-01-2011, 07:48 AM
OK Ken...help.

I just bought a Zoom Q3. it arrived today would you believe. I am under the (hopeful) impression that this would take good quality audio and video for youtube clips, as the little camera I use now, though OK, suffers from fairly poor audio.

Is there anything I can do do make the visual quality better with the Zoom Q3...other than buying a totally different thing??? Like, is what I've got now usable or should I abandon it...sell it on straight away?

There is a firmware update for the Q3 that improves things a lot. I had one. I sold it. I have the FLIP Ultra-HD and also the Toshiba that I reviewed in the last issue of Ukulele Player. I did review the Q3 in a past issue and the FLIP Ultra-HD, too.

Laouik
07-01-2011, 08:06 AM
If you want a Flip HD, get one soon.. Cisco is going to stop making it:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/cisco-to-stop-making-flip-video-cameras/2011/04/12/AFdZGrSD_story.html

mr moonlight
07-01-2011, 08:31 AM
A friend of mine has a "blue" usb mic. They go for around $100 and sound great. You can just plug directly into your laptop and record with your camera. Sync in post.

OldePhart
07-01-2011, 09:42 AM
If you want a Flip HD, get one soon.. Cisco is going to stop making it:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/cisco-to-stop-making-flip-video-cameras/2011/04/12/AFdZGrSD_story.html

Yeah, that's a shame. It's really a good camera and not a bad price but they did a bang-up job of confusing the heck out of consumers. Depending on what generation of Ultra-HD you buy it does or doesn't have image stabilization, can or can't use extra batteries, and the only way to tell which version you're buying is by the obscure SKU or model number on the box - the box is otherwise identical. I know some liquidators in this area are making a killing selling the previous generation on Craig's list because people think they're getting a great deal paying almost the price of the newest model for the earlier model that didn't have image stabilization, etc. Really a mess.

That, plus I'm not crazy about the whole thing that makes it a "flip" - it leaves the whole weight of the camera hanging from the USB port on your computer. So far I haven't had a problem but I'm not crazy about it on general principals.

Still, for something you can stick in your pocket, press one button and get decent low-light HD video and decent audio, it's not bad.

John

mr moonlight
07-01-2011, 10:35 AM
Yeah, that's a shame. It's really a good camera and not a bad price but they did a bang-up job of confusing the heck out of consumers. Depending on what generation of Ultra-HD you buy it does or doesn't have image stabilization, can or can't use extra batteries, and the only way to tell which version you're buying is by the obscure SKU or model number on the box - the box is otherwise identical. I know some liquidators in this area are making a killing selling the previous generation on Craig's list because people think they're getting a great deal paying almost the price of the newest model for the earlier model that didn't have image stabilization, etc. Really a mess.

That, plus I'm not crazy about the whole thing that makes it a "flip" - it leaves the whole weight of the camera hanging from the USB port on your computer. So far I haven't had a problem but I'm not crazy about it on general principals.

Still, for something you can stick in your pocket, press one button and get decent low-light HD video and decent audio, it's not bad.

John

I never really saw the point in the Flip from the moment I first held one. My P&S camera had HD vid capabilities and image stabilization plus it was also a good camera. So why buy a flip when you can buy a more capable camera. If you don't need as high quality video just get a smart phone that has video capabilities. I saw the Flip as something similar to the Palm devices but appeared too late in the game to be of any lasting success. I recorded a couple vids right into my Ipad and it was actually pretty decent. Video wasn't great, but was fine for Youtube sizes. Audio wasn't half bad either.

OldePhart
07-01-2011, 11:32 AM
...I never really saw the point in the Flip from the moment I first held one. My P&S camera had HD vid capabilities and image stabilization plus it was also a good camera. So why buy a flip when you can buy a more capable camera...
Problem with most of the P&S cameras that shoot video is that the video (especially low light) and audio quality are generally considerably poorer than even the modest little Flip Ultra HD. Also, video compression is not that great so you don't get much recording time for a given amount of memory. I've got a Canon SD1400IS point and shoot - the low-light video is much poorer than that of the Flip and the audio is laughable. I bought the Flip after I tried to shoot some kids singing at a vacation Bible school with the Canon. I got less than 15 minutes of video on a 2Gig card, the image was grainy even though the indoor lighting was normal, and the audio was really terrible because the camera couldn't handle even the modest SPL of the PA system (it wasn't loud at all).

Pippin
07-01-2011, 11:46 PM
I never really saw the point in the Flip from the moment I first held one. My P&S camera had HD vid capabilities and image stabilization plus it was also a good camera. So why buy a flip when you can buy a more capable camera. If you don't need as high quality video just get a smart phone that has video capabilities. I saw the Flip as something similar to the Palm devices but appeared too late in the game to be of any lasting success. I recorded a couple vids right into my Ipad and it was actually pretty decent. Video wasn't great, but was fine for Youtube sizes. Audio wasn't half bad either.

I have the FLIP UltraHD and the only thing it lacks is a zoom lens. Hence, the Toshiba camcorder.

The one thing about camcorders is that most of the palm-sized units on the market have too long a lens on them for good quality video. You'll see much shorter focal lengths on "professional" video cameras. That should tell you something. That is why when I bought a palm-sized camcorder, I bought the Toshiba H-30 which has a 5x zoom lens (optical). It is about 170 to 200mm focal length if you compare it to a standard lens for a 35mm camera.

Point and shoot digital cameras are not the best solutions for video. The diameter of a lens barrel is a clear indication of how your camera will perform in low light. Think of your lens as a window. The bigger the window, the more light it lets in, the clearer the image (very simple terms). I publish a photographer magazine in addition to a ukulele magazine. Been shooting professionally for many years and had a lot of published images (and awards in that field). Lenses optimized for video are entirely different than lenses made for still photography. Better camcorders also feature multiple sensors.

cb56
07-02-2011, 01:04 AM
OK Ken...help.

I just bought a Zoom Q3. it arrived today would you believe. I am under the (hopeful) impression that this would take good quality audio and video for youtube clips, as the little camera I use now, though OK, suffers from fairly poor audio.

Is there anything I can do do make the visual quality better with the Zoom Q3...other than buying a totally different thing??? Like, is what I've got now usable or should I abandon it...sell it on straight away?

Hey Eugene, Since you got the Q3 for such a decent price IMO hold on to it. Try the software upgrade (I haven't gotten around to it yet). The price you got your Q3 for is pretty close to the price they sell the mic alone for H2 (I think)
You could always just use it as an external mic on another camera if you decide you don't like the video. Or you could use it as a second camera for a different scene in your video while still being sync'd up with the audio.
btw I use the Q3 for my videos and while I agree it isn't the greatest, it is passable

SweetWaterBlue
07-02-2011, 01:38 AM
I agree with all the recommendations to get a separate camera and recorder, if possible. As already stated, that generally gives you better video and audio quality and microphone placement.

I don't have a good stand alone video camera, so I generally make my videos from my web cam, and record audio with a separate mic or stand alone audio recorder (I used to use a superb H4, but it was a loaner). One day I will get one of the little portable digital video cameras, most like a Kodak ZI8.

I am currently recording almost all my audio with a Tascam DP-004. It has 2 built in microphones and will record 4 independent tracks, which you can import into your computer as raw WAV files, or you can mix and blend them in the unit itself. I like it because it is very portable and most of functions are on analog dials and buttons, as opposed to having to use my computer to set them or on the tiny screen the H4 has. I think its audio quality is as good as the H4 for my purposes (mostly YouTube and SoundCloud posting). I also like that it has two 1/4" input jacks for your electric guitar or ukulele and/or separate microphones. Its also very important that whatever separate audio device you use, that you be able to monitor previously recorded tracks while recording new ones for overlaying. This is a learning curve to using it. Both the Tascam and the Zooms allow you to do this. You can pick them up used for less than $100. However, it is possible to lay down multiple tracks and mix and do effects with only the free Audacity software and a relatively inexpensive condensor mic.

As far as video goes, I have a Canon A520, but I have never been happy with its video quality. Other than the grainy low light video, what I dislike most about it is, that is will only let you record about 30 seconds of video (and its not dependent on the memory card on that particular model). I think the video quality of the Kodak ZI8s is very good.

garyg
07-02-2011, 03:48 AM
So it seems like the Zoom H4n recorder is the recommendation for sound but I'm concerned about buying a Flip ultra HD given that it won't be supported by anyone in the future given that Cisco is trashing it. Has anyone tried Go Pro cameras, they're more pricier but I could use one for my scientific work too? TIA, g