1

The title just about tells all about my question, but for a few more specifics, I want to record some monologue rehearsals (of myself) in an empty hall, and will later probably have some live performances recorded, too.

As I may periodically "update" my video "resume", it's probably cost-effective to purchase rather than rent the equipment, I am looking to buy both a camcorder and a tripod.

The key features/qualities I'm looking for in these devices are:

Camcorder:

1) Good audio quality (the audio is probably actually more important to me than the visuals)

2) Ease of use (I just want to be able to record, stop recording, zoom in, zoom out, pan, and then download the "files" to my laptop)

3) Price/Value (I don't want to spend a king's ransom for something that will only be used once in awhile, but then again this may be my chief marketing "agent" (YouTuberizing segments of the rehearsals/performances)

Tripod:

1) Stability/Solidity/Reliability

2) Price

Any recommendations?

2

90% of good sound quality is mic placement. The remaining 90% is the microphone. The 90% that remains of that is the preamp. Because mic placement is so important, you either have to accept putting the video camera where the microphone sounds best, or you have to disconnect the two, placing and pointing the mic where it is best and then placing pointing the lens (and camera) at what looks best. Alas, there is no "ease of use" when it comes to capturing good sound--you actually have to listen and adjust until it's right. Which is almost impossible to do by oneself. But perhaps you will find that putting a smartphone in a cradle arms-length from your face gives you both acceptable sound and video quality. In which case, there's a no-cost answer to that part of your question.

As for tripods, if you are not using the camera for active pans or tilts, you don't need a fluid head. All you need is something that is no so ridiculously flimsy that it will start to move when a whoosh of cold air makes it's way across the room from supply to return. A typical margin of error is to read the rated weight of a brand you can actually look up on the Internet (Manfrotto, Gitzo, Slik, etc), cut that rated weight in half, and compare it to your load. If your camcorder is 3 lbs, you need at least a rating of 6 lbs of capacity.

Note, of course, that recording a live performance may require as obtrusive a placement of microphone and/or camcorder as you had in rehearsal, which may be unacceptable. Fixing that requires a whole new strata of cost and expertise.

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