My school's drama department is looking for a camera to record our plays/musicals.

I have looked and looked for a good camera that

  • Records in 1080p at 30fps
  • Has a mic-in port so we can connect our sound board to it to record directly onto the video from the tech booth.

I think the GoPro might work. It records at 1080p 60, 48, 30, or 24 fps, and has a mic-in. Would this work?

The tech booth is elevated and is in the back of the auditorium. I wouldn't need to zoom as I can crop it and scale it in post (which I think we will export at 720p) and I don't want it to look fish-eyed or distorted. Would the Narrow option work?

What I really want answered is, Should I use the GoPro Hero 3 Black or is there a better camera to use ($400 or less)?

  • 1
    Go Pro although very handy for action shots like down hill skiing or sky diving, does not have a manual focus, or manual exposure, and as pointed out so well by AJ Henderson below does not have a zoom lens.
    – filzilla
    Mar 20, 2013 at 21:51

1 Answer 1


The GoPro is really more designed as a small, rugged, action camera. It really isn't designed for recording a theater production and you would be able to get much better quality out of any number of camcorders in that price range. You really want something with an optical zoom on it.

Either something like a Canon T3i or T2i would probably handle what you need. Alternately, Panasonic makes some pretty good video cameras in that price range.

It is also worth noting that the GoPro has no screen so you would need to buy a separate screen to know what it is that you are actually shooting so that you could aim it. There is one available from GoPro, but it adds around $80 to the cost.

  • 1
    plus, the battery won't last for an entire theatrical production. Mar 21, 2013 at 7:24
  • 1
    This is very true, also the GoPro is very wide, at the back of the auditorium, your stage is going to be tiny in frame...like literally less than a quarter of your screen...no pushing in will save that Mar 21, 2013 at 16:03
  • Agree totally. Also the GoPro low-light performance is quite bad.
    – jsleuth
    Oct 26, 2014 at 0:18

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