Best camcorder for sports videography?
February 26, 2007 6:49 AM   Subscribe

Please help me navigate the bewildering array of digital camcorders and decide which one is best for my purposes.

I would like to record on digital video my son's 90 minute soccer matches, edit them down to a manageably sized highlight reel, burn the edited version on to a CD, and mail the CD to prospective college coaches.

For my purposes I suppose a long battery life is important, as well as image stabilization. Cost is somewhat of a factor; I would think $750 would be the most I'd be willing to pay, but the $500 range is more like it.

I've tried to research but it seems there are just too many options and too many opinions out there. I'd be interested to hear from others who have done similar projects. Any thoughts on the appropriate editing software would be appreciated as well.
posted by pasici to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I use Canon Elura mini-dv cameras. These cameras have been used to film various sports (hockey, volleyball, basketball) and in the case of volleyball, used to create highlight reels to send to coaches.

These cameras have no image stabilization. I would recommend the use of a monopod or tripod if you want to capture the best footage.

If you are concerned with battery life, you may wish to consider picking up an inexpensive inverter which will allow you to run the camera off of your car battery.
posted by davey_darling at 7:28 AM on February 26, 2007

Can't beat the Sony DV series in my opinion, usually slightly optically and claritywise than the Canon Eluras, which are tinier. Just get the latest model Handycam Sony and maybe a big battery, I have one that lasts 800 hours. Cameras are getting so good right, any brand-name DV will do what you're talking about. I also recommend Macs for editing, they just work.
posted by wavejumper at 9:24 AM on February 26, 2007

At the risk of getting flagged, how many matches will you be filming and will you have another use for the camera afterward? You may want to consider having some high school/college film students or a local production company film and edit it for the cost of buying the camera (or less). It will be much slicker and less work for you.

That said, I bought a JVC GRDF430U. I've found the motor noise is quite loud and will probably not work for you unless you're planning to set the whole thing to music or something. A few extra thoughts that can impact your search: consider a camcorder with low motor noise and one that works well in the conditions that you will be filming in (outdoor vs. indoor, sunny and overcast, etc). You can usually buy extended life batteries for most camcorders too. Like Davey says, I would get a tripod - even the best image stabilization system will be no match for your tired arm after an hour or so.
posted by ml98tu at 9:43 AM on February 26, 2007

i have nothing but glowing recommendations for this camera. it's $500, and has a 3CCD sensor, so it performs brilliantly in low-light situations. brilliantly. not so necessary for outdoor soccer games, but surely you're going to use it for some other purpose at some point in time.
posted by wreckingball at 12:42 PM on February 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

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