Is there such a thing as a "broadcast quality" consumer camcorder?
July 11, 2008 9:35 PM   Subscribe

I recently became involved with a local television station and I'm looking to invest in a "broadcast quality," consumer camcorder. Is there even such a thing? Or should I penny up for something in the prosumer range?
posted by maalsa to Technology (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What sort of work are you looking to do with the camera?

There's a world of difference between shooting a 30 second clip for the station's website and shooting a segment to use in the 6-o'clock news.
posted by jjb at 11:04 PM on July 11, 2008

Broadcast quality means different things to different people. Many of the "prosumer" cameras don't qualify on paper. Depends on what you want to do with it.

also, it's "pony up."
posted by mzurer at 11:14 PM on July 11, 2008

I'm looking to invest in a "broadcast quality," consumer camcorder. Is there even such a thing?

Amateur film makers, student TV station etc often use the Canon XL1, XL1s, or XL2. Or at least, they did a few years ago when I was more up to date on such things.

I assume you don't need high definition?
posted by Mike1024 at 3:46 AM on July 12, 2008

The Canon HV20 is meant to be excellent for the price. You should be able to find it or it's sucessor (the HV30) for under $1000. I've seen it for $700 or so, so it's worth shopping around.

Here's a video made with it. Broadcast-quality enough for you?

If you want to go bigger/prosumer, the XL1 is outdated by now, though it has a nice form factor. There's no point not shooting HD these days. Look into something like a second-hand Panasonic HVX200, a Sony Z1, or a Canon XLH1. I also hear the new Sony EX3 is very good. These cover a bit of a price range, but it should give you an idea of what to look for.
posted by Magnakai at 5:05 AM on July 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

There was a time when broadcast quality meant something. In the day when footage from youtube is used online....really....there's no real bar.

A DV camcorder with 3 chips is the minimum. Add something with a decent lens. HD is ONLY worthwhile if a) they're going to use it and b) you have a way to deliver to them that is 'low hassle.' High Def on a 'hard drive' camera, is a hassle for you to give them the footage and edit with. HDV might be adequate, if their editing systems handle it well and it's not making the work harder (depending on their playout server, HDV may make stuff harder for them.)
posted by filmgeek at 6:01 AM on July 12, 2008

Broadcast quailty ENG cameras are made by Ikegami and they cost about $15k.
posted by Zambrano at 9:02 AM on July 12, 2008 I would look on for something more affordable - like a Canon - that can get you near broadcast quality for about 3 or 5 grand.
posted by Zambrano at 9:06 AM on July 12, 2008

Sorry the Ikegamis are not $15k - they're more like $18k now. Sorry for all of the posts.
posted by Zambrano at 9:09 AM on July 12, 2008

Cameras like the Canon XH A1 and the Panasonic AG-DVX100, are both aimed mostly at indie / documentary filmmakers and ENG crews. Both are in the $3000 USD range.
posted by jjb at 10:29 AM on July 12, 2008

The 3CCD Canon GL2 was immediately grabbed up by lots of corporate and professional documentary and news crews when it first came and it's still a workhorse worth considering for SD video.
posted by dpcoffin at 11:33 AM on July 12, 2008

Seconding what filmgeek said. "Broadcast quality" is a completely meaningless term that no self-respecting video production professional uses. It's a marketing term which is a holdover from the analog 80s/early-90s, when the term actually did mean something.

You don't explain WHAT you plan to do with the camera, prosumer or otherwise. Your question is basically unanswerable until you do.
posted by melorama at 11:56 AM on July 12, 2008

I have the XL H1... It's a great camera and i highly recommend it or its little brother the XL A1. However, the current favorite out there is the Sony EX-1. Also, a great camera...

I suggest looking at Phillip Bloom's site here.

Or, wait for the Scarlet.
posted by Shanachie at 12:34 PM on July 12, 2008

Scarlet is not a video camera. It's a digital cinema camera.

There is a difference.
posted by melorama at 2:44 PM on July 12, 2008

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