Recording Daring demos with handheld video cameras

Hi Guys
I think I am going to get one of these devices: ZOOM Q3HD handheld audio/video recorder.
Notice that the low cost cameras with good audio, are far and few between. If you want detailed, clear audio, you really need to record direct and then sync that to the captured video, which requires some time and expertise. iMovie in iLife 2011 does that for Mac, in case that’s relevant to you. Personally, I just got that installed, and I have video and audio recordings to sync, just requires time to learn it and do it right…..  If you don’t have free time, or friendly Final Cut pro editor, then you have to consider the next step, which is a product like this.

In the future, more people will have access to devices like this, and more such devices will appear. Then video and audio will be sync’d automatically in one captured file, and you can just edit them together or play back the raw footage; much faster to get the video out and uploaded to youtube.

Excerpts from the Review:

Audio is top notch. The stereo separation is perfect–not too wide or narrow. The unit has pretty flat EQ in recording audio–just slightly hot on the treble end giving a bit of brightness, but this is mild. It can record 24 bit audio, which is very useful for live recording as it preserves audio detail even if the sound gets quiet.

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It also has an interesting feature where it can be set to automatically turn down the gain if there’s any clipping, but it is one way only–it won’t turn the gain back up again. So you aren’t getting artificial “automatic gain control” type changing of the gain, yet you avoid clipping. There is also the standard automatic gain control (constantly adjusting input gain to the volume level) which is useful for recording voice, interviews, classroom lectures, etc. Manual gain control is limited to either “high input” or “low input”–there is no input level control. Bottom line: the audio recording is a huge success, with very high quality stereo reproduction.

Battery life is about 2 hours of continuous recording, with the display on. Unfortunately there is no way to turn off the display, so it just stays on and uses up battery power. Hopefully this can be fixed in a firmware update.

So we end up with great audio, and fair video. For my application–recording my band’s gigs, this is all I need to see how we look live, and to hear excellent and detailed audio. There aren’t any other alternative products for great audio + video in this price range. You just have to realize that you get what you pay for in video quality.

OVERALL: Perfect for applications where audio quality is a higher priority than video quality. There aren’t any other units currently in this price range out there which can do that. If you want pristine audio AND video, you’ll need to spend much more, investing in a top quality camcorder with external microphones.

CLICK HERE for List of Amazon Reviews on that Zoom Q3HD product

Some of the reviews are negative. There is some risk with such a product due details of your recording environments, your playback environtments, and the settings you use.  Search youtube for “q3hd” or “video shootout” to see the video results. Remember that video upload will compress both video and audio.  And that video recording with microphones, is like getting a “very cheap $20  recording studio” don’t compare that to some pro studio recording!

The thing to remember is that the audio source and video camera are coupled, so when moving the camera you pan the video and audio. Which may not always be what you want.

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