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Old Nov 07, 2013, 10:32 PM
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United States, CO, Denver
Joined Jan 2012
212 Posts
What Camcorder do you use for your?

In the market for a new camcorder to film my 3d flying from the ground. Needing something that can capture good quality with fast images, with a decent LCD screen.

What camcorders do you guys use? Sample Footage? Price?

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Old Nov 08, 2013, 07:36 AM
Extremely Twisted
cwojcik's Avatar
United States, NH, Epping
Joined Oct 2005
2,629 Posts
I have a Panasonic HDC TM55. Here is some sample footage, raw, unedited:

60" MXS madness (5 min 27 sec)

Price was about 430 bucks if I recall, but that was several years ago. I can't find that the prices have come down but it looks like a new model is available.

Anyway, things to look for:

-Good optical zoom (manufacturers will often give you an optical zoom spec and electronic zoom spec. Ignore the electronic zoom spec, all it's doing usually is cropping your video).
-Good image stabilization
-Comfortable to hold; many times a tripod is not practical unless you spring for a really good model which adds a lot of cost
-Records in a format that is easily compatible with your editing software. If you don't plan on editing and simply uploading to Youtube, Youtube can process pretty much anything these days so this is probably not an issue. If it's something proprietary (I'm looking at you Sony) then make sure your software will work with it.

Things which are selling points, but do not matter for us:
-Internal storage or long recording times, we are typically only recording for at most 10 minutes at a time and an hour a day at most. Expandable storage in the form of SD cards is very cheap now in any case.
-Long battery life, for the same reasons.
-5.1 audio, this usually gets cut down to 2 channels online anyway

Things to avoid:
-Interlacing. My Panasonic records at 1080i and it's my only complaint with it. Interlacing means that the camera records at 60fps but only updates every other line every frame. So it gives the appearance and feel of 60fps but with the hardware requirements and file size of 30 fps. It's great for viewing footage straight off the camera but it makes editing kind of a pain and can play havoc with some editing software. I would rather get a camera at 720p 60fps than 1080i 60fps.
-Wide angle action cameras like GoPro's: these are not for recording specific things, they are for sticking on snowboards or cars or wingtips, hitting record, and collecting later. The field of view is so wide that they are great at getting lots of stuff in view but nothing at any distance. I can't stand the amount of GoPro videos that have cropped up where you see the plane on the ground for two seconds and then you are staring at a spec out in the distance for the rest of the video.

I am by no means an expert in this field and I'm sure that more people will chime in, but that's what I have figured out on a small budget and a lot of time.
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Old Nov 08, 2013, 09:00 AM
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jsmith285's Avatar
Fort Wayne
Joined Feb 2009
4,714 Posts
We use a combination of

Sony HXRMC50U My favorite

Cannon vixia hfs21 Wifes Favorite

Most important you really need a camera with a view finder, LCD's just don't work well in bright sunlight.
Everything else is pretty standard on most Video cameras.

Focus, Funny subject, but we manual focus all our videos. Its easy to see when someone is using autofocus.

My Channel

Night flying
Amazing night flight over the pond at Joe Nall pilot Joe Smith (7 min 20 sec)

Joe Smith Pylon Racing a 120 LX with a DA 200 (8 min 59 sec)

Joe Smith Warming up with the 3DHS 74 Edge (2 min 49 sec)

3DHS bigfoot at nall pilot Joe Smith (6 min 15 sec)

Under the lights
Joe Smith Flying the 3DHS 92 edge at night (7 min 14 sec)

Lots of Sun in the Video
3DHS 92 Edge 540 Take2 Pilot Joe Smith (8 min 56 sec)
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Old Nov 08, 2013, 12:09 PM
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Joined Sep 2010
3,886 Posts
Whatever you use, number one on the list of features is IT MUST HAVE AN OPTICAL VIEWFINDER. Once you have a camera with a good optical viewfinder, you won't go back. The only other exception would be an eye level electronic viewfinder that you can put your eye up against an eye cup, but even then you are not watching anything in real time. There is still lag behind for any electronic viewing means. And trying to use the lcd screens in bright light require a majician to get decent movies.
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Old Nov 08, 2013, 12:20 PM
Grass stain your plane.
RAlanBoyle's Avatar
United States, IL, Chicago
Joined Feb 2011
204 Posts
I've got a cheapo Toshiba Camileo. It was less than $200 and does a good enough job.
Tail Dragging Up Close (2 min 3 sec)
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Old Nov 08, 2013, 08:18 PM
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United States, CO, Denver
Joined Jan 2012
212 Posts
mmm Thanks for the input!
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Old Nov 09, 2013, 01:20 AM
Altitude is my friend...
Depronicus's Avatar
Southern California
Joined May 2009
1,456 Posts
Originally Posted by bobly View Post
...And trying to use the LCD screens in bright light requires a magician to get decent movies.
Yes, but encasing the little video camera in a crude cardboard box, painted flat black on the inside, and wearing a wide-brim hat to shade the back opening of the box, and wearing a black shirt to eliminate reflection off your shoulders, works well in bright sunlight:

These seven videos were shot with a Sony Handicam HDR-CX190

I've seen them as low as $180. You get HD video, and decent sound, as well. It uses an SD card. Set the focus on "manual-infinite". Do not use the autofocus when shooting planes.

(The forty-dollar video editing program used was NCH Software's "VideoPad". The shoulder mount for the camera was $22.)
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Old Nov 09, 2013, 08:38 AM
1000MIGLIA City - Italy
rosnik's Avatar
Joined Mar 2012
261 Posts
Interesting this Depronicus's cheap solution!
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Old Nov 09, 2013, 02:46 PM
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United States, CO, Denver
Joined Jan 2012
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Indeed you should patient that lol
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Old Aug 28, 2014, 08:38 PM
I am GBLynden
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United States, WA, Lynden
Joined Mar 2011
2,554 Posts
Here is my Sony Handycam and i bought it for $270 on sale with a lot of goodies including an SD Card and hi capacity battery:

Sony Handycam Review - Sony HDR-CX290 Unboxing and Review (10 min 14 sec)

3D Flight Footage:
John 3D Flying His Pau Edge 540 DA100 36% Scale RC Plane (7 min 18 sec)

John's EPP SU-29 Sukhoi Prototype 3D Foamy Stunts and Tricks - 3D Flying RC Plane (4 min 58 sec)
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Old Yesterday, 10:01 AM
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Joined Jun 2014
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I watch a lot of YouTube 3D flying and i list the important 'musts' for a good video.
1) Avoid GoPro, they are not designed for activities more than 9-10ft away. Not only do planes look small, but the whole panorama is oblique and gives bad spacial distances, plus the horizon is not level which also adds to an unnatural travel.
2) The Camera man makes all the difference, ideally someone who fly's but i know some good shooters who don't fly. The importance here is not zooming in too much, this has the affect of a GoPro, you lose the sense of spacial height, speed and spacial travelling.
3) A Camcorder is only as good as it's card, a SDHC card UHS-1 class 10 is a must for shooting planes.
4) Avoid shadows and shooting towards the sun.
5) Stand 11ft to the side of the pilot, this will allow you to never get the Pilot's head get in view. NOTE, it,s not just the back of somebodies head you don't want to see. But the camera will focus on the Pilot's head and thus the plane will be out of focus. I wish some Pro Pilots would learn this
6) Avoid editing, i mean cut, cut, cut, cut, this takes away the flow and enjoyment of watching.
Watch the following videos and you will see how it's done:-
Jim Smith, Jase Dussia, Pete at Aerobeez, Patrick Dimig.
My camcorder is a Canon Legria HF R37
3D Turnarounds Vid 2 (4 min 41 sec)

3D Flying Hucking 2 Flight Mashup Hardly Cut (4 min 20 sec)
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