Teaching Examples

Which video camera for your newspaper?
May 11, 2007, 2:01 pm
Filed under: journalism, online, video

For the latest information about digital camcorders for newspaper video, see Angela Grant channeling Dirck Halstead.

Yesterday someone was asking me whether to buy cheap digital video cameras or expensive ones. Of course you can outfit more people if you buy cheaper cameras. Of course the quality is better when you shoot with a higher-end camera. And the answer differs depending on your situation.

  1. The higher-end, more expensive, HD cameras have their greatest appeal if you are hoping to get frame grabs for printing in the newspaper. These cameras are not nearly as high-end (or as expensive) as what TV news shooters use. They do cost about $4,000.
  2. The lower-end cameras (abut $1,000) can be good, but make sure the model you choose has both mic and headphone inputs.
  3. If you want to go really cheap, then buy a (still) point-and-shoot from Canon or Lumix that has image stabilization and shoots VGA-quality video (about $200-$300). With these, you can get print-quality stills with no difficulty and also shoot video in a pinch. Because the video is saved to an SD card, you can copy files (fast) instead of capturing from tape.

Now you can go and look at the individual models and decide which is best for the type you need.

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3 Comments so far
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I used to be way against those P&S cameras, but I’ve changed my mind. A lot of good visual journalism is being in the right place at the right time. If reporters all carried around P&S cameras, they could capture breaking news. If they had to call a videographer when something breaking was happening, there’s a chance it could be over by the time they get there.

But I think a paper still needs to employ real videographers to do the more important, deeper, issue-type stories.

Comment by Angela Grant

I think I agree with you — spot news can be adequately covered with a P&S, but to get a serious package right, you want to shoot it like a pro.

Comment by Mindy McAdams

Absolutely. For those stories, a better camera is mandatory.

Comment by Angela Grant

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