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Can anyone recommend me a good affordable camcorder for piano recordings? Im not so sure what to go for. It obviously has to output sound nicely, and the video has to be of decent quality so it doesn't look out of sync when I record myself playing. Please do advise, and let me know what you use to record if you do. Thank you


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Ideally, you need one which has an audio input with manual control and level metering, and that enables you to set a line level for incoming sound. That way you can send a signal direct from your DP to a mixer and then to the camcorder. Even better, would be XLR inputs, but you will only get those on pro-quality gear.



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Originally Posted by voxpops
Ideally, you need one which has an audio input with manual control and level metering, and that enables you to set a line level for incoming sound. That way you can send a signal direct from your DP to a mixer and then to the camcorder. Even better, would be XLR inputs, but you will only get those on pro-quality gear.



wow that sounds very complicated ha laugh I was thinking more one item to do the job, I had a look at the Q3HD its good, but a little pricey. Also was looking at a Samsung w200, affordable, great video quality, but im not sure how it would output piano sound. Is there other ways I can record sound, like connecting a DP straight to a camera/computer? I would need a certain cable for this?


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You need to avoid using the camera's (usually) crappy built-in microphone. Yes, you can run direct from the DP to your computer as long as you have recording software. This will require either using a 3.5mm stereo plug to interface with your computer's mic input, or using an audio interface, such as the Behringer UCA202. You would then synchronize the audio file with the video file in your editing software.

Alternatively, you can use a small digital audio recorder for the sound and then synchronize the files when editing.


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Originally Posted by voxpops
You need to avoid using the camera's (usually) crappy built-in microphone. Yes, you can run direct from the DP to your computer as long as you have recording software. This will require either using a 3.5mm stereo plug to interface with your computer's mic input, or using an audio interface, such as the Behringer UCA202. You would then synchronize the audio file with the video file in your editing software.

Alternatively, you can use a small digital audio recorder for the sound and then synchronize the files when editing.


thanks pops, I'll have a look into some of these things you mentioned


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I used a basic camcorder and recorded the audio separately, and then synced them up later in my video editing software. It works very nicely (excellent results) but it's a hassle.

I tried running the sound directly into the camcorder but it only has mic in, not line in, and the volume was way too high and distorted. In principle you can get something that will reduce line level to mic level, but I was unable to find it. It would be awesome to get a camcorder with line-ins, but mine doesn't, unfortunately.

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Originally Posted by gvfarns
I used a basic camcorder and recorded the audio separately, and then synced them up later in my video editing software. It works very nicely (excellent results) but it's a hassle.

I tried running the sound directly into the camcorder but it only has mic in, not line in, and the volume was way too high and distorted. In principle you can get something that will reduce line level to mic level, but I was unable to find it. It would be awesome to get a camcorder with line-ins, but mine doesn't, unfortunately.


what did you use to record the audio?


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I used a software piano so I exported it directly within my computer using minihost.

I've also recorded it from my piano using audacity and other such tools.

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I use a camcorder with A/V out, going to a video capture card in the PC.
the DP line outs go into an audio/midi interface, then to the PC.

This avoids the need for any synching of audio and video.
Ok, it is not HD, but much better than a standard webcam.


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gv: If you know how to build cables, it's easy to adapt a line output to a microphone input:

If the camcorder has a 1/8" mini-phone plug (stereo), get a stereo cable that has two RCA plugs on one end (for the piano output) and a stereo 1/8" plug on the other end for the camcorder. (If the piano line outs are 1/4" jacks, then get a cable with 1/4" plugs instead of RCA plugs.)

The diagram below shows how to wire it. Generally, the series resistors should be 10 K, and the other two should be 100 ohms.

[Linked Image]

About two years ago, I sent these hints as an IM to member Rodrigo De Castro. He had the same situation. He tried it and it worked flawlessly (even though this was his first time soldering cables).

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so could i simply connect a cable from the headphone output of my DP to my PC, and record using audacity? What is the specific name for the cable that I would need to do this? Cheers


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I wouldn't bother getting a video cam. I would get one of the mirrorless cameras with bigger sensor, like NEX5 and record video and ambient noise with it, while you play on headphones (NEX5 it has a really decent mic, comparing to other cameras) and record it at the same time using DP recording abilities or through a PC. Than merge a good quality video with recording of your performance.

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Originally Posted by gnembon
I wouldn't bother getting a video cam. I would get one of the mirrorless cameras with bigger sensor, like NEX5 and record video and ambient noise with it, while you play on headphones (NEX5 it has a really decent mic, comparing to other cameras) and record it at the same time using DP recording abilities or through a PC. Than merge a good quality video with recording of your performance.


I didn't want to spend too much on it, I checked that model you mentioned its quite pricey. I might purchase a decent affordable camcorder for video recording. And record sound with my computer.


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than any point and shoot camera with video recording capability will give you the same kind of quality than digital camcorders, being more flexible, because you can also use it to take pictures.

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Originally Posted by gnembon
than any point and shoot camera with video recording capability will give you the same kind of quality than digital camcorders, being more flexible, because you can also use it to take pictures.


Yes that's what I use. It happens to be a Canon IXUS and I also have an SX model. Both are fine but the SX is better. The audio playback through the inbuilt camera speaker is pathetic, but transferred to and played out via a PC it's fine and in sync with the video.

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Thanks guys, can you tell me the name of that cable I will need to connect my Digital piano to a computer smile cheers


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