Camcorders: A Guide To Beginners

Camcorder, as the name suggests is a device that combines both a video camera and a video recorder in a single unit. As compared to its previous technology that used separate devices for recording audio and video, a camcorder has a built-in recorder unit for recording both audio and video.

From the early generation of camcorder that used digital tape to store data to the more advanced ones that use non-removable media like hard disk drives to store, the camcorder has come a long way in the direction of technology and performance. The latest and sophisticated camcorders use two different storage media such as built-in HDD and memory card.

Major components:

Lens, imager and recorder are the three major components of the camcorders. Lens encompasses aperture, zoom and shutter. In a professional camcorder the lens is manually controlled for all optical functions. However, in a consumer unit it is generally controlled by the electronics of the camcorder. The prime function of lens is to gather and focus light on the imager. When the image is projected on the imager through the camera lens the light is converted to an electronic video signal. And last but not the least, it is the function of the recorder to write the video-signals to the recording medium. However, the record controlling system of the camcorders allows the user to control the device.

Classification:

The camcorders are classified as digital and analogue basing on their storage devices. The analogue components are with imager-chip. Betamax, VHS, Video8 are example of camcorders with analogue storage form. However, the digital camcorders include MiniDV, DVD, hard drive, digital8 as their memory. The digital storage allows perfect resolution of video without any colour jitter or fade. There are some camcorders using flash memory devices, small hard disks and Microdrives.

While considering the classification of camcorders according to consumer and professional aspects, the consumer camcorders emphasize on features like portability, price and ease of use. However, the professional camcorders excel in technical performance. They have many manually controlled technologies that the consumer camcorders lack despite of having ample of I/O options.

Uses of Camcorders:

Home:

Camcorders have become one of the popular gadgets in many homes like many other electronic devices. Unlike still photography a video coverage of personal celebrations like wedding, birthday and other personal events can make the memory live forever.

Media:

Any electronic media showcasing news, special events or any other live telecast can not do without camcorders. Camcorders have been proved as a feasible device to record and store events that can be telecasted from the studio later on.

Entertainment:

In many TV channels, where low budget TV shows are the target, camcorders feasibly cater to the requirements.

Politics:

The political protesters use camcorder as a useful device to make their point strong on the basis of proof. These days, even the police are using camcorders during riots or protests to track the troublemaker and take action against the real culprit.

A camcorder allows recording of video staring from 30 mins with VHS-C and mini DVD camcorders to several hours with hard disk and flash drive camcorders. The important mechanism involved in camcorders allows watching the recorded video on the device itself. The VHS-C tapes and the mini DVDs can be viewed using VCR and DVD player respectively. Camcorders with Hi8, Flash drive or hard disk require television to view the video or the video can be uploaded to the computer using video editing program.

Today, many brands of camcorders are available with different models. The change of technology has enhanced the features of camcorders in the aspect of performance, compactness and feasibility. The accessories are, to a large extent, responsible for the increasing functionality of the high-end device. For a novice user of camcorder, it is advisable to gather adequate knowledge before purchasing the sophisticated gadget.

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