November 29, 2010

Recruiting Blog: Parents Guide to Purchasing Video Equipment

by Chris Meade | LacrosseRecruits.com

You don't need a boom, but you should do better than a point-and-shoot camcorder if you want crisp highlights for your son's or daughter's recruiting video.

© Joe Rogate

If you've ever browsed the Internet looking for a new camcorder, you know it can be an overwhelming experience. There are dozens or even hundreds of similar looking items with product descriptions that make each camera sound like it's the best choice for you.

As a buyer, there are a number of thoughts that come to mind. How much am I looking to spend? Which manufacturer? Should I buy a camera that shoots on tapes, cards or a hard drive? Will it be simple to use? What else do I need? And the list goes on.

Camera and Price

In the video world, there are camcorders that cost as much as houses, but we'll try to keep our budget down to $500. That's a relatively round price at which you will be able to buy a nice camcorder and have some spare change left over for essential accessories. We like the Panasonic HDC-SD60 ($356) or the Canon Vixia HF M300 ($370)

I can break down the technical specifications of both, but let's keep it short, sweet and simple. They are both small, lightweight, high definition (1920 x 1080) cameras that shoot on SDHC cards. No tapes!

The Canon will produce a slightly better image, but the Panasonic has a longer zoom lens. For shooting lacrosse, it may help you, but we like both camcorders.

Each one will allow you to connect to your TV and watch your footage instantly. The Canon includes a variety of outputs, while the Panasonic only consists of an HDMI connection. If you have an HDTV, you have an HDMI connection. If we are building a highlight reel for you, you can plug the camera into the TV, pick out your clips and send us the actual cards. We'll guide you through it if you have any questions.

Just like anything, familiarize yourself with the camera before you need to use it. Film a practice before you film a game.

SDHC Cards and the Learning Curve

SDHC cards are required to operate these cameras. All you have to do is insert a card, and you're ready to start shooting.

However, working with your footage afterwards is quite different, and the learning curve can be steep. Both cameras will most likely include software that will assist you in transferring your footage, but not everyone is that tech savvy and patient.

So you may ask, "Why are you recommending a camera that shoots on cards?" Well, if you're reading this post, chances are you're interested in filming your son or daughter play lacrosse, and then turning that footage into a highlight reel that can be shown to coaches all over the country.

This is where we help.

The advantage of using cards is you can then easily send them to us. We take your footage, produce your highlight reel and send you a rough cut to review. As mentioned above, you can plug the camera right into your TV, pick your clips, send us the cards and we take over. The need to create DVDs of your footage is eliminated and time is saved. Additionally, by sending us cards, we do not lose any quality and can produce an amazing high definition highlight reel.

Card prices vary depending on size, but a Transcend 16GB Class 6 SDHC Card will do the trick at $29

What Else Do I Need?

You need a tripod. I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep your camera stable. You can have a $10k camera, but if you skimp on the tripod, the footage will stink. A shaky image not only makes it difficult to concentrate, but it will give the viewer a headache. You want to keep your footage stable, and a good tripod will help you achieve that.

We recommend this one. It's a solid tripod that allows for smooth panning and it's easy to use. It can also extend to over 6 feet if you need some height. Price: $67.

Conclusion

If you decide to film your son or daughter playing lacrosse, having good equipment can really make a difference. Both of the cameras above are a little bit better than your typical point-and-shoot products. Familiarizing yourself with them will help you optimize their performance and produce the best image possible.

If you join LacrosseRecruits.com, the SDHC card workflow is truly quick, efficient and convenient. The biggest perk is that your highlight reels will be high definition, because we are working with the raw footage straight from your cards and not losing any quality.

No matter what equipment you choose or how you choose to do things, the LacrosseRecruits.com team will be here to help you along the way.

In the next installment of this blog, I will provide you with some pointers on shooting good video for highlights.

-- Norbert Bielan contributed to this article.


Chris Meade is co-founder of LacrosseRecruits.com, the Official Recruiting Tool of US Lacrosse. LacrosseRecruits.com streamlines the recruiting process for you and exponentially increases your visibility among college coaches by making it convenient for them to see you play and view your profile. He will be submitting posts and commentary about the recruiting process periodically on LMO.

For questions or comments, e-mail chris@lacrosserecruits.com.


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