Modern camcorders have changed so much in the last few years.
Do you remember those Camcorders of just a few years ago which recorded onto a full sized VHS tape? They were so heavy and bulky you had to mount them on your shoulder! Despite all this the picture quality came nowhere near to a modern ‘Digital Pocket Camcorder’!
Next came the slightly smaller units which you could hold in one hand, although probably not for very long as they were still a little heavy. The prices were also starting to come down by this time too, although still very expensive by today’s standards!
My first Camcorder was a VHS-C Panasonic NV MC30. I was so proud to own such a high-tech gadget which no one else had even considered buying. My children were quite young at that time and I recorded every family outing and occasion. I still have those precious tapes (now backed up to DVD for safe keeping, of course!)
This camcorder was, at the time, a light-weight model and not too heavy for hand-held use, although after a few minutes of recording my arm would get tired and start shaking, making the recording of steady images almost impossible to maintain. Hence scenes tended to be brief!
I found this old Camcorder in the cupboard recently and was surprised to see how basic it was!
- No colour LCD display, just an optical viewfinder which showed a magnified picture from a Black and White LCD somewhere within the camera body itself!
- No speaker either, so no sound on playback, although there was a headphone socket.
- No digital recording either, so care had to be taken not to overwrite earlier scenes.
- Heavy! The battery on this old VHS-C Panasonic Camcorder weighs more than my new Sanyo Digital Camcorder!
Editing this footage was a real nightmare too. No digital sound and video to easily manipulate on your laptop, just an analogue recording on a VHS tape. Anyone who has tried, in the past, to copy (let alone edit) a VHS tape will understand just how tricky this was. Every copy reduced the picture and sound quality very drastically.
I must admit that in the end I gave up trying to edit these VHS-C tapes and just copied everything to full-sized VHS tapes – where they remain to this day.
Despite all this, those tapes of my family growing up, Birthdays, Christmases, Holidays and outings to the seaside – even recorded in ‘Low-Resolution’ and in even lower resolution after being copied are, to me, priceless. Family heirlooms, in a sense. I often wonder what my children’s children will make of them.
My next camcorder was a Canon MV550i a DV (Digital Video) device. Still recording to tape but now in a digital format which made editing possible and not too arduous. Copying to a hard disk for safe-keeping was easy and backing up these video recordings to a CD or DVD means they might still be around long after me!
Now instead of videoing a handmade title card saying something like ‘Our Holiday’ or ‘The End’ tiles can be added to the edited videos so that in years to come it will be easy to see who was the subject and where and when it was recorded! Details which could so easily be lost forever.
I’m now into videoing with a pocket sized digital camcorder which means it goes everywhere with me. I’m still waiting to record that news-breaking event which I can upload to the TV stations but can only hope something comes my way in the future. At least I’ll be ready for it.
This Digital Camcorder records directly to a memory card so no more fiddling around with tapes! Just plug it in to my PC’s USB socket and copy the video recordings!
Having a pocket camcorder with you at all times means those unrepeatable family events can be captured and handed down to future generations of your family. Just think how it would be if you had videos of your ancestors!
Get a digital camcorder and start recording for posterity!
One problem with having your own Digital Video Camcorder is that you are seldom in the picture.
A way round this is to buy one another for each of your family (well, they are quite inexpensive these days!) and then you will be seen by your ancestors too!