Attention: Using such equipment require medium to advanced technical SKILLS, if you are a beginner and you can’t find a person with experience that can help you, it might be better not to complicate yourself, use an HD Webcam or learn/research more before jumping into spending a lot of money with pro equipment, to avoid buying products that are either incompatible or you will not be able to setup properly. These instructions can help to better understand the setup with HD CAMCORDER + HD CAPTURE CARD + HDMI CABLE
For models and studios that wants super sharp image and perfect optical zoom, the next after HD Webcam is the usage of an HD Camcorder connected with an HD capture card via the HDMI cable. Many models and studios might already have HD Camcorders, but they don’t use it properly, they get the image analog like for the old camcorders connected via RCA or S-video, so even if they have HD camcorder the image is captured from it at a reduced quality + interlaced (SD – standard definition instead of HD – high definition),so buying more expensive HD camcorder and using it like an old camcorder it doesn’t make any sense.
So, the correct way to connect your HD camcorder to your PC is by using an HD Capture Card and HDMI cable, a good HD capture card costs around 100Euros, Avermedia has several good products while a HDMI cable starts from few bucks and it can go over 100euro depending on producer and quality. A good one should costs between 20-30Euro. Before buying an HD Tv tuner and HDMI cable, check your HD camcorder to see what kind of HDMI output it has on it, if it is normal HDMI or mini-hdmi, micro-hdmi – buy your cable according to that.
Things to check when you buy a new HD Camcorder:
- Make sure it has a remote control (HD camcorders that have remote control are usually more expensive)
- Make sure it has hdmi, mini-hdmi or micro-hdmi output port
- Check the settings inside the camera for the hdmi output resolutions, it must support also 720p (720p = 1280×720 resolution), most of the newest camcorders have multiple options for the hdmi output and as we said, if in the options 720p is present than all is good. On older Hd camcorders you might only have 720i or 1080i (i=interlaced), these are not recommended, because you will end up with lines on movement (check on google how interlaced image looks like) – even if you deinterlace the quality gets decreased. 1080p (not 1080i) is also fine, but that means a capturing resolution of 1920×1080, you will need a very powerfull pc to be able to proccess this large resolution (reduce it to 800×600 and change format to 4:3 with a splitter software, add colors to it etc), only this aspect can take up to 50% CPU usage from a powerful processor.
- Exposure and Manual White Balance are standard features on all HD Camcorders from popular brands like Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, Canon etc (but you will have to learn to use these settings – read further our guide)
- You don’t necessary need to go to the shop to check these things, you could simply check the MANUAL of the HD camcorder you plan to buy, you will find there all the details.
- You don’t need to buy a NEW ONE, which are more expensive, you can look also for a second hand camcorder, as long as is not broken and it does have all above features, will be fine.