Camcorder trouble shooting (When things go wrong with your camera)
Where moving parts are involved, there is always plenty of scope for things to go wrong, particularly for such a mobile and versatile item like a camcorder. In the tropics, the temperature difference between a cool or humid forest, air-conditioned room and the heat of the sun can create everyday condensation problems.
In general, camcorders have a built in safety feature, which shuts down the camera, if there is anything wrong with the camera’s electronics or mechanism. This eliminates further damage such as burn out of components or chewing of tapes by the mechanism.
Summary check list – Camcorder trouble shooting
- Reset – disconnect and reconnect battery.
- Disconnect battery and work from the AC power adapter.
- Eject the tape and use a different tape or a brand new tape.
- Check tape – open flap and inspect.
- Never open camera and remove a jammed tape by hand!
- Do not overuse cleaning tapes. Only use them, when you experience picture and sound distortion in playback. Having said that, use it sparingly (once or twice) and refer to the cleaning tape literature. Most of these tapes are very abrasive and can cause damage to the video heads, if overused.
At the repair place
This is related to all faults, whether a genuine fault or a self-induced fault. A self induced fault can be:
Liquid damage, shock damage or sand damage.
1. If it is a self-induced fault, say so.
2. Mention only symptoms like: will not accept tapes, switches off after a few seconds, no playback
picture, no picture in the viewfinder etc.
3. List as many faults as possible, and be as detailed in the description as possible. All this helps to
make an accurate diagnosis and to rectify all faults.
4. Definitely mention any intermittent faults such as problems, which only occur say after 10 minutes
of use or towards the end of the tape etc.
Summary for camcorder trouble shooting
If you do not mention any of these intermittent problems with your camera, they may neither be noticed nor rectified. To prevent any mishaps or problems with your camera in the first place, watch my video ‘DIY Camera Care and damage Prevention’. Here I show and explain in great detail how to get the most out of your camera, including other bonuses.
Improved sound quality video production
The picture quality of domestic camcorders has improved dramatically over the last couple of years. Especially with HD video, which is now available for under $500. However, these low end camcorders come with a major setback – audio recording capability!
Perhaps one of the reasons the external microphone socket has been removed from low to mid range camcorders by almost every manufacturer is to keep manufacturer cost down and sell the more expensive semi professional models.
As you know, good audio can make or break a video production. To get the sound right, in a lot of cases you should take advantage of a good external microphone or even go wireless.
Now you can have it all. Use a low to mid range camcorder and end up with a perfect audio track in your production! The same results as using a wireless microphone but cheaper! Simply add a small and independent audio recording device that is positioned where needed – close to the action! With an option for an external microphone connected to the digital audio recorder, this device opens a field of even more sound recording possibilities. All of that with a price tag cheaper than most wireless microphone setups!
So how do we put it together?
Now here comes the real advantage of the setup. Let’s start with the part you perhaps thought of already:
- First you open our favorite video editing program and import the pictures and video from the camera and add the relatively poor sound track from the camera onto one of the audio tracks.
- The stereo sound of the audio recorder goes onto the other audio tracks of the editing program.
- Now here comes the trick, use the sound track of the camera as a reference to synchronize the audio recorder sound tracks. When you are happy with the result, you may remove the camera sound track.
- Once you have completed your fine tuning and editing, you can end up with amazing results in your overall production.
When done properly it sounds like a professional video production. The audio from the voice recorder gives the impression as it is recorded by the camera.
Improved sound quality video production and latest monitor recorders
HQ Video Production
Digital Still Camera Video Production
A Digital Still Camera Video Production is a compromise, but you will be amazed, how far it can take you, when it is done right.
To start with, the picture quality of most still cameras is similar to a camcorder of the same specification. There could be some limitations what the lens concerns, but on the other hand you have a camera, which fits in your shirt pocket. That is convenience. At the same time you have a camera handy, which takes excellent still shots. If you are like me, who takes a lot of pictures and the occasional video clip, a little point and shot camera is the ideal solution for holidays or any other event.
There is a setback though. Since these cameras don’t have a good image stabiliser, it is important to hold it steady with some sort of mechanical support or use a little table tripod.
Filming yourself couldn’t be much easier. Position the camera with tripod, choose the right framing with the zoom and switch on the self-timer. Any excess footage at the end of the video clip can be cut in post production.
The recording format of digital still cameras is handled by most editing software. Since you recorded with a still camera, I can imagine that you have a good mix of still photos and video clips on your memory card, which you want to use in your video production.
- I would like to suggest, that you place all video clips and pictures in order on the time-line.
- After you trimmed the video clips, stretch the display time of the individual pictures as you need it.
- Now use your camera to record an audio track, which will be added to the original sound. To get the timing right, playback the whole time line while you speak your comment in the camera’s microphone.
- Add your newly recorded audio to your video project and place it as a second audio track under the video clip.
- Once both audio tracks are displayed, you can highlight one or the other and change the volume if required.
Summary Digital Still Camera Video Production
Personally I like the convenience of shooting video out of my shirt pocket during holidays. However, I would like to point out the importance of tripod for proper image stabilisation again.
If you want to learn more details about Digital Still Camera Video Production visit us on CamGuru Video Production.
Help – Video filming for beginners
The 3 Steps to Video like a PRO
Switch to record, aim, press the start button, zoom in/out and stop. This is how you do film making, don’t you?
We all have done it this way and found the results of our video can be rather poor and boring.
To produce a compelling video of a birthday, wedding or your holiday memories, you have to follow a proven plan, the rules of good video and apply a few tricks which add a little spice to your production.
The user manual doesn’t explain how to shoot an interesting video. On the internet you may find little pieces of advice, but hardly anything which shows or explains the basic concept of film making.
On the other hand, who wants to go to school again spending hundreds of dollars and many hours of traveling to attend a camera course in town?
How about a film making home e-study, which offers the following advantages:
1. Self-Paced: no more rushing to complete assignments, or trying to squeeze your life in around
your courses. Finish each module on your own time, when you can give it your full concentration.
2. Reference Materials: have everything you need to reinforce your learning handy, and take it with
you for on-location reference.
3. Easy Formats: view the presentation using just your web browser, and the e-book only requires
Adobe Acrobat, which is a free download.
4. Comprehensive: e-book, slide show, and podcast that cover all the angles, and provide multiple
study methods for different types of learners.
5. More affordable than classroom driven courses, so you can learn more for less.
- Maximize camera capability
- Improve your filming
- Fine tune your editing
By following this formula you are able to produce a video production, which leaves your audience in awe and admiration.
Find all your filmmaking, camera and video know how from the one address – ALL-CAM /e-Study.
- Well structured straight to the point, easy to follow downloadable ‘How to…’ film making and camera courses for the beginner and intermediate camera user.
- Constantly updated material keeps you abreast with latest developments in the industry.
- The latest articles and videos about film and television technology widen your horizon on the subject.
- Support and backup to resolve any technical or film making problems you may encounter in the future.
- Courses focused on the technical aspects of film and television, which complement your film making skills.
- Technical television and camera know how from high school-, and college-, up to university level.
Whether you are a home video maker, an amateur filmmaker or an aspiring producer, you can benefit from ALL-CAM’s e-Study courses. Learn how your camera and equipment works and utilise all features for outstanding results.
Complement your existing film knowledge by integrating the technical aspects of filming, and have the base knowledge you need to get the most out of every filming opportunity.
Make your camera work for you, instead of working around it.
ALL-CAM ‘s unique e-Study camera course topics:
- Camcorder Technology
- Camera Care
- Damage Protection
- Film & TV Technology
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- And more…
DON’T WAIT! Grab special offers, free videos and articles while available. Learn online, at your own pace, while you attend film school, or just whenever you want to improve your technical film knowledge.
- Unique Content: Learn tried and proven methods from an experienced camera technician. Find out how to manage your camera with confidence – whether you are using it for movies, TV, or your own personal entertainment. Get only the valuable information you need to enhance your skills, instead of having to muddle through filler content to get to the good stuff.
- Several Delivery Methods: videos, podcasts, and e-books cover all the angles in a fun, easy to learn manner. Photos and diagrams help you understand the lessons at hand.
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Don’t wait another minute – start improving your technical filming knowledge and see just how far a great background in camera technology can take you!
Battery Care - Camera Batteries
For proper shoot planning you must know how long your batteries last! The battery capacity of the same battery can change dramatically, depending on age, charge/discharge cycles and even ambient temperature. Read on, if you want to know how do we get the most out of your batteries?
How do they work?
The popular Info Li-ion batteries contain a small computer circuitry, which watches the state of the battery and communicates it to the camera, which displays the remaining battery power in minutes.
Original or generic batteries?
This can be critical for an accurate ‘battery remaining time’ display. It is not so much the capacity of the battery as it is the display. What I mean, a generic battery displays i.e. 5min remaining power or is flashing battery and the camera can run for another 30min?!
In the worst case scenario the camera doesn’t recognise the battery at all.
How to do battery care?
Run batteries fully flat before recharging. Have two or more batteries and rotate them regularly. If batteries behave odd or won’t last very long, repeat a discharge and charge procedure multiple times. Even though modern batteries supposedly don’t develop a memory, I did resurrect some batteries with this procedure.
Tips for battery care and prolonging your battery power
1. Use Your Viewfinder Instead of the LCD Screen
Through the flip-out, LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screen, you do get the best visual representation of what your video will actually look like, but if you want more battery power, keep the LCD shut. You will have an energy saving between 10% -20% depending on the type of camera and screen.
2. Buy Large and Extra Batteries
When you buy your camera, it usually comes with a ’starter’ battery pack, that will last about an hour. You can use these ’starter’ packs for as long as you own the camera, however it is a good investment to upgrade to a larger battery as soon as you can.
Even though they can be expensive, you will thank me the next time you shoot your ultimate video and do not run out of battery power. You can keep the ’starter’ battery pack as a reserve, knowing you can tape for another hour.
Battery Care - Summary
Apply the procedures described above to all rechargeable batteries in your household, to get the most lifetime and maximum capacity from your batteries. To get the best performance and lifetime out of your camera or camcorder, check out my free articles and videos on this subject.
For free repair estimates click on the image below