Recommendations for video camera

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Seeking recommendation as to what video camera to use to record a teacher for class presentation; and how best to import the video into camtasia 2019 as it is being recorded.  I need better quality than phone video or webcam.

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dfrench24

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Posted 4 weeks ago

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Jack Fruh, Champion

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The only choice that will flow into Camtasia "as it's being recorded" is a webcam.
Anything else, you'll have to import afterwards.

People have used all kinds of things from cheap camcorders all the way up to expensive DSLR cameras with expensive lenses.

Honestly, most modern phone cameras are pretty good and I would get a clip to put one on a tripod and use that.  If that's not an option, go for an inexpensive camcorder - you can then place that anywhere in the room that's convenient.

If you are the teacher, do you also intend to record a computer screen? If so what I would do is use Camtasia on that computer, along with a reasonable microphone. Have Camtasia record both the screen and the microphone.  The camcorder will also pick up sound but it will be mostly unusable.

One trick is if you have Camtasia recording, And the camcorder recording, Do something notable that makes a loud sound - ie clap your hands once - later when you import the camcorder footage, you can use the clap to alight the camera to the sound that was recorded with Camtasia.

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Rick Stone

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I think Jack hinted at something that is worthy of pointing out explicitly. This is the bit about audio. If you are planning on using a camcorder or other device to record the video bit, you really should consider having a microphone near or attached to the person being recorded. You might even connect it to a cel phone and record the audio as a separate file.

I was recently asked to clip out a segment of a longer video where a person was teaching a seminar at a church. They had a camcorder set up, but the audio from it was dreadful and way too quiet as the camcorder was on a tripod across the room.

Cheers... Rick :)
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Ed Covney

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Jack:  I think any Video CAMERA that can display its output on a computer screen, real time, can be recorded by Camtasia. And yes some may be expensive, but there are video cameras out there that can show in real time, to your TV (HDMI) and computer (USB) simultaneously.
dfrench24: If you live in or near a city, there should be many video shops that will demo and show / sell you exactly what you need. Don't forget to explain the Camtasia aspect.
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Jack Fruh, Champion

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Thanks Ed, It might be worth clarifying that I assume the user is not interested in recording a video on his screen of whats on the camera.

I read the question as "I want to record the computer screen (ie powerpoint) with Camtasia, while also having Camtasia record video of the teacher" To do this I believe Camtasia needs to 'see' the camera as a USB camera.   Ed is that how you saw the question?
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Ed Covney

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. .  is that how you saw the question? No, but I'd still recommend, very highly, a trip to a local video shop. They may not know a dongle about Camtasia videos, but if the right questions are asked? BTW, I live in a relatively small city, 400K?, but I try to visit tech stores ~ monthly and I never come away not way better for it, and sometimes much poorer? Heck I think I talked with 40 or 50 "Rick Stone's", and "Joe Morgan's" before I knew who the heck they were. 
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Muscle Whisperer

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This is precisely the work I do - presenting lecture presentations captured on Camtasia, with a video of the lecturer in the corner of the screen.
A wireless microphone is crucial and will make all the difference to your product. I went with a Panasonic HC-X920 video camera which works wonderfully, particularly in low light conditions, but it's overkill. My wireless mic is a Sennheiser SK 100 and they already have a new model out that supercedes it - this item is worth the expense.
It is not overkill to invest in:
  • a good camera tripod that will allow smooth tilt and pan - not a still camera tripod.
  • Floodlight + tripod - an LED array, now available with color selection to improve facial color.
  • Backlight - another LED array, with a rainbow of colors so that you can fill a wall behind the lecturer and then chroma key it afterwards. Sure beats hauling around a greenscreen!
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Ed Covney

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" It is not overkill to invest . . "  and 'essential' if you expect to derive a good income from it.  
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cbkr.team

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I'm not clear why you need to have the video importing live. It sounds unnecessary, unless you're also live streaming. At work, if we're doing that, we use a web cam for the live streaming, and a separate video camera for the proper recording, for future use, like putting up on our company intranet after the event, for example. We then import the proper recording from the camera's memory card into Camtasia later, for the editing. If streaming is the issue, I suggest you do the same as we do.

As to what video camera is best to use, it depends on your budget, and there are two I can recommend - one professional, and one consumer - both Panasonic. At work, I sourced us the Panasonic AU-EVA1, plus a separate Canon lens for it, which can shoot 5.7K Cinema, but we spent £6,000 on them, not including various Panasonic accessories that we also bought, plus microphones, headphones, mixer, etcetera, on top. One other consideration for you, is that professional gear is usually a bit more involved to learn how to use.

At home, I use a Panasonic Lumix FZ-2000 digital camera, which only cost me £890, can shoot 4K video, and has a superb 16-element 24mm-480mm Leica lens built in. It is also desperately easy to use.

However, then there's the sound recording to consider, so at work, one advantage of the SU-EVA1 is that it has professional XLR audio inputs, which can be fed by microphones (and has phantom power if needed), or by line inputs from, say, a mixer, or from a radio microphone receiver, so sometimes I just have two condenser microphones on stands, wired into the camera directly, and other times I have radio microphones as well, all connected into our Allen & Heath mixer, with the output of that then fed into the camera. The SU-EVA1 does have its own internal microphones as well, but we don't use them, and instead, we also have a shotgun microphone that we can mount to the top of the camera. We use Rode microphones for everything, and I can thoroughly recommend them.

At home, although the FZ-2000 does also have internal microphones, I don't really use them either. Instead, I have a separate 4-Track Tascam digital audio recorder, with its own phantom power, which I sync to the FZ-2000 by cable, so I'm actually doing the sound separately, and put it together in Camtasia later. I have a pair of Rode condenser microphones of my own, and I also have some switchable polar pattern studio condensers. All in all, for the microphones, camera, audio recorder, stands, acoustic suspension mounts, cables, etcetera, etcetera, I reckon I spent about £1700, which I don't think is at all bad, and illustrates that it doesn't have to cost the earth, to get good quality results.

One advantage of using separate microphones, is that you can place the camera wherever you want, only limited by the length of the leads to your microphones. Radio microphones can extend that further. I'm not really a fan of using them as lapel microphones per se though, because the people can end up making a lot of noise by brushing them, breathing into them, etcetera. If I'm using them, I'll tend to put them on a little stand near the person, rather than on the person, unless they're having to move around, in which case, I'm more likely to use a fixed stereo pair of condensers.

Anyway, hope all that helps.