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Video 101: Choosing a Camera

Daniel Hayek
December 16, 2010 by Daniel Hayek Alum

Step 1: Choosing a Camera

Choosing a camera is the first step on your way to making videos that you can share on Vimeo. There are a lot of options to choose from including camcorders, simple point and shoot cameras, and nowadays cellphones with built in video cameras. Where do you even start? Check out the video below for a quick run down of your various movie making options.

Let’s review the main differences between cellphones and camcorders video shooting capabilities.

Portability, you can’t beat being able to put a camera in your pocket that’s all built into a device that you’ll probably carry around with you most of the time. Cellphones are ubiquitous in our daily lives which means you won’t end up kicking yourself since you forgot to bring your camera on that night out on the town or whatever random adventure life might throw your way.

Mobile uploading, if you’re just shooting short clips you can upload them directly to Vimeo from your phone. Just check the upload email address specific to your account, it’s right on your upload page.

Image quality, cellphones have smaller, less sophisticated camera light sensors than camcorders or other dedicated cameras. That results in an image with less quality. You might not notice a big difference if you’re shooting outdoors in really bright settings, but indoors or at night those differences really start to show.

Zoom, some cellphone cameras have what’s called digital zoom, but all it’s really doing is cropping the image which will just end up look grainy and pixelated as you zoom in. Most camcorders have optical zoom which allows you to zoom in and get a close and clear image of an object even if you’re far away from it.

Sound, the microphone built into a cellphone will be somewhat adequate for picking up accompanying audio for your video, but if you want it to sound crisper, cleaner, and just plain better overall, then the dedicated microphone on a camcorder wins hands down.

Viewing, both cellphones and camcorders use LCD screens to show you the image that’s being captured. Your camcorder comes with a viewfinder so you can focus your attention on what your recording. It’s also pretty handy when you’re shooting video outside on a sunny day, since your LCD screen will be covered in glare. Your LCD will also have icons on it to show if it’s currently recording video, how much memory or tape is left, and how full the battery is.

Controls, camcorders come with manual features that give you more control over how your video will look. For example, focus. Being able to change how your camera is focusing images can really help give your videos the look and feel that you want. Additionally, the zoom manual control will help you get a nice smooth zoom in or out. Don’t forget that big red record button for capturing those great moments!

The right camera for you is the one that allows you to make the videos you want by giving you the tools and controls you need!


p>Move on to Shooting Basics

  1. Average Joe wants to get started making videos, but he isn't sure where to begin with picking out a camera. We're here to help!
  2. 2.
    Average Joe is back at his apartment with a camera full of video clips that he shot. Now it's time to edit it all together, but where to begin? Suddenly Steve shows up with very strong ideas about edi
  3. 3.
    Average Joe is at the park with his buddies shooting video with his new camera. Its a lot of fun, but a little confusing. Maybe Dan can help him out, whether Joe likes it or not.


Esteban Mol.

Any suggestion on what would be a good camcorder to start shooting? I mean something good, but at a reasonable price.


If you really want something cheap, GH1 is a good starter. If you have a bit more money, GH2 and GH3.


Good material. Although there's a small mistake with the video layer with Andrea. When the guy swipes his finger across the phone's screen, it goes under the video layer that's on top. You might want to change that :)

Beatriz Nobre

I have to record a video by camera phone and make a Photoshot?

sp senthil

Very very useful materials one who find How to make videos...

James Manalu

Saya suka dan kalau boleh lebih terinci lagi penjelasannya terutama dengan menggunakan Seluler.

Luca Lotruglio

What camcorder did the guy pick up? and what was the camera to the guys left, the bigger one?

akmx nakamura

but i will prefer a camera that the cmos is better....well it depends what ya will do

moncif ait ahmed

1 st time i enjoy learning some thing , better than youtube tutorial , goooood


tengo un ipod, me puede servir???

Gene Beley PRO

Outstanding, creative approach to teaching this basic, intro to buying a camcorder! My first "modern" digital camcorder was a Canon HF10HD. I have been very happy with it over the past several years. It was one of the first into the digital market. I did a ton of reading on the Internet to compare tape with digital back then. All the so called "experts" kept saying "Tape is king!" so I wondered if I had made the right decision and nearly took back the camcorder to Costco over those remarks. Fortunately, Costco has a 90 day return policy instead of the usual seven days for most camcorder sellers, and that was my saving grace. I laugh now because time has proven digital was the right way to go. I live and shoot mostly in the California Delta. I keep thinking, "Where in the heck would I buy a tape cartridge in the Delta (let alone anywhere else today) had I listened to all those Internet amateur "experts"? (I use the Canon HF10HD professionally to inject videos into articles.)

Adrian Pięta

Thank you for this video and for whole Vimeo video school, it's really helpfull. You're doing a great video education job. :) Greetings from poland.

Blueprint Marketing

I have a like a Leica M9 & M8 has anybody had any luck using these cameras for video on the web?

Carlos Daniel Robles

Muy buen material, muy claro en su explicación, además que me ayuda a poder pensar en ingles, que es lo que estoy necesitando. thank, friend´s


Si, para pensar en ingles , pero quienes no sabemos ingles ¿Puede haber alguna traducción u otros vídeos en castellano ?

Ravinder Singh Patil

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Eric Stevens English Teacher

I chose the Logitech C920 for Skype online English lessons and have no regrets, it is definitely one of the best web cameras available on the market. I have had great success teaching business English and preparing for the IELTS exam at with flexible hours, online private lessons by Skype and many other ways to improve your speaking while reducing your accent if you have a need to improve English by Skype this is a resource you should check out.


Buen material, me gustaría conseguir para grabar vídeos de enduro, nos gusta mucho salir en moto, podéis ver el perfil por si os queréis unir a nuestras salidas:
Gracias por compartir este conocimiento :D

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