Best camcoder to record presentations from a plasma screen??

Hi All,

We have been using a Sony camcorder model DCR-TRV950E for many years. It is a very old model and does not produce excellent videos plus it records on tapes. We need a new camcorder for 2 main uses:


Record short business videos for our new website


Record business presentations (where the camcorder is placed on a tripod and it captures the presenter and the 40” plasma screen on which the presentation is running).
At the moment our recordings of the presentations look really bad. When loaded to the computer even with highest resolution It is not possible to read/understand the content shown on plasma screen at all. Even though there is reasonable lighting, the room and presenter appears darker.

Could you please suggest a reasonably priced camcorder model which can do the job well. At the moment I have looked at Sony HDR-CX410 (£460) or Sony HDR-CX220 (£200) but unsure of the result. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,
Abid MuhammadIT ManagerAsked:
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I would go with :

Canon Legria HF R306 Full HD Camcorder>

I love it because it has excellent Image Stabilization.

You can buy it under £200.

In my experience Cannon has been always better than Sony .
Abid MuhammadIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the tip @unknown_routine.

I have looked Canon models and they do look good. I have been asked however to focus on Sony models. Before I close this post I will 'request attention' to see if we can get anymore responses.

Anthony RussoCommented:
Even the very best camera is not going to capture a speaker and the text in a presentation very well. Then havng that file to transfer around if needed is another potential problem.

There is a company called Netbriefings that offers a video email service that allows you to record the speaker and the software will have the PPT run next to him. It looks very professional when done and is a simple solution.

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The DCR-TRV950E is only a Standard Definition MiniDV camera, so going with an HD 1080p camera is going to give a marked improvement in detail. Of the two you mentioned, Sony HDR-CX410 and Sony HDR-CX220, the CX410 seems the better option, as reviews for the CX220 indicate it's pretty poor (although still likely better than your existing camera):

Are the business presentations with the TV you record ones with a live audience, or solely for later broadcast?
Abid MuhammadIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the input everyone.

@marsilies - there are live audience in the boardroom where the session is recorded. I like the specs of HDR-CX320E and it fits the budget as well.

Another thing I just realized that the HD recording it does is in AVCHD format and it just simply be cannot copied and played back on computer and it takes alot of time in conversion etc. That is a big big concern. We want to be able to simply copy paste the recordings to our video library which all the employees have access to so they can just playback the recordings.

If AVCHD does need a conversion for playback on the PCs - the camcoder still gives the choice of recording in MP4 format. But then again it may not be HD and I doubt it won't be that good either. Do you think if this camcoder's MP4 recordings will be good enough for the purpose of recording the said sessions and short business clips to go on our website?

Thanks for all your input!
Is the video library on network storage? Do most people stream the video from it to watch?

Here's the specs on the different recording modes on the HDR-CX320E
Models with the PAL color system:
High definition image quality (HD):
PS: Max. 28 Mbps 1,920  1,080 pixels/ 50p, AVC HD 28 M (PS), 16:9
FX: Max. 24 Mbps 1,920  1,080 pixels/ 50i, AVC HD 24 M (FX), 16:9
FH: Approx. 17 Mbps (average) 1,920  1,080 pixels/ 50i, AVC HD 17 M (FH), 16:9
HQ: Approx. 9 Mbps (average) 1,440  1,080 pixels/ 50i, AVC HD 9 M (HQ), 16:9
LP: Approx. 5 Mbps (average) 1,440  1,080 pixels/ 50i, AVC HD 5 M (LP), 16:9
Approx. 6 Mbps (average) 1,280  720 pixels/ 25p
Standard definition image quality (STD):
HQ: Approx. 9 Mbps (average) 720  576 pixels/ 50i, STD 9 M (HQ), 16:9/ 4:3

So the MP4 mode records at 720p, which is a lower resolution than the 1080i mode available in AVCHD. However, 720p is still about 3 times the resolution of a Standard Definition video, so it may be enough detail for your purposes.

AVCHD doesn't necessarily have to take a lot of time in conversion. It depends on how powerful the PC doing the conversion is basically, and what you're converting to. Newer Intel CPUs have GPUs that include hardware accelerated decoding and encoding.,3521-2.html
Well you could use your mobile phone, if you have a very good windows  phone they can do amazing things.
And!! you can carry it in your pocket.
Because there is such a vast choice take a look at these images, I selected one for you then go that Web page, do they same with any that look interesting click on that image brings it up larger it wont open a page or anything,  just keep scrolling and click on another
I like being able to see the images and this is a very simple way to search for something.
New ideas :)
Abid MuhammadIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
@Merete, Thanks for your input but a mobile phone is not going to work for us.

@Marsilies - Thanks for the great insight. It was very helpful. The video library is on a NAS but is very rarely used so no impact on network traffic or anything like that.

I had a look at Sony camcoders again and they do HD quality in AVCHD which incurs additional tasks of conversion and all that.

I really need just an HD or HQ quality "MP4 camcoder" with all the goodness of advances which latest camcoders offer. I have checked out Canon LEGRIA models which allow to shoot in MP4 format with 4 different resolutions including 1080p resolution (max).

Sony camcoders I don't think record in 1080p in MP4 format, do they? All I could find is maximum 720p in MP4 format. Any thoughts??
Canon's a good brand, we've used Canon camcorders at work for years and have been pleased with them. We currently have Canon VIXIA models, which are the US counterparts to the LEGRIA line.

Which Canons were you looking at? I'm not familiar with the LEGRIA line, but the Canon LEGRIA HF R46 / R48 / R406 modes look good and in your price range. They all have the same basic features, including 1080p mp4, with the main difference being how much internal memory they have:

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Abid MuhammadIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Thanks much,

I really like the features of R48 - the only thing it is lacking is the ability to attach an external MIC. I will explore other models as well as the audio is crucial for the business videos.

We will using the external memory cards mostly as it is easy to copy the videos to the computer so the internal memory is not critical to have but will be good to have.

Thanks for the guidance!

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