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Old September 18th, 2012, 10:40 AM   #1
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Camera for research use

Hello,

I am tasked with research video cameras for use in a research project in which classrooms with be recorded. The cameras will be stationary in one part of the classroom and will be set to capture the entire room. The only requirements are that it needs to be able to use an SD card, have an external mic input and be relatively inexpensive (we have to buy 18 of them...)

Any suggestions on what models to look at? Thanks
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Old September 18th, 2012, 11:15 AM   #2
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Re: Camera for research use

Canon XA10s may be a good choice for you. Fits all of your requirements for under $2000.

Canon XA10 HD Professional Camcorder 4922B002 B&H Photo Video
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Old September 18th, 2012, 11:42 AM   #3
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Re: Camera for research use

How wide of a shot do you need to get and what are the dimensions of the class room?

What are your quality requirements? Will this be edited for broadcast or will it be just used as an observational tool?

By external mic what is the purpose of the mic? Do you need to be able to move it around or just to pic up better sound quality? Do you have specific mics in mind?

What is your budget? "Relatively inexpensive" will be different for different people.

How long do you need it to be able to record without interruption?

I think these are some questions that need to be answered before a good recommendation can be given.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 12:19 PM   #4
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Re: Camera for research use

How wide of a shot do you need to get and what are the dimensions of the class room?

Classrooms will be at the most, 20'x20' (though we do have some odd shaped rooms, but we will have to deal with that on a case by case basis). If we miss some corners, that will be ok, but we want to be able to capture the front of the room and a majority of the students.

What are your quality requirements? Will this be edited for broadcast or will it be just used as an observational tool?

The video will be used for observation and coding. At some point they will be available to others, but only as a research tool. So it does not need to be broadcast quality.


By external mic what is the purpose of the mic? Do you need to be able to move it around or just to pic up better sound quality? Do you have specific mics in mind?

In the past we have used a wireless lapel mic attached to the teacher. It is the best way (at least in our experience, though there may be other options) to capture the teacher and some student responses. Without using two microphones and trying to sync them, we are stuck with one mic. We have had good success in the past with the Sennheiser EW-112P G3, it seems to have good audio quality. Though we do not necessarily hear everything the students are saying because it is on the teacher.

What is your budget? "Relatively inexpensive" will be different for different people.
So we do plan on purchasing a few cameras that are more expensive for observations when we are in the classroom, but most of the time we will not be in the room or even in the school so we will need cameras that are simple to use, and easy to replace. Because of this, the cameras that we will "give" to the teachers will need to be around $500 (or less).

How long do you need it to be able to record without interruption?
Classes are typically 40-60 minutes.

Thanks for any advice!
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Old September 18th, 2012, 01:48 PM   #5
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Re: Camera for research use

Hi Rob,

I'd look into something like the GoPro HD2. It has the ability to plug in an external mic using a 1/8" jack which the Senn G3 systems come with. They are very small so mounting them up in a corner would be easy and it would not be apparent that they are there. That way you'd get a more natural reaction. some people freeze up or change their behavior when they know they are being filmed. The lens is wide enough so that you'd get most if not all of the classroom. The low light capability isn't great of course but in a lit classroom there should be no problem. It sounds like the quality will be good enough for your needs.

If you're looking for a more traditional camcorder the Sony HDR-CX260 would give you a good picture and it has an external mic input. No sure if the lens will go wide enough to cover the full class.

Just a couple to look onto. Panasonic and Canon also make similar models to the Sony and they all have similar features.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 02:03 PM   #6
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Re: Camera for research use

Garrett,

Thanks for the response. I was actually thinking of the GoPro. I just wasn't sure if it would be suited for this type of work.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 02:28 PM   #7
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Re: Camera for research use

The GoPro is cheap enough. I'd suggest getting one and doing a few tests to see how they work. I've That I've been playing with and am planning to use two on a shoot of a small documentary I'll be shooting in October. I'll be using them to capture short glimpses of high, wide shots looking down on a group of people playing a game of Werewolves.
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