Two More Video Camera Accessories

One for sound, one for video.

HandyCam.jpgAbout a year and a half ago, I bought a Sony HDR-CX12 Handycam. It’s a mid-range consumer model that shoots in full 1080i HD. I bought it to fill in the gaps of the video needed to finish up a video project and, since then, have been using it on and off to shoot stock video footage. The quality of the video is amazing for such a compact and relatively inexpensive device. These days, you can get something even smaller and less costly that does the same thing.

I shot all of Cherries: From Tree to Truck with this camera. Once you get past the inconvenience inherent with the AVCHD format and have the right tools to edit, it’s really a pleasure to work with. One feature that few people talk about is the ability to archive the 4GB Memory Stick PRO Duo cards to DVDs. You can later mount up a DVD and import media into your computer, just as if you’d attached the camera or inserted a card into a card reader.

Last year I started a project that required me to do some interviews. I used a friend as a guinea pig (so to speak), interviewing him outdoors in front of his helicopter, using my camera on a tripod and a wireless microphone clipped onto his shirt. The result was disaster. The sound was gawdawful, rendering the “talking head” video completely worthless. Clearly, I needed a better sound solution.

Sony ECM-HST1Of course, the camera is a consumer model and is extremely limited in compatible accessories. But today I poked around on the Sony Web site and tracked down a stereo microphone that might do the job — if I keep the camera out of the wind. It’s a Sony ECM-HST1 microphone, which fits into the camera’s hot shoe and draws power directly from the camera. It’s not what I really wanted — I wanted a lapel mic — but it’ll have to do.

Opteka OPT-SC37FEWhile I was surfing around for the best price, I stumbled upon this little gem: the Opteka OPT-SC37FE Ultra Fisheye Lens for Digital Video Camcorders. I already have a wide-angle lens for my camcorder, but there’s nothing like a very wide angle lens to get interesting effects or get up close and personal with your subject matter. The video clip on Opteka’s Web site certainly makes it look like a useful and fun accessory. Since I owed myself a birthday present anyway, I sprung for that, too.

What’s all this for? Well, in addition to finally getting to the big project I started nearly two years ago, I have a smaller, related project in mind. Both of these tools will help me capture the video I need to do it.

At least that’s what I keep telling myself. We’ll see.

4 thoughts on “Two More Video Camera Accessories

  1. This sounds like a great video camera but I am a little confused as to how you can “mount up a DVD” to import media into the computer without using the memory card or hooking up the video camera to the computer.

  2. @sarah
    When you make an exact copy of the camera’s memory card onto a DVD (they’re both roughly 4 GB), that archives the card’s contents in such a way that you can later insert (“mount” in Mac lingo) the DVD into your computer and the computer behaves as if the camera with inserted card is attached or that the card is in an attached card reader.

    The camera first came out two years ago and, of course, is no longer available. I can only assume that subsequent similar models behave the same way.

    BTW, it’s this archiving technique that I use that keeps me on 4 GB cards rather than 8 GB cards (which the camera supports). Not all of my computers support double-layered DVD ROM discs. I get 28 minutes of 1920×1080 HD video on each card.

    Very pleased with the camera, however right now I’m struggling with using that HD content on SD discs.

What do you think?