I'm looking for a little camera advice. Beginning this fall, I'm slated to tape a series of 3-hour lectures, for a client with a very low budget. I've been taping prior lectures on one camera, with a trusty old Canon XL1S. After many years of use, an issue has developed with the focus on the XL1, and I've concluded that I've gotten about as much use out of the camera as it can take.
I've looked into purchasing a used Panasonic HVX-200, with which I'm familiar, but the cost for the whole shebang becomes a little prohibitive in needing 80GB of P2 per lecture, if it's shot at 720/23.98pN. (Not to mention the possibility of accidentally purchasing a lemon.)
The lectures I'm taping last around 3 hours, so I would require significant storage space on a new camera. Final audio is a mixture of lavaliers on the presenters, and a mounted room mic, for audience questions, mixed in post.
I wonder if anyone can recommend a worthwhile alternative camera, used or new, that might get the job done. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
If you have a laptop with firewire input, you can record long videos straight to that from a domestic DV camera. We still use an old iBook with BTV Pro running on it and can capture hours of DV at once.
Depending on your setup, getting some lighting (I love the cheap YONGNUO YN-160 lights from eBay) might mean you could get away with a cheap'n'cheerful camera (a nice bright scene looks pretty good on just about anything!).
Or an even cheaper option, I'm quite a fan of the little Kodak zi8 cameras. I use them as "b" cameras when filming talks. You can get second hand ones for around £60 here in the UK, and they'll shoot several hours of HD onto a 16 or 32gb sdhc. You could get a few and do a multi-cam shoot.