Camera recommendation for usability lab running Morae

4 Oct 2010 - 6:21pm
5 years ago
5 replies
2439 reads
Molly Lafferty

I'm currently setting up a new usability lab which will use Morae.  We need to purchase two new video cameras for both in-lab and off-site recording, and I'm looking for a recommendation for a reasonably priced HD camera (<$700) with FireWire IEEE support.

Thanks for your help!


4 Oct 2010 - 7:09pm
Josh B Williams

I would look for a HD handycam type camera with an internal hard drive. It will save you money on tapes, and time downloading the footage. If you get one with an internal hard drive or memory card you can drag and drop the footage to your computer over USB or Firewire.

The Cannon HF S series had really nice compression rates last time I was researching small HD cameras. They used a similar HD handycam to film some of the movie Crank 2. It is a little over your budget but if you can find one on ebay the compression rate is about the same as HDV tape which is the broadcast standard format. If I remember correctly you can also focus by hand which many of the small camcorders don't allow.

I had a Sony handycam for a long time and it worked great. The video was a little grainy in in low light situations but it worked well for the projects I had it on. Sony puts out a new handycam model all the time so they are fairly easy to find used if you are on a budget.

You might want to consider picking up a slightly cheaper model and buying a lapel mic (Lavalier Microphone) to clip onto the subject. The audio isn’t always the best on consumer camcorders when there is other noise in the room. Any HD camcorder you look at should have a miniphone jack (3.5mm) for a mic in, usually it is colored red. Audio-Technica and Sennheiser are some name brand microphone manufacturers.


7 Oct 2010 - 10:38pm
Molly Lafferty

Thanks very much for the help, Josh!

22 Nov 2010 - 6:47pm
Molly Lafferty

I'm back with Part Two:

We'd like to stream video directly into Morae Recorder from the camera so that we can code through Observer remotely.  To do so, it appears we need something to connect through RCA or S-video, such as the Pinnacle Studio 14 MovieBox:

Has anyone had experience with this sort of setup with Morae?  Are there better/cheaper devices out there?

23 Nov 2010 - 7:05pm

Most higher end pro-soumer cameras have a 1394 (firewire) video output.You just need to have software which looks for it.Either that or yes a small hardware interface will do the job.
Recommend a Dazzle A/V bridge for the latterAbout $1k should cover you on the former (with room to spare)
Charles W. Southworth

Media Producer & Online Media specialist
Production Consultant

23 Nov 2010 - 11:05pm
Haim Hirsch

We've used a $40 video to usb dongle we bought at FRY's electronics.It takes the RCA output from the camera (usually an included cable) and converts it to a USB which Morae can use like a webcam.

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