If you've never used a camcorder or similar type of camera before but want to rent one to record a wedding, birthday or a short film for a school project, you may get a bit overwhelmed with your many options and choices. Note a few important tips for choosing a video camera for hire so you know you get the right one for your needs.
High-definition versus standard definition
High-definition or HD video is typically expected by video watchers today, who often immediately notice the fuzziness and lack of colour clarity in standard definition, or SD, video. Standard def might be acceptable for school projects where the subject is being graded and not the quality of the film itself, but for projects you'll want to enjoy again and again, such as a wedding or birthday, or for films that will be entered into contests, high-def is a must.
The downside to HD is the larger amount of memory it needs for recording, so you want to consider buying or renting more than one recording chip used in the camcorder. Even if you take a laptop with you so you can immediately download the data from the chip once it's full, this can still take several minutes and cause you miss out on some action. Note the recording time of the chips you buy or rent to go with the camera, and get more than what you expect you'll need so you always have one ready for recording.
A stabilizer works with an auto focus feature to keep the picture focused and sharp even when you're shooting action sequences. This feature is especially vital for weddings and other events, when your subjects will be walking, dancing and the like. Without a stabilizer, you may notice the subjects get blurry as the camera tries to focus and then refocus. You may think you won't need a stabilizer in the camera if you plan on using it to shoot a documentary-style interview, but this feature will help keep that subject in sharp view at all times.
Don't forget accessories for your camera; a tripod should be used for any still shot recordings, as the camera can easily pick up vibrations from a table or other surface and record a fuzzy picture. Consider a separate microphone that will record high-quality sound, which you can then sync up with the picture on your computer, as many camcorders have very low-quality microphones. This will ensure your finished product is polished and professional.