I want to film children being coached in tennis. the children will be asked questions by the coach and hence I would like to pick up their voices also. Has anyone got a suggestion for a decent camcorder with reasonable sound quality to do this?
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Well, depends a great deal on at least 2 things:
1. Where the camera will be placed
2. What your definition of "good" or "reasonable" or "decent" sound quality is like.
If I were doing this, I would do it double-system with a sound guy using a shotgun mike on a boom pole connected to a portable/field audio recorder (Zoom H-series, or Tascam D-series). Totally self-contained and manueverable (wires only between the shotgun/boom & recorder, and then with the audio guy's headphones). This will get you GREAT and FLEXIBLE run & gun audio. The only downside is the extra cost of the equipment & personnel, and the time involved syncing in post.
Another, less optimal but still flexible option, would be wireless lav or boom with the receiver connected to the camcorder (well, could be wired also, if you or your subjects don't mind or interact with the wires). Recording is possibly not quite as high quality (plus you may have to deal with wireless headaches), but you won't have double-system to deal with (though possibly still the cost & personnel needs).
One rung down from that would be a shotgun (using a hotshoe type mount) on the camera. The more flexibility here, the better. There are some that allow switchable focus or polar patterns (including some stereo versions). But your sound would be at the mercy of the optimal placement of the camera.
Lastly, but still not terrible, is using the stock mikes on the available camera. But again, this depends greatly on type & placement (and environment).
Thanks very much Scott, this is very helpful. I have used a cameraman and soundman before and the whole experience came out very well. However, I was looking to try to cut costs this time and possibly not pay the extra cost of hiring a soundman but still obtain reasonable sound quality. If we bring the players into speak to them and they are miked up a shotgun hotshoe type mount might be a good option?