OK, so I've been thinking about getting a high definition camera recently, and one of the things that I want to do with it, in addition to "normal" use, is to be able to clearly and crisply record the screens on my Nintendo DS. (I capture and work with video game footage, and the Nintendo DS is the only system that eludes being able to directly capture from.)
Anyway, I've messed around with my DS (in a dark room) and my digital camera's video function before and actually got pretty good results, considering the capability of my camera. I obviously had to be pretty close to the screens to get it to work though.
So, one of my questions is, is there a specification on video cameras that would relate to clearly recording small, bright LCD screens in dark rooms? I suppose it would be the image sensor, so maybe the more sensitive, the better? Having a more sensitive image sensor would also help record low-light situations better too, since I also use my digital camera to record video in these situations. (Noise out the ying-yang in my current recordings, obviously.) I'm assuming the noise would be better in video camera footage than in digital camera footage, just because the video camera is designed for video? (Vs taking pictures for the digital camera.)
One of the reasons I would like a high definition camera is so that it's not so essential to be zoomed in on the screen(s). With my digital camera, when I tried to move the camera closer or zoom in, the image would get blurry. But if I moved the camera farther away, the image would get clearer, but the screen(s) would be smaller in the video. (Taking pictures of a screen in macro mode produced excellent results, but my digital camera can't record video in macro mode.) So I'm thinking that with high definition, if I can get the screen in focus while being moderately close, the high definition will allow the retention of all the detail in the screen. (Many cameras have ridiculous optical zooms, so I shouldn't think this would be hard.) Then I can simply crop the screen out in an editing program, like with VirtualDub's null transform filter. Of course, if a high definition camera has a macro mode, or is smaller on the lower-end of the focal range, then that too would obviously work. My question is: Will this plan work, with some tinkering with the zoom, placement, etc.? Or is there something I don't know or I'm not thinking about?
I would also prefer the camera to have a stereo mic input and/or have a real-time video output (I mean outputs video while recording or while just having the camera turned on) to make the audio portion of my Nintendo DS more manageable.
Edit: (On a side note, this video [embedded streaming available] was recorded using a camera with some type of setup for direct recording of the audio from the DS's headphone jack. Even though it's only one screen, overall, I'd say it's pretty decent, but just a little blurry. My point is, that recording DS the way I want has been done before, so it IS possible.)
Since I'm going to be using the camera for other things too, I would also like it to have a 60p option (at the 1280x720 resolution), none of that 60i crap. Not only is interlacing a pain to deal with and degrades the picture quality, but 60p is so much smoother than 24p (rhetorical question: why even bother with the "film-look"?) and 30p.
That's pretty much it when it comes to my preferences. Some things like face detection, etc. would be nice too, but I'm not that picky when it comes to those things because I'm not looking to spend a lot of money. Anyway, I know a lot of cameras probably have the above specifications, so does anybody have any particular suggestions? I would like to spend up to around $550, but not quite up to $600. Of course, the less it costs the better, so I've been eyeballing some of the refurbished and lightly used cameras on Amazon, like this one. (Though it technically is in my price range from the start. But it doesn't support 60p! )
And just to reiterate: I'm also going to be using the video camera as an actual video camera, to record things at my house and to take with me to events and whatnot, not always a "DS capture device." Would be kind of an expensive piece of equipment just to record handheld video game footage with.
Anyway, if anybody could provide me with a little feedback and help point me in the right direction, I would REALLY appreciate it! Thank you.
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Last edited by sincostan45; 14th Mar 2010 at 21:18. Reason: afterthought
Look for a macro feature. That will let you get close to the screen and keep it in focus. But recording a 256x192 screen with a 1920x1080 camcorder is overkill. In fact, it's likely to give you a poor picture because you'll see all the RGB sub pixel cells.
You've already figured out the low light performance. You can't trust specs for that though. Look for independent reviews.
Ah, so there are cameras with macro features! Good to know!
Yeah, I know it's a bit of an overkill, though I really don't want the 1920 x 1080 resolution (it's a bit much for anything, IMO.) I was thinking more the 1280 x 720. And what I plan on doing also is to not only crop the picture, but resize it down. As far as the RGB sub-pixel cells go, I see what you're saying, and I would also assume that too, but I turned on my DS and looked at the screen as close as I could without my eyes hurting, and I just seen solid-colored pixels, no sub-pixels. So... I'm going to assume that the camera will record whatever I see.
Alright, I will read reviews about the low light performance on potential cameras.
Thanks for the info, jagabo!
So other than actually finding a camera that meets my requirements, you think I have it all figured out, huh?