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  1. #1
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    Default Buying a video camera: worth it?

    For a number of reasons, I feel the need for more feedback than is provided in classes - even with private lessons, I always seem to get a teacher who is a fantastic dancer but gets so carried away with demonstrating that there's not much personal attention. My own practice has some low-tech feedback built in, such as isolations with a book on the head, and the bellydancer's favourite, the dishwash shimmy, but I'm toying with the idea of getting a cheap video camera to record my own practice and critique it. Bearing in mind that I'm an enthusiastic hobbyist at best, not an aspiring professional, what are other people's experiences? Extremely useful? O.K but distracting from developing an internal "feel" for what is going on? Better to spend the money on fixing the bathroom tiles?

    If getting a camera seems to be a good idea, any recommendations re make and model?

    Thanks for your time!

  2. #2
    Moderator Farasha Hanem's Avatar
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    Thumbs up A couple of suggestions

    Hi, indrayu, and welcome to the forum. Alosha and I, as well as other members here, I believe, video tape our practices (although I haven't in several months because I was embarrassed by my weight ). It does prove helpful because you can go back and see what you need to work on, and what you're doing right. If you're brave, you can even post a vlog, either here, or if you're really brave, on YouTube (you can tweak your settings to where only trusted friends who are experienced dancers can view your vids. I'm sure there are plenty here who would be willing to provide honest, genuine feedback).

    If you already own a digital camera with video capability, then great! Just use a tripod (you can even use a tabletop tripod if you can't get a regular one). Most digital cameras have a 2-to-10-second delay before it starts shooting, so you have time to get into position in front of the lens. If you don't have a digital camera but want to go that route (at least for now), make SURE you get a camera that not only has video capability, but a built-in mic as well. Don't settle for an el-cheapie that might have one, but not the other. I own a Sony CyberShot that is 7.1 megapixels, and has lots of features. Also, don't forget to buy a memory stick or SD card (Sony cameras require a Memory Stick Pro Duo). A 4GB card should give you enough memory to record enough practice sessions before having to transfer to your computer, depending on the video quality you use in your settings. Remember, the higher the video quality, the less memory you'll have on your card.

    If you choose to go ahead and get a camcorder, I recommend the Sony "My Webbie" video camera for about $150 dollars at *insert shameless plug* Wal-Mart. This camcorder is small, comes in purple only, I believe, can fit in your pocket, and is great for uploading video to YouTube. However, it's not going to have the greatest sound quality, so if you want better sound quality for your music, you might be better off saving for that $200-$300 camcorder (especially if you get into performing, and want to record your performances).

    I hope the above info helps you out a little! Best wishes to you, and happy dancing!

  3. #3
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    Default

    Thanks, Farasha, that's very helpful. I rang a couple of retailers and their cheapest models are almost twice the price of the Sony you mentioned. At U.S.A. prices, I could get a camcorder and fix the tiles! (Actually, no, I'd buy those dance DVDs I've been eyeing off, of course!)
    Last edited by indrayu; 11-05-2009 at 06:49 AM. Reason: trying to work the italics function

  4. #4
    Moderator Farasha Hanem's Avatar
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    Do you live in the U.K.? If you have a Wal-Mart in your area, you might check out the electronics department. If there isn't one close by, go to Wal-Mart.com; sometimes our online prices are even cheaper than in-store. Even if you do have a local Wal-Mart, you can still shop online and have your item shipped site-to-store if your product qualifies for this option. You can also use a Wal-Mart gift card online, instead of your bank card or credit card. That way, you won't have to use your personal financial information. Just calculate the cost of your item with tax, and put that amount on the gift card. If a hacker does get hold of your gift card number, he can't spend what ain't there if you've already used it! XD

    Sorry everyone, for plugging Wal-Mart in the thread. It's just that I work in the electronics department there, and am more familiar with our product line and prices than I am anywhere else.

  5. #5
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    Default

    Oh, and we all have our "body shape" issues, don't we? I'm at the "bag of bones" end of the scale; the prospect of studying those toastrack-like ribs and the scrawny neck make a camera with poor picture quality seem appealing...

    Love that signature line that translates as "Every woman is a treasure". A great reminder to stay positive and accepting.

  6. #6
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    I think videoing yourself can be really useful once you have enough experience to evaluate what you see with some sort of accuracy. It's no help watching yourself, seeing total suckiness and not knowing how to put it right, or seeing what you think is fab bellydancing when it really isn't so great.

    I've always hated seeing myself on video but I'm getting past the OMG cringe what was I thinking? reaction and finding it really useful. You see things that you are totally unaware of while you are dancing (oh THAT'S what my teacher meant... ).

  7. #7
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I first saw myself on closed circuit television about 1972. It was demoralizing then and I hate video even worse now. I do not photograph well.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for your input everyone! I was all ready to bite the bullet and get a camcorder this weekend, but the Sony "My Webbie" isn't available here, the cheapest one available in store was $350 and still a bit flimsy-feeling, and with the additional cost of a tripod.... I think I'll wait until the post-Christmas sales

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