Attention All Home Video Enthusiasts, Amateur Movie Producers or Young Commercial Producers…


Yes, you can capture good, high quality video AND audio, with a low cost camcorder with a microphone input jack.  If you found this blog, you probably already know the value of good audio along with video.  For those of you that do not know, the fact is that you can have great looking, high quality HD video, but if the audio is bad, people are going to shut it off, click it off or exit the window.  This means your hard work is for nothing.

A brief story.  When I started dabbling in video about a year and a half ago, I started with the cheapest HD camcorder I could find, because I didn’t want to spend a lot of money.  I didn’t know much about video or production or editing.  So I went with a recommendation from a salesperson at Best Buy.

Well, as it turns out, I got an opportunity to shoot some footage of the local “Hooter’s Pageant”.  A great way to try out my camcorder and meet some hot women.


Turns out my old camcorder did not have a microphone input, I got a lot of  great footage, but because my old camcorder had a terrible built-in microphone, it did not capture a good portion of the audio, and the rest had to be edited because I couldn’t filter out the drunk guy behind me yelling.

I Found A Better Camcorder!  The Canon Vixia HF-R20!

After that, I decided it was time to get serious and find a camcorder that can capture audio, and has the ability to make great looking HD movies as well.

I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on yet ANOTHER camcorder, so I made a lot of calls and inquiries, I even enrolled in an online film school.  This resulted in several findings and camcorder recommendations, and eventually the discovery of a good camcorder that not only shoot high quality video, but offer the ability to capture good audio as well.  This is, of course, done via the use of a microphone on a camcorder that has that feature.  More on that in a moment.

The Canon Vixia HF R20- A Complete Near Professional Camcorder Outfit, For LESS Than $500 Bucks?

If you are like me, and don’t want to spend$1400, yet still want to get the same features and benefits, keep reading.  My personal camcorder outfit cost me less than $500.  And it does a great job!  It has all the features I need to produce near professional results, every time.

Here it is, and I will explain my setup.

1. The camcorder.  It is the Canon Vixia HF R20.  Awesome.  It has the ability to shoot in HD, it has 8GB of internal flash memory and (2) slots for SD card memory.   The features are too numerous to list here, but the main attraction I had to this camcorder was its microphone input jack, located on the side of the camcorder.

This jack allows me the ability to add an external microphone, to get close to the sound, or to increase the ability of my camcorder to pick up the sound where I would like.  It also has a sound level meter and headphone jack, so you can actually monitor the sound as it is being picked up, just like a professional camcorder.

Canon Vixia has other models of camcorders, HF R30, HF R40, etc. all of which have the helpful microphone input jack.  I just like the HF R20 due to its price an features.

2. Mounting Bracket Arm.  This is a handy little device that mounts to the tripod mount on the bottom of the camera.  Since the Canon Vixia HF R20 does not have hotshoe on the top of the camcorder, you need something to mount your microphone.  In this case, the Bracket allows you to mount a microphone next to the camcorder, and even the ability to add a light.  The bracket arm makes shooting easier since it helps you stabilize your camcorder.

3. Microphone.  I use the Rode VideoMic as my choice for most shoots requiring good audio, which makes capturing video from a distance much easier, and sounds much, much better than the built-in microphone.  The Rode VidoMic has adjustable gain, and runs on a 9 volt battery.  It also can be removed and put on a boom pole to capture sound from a direct source.  A great idea to really beef up your audio capabilities.

4. Camera Hood.  Rather than spend a grand on a camcorder with a hood, the Canon Vixia allows you to add adapters to the lens, which gives me the ability to add a camera hood, for bright shooting and also to protect the lens from damage .

5. Wide Angle and Zoom Lenses. (Not shown on photo)  A cheap upgrade $25, you can increase the zoom and wide angle ability of the Canon Vixia by using an adapter lens on the camcorder.  These simply screw on, just like the camera hood, and help reduce shake on zooms, since you do not have to zoom as much, giving your shot more stability.  The wide angle lens gives you more image in the same space, reducing “cut off” heads or bodies in shots.  Well worth it.

You can see the lowest prices on all of these products at this link.