Posted by: Hannah | 11/28/2012

time marches on

Michael and I realized last week that we have several bits and snippets of video from when Harry was little, but almost none of Ron and nothing at all of Baby G.

My current camera is my baby, an entry-level DSLR with no video capability.

The kids actually have a camera that the lovely Beached Librarian sent them – which they use constantly, by the way – and it takes video, so when they have their Christmas concerts next month I’ll likely borrow it for that purpose. But, you know, it’s theirs. I don’t want to take their things.

So we started talking about getting what Michael calls a ‘handi-cam’ and I call a ‘camcorder’.

Because, apparently, we are 7000 years old.

The last time I used a camcorder, I was studying journalism in university and it was 1997. The cameras weighed more than I did and took VHS tapes. I knew things had changed, and I was confident that I could find something without spending a small fortune.

I took to the internet and googled “camcorder consumer reviews”.

The consensus of the internet was that I should fuck off and just use my smartphone for all my digital video needs.


It’s true! I even read one website – I didn’t save the link, it made me feel too geriatric – that said they don’t review most new camcorders available on the market, as the consumer demand just isn’t there. People looking to film birthday parties or other family events are generally happy to use their smartphone or other handheld device, apparently.


I do not have a smartphone. I have a stupidphone. It flips open. I can (laboriously) send texts. I can – hold on to your hats, kids – send and receive calls on it. Because it is a telephone. It does take video and still pictures, but the video is what I think of as “youtube quality”; it’s fine in a pinch, but not how I want to preserve my kids in action for all time, ya know?

So I did as much research as I could, and reserved one at our local big box electronics store that should suit our needs; to wit, recording Major Life Events That Just Work Better As Movies so that we may better embarrass them as teenagers.

But damn – did you guys realize that we’d lived long enough to outgrow the freaking camcorder???




  1. It’s nuts to think that I was using a rotary phone up through my mid teens and now you can do ALL THE THINGS on a wee little “smart” phone. The camcorder you gave me a link to on Twitter (was that where we were talking about it?) looks pretty awesome. I’d be tempted to get one myself if I took more videos, and I have a smart phone.

    I’m glad the camera is being well loved and well used. For some reason I feel like it didn’t do long videos, but maybe that’s just because I was a poor student and only had a small SD card.

    • You’re telling me, our home phone was on a party line until well after I’d started school. I tried explaining *that* concept to the boys and I might as well have been explaining why laudanum is good for headaches or how to load & fire a musket.

      The camera takes short videos – I bought them a bigger memory card so that’s OK, but it drains the battery REALLY fast.

      • Oh, I’d forgotten about party lines. We were central Hfx, so we didn’t have one, but the farm house at our cottage did (and I assume the few cottages with their one phone did). The concept seemed weird and ridiculous to me.

  2. I’ve been collecting (and destroying) camcorders since 1998. Nowadays I use a Flip camera – awesome and nifty and small and easy.

    Only problem is that I think the makers of the camera got bought out and it may not have a long future. But in the meantime, thats what I will be taking to Lucy’s x-mas pageant.

  3. It’s true, my itouch currently takes video on par or better than my 2007 handicam. That being said, I am getting a new video camera for Christmas because my partner and I want to make professional quality videos for our dog training biz, and professional cams are a totally different market.

  4. My kids are totally befuddled at the idea that you can’t pause and rewind all live tv. They can’t even BELIEVE the idea of no PVR.

  5. My phone isn’t a smartphone either, because I would actually go insane if I received email and facebook alerts all the time. And I would be incapable of simply not using those features. It does do videos and photos, but the photos are appalling and the subject of the videos are not even visually discernible. Sadly my point and shoot died a watery death, and I can’t quite justify buying a new one, so I have no camera at all now.

    • I had a Blackberry for a year, before I opened the dayhome – it was a condition of the contract I was working. It was AWFUL. People knew I had it so they expected immediate answers to their emails, even if they sent them at midnight on a Tuesday. It got the point where every time I heard the little chime my palms would start sweating. I know that’s why I keep resisting an upgrade.

      • I have a lot of friends who are on track to be lawyers, and some of them already have Blackberries. I am so, so glad not to have one. I never will, even if I decide I need a smart phone, because the Blackberry seems like such a symbol of corporate servitude!

  6. I have a confession to make: last weekend we were at a sporting event and one of the other parents was filming their kid’s race using a handicam and I was all judgy. “HELLO, GRANDMA!” ran through my head. I don’t have a smart phone (my cell phone is a flip phone on which I can not text and which I leave off most of the time — TO SAVE THE BATTERY!) but I do record movies on my Canon Powershot point and click camera with nary a problem.

    • But I just picked it up and it’s SO TINY!! The last time I used a camcorder was in journalism school back in 1997 and the thing was enormous – I had a hard time lifting it onto my shoulder. This thing fits literally in the palm of my hand. I’m already petrified that I will lose it somehow.

  7. I bought a camcorder type thing for a very specific research reason 4 years ago to the tune of ~$400, and then my research changed. The camcorder stayed, but usually when I go to use it the battery is flat because it’s been so long since the last time I had it out and charged it up. Which, of course, serves as a deterrent to getting it out. But, yes, I do use my smartphone for little videos. Short is good.

    I also picked up a voice recorder for research (this I did use!) and I quite like turning it on sometimes and just leaving it near where the kids play. They have no idea it’s there, which (in my mind) makes it better than a video, as I’m sure they’d be ‘playing to the camera’ to some extent.

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