Oh, Sony, you with your catchy names and clever puns for your products. Aside from sounding like a droid in Star Wars, though, the HDR-MV1 might actually be useful for musicians looking to record live gigs.

The Video

Let’s start with the video. It’s “full HD”, meaning 1080p, and recorded with the standard Zeiss lens you get from Sony. That lens has a 120 degree field of view, so putting this in the back of the club should capture the entire stage. It also has a screen so you can check the look and feel, of course, and the sensor is backlit to ensure that if you’re in a dark club, the video isn’t quite as grainy as you may have come to expect. There’s also a lip sync feature to tie together your music and your performance.

The Audio

The mic has a similarly wide spread: It’s an adjustable X/Y mic, also with 120 degrees of spread, so you’ll capture everything. A nice touch is that you can tweak the levels from the menu, since you do not want to record a live performance as if you were Butch Vig. That said, the controls are specifically digital, which is going to rub some sound nerds the wrong way, and honestly, if the guy on the board screws up your audio, there’s little you can do with the camera.

A Good Deal For The Price


Honestly, this isn’t the best minicam you can get for general purposes: That’s still the GoPro, which is completely indestructible and has pretty good sound for its tiny little mic. Nor will this be the camera you shoot a music video on. And you shouldn’t use it to record just the audio of a live show, either. But it’s designed from the ground up to capture live performances simply and effectively, and it looks like it gives you the tools to shoot with ease. So if you’ve got a band, or a stand-up in the family, or a lot of school plays to shoot, this might be a $300 solution to your problems.

Dan Seitz

Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.