Gary is currently in Grand Chute, WI (May 22nd, 2015)

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Win an $800 JVC GZ-HM550 Camcorder


Folks, have I got a great contest for you today. I’m giving away the biggest prize I’ve ever given away: an $800 JVC GZ-HM550 High Definition Camcorder.

I was asked by the people at JVC about giving away a camcorder, and it didn’t take much to convince me. One of the big reasons is that I have been looking at camcorders and this is one of the models I was looking at buying for myself. (disclosure: I’ve NOT been given any money or products by JVC. I’m doing this for the benefit of my readers.)

My early attempts at doing video while traveling were seriously hampered by having to carry tapes with me. They are expensive, a pain to carry around on the road, and it is difficult and time consuming to import the video.

The reason why I was looking at this model is because it met the requirements I was looking for in a travel camcorder:

  • It’s small and lightweight
  • It is tapeless and stores everything on flash memory and small SD cards
  • It shoots in glorious 1080i high definition.

It even has a cool feature I didn’t know about: it is Bluetooth enabled. That means you can:

  • Control the camera remotely with some Bluetooth enabled phones. (I know it works on the Blackberry currently, and I’ve read rumors that an iPhone app is on the way)
  • If you have a Bluetooth GPS you can geotag your videos.
  • The problem of sound can be solved with a Bluetooth mic like you can buy for mobile phones. This is a much more elegant and cheaper solution than carrying around a lavalier or shotgun mic.

Here is a video outlining the Bluetooth features of the camera:

ENTER TO WIN: Just leave a comment on this post telling me how you would use the GZ-HM550..

One entry per person. A winning comment will be picked from The contest will end on midnight, March 31.

  • 903 Comments... What's your take?

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  1. Jackie says:

    My father has been documenting our genealogy, traveling around the country on a motorcycle and taking pictures of important places in our family history and gathering information. I would give him the camera to document the people he meets along the way.

  2. Geoff S says:

    As usual, another great prize from Gary! I’d look forward to using the camera on my upcoming month-long trip to Amsterdam for work, and then for all kinds of thing – kids in particular when they begin to arrive.

  3. Thanks for the contest! I would use the camera to learn video, so I can start incorporating video into my photography business.

  4. Roop says:

    One word: PAX. I’ve gone every year since 2007, with this year marking new territory with PAX East. I’ve tried Flips, Canon, Kodak, and Panasonic cameras that were point and shoot with video or on-the-go video that have not been adequate in capturing this event in high fidelity. This JVC camcorder would do wonders.

    Thanks for the chance at one, and the details, especially about the Bluetooth features!

  5. Jarmo says:

    I’m not into traveling (I would be if I’d be rich) …. but I am into arts and (pop)culture. To make this short I’d probably use it to film nature & people from my home town and villages nearby. This is a small part of our small country but there’s a LOT of small and big things to shoot on “film”. To bring something nice from Finland out to people from other countries.

    I do some photography and since I am unemployed I’d really like to add video shooting to my CV as I am striving every day to be better freelance artist.

    So, that’s what I’d do. I hope people outside USA can participate on this ;)

  6. Theo Keeler says:

    I’d love to win this camcorder – but why, you ask? Well, at the moment I mostly do video editing at a non-professional level with the (rather cheap) camcorder I have. However, this summer I may be having a professional video editing envornment, and while they provide cameras there and additional one will allow me to shoot high-quality stock footage for use in the months after, when I go to university and need a camera such as this for various courses in my minor.

  7. meaghan says:

    Hi! I’d use this camcorder– probably like any other person would. To capture memorable moments to keep with me. Outings with friends, convention trips, concerts.

  8. Sue says:

    Wow Gary, this is quite the prize. I’d love to have it to record my upcoming lighthouse trips, and it sure would beat using my Flip Video. The Flip is nice, but it’s very limited in what it can do. It (the Flip) definitely doesn’t work for video blogging. This would take a blog to the next level.

  9. A camera like this would be used in a number of ways if I were to win. I could make promotional videos for my new startup company and tutorial videos for cartoonists visiting my website. More importantly I would be able to make videos of my family with 5 kids we have a lot of moments that I would love to capture on video, our family trips, hiking in national parks, holiday memories. The uses for such a wonderful camera are endless.

  10. Matt says:

    I would finally be able to shoot some of the skits/sketches/bits that I’ve been writing for a while. Would very much love. :D

  11. Paul King says:

    Record my kids doing crazy/cute things, but also for hobby related vids (tutorials, reviews, etc.)

  12. First I would use it to video my first child that is due in November. Second, I would use it to record my audiobook reviews that I do on my video blog.

  13. Murray says:

    Hi Gary! I would love to have something like this for my hiking trips. Sometimes a still camera just doesn’t capture the magic of a moment.

    I hope to hike across Europe in the next couple years, but in the mean time, I make several trips to the mountains every summer.

  14. Matt J says:

    I’d use it to film comedy sketches with my friends and fellow writer/actors

  15. dave says:

    I would love to get this camcorder so i can use it on my round the world trip coming up. It would be perfect to have so i can then document it all and put it up on my blog.

    Thanks for the great contest!!

  16. Scott says:

    I’d use it for our nature trips that we take every other year, because you just can’t quite capture wildlife with still photos sometimes!

    PS – would love it if you took and showed some more videos from your travels!

  17. Kathy Luman says:

    I would use it to record family events, my pets, and etc. to send to my husband in Afghanistan. This would keep him up dated and see what is going on back home.

  18. John A says:

    A lot of my traveling consists of finding and documenting music and traditional festivals around the world. So I’d use it to do more of that. I’d love to have something like this at Koprivstitsa this summer.

  19. Ben says:

    I love to document my travels, but my Sony camcorder was stolen a few months back.

  20. We have 5 graduations in 4 years. One kindergarten, three high school and one college. Considering I was told I wouldn’t live to see any of them, I’d like to record them for posterity. I don’t have a lot to leave my children when I do go, but recorded memories would be the best legacy I could leave them all.

  21. Zach says:

    I would give it to my brother, who is working on becoming a movie maker. He’s getting good at it, and his current camera isn’t working well anymore. So it would be nice to see him have a new camera to work with.

  22. Michele says:

    My daughter would piddle in her pants if I won this and gave it to her for her 29th birthday in May!

  23. Prestwood says:

    Hey, Gary. I’d use it when I visit Ireland and England this summer – especially to take video of Prestwood in Staffordshire to share with my family. Also I would record video of Pete’s son Danny and practice debates.

  24. Zane says:

    I want the camera because my own camera has failed to work recently so i will use this one to replace my old one. I will record my musical performances (me playing the guitar in our house with no crowd…..yet)

  25. I have a life filled with kids, animals, nature, and activity. One of the big fears I’ve had recently is it will all be lost soon – some growing up, some moving out, some moving on…the Sony camera would help with that. On top of that I have a budding film maker for a son who could make good use of it.

  26. Tony says:

    I would use this camera to record performances for my traveling music groups!

    Disney World!

  27. I would use this camcorder on my upcoming Europe trip (late April/May), and also take it with me to Florida this fall to record the last space shuttle launching.

  28. Tony Miller says:

    I would use this to film the wild life along the Gulf Coast in Pensacola and at the National Seashores.

    Thank you for this opportunity.

  29. Scott says:

    Peru in May!

  30. ullyss wang says:

    well, love a freebie, no one ever gives me anything, or do i ever win anything as a prize. Will never be able to afford a video cam ever, only resort to getting a second hand one from a dead relative that really never worked, need some extinct tape from some extinct video company, oh boo hoo.
    and how shall I use it?
    plenty, first by recording my boring little life, it won’t be really that boring with a nice little video cam, would be terribly exciting to get my life recorded in perpetual.

    after that, think of a rampant scandal and record it

    3rd and probably some what useful : like travelling around amazing exotic places and filming all the natives drunk and smoking opium and shooting off random shot guns and hunting rifles up at the blue sky, singing their tribal songs and dancing their cultural dances, all dressed in their tribal gear with small skulls of their dead enemies hanging on their necks.

    Wait a min!, I was there!
    watching those natives drinking red plastic buckets of sugared whisky and rum and smoking those opium pipes, shooting random fires off at the sky and wishing, “Darn, how i wish I had a video camera to record them performing their amazing obscure tribal dances, singing songs of their ancestors in their dying language which will probably die off in their generation and never to be seen or hear ever again, a cultural practice lost forever. ” such a pity it was never recorded. Alas… alas… I did not have a nifty little expensive video camera to record it all!

  31. Cheryl says:

    This would be great on my upcoming trip and for recording videos as I sell my house.


  32. Eric says:

    I would use it to document my travels around SE Asia as I teach English.

  33. Brian Scott says:

    Very simple. I have a toddler and a new baby on the way. I’d use this to record my little one and the months leading up to the birth of my second child.

  34. Okaat says:

    I would use this camcorder to record my trip to disney with the kids this summer. Thanks for the awesome contest. Happy Trails.

  35. Carol says:

    I would use it when we travel, to record our vacation adventures. We’re going to Sedona, Az, and would love to record our experiences there!

  36. Milton H says:

    I would use this nice camera to take videos of the wild weather conditions and devastation occurring around me.

  37. Annette D says:

    Oh wow! This would be great for my family reunion this summer! Thanks for the chance.

  38. Teaching in Thailand and traveling everywhere else I can, when I can, I would totally use this camera to shoot all the exciting moments that my life of travel brings, and sometimes even more exciting, the random moments you could never plan for but are so happy you caught on film.

  39. Nita says:

    I would use it my Alaskan Cruise in June of this year. I would get some fabulous videos.

  40. Would use the camera on my world travels. Upcoming vids of the American SouthWest (Moab, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, Zion and the Grand Canyon), followed shortly by S. Africa and the World Cup!

  41. Craig Mische says:

    I shoot a lot of videos outdoors and the audio is terrible even with an expensive directional mic. The ability to use a Bluetooth headset would be really great and make my outdoor videos much better.

  42. Thanks Gary! We would use this camera to help teens in our Rock Star “Record Achievement” mentoring/tutoring program capture images for their videos.

  43. Rosa Ramos says:

    Besides taking pictures, I love catching moments with a video camera. I currently have a flip-kind of camera…it is good, as long as you don’t use a TV to see the video.

  44. Stephanie says:

    This would be a really neat piece of equipment to take around the world with me this fall!

  45. If I were to claim this coveted prize from Mr. MC Gary Arndt, I would record trivial events of my everyday life just to annoy everyone around me. I would probably purchase a few animals from the neighborhood farm so that I could dress them up in people clothes and make stupid pet videos as well.

    It has always been my lifelong dream to meet Bob Saget. Although he is no longer the host of America’s funniest home videos, I hope that with the influence I get with the $10,000 grand prize, Mr. Saget will seek me out and we could hang and eat some bbq rips and drink Dr. Pepper or something.

    So, therefore, I would use this camera to go to a good bbq joint with Bob Saget. That would be super sweet.

  46. Jeff A says:

    I’d look forward to using it to capture the beauty of Alaska on our cruise in June.

  47. Sup Gary old buddy old pal. I would probably use the camera to record video of Danny and practice debates.


  48. Amy says:

    Read about this on your Twitter feed…
    I’d use it this summer, as I tour ghost towns and mining camps along the Alpine Loop/Cinnamon Pass here in Colorado.

  49. Right now me and Nathan are planning a round the world trip in the middle of this year – We will be traveling from Sweden to Canada, USA, South America, Tahiti, Fiji
    , New Zealand, Borneo, Thailand, Japan, China, Tibet then over to Africa and as many other places as we can find – in UNDER 12months.

    Our mission is to see as much of
    the world as we can in one go and we are already planning to VIDEO the trip, and post weekly travel-show style videos of all the places we visit – THIS JVC camera would make
    that so much easier and WOW I can’t even imagine the quality of film we could share with others on our blog – to inspire, provoke and share everything amazing which this wor
    ld has to offer!

    Thanks for considering us for this competition!

    xox Sofia

  50. Gary, we would love to win the JVC HD Camcorder in order to continue shooting fun and informative travel videos. Our Canon HD Camcorder is just about finis
    hed from all the wear and tear of 6 months of travel. We currently have a safety pin holding the shutter door permanently open. We are ready for a new one!

About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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