Wait! What do I Need?
The basic rental package, usually includes spare batteries, a charger, camcorder case, manufacturer's manual and a "quick-start" guide. Ease of use varies with the model, but the "Get Started" guide that every rental center should give you as part of the package will help you figure out the use of the main controls (On/Off, record and zoom,etc.). Shop around for the best deals if you're interested in a complete package. Even with the service charge added to the rental cost, on any cost-benefit analysis you'll be getting a great deal.
After you have assessed what it is that you would like to use, explore different models of cameras for different options and usability. Standard models use compact, 60-minute tapes, and can be plugged into the camcorder/playstation inputs on the front of many TVs and video recorders. The playback quality is very good. As a rule of thumb with standard models, the smaller the camera the fewer features it has. Maybe you want to toy around with an optical zoom of a higher grade? Then you'll need to rent one of the slightly larger cameras. Even so, none are that big and all are easy to use for the novice.
Perhaps, you lean another way and are more technical minded. If so, then an HD videocam, offering superb playback quality with four times the number of pixels as standard definition, would allow you to shoot video clearly and edit the video on HDV. However take into account that a very powerful PC is required to use video editing packages. The HDV footage can then be recorded on to a high definition DVD player with marvellous results. Familiarity with the superb picture quality afforded by HD breeds contempt among aficionados for standard models. Renting a videocam allows the technically-minded to practise more demanding techniques and to produce top-class pictures without the substantial outlay involved in buying a top-notch videocam. And reminder: as a perfectionist, you'll need accessories, too, which makes renting an even more attractive, but expensive, option.