Video Equipment Recommendations (Part II of II)

Video CameraOn Tuesday, December 7th, we met with Bob Heim and Lisa Zelig of Boston Digital Editing for a crash course in video production. In Part I, Bob forwarded us fifteen tips on a successful shoot. In Part II, Bob has made some recommendations on equipment, which he sent to us and is allowing us to post here.

Our recent meeting on the basics of video production has helped me to learn a little about and the kinds of video projects the various departments of BU will be producing in the short term. Based on what we discussed, I think I can make several equipment recommendations.

I realize that the Flip Camera, for better or worse, is the primary camera used by the majority of the personnel. The main concern of mine regarding this camera is the acquisition of sound, specifically the quality. The camera, in its current form, does not allow for the connection of an external microphone. That being the case, I recommend that all recordings with the Flip camera follow some basic guidelines.

1. Record in an environment where the audio can be controlled, indoors if possible.
2. Make sure the interview subject in no more than 4 – 8 feet from the camera.
3. The interviewer should be aware that his/her questions are going to be MUCH louder than the interview subject. (Obviously if the interviewer is the one holding the camera…)

If budgets allow, I would recommend camera such as these:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/662839REG/Aiptek_ZHD11K_CS_Action_HD_GVS_1080p_HD.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/697080-REG/Aiptek_EHD11X.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/671645-REG/Canon_4355B001_VIXIA_HF_M30_Dual.html

These cameras are all very inexpensive and provide a jack for an external mic. The last one has a headphone jack so that you can monitor what the audio sounds like as it is being recorded. These are by no means the best cameras on the market, but they are MUCH better than the Flip Camera for what BU will be using them for.

If one of these cameras, or something similar, is purchased, then I would recommend this external wireless microphone:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/618745-REG/Sennheiser_EW_122P_G3_B_EW122_p_G3_Camera_Mount.html

This isn’t the cheapest, but I have found to be the most reliable for the money.

As for lighting, I think you can either continue to utilize the ambient light during your interviews or contact to learn about compact light kits:

Name: William Mintzer
Company: Rule
Email: Click to view e-mail address.
Phone: 508-361-9633

Mr. Mintzer can also help you with recommendations for cameras, tripods, etc.

Editing your videos presents an entirely different set of challenges. Like I said at the presentation, to be truly good at something, you have to do it all of the time. This is especially true of editing. If editing is daunting to you, please call either Nancy Marrs or myself to assist you in the editing of your projects. Otherwise, you can try your hand at iMovie, Adobe Premiere or Final Cut. They all have a learning curve, but are relatively intuitive, so the basics can be learned pretty quickly…

I hope this helps and feel free to contact me with any questions!

Bob Heim
Boston Digital Editing
617-319-3434 / Click to view e-mail address.

Photo courtesy Reinis Traidas on Flickr.

UPDATE: Nancy Marrs of BU Productions also has recommended the Kodak Zi8 as a Flip-like video camera alternative.

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