Video Camera: The first thing I went out search for was a good video camera that wouldn’t break the bank. I was told by fellow attorney and video expert Gerry Oginksi that the Canon Vixia line of cameras were a good choice. I ended up going with the Canon VIXIA HF M50 Full HD 10x Image Stabilized Camcorder. When I bought it a couple of months ago I got it for $499.00. It appears to be going for more than that right now so you might want to check around for a better price.
So far the camera has been great. It has a nice touch-screen that is easy to use and overall works well for a technology challenged person like myself. The only problem I have had is transferring the video files directly from the camera’s internal hard drive to my computer. I am sure that it is not as difficult as I made it, but I still decided just to by an SD card, record the video on it, and then take that and insert it directly into my computer. That was very easy to do and I didn’t run into any problems.
HF M50 Full HD Camcorder ($498.00)
Portable Microphone: We have all seen and heard the videos where the picture looks great but the sound is just terrible. In fact, that was the number one tip I got from the video experts I talked to prior to purchasing equipment is that the key to a good video is good sound. With that advice I decided to purchase the Sennheiser EW 112P G3-A omni-directional EW system. This is a great lapel microphone that is wireless and connects right into the Canon video camera.
I did a few test runs with it and without it and the sound quality is pretty amazing – especially compared to the internal microphone on the camera. The other great thing is that you happen to be shooting video with you being a ways off in the distance, the sound quality is still great. The microphone was easy to use and easy to set up. The biggest downside is the price. This microphone system actually cost more than my camera – coming in at $629.00. That seems to be the standard price for this audio equipment and I haven’t been able to find it much lower.
Sennheiser G3 camera mount wireless microphone system with ME@ Lavalier Mic ($629.95)
Lighting: A second tip I received on making great video was related to lighting. This is an area I had zero experience with but got the basics by reading several articles on the web. I decided to purchase two Interfit Photographic Super Cool-lite Continuous Fluorescent 2 Head Lighting Kit . These are also easy to use and set up. It took a little practice learning how to set up the lighting so that it improved the overall video quality, but the lights were very to assemble and place. The shocking thing to me was the price in lighting in general. They start on the low end at about $100 and quickly reach a couple thousand dollars. I spent about $300.00 total for both lights.
Editing Software: When it comes to video I don’t mind the shooting of the video but my big downfall is the editing. In fact, once I get a system in place I may outsource the editing to someone who really knows what they are doing. I did video editing software that is fairly user friendly in Screenflow. This software is pretty straightforward, you can upload your video directly from the SD card and uses and drag and drop method for most of the editing. Screenflow is $99.00 and can be downloaded directly from their site.
You can also purchase Flowtility which works nicely with Screenflow and provides different graphics and backgrounds that can be used in editing your video. It is an additional $47.00. The one catch is that Screenflow is for Mac users only. I have been told that a similar product for the PC is Camtasia. I have no experience with it but hear it is good. It is quite a bit more expensive at $299.00.
Both of these programs have the ability to record your screen, something that would be very helpful if you would like to put together a webinar some day.
If you are using other types of equipment please share in the comments!
Other Resources Referenced in the Podcast
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