Audio / Video equipment discussion

Hi all

Looking for some advice on audio and video equipment to buy.

We are looking to record interviews, voiceovers, and perhaps some footage in an office setting. I'm after some advice on cameras, microphones and the like. I've seen a few posts on here on this topic but they are all a few years old and I'm sure these things move along quickly!

I'm particularly interested in:

  • Camera (DSLR over camcorder?)
  • Microphone (one to attach to camera / one for voiceover recording)
  • sound booths
  • lighting / tripods

 

any other advice appreciated

 

many thanks in advance!

 

3 Replies
Michael Clark

Hey Martin,

I'm happy to help you out!

For a camera, if you are looking for video. I would look at Panasonic or Sony. Depending on your budget, you can get a really solid camera that is 4k capable for under 700 bucks with a lens. Here are some I would look at depending on budget

Good:

  • Panasonic G7
  • Sony a6300

Better:

  • Panasonic g85
  • Sony a6500

Best:

  • Panasonic GH5
  • Sony A7S II 

If you are looking for video but also want to be able to take awesome stock photos, I would lean Sony, specifically the A7S II as its a Full Frame Sensor (more pixels). For strictly video, all of the above can shoot 4k.

Microphone:

For a run and gun set up, I would definitely recommend the RODE video micro. Its lightweight, but is an awesome alternative to dealing with Lav Mics. For Voice over recording I would look into Blue Microphones. We have the Yeti and its awesome. 

Soundbooth:

This also depends on your budget. We have a closet set up with acoustic foam which works nicely. You can also buy an a mic stand attachment that encapsulates your microphone in foam from 5 sides and you talk into the side that isn't covered. This option can work nearly anywhere if its relatively quiet. If you are pinching pennies, there are several DIY booths on youtube using egg cartons that have good reviews. However, if you have a bad mic, its not going to matter how "soundproof" your surroundings are.

Lighting/Tripods:

Look around on Amazon or B&H for a 3 point LED lighting kit. This will come with all the stuff you need and can be had for less than 100 bucks. If you want to spend a little more, Apurture lighting is best in class. 

 

Here are some other tips:

Software:

Video - I am a Final Cut Pro X user, just because thats what I learned on and am certified in, but Adobe Premier Pro is also a great option. One perk of FCP is its a 1 time fee and free upgrades, while Adobe products are subscription based. If you have a Mac, you get iMovie for free which lets you put sequences together for basic edits, but eventually you will grow into Final Cut Pro. If you are windows only, Adobe is your best (and only without spending a fortune) choice.

Audio - There are a few options for editing audio. My favorite is Adobe Audition, just because the Noise Reduction is awesome as our offices are particularly noisey with HVAC noise, which Audition has a great tool for removing. Another (free) option is Audacity, which has similar noise removal, but less powerful than Audition. However, you may find its not necessary to use a dedicated audio editor. For quick jobs, I just edit my voice over in Final Cut and export as Audio only.

 

Hope this helps! Let me know if there is anything else I can help with.

Bob S

Hi Martin,

Mike's recommendations are pretty darn spot on. One area where you might want to consider some additional info is in the area of microphones. Two thoughts there...

  1. While the Yeti stuff is indeed fantastic for USB mics, they are still USB mics.  That comes with pros and cons.  It makes two actor recording very difficult (think sales interaction, or customer scenario) as you are limited to single mic recording. Another budget alternative is to re-purpose your video mics and use an outboard convertor for digital recording.
  2. The Rode micro is again fantastic for what it is; a small on-camera/shotgun mic. Personally over the years I've found that this sort of set up is best as a last resort or when the logistics of body micing aren't practical (eg man-on-the-street interviews).  Otherwise, you are probably better off with either a sound man with boom mic or lavaliers.  By the way, if most of your shots are fixed location/studio, then a wired lavalier set up (my preference) can give you amazing sound for low cost; otherwise wireless is the more popular choice.

Last thought... you didn't mention green screen (chroma key) at all.  For training/corporate purposes green screen is simply awesome. So many advantages including minimizing set decorating/prop needs; super easy updating of content, simple post production re-framing of shots to allow for insets, etc etc. It's my opinion that most situations in the training video world would be best served with green screen shots. If you go this way, consider a 5-point light set up to wash the screen more evenly (cleaner keys) and possibly eliminating the cloth drop and going with a chroma painted wall instead (eliminates wrinkles and set up hassles).

Hope this helps and good luck!