7 Replies
Bob S

Wes,

Having set up a couple of corporate "studios" at different price/quality levels from cheapo to neato, here are a few tips that might help you get started...

  • Don't even consider a camcorder unless it includes external mic inputs.  XLRs are found at the pro level, but you can find pro-sumer ones with mini-stereo jacks at least.
  • Don't worry about how good the "auto" modes are.... you won't use them. Instead, do the counter intuitive thing and see how "manually" the camera can be used.. If you don't have easy access to manual iris control, manual focus, etc without lots of menu manipulation then it may not be the right choice for you.
  • Don't worry about how many alternate recording modes a camera has. Unless you are shooting something pretty unusual, you likely wont use more than one or two recording modes. Typically for most corporate/learning videos you film in the highest quality for a master then down-convert after editing.

Here are some examples by price/quality level that might be of interest...

Consumer Camera -

Pro-sumer Camera -

Good (not amazing) Pro Camera -

Steve Flowers

Hi Wes, 

How long are the shots you're planning to capture. The cameras Bob points out are really fantastic. We recently picked up a DSLR for video and it's working out swimmingly. The model we picked up was the T3i. It's been discontinued and replaced with a newer model. I believe the T5 is comparable both in price but doesn't offer the microphone jack that the T3i offered. The T5i includes a microphone jack.  

The sensor on these or the mirrorless cameras like the Sony NEX line is pretty fantastic. My personal setup is an older Sony NEX-5N. Really love the flexibility to cost ratio. The downside is you'll never get more than 29 minutes from most rigs like that. The bigger downside to *my* older Sony NEX is it doesn't support an external microphone. As Bob says, this is a non-starter. Go with at least a 3.5mm jack to run a cheap shotgun or lapel mic. The Audio Technica piece linked above does a really decent job through the T3i.

Biggest downside with these cameras is the recording time. If you're only shooting for 15 minutes between breaks, these work really well. Light handling and color are fantastic in this class of camera. Better in many cases than video cameras that cost 5x as much.

If you're shooting for hours, consider something other than an SLR.

Steve Flowers

Have been trying to remember this piece of gear. Another trick some folks are using is setting up an SLR's HDMI output and running into this:

http://www.amazon.com/Atomos-Ninja-2-camera-mounted-recorder-monitor/dp/B00CQBF9WA/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1413849984&sr=8-14&keywords=Canon+C300

This gets around the recording time limitations and provides a clean video signal into the recorder from the camera. Neat thing about this is you can add practically any drive you like. Many use an SSD for the speed. This seems to be commonly paired with the Nikon D800. That brings the kit cost to almost 4,000. It should work with any camera with clean (no overlays or crops) HDMI output. Might take some research to narrow this down. If I hadn't already just picked up a new portable, I'd consider the Sony RX10. Really love the features and image quality Sony cameras offer.

http://cheesycam.com/atomos-ninja-any-day-now/

Morten Skoglund

If you want a really high end option then I can really recommend the Canon C100

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1040919-REG/canon_7428b002_eos_c100_cinema_eos.html

throw in a Samyang lens which are cheap but very good. I'd go with the 35mm for a starter

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/887052-REG/Samyang_sycv35_c_35mm_T1_5_Cine_Lens.html

or this one if you have tons of cash to throw at your camera

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1005140-REG/canon_9139b001_cn_e35mm_t1_5_l_f.html

Pair that camera with a Atomos Ninja blade recorder and you have the picture quality of a $11,999.00 camera 

Of course if Storyline 2 would be its only uses then the picture quality will be wasted. But the upside is that with this equipment you get very good green screen results.

Tim Danner

I also recommend the Panasonic pro-cameras that Bob suggested. I haven't used those specific models, but they're very similar to one of the models (that's now discontinued) I've used. There's learning curve, but the cameras perform well. Like Bob mentioned, you really want to get one with XLR inputs for high-quality audio.