Camera Gear

A lot of people ask me what they should be using for camera gear for their web videos. Here are my recommendations based on experience and performance.  With today’s technology you can have really good looking videos at a very affordable cost.

To add a level of professionalism to your videos you should always try to have good lighting, use a tripod and have separate source for audio.   Below is what I recommend for the average user to accomplish this.

Camera: Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera

The Kodak Zi8 is an excellent camera for the money.  It shoots in High-Definition up to 1080p, is tripod mountable, has image stabilization,  good in most light, HDMI output to connect to an HD-TV, expandable memory, replaceable battery, built-in USB cord to connect to a computer, and has an external microphone input (Flip doesn’t have this).  It is super easy to use , just point and shoot and then upload your videos to youtube or facebook.  It is a pocket camera so you can take it anywhere and whip it out at a moment’s notice for a quick video.  You never know when a great video moment will strike.  It currently has better features than any Flip HD camera and in my opinion better looking video.

We used footage from a Zi8, shot by the Principal for this video:   http://www.promotusmedia.com/portfolio/owyhee-harbor-elementary-school

You would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the professional footage and the Zi8 footage.

Tip: From time to time Amazon.com will have a great deal or bundles.   It retails for about $180 but at the time of this writing it was going for $125.95 with free shipping on Amazon.  I bought mine for about $149 with a free battery. The black ones tend to be cheaper than raspberry or blue.

Click here to check out Amazon’s current Kodak Zi8 deals.

Tripod:  Joby GP2-D1EN Gorillapod Flexible Tripod for Digital SLR Cameras with Bubble Level

A major difference between amateur and professional footage is the use of a tripod.  A good tripod will add mounds of professionalism to any video.  You don’t need anything expensive here.  There are $10 tripods that will do just fine. I recommend the GorillaPod or equivalent because it can wrap around just about anything and stabilize on just about any surface.  You can spend the extra bucks and get the one with the level.

At the time of this writing the price was: $25.47

Audio: Audio-Technica Lavalier Microphone ATR-3350

The next thing that really adds a layer of professionalism is using an external microphone.  The built-in microphone is only good if you are close and don’t have any other background noise.  It’s definitely worth the $20 investment to get a solid external microphone.  The Audio-Technica Lavalier Microphone ATR-3350 attaches to your shirt and has great audio for the price.  It’s not wireless but has a fairly long cord.

At the time of this writing the price was: $19.13

Memory: Transcend 8 GB Class 6 SDHC Flash Memory Card TS8GSDHC6

Nothing is more frustrating than running out of space while you’re recording. I recommend at least an 8 GB card, more if you can afford it.  Get at least a Class 6 card (the higher the class the faster the card) for recording High Definition.

Price at time of writing: $18.49

The next things are optional but highly recommended.

Extra Battery:  MaximalPower DB FUJ NP50 Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery ($3.50) or Kodak Li-Ion Rechargeable Battery/KLIC 7004 ($15.30)  I haven’t used the MaximalPower battery but I’ve heard it works just as good as the name brand Kodak for a fraction of the cost.  An extra battery will give you about an 1.5 hrs more of film time.

Remote Control: Kodak Remote Control for Zx1, Zi8 and PlaySport Pocket Video Cameras ($9.99)

This is good for when you are recording yourself from afar and you don’t want to go back and forth pushing the record button.

This can be a great time saver as well as frustration buster.

Case: Mini Glove Camera Carrying Case for Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera + HDMI Mini Cable for Kodak Zi8 + Blue Camera Tripod ($19.99)

I haven’t used this case or know much about it but it comes with a “GorillaPod” type tripod and an extra HDMI cable and it’s a good price.  (The Kodak Zi8 ships with an HDMI cable.)  Let me know if it works for you.

The best thing about all this equipment is that within a few minutes of opening the box you can be filming your first video and creating valuable content for your website and video marketing promotions.

There you have it.  For just over $200 you can have a nice HD camera setup for all your web video needs.

See a list of all the products (and some extras) below.

Check Out Kodak Zi8 Camera Gear