Video production tools

See Video production for context for this list of tools

  • Jing - for 5 minute video from your pc or mac.
  • Animoto - for a slide based presentation video
  • convert your video to mp4 for a neat online tool for easy conversion that your editing suite may not support.


Recording

Audio recordings are a very important part of your video production. Listeners will forgive poor video before they will forgive poor audio, so don't hold back. Watch this video from Izzey Hymen on good practice for audio to gain an overview on how to set up your recording. you can use many different microphones to record your voice for your video. Often your video camera or phone will have an inbuilt microphone. However, the quality of those microphones is often not that good and it will pick up a lot of surrounding noises. If you are using a smartphone to film your video, but you want to use an external microphone, it needs to be 3.5mm and have a 4-pole (TRRS) connection. When using an external microphone to record your audio, it is recommended that the inbuilt microphone will still be used. This allows you to use the original voice recording as a scratch track to properly match the other audio recording to the video. You will also be able to use the original recording for parts where the quality of the external recording may not be as good. Using two recordings will allow you to achieve the best possible audio quality.

We have summarised external mircophones into three categories and outlined why we use them:

Lavalier microphones

  • Small microphone that is clipped to shirt
  • Wired and wireless options
  • Inexpensive
  • Ability to move around without diminishing sound quality
  • May have an invasive feel when wearing it during the recording
  • Visible on the video
  • Audio can be scratchy due to poor placement

Shotgun Microphones

  • Great sound quality
  • Expensive (it requires also a boompole, boompole holder and stand and a shockmount)
  • Not visible on the video recording
  • Can stay set up
  • Unidirectional, sound can become bad if you move just a little bit outside of its pickup zone

Smartphone microphone

  • Good sound quality (better than expected)
  • Use the voice recording option on your phone
  • Two phones are needed when using a phone as a camera as well

There are a lot of microphone options out there. Here is a list of a few including a review of their performance.

  • Wired
    • MicW is a high quality cardoid (unidirectional so it doesn't pick up as much surrounding noise). We used this at align.me and found the quality to be fantastic, but stopped using it as it started producing noise probably cause by the (very thin) cable getting crushed.
    • Rode Smart Lav. This link is for Australian buyers, but Rode is international and other resellers will have them. Hugh uses this for his video blogs when he doesn't have the Zoom recorder and has to record to phone. It's 'OK', perhaps not great
    • i-Microphone EIM-003. We've not tested this, but Gideon Shalwick (YouTube maestro) recommends it
    • Shotgun Mic
    • Zoom mic (if recording audio separate from video is preferred)
    • Audio Technica ATR 3550 lapel mic. This microphone has a good audio quality and is the one currently used by Hugh for blogs. on the downside, it does not show when the battery needs to be replaced (you may find that you need to out in a new one every time you record to ensure that the power does not run out). It also has a very long 6m chord, which is very convenient for filming, but it tends to get tangled if not handled with care. Video Guys (Australian specialist store) also sell this one -
    • the Vidpro XM-L - not tested.
    • Neat trick - you can hide a lapel mic under the shirt rather than use the clip as long as there is minimal movement (test)
    • Extension leads:
    • Mounts
  • Handheld for interviews
    • i-rig plugs straight into the iPhone
  • Bluetooth
    • Sony ECM-AW3
  • Wireless
    • Asden WMS Pro is great if you work in the US. However, be aware that the frequency it uses is banned in Europe. It includes a lapel and a hand-held microphone. The Asden WMS Pro uses an adapter to plug base. You can buy it here: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/281010067662?hlp=false
    • Sennheiser EW has the best audio quality of all reviewed microphones in our opinion. Also see these reviews of the Asden and Sennheiser from Israel Hyman.
  • Phone camera usually has an inbuilt microphone, however it tends to pick up a lot of surrounding noise and the overall quality is not at great as of external microphones. You can use your phone's voice recording as a second microphone and use this recording instead (if you have two phones that you are able to use (one for the video the other one for a separate audio recording)) The voice recording has a much better quality.

Most of the above need an adapter to move from standard pin to smart phone 4-stage plug. kvconnection have a great range including a single-plug adaptor or a 2-plug adaptor which allows you to listen to the audio to make sure it is being received well, while you feed the phone. Be careful to read through the descriptions to choose the right one. Hugh found two with a spare headset plug so you can also listen to your recordings to test them out:

Lighting

YouTube of how to set up 3-point lighting YouTube of how to set up a white background.