Based on hundreds of requests, I decided to do a product recommendation article here @ BarryHurd.com regarding my HD mobile video kit. I have listed all of the items with the best pricing I’ve found for them on Amazon at the bottom of the post. Based on your ideas, you can be taking some great video with a budget of $200 to $600 dollars.
I personally own and use all of this equipment and have traveled to dozens of events with it (else I wouldn’t suggest using it.) This kit is really geared towards users who want maximum results for the dollar. It is not intended as a high-end video solution for a demanding pro video shoot, but will provide great results for someone who applies the basics of videography.
So here it is: Barry’s HD Mobile Video Kit
There are two suggested HD cameras that I use. These would be the Kodak Zi8 and the Apple Touch. I recommend these for entirely different reasons, so make sure to match your needs to the value points each camera.
Kodak Zi8 ($100)
This is Kodak’s basic point and shoot. It takes video in full HD and can shoot at 30 frames per second. It has four distinct features that make it a useful camera (and it is currently under $100)
- external audio jack – good audio is critical to your video. An external jack allows you to connect all sorts of 3rd party microphones to your camera. This allows you to use wireless and wired mics, and has the benefit that you can get the microphone closer to your subject while minimizing camera noise.
- changeable battery – most cameras run 90-120 minutes on a charge. If you plan on shooting video for an entire day, you need to plan on having a few extra batteries. Many other cameras have a built-in battery that cannot be swapped out (limiting you to the mercy of a single charge.)
- removable SD memory – allows you to use multiple SD cards up to 16gb. If you have a batter or two and two 16gb cards, you can basically shoot HD video all day long.
- 5 MP still photos– many pocket cameras don’t include a functioning basic camera. The Zi8 provides a clean 5MP photo option that means you don’t have to always pack a second camera.
Apple Touch ($150 to $400)
The Apple Touch isn’t exactly designed as a camera, but it is wildly useful for people who want some added functionality. The Apple Touch includes the ability to shoot HD video and has an audio jack like the Kodak Zi8. It has the pitfall that it has an embedded battery and memory, so when your battery dies or your memory is used up you are out of luck.
In also has a unique size, the thing is ‘micro thin’ – you can easily slide this unit into the pocket of your tightest jeans. This small form factor makes somewhat difficult to handle if you have big hands, and it also lack any type of mounting screw (this camera will be handheld, no tripods here.)
The benefits are in the software.
- This is the only HD camera on the market that has apps! For $200 to $300 you can buy an 8gb or 16gb Apple Touch and install a few video applications that allow you to edit and cut video directly on the Touch.
- You can also interact with the web through a completely functional WIFI enabled browser, or tether the unit to your phone. This means you can shoot, edit, and upload from one device.
Manfrotto Monopod ($140)
This is an optional item (at $140 it adds a good bit to the overall price of your kit) The Manfrotto Monopod is a single leg camera stand that has a small foot at the bottom. When used with a Zi8 and the LED lights below, you can stick this on the ground and it just stands there all by yourself. It is also very useful for taking shoots of yourself by holding the end and pivoting the camera head, or for taking both high and low shots of a subject. The ability to take video from different viewpoints can easily differentiate your videos/photos and make them more appealing.
SIMA LED camera light ($25)
These are the ‘best darn video lights’ for the price and allow you to capture your video almost anywhere. They are rough 2 inches X 2 inches and mount to any camera shoe, providing about 600 lumens of light. You can snap
Cowboy Studios Heavy Duty L Bracket ($10)
This unit simply screws into the bottom of most cameras and provides two flash shoe mounts. The shape helps to minimize camera shake, while the two flash mounts can be used for LED lights or an external microphone. The additional distance between the flash mount and the camera lens also helps to control lens reflection from your light.
Olympus ME-15 Lapel Microphone ($20)
The basic corded lapel microphone: a small, lightweight tie-clip unit that can be conveniently clipped almost anywhere. The cord is only 3.3 ft and is useful for doing close interviews, but if you want to extend this you can go to any electronics store and get a 6ft audio extension cord.
Rode Videomic Directional Microphone ($150)
Good sound is critical to your video. The Rode Videomic is the best entry level microphone that allows you to capture clear sound from a specific subject. This unit is powered by a 9v battery that helps it squash the clarity of non-powered microphones. It also ‘floats’ in an elastic dampening mechanism that reduces camera and operator noise. (“Directional Microphone” means that it focuses its sound collection at a single spot in front of the tube and tries to minimize noise from the side or rear.)
That’s It, My HD Mobile Video Kit
Hopefully this gives you a good idea of what you need to produce great results.
If you have any questions or ideas regarding my HD mobile video kit, please leave a comment or feel free to contact me. I am always happy to help professionals find better ways of using affordable technology and maximizing what they do.