For larger productions and important pieces, you will typically be calling us or similar agencies and production houses, but often when you want to get something quick out there via video content, you might pull out your smartphone. Although smartphones have gotten very good lately, there are somethings that we can do to improve our own self-productions. And investing in certain video gear can help quite a bit.
One of the most important things overlooked in self-video production, is audio. Getting a clear audio feed from whomever is speaking is critical. Many Hollywood directors have been known to say that they would rather have good quality audio than good quality video. Because audiences will forgive poor video quality more easily than poor audio. Our ears are very particular.
If your camera as a microphone input (not all do) it is often an 1/8″ headphone jack type of connection. In which case you can buy this type of microphone to plug right into the camera, and clip on to your talent.
Put some headphones on to monitor what is being recorded, and you are good to go.
Along the lines of what your audience will forgive… shaky and unsteady video is not one of them. Support your cameras and make it as smooth a video as possible. You can do so with traditional tripods but also with very portable and easy to use systems like this. And if you are going to use your smartphone, this one is hard to beat.
Now if you have a modern smartphone, you may not feel the need to upgrade the camera. But if you want to get an even nicer picture and are willing to learn a new camera, I would not discourage you from doing so.
In the sub $3,000 market, DSLRs still are a great solution. They provide very cinematic looking images with great detail. The Canon Rebel is very popular and looks great. You just need to learn some things about exposure and focus, but if you are up for the challenge, it will pay off.
For something a little more “point and shoot”, camcorders are an option. This affordable one from Canon would do the trick. However, at this point, you are losing some of that cinematic quality that the DSLR provides, and it may not be worth switching from a good smartphone, unless you need to zoom feature that smartphones still don’t do very well at this time.
In addition to these recommendations, you can get extra lights or take a look at this post on using natural light. But whatever you do, keep in mind these 3 things:
If you accomplish those 3 things, and invest in a little video gear, you and your video will be looking good.