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Which Camera to use for recording
DIY Promotional Videos

Video - The Ultimate Communication

You may or may not have yet decided to record with the

Face-to-camera or Voice-over method.

To help you with that decision, it’s a good idea to look at the different types of camera you’re able to use and that will help you with the decision

Always keeping in mind that the rationale for this Do-it-yourself Video series is to make use of the equipment you already own, keeping an eye on what can be achieved by adding a little more equipment that will make a big difference.

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I’ve set 3 categories of cameras for this tutorial and then in the following set of 4 tutorials, which includes voice-over only recording, I will show you how to use each of those to make your promotional videos.

FILMING-RECORDING OPTIONS

 

1/ Webcams

2/ Cell phone Camera

3/ DSLR

4/ Voiceover only

 

They all have their Pros and Cons.

 

I’ll look at the simplest and likely to be the lowest cost alternative.

 

You will most likely have a webcam already attached to your computer or laptop. To use the webcam to make videos you will need a screen recorder software app on your computer. If you are a Mac user, you are in luck as “QuickTime Player” comes with your Mac.

 

If you are a PC user there are free Screen recorders available, look at OBS Studio. and FlashBack Express.

 

I’ll be concentrating on Apple’s QuickTime player in this tutorial.

 

Also, have a look at “Filmage Screen” it records your voice as well as the computer’s screen audio. Quicktime does not record the screen audio - without some complicated workarounds.

A Tip: No matter what camera you are using, position yourself at a little angle from the camera lens - rather straight onto the lens. You will look less like a startled deer in the headlights.

1/ Using a Webcam.

There are some things you will need to find out though, to evaluate the potential results.

 

What resolution does it record at?

Does it have a microphone built-in?

 

You will find these in your computer’s specs.

You are looking to see if the webcam records at 720P or 1080p. 720p is just OK, you really want at least 1080p.

 

If your computer doesn’t have a webcam or microphone, you will need to purchase those.

 

The Equipment costs are at the end of this tutorial

 

First Let’s assume you do have a webcam and a built-in microphone in your computer.

 

If you only have a webcam with 720p resolution the video will be a bit soft.

 

1080p will record a full HD video which will be adequate. 4K is becoming more accepted, but that will require you to buy a 4K webcam, as I don’t know of any computers with 4K webcams built-in.

 

My suggestion for 4K resolution is a Logitech Brio for a 4K webcam with a suitable Microphone attached mid-US$ 200.

 

Whatever you consider, let me emphasize at this point that a built-in microphone on your computer will not cut the mustard for a professionally sounding promotional video. The Mic in the Logitech Brio will be just OK.

 

The key to getting good sound is to have the microphone as close to your mouth as possible.

 

This means no microphone will give optimum sound when it is attached to your computer because of the physical distance.

 

In my mind, if you are using a webcam to film you need a USB microphone or Lavalier Microphone (lapel Mic) that you can position close to your mouth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon has USB Microphones from US$20.00

 

 

Tip:

If you only purchase one item, I suggest that a microphone will make the biggest difference to the quality of your promotional video.

 

With that said don’t skimp, something in the $50/60.00 range at least and if you can stretch to it look at buying the Blue Yeti. You will notice the difference.

 

You are also best to include a Foam Mic Windscreen, and a pop Filter, Consider a Scissor Arm Stand - many mics ship with these items in the package for under $100.00

 

 

 

 

Also consider a USB Lavalier Microphone as this will clip on to your lapel - hence the common name: lapel Microphone

Be sure to check that your PC will accept a USB Microphone. All recent Macs are fine.

 

You will be able to use the Free Teleprompter software - I will discuss that in the next tutorial which will look at How to record from a webcam using QuickTime Player.

 

 

Using a Cell Phone Camera

 

Let’s look at using cell phone to record your Face-to-face video.

 

As with webcams, the resolution of your phone’s camera is important. Particularly the Selfie camera, as this will be the optimum way to record.

 

Cell phone cameras have a set focus point so you need to find out what is the optimum distance from your face and mark that spot for future filming.

 

You may decide to use the rear camera but you will not be able to see yourself while you are recording. Which makes it hard - not impossible though.

 

There is a different advantage in using the rear camera as it will be 4K on recent phones, whereas the Selfie camera probably is only 1080P

 

On the balance, I suggest you should consider the selfie camera, as the ability to see yourself and the added benefit of having the facility for a teleprompter, outplays the drop in resolution.

 

I’ll talk about the teleprompter in minute.

 

First let’s look at what you need to use your phone’s camera.

 

A small cheap tripod is necessary. Nothing special needed, and you most likely have one already.

 

You also need some device that will grip the phone like a Tripod Mount for Phone - $5- $10.00

 

Audio is actually more important than the video, so the audio recorded from your phone’s camera will not be up to scratch because of the distance it will be from your mouth.

 

Hence the need for a separate audio recording device like Lavalier (Lapel) Microphone that plugs into your phone and the mic will be close to your mouth.

 

Be careful that the plug suits your type of phone: 3.5 pin for PC and Lightning cable for iPhone.

 

However depending on the quality of the audio channel on your phone, you may need a USB microphone that is close to your mouth, attached to your computer, and recorded into Quicktime, as suggested for webcam recording.

 

This will mean you need to sync the external microphones audio and the phone audio in the editing software. I cover that process in the Video editing tutorial.

 

Other than that you are ready to go.

 

 

Using the teleprompter.

 

Checkout: teleprompter lite. when using a screen recorder. There is a paid Pro version.

 

This will scroll text on your phone’s screen allowing you to read and have your eyes looking into the lens.

 

 

The third camera category is the DSLR.

 

If you already have one then this is a possible alternative for your promotional video as the image will be better - most likely 4k if you have a recent DSLR.

 

It will be best if the camera has a flip screen so you can see yourself and it must have an audio channel.

 

You most likely will need to buy a 3.5mm jack microphone, the cheapest possible as the audio will not be used in the video, it is just to match audio from your main microphone when you do the editing.

 

Which brings me to the extra costs to consider when using DSLR.

 

If you use your computer’s audio recording software, while filming with the DSLR, you could record from a USB Microphone as I discussed in the section on webcams.

 

Otherwise you could use the Audio channel in your camera, which means you need a better microphone on the camera.

 

Results will depend on the quality of your DSLR’s audio channel and the mic that you use.

 

You could consider an external audio recorder like a Zoom H1

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been using a Zoom H1 for years - most impressed. You will need to sync in the video edit though.

 

You can buy Teleprompters for DSLRs, but now you are getting into some more substancial costs, so I don’t think this comes under the brief for this tutorial.

 

If you are considering a teleprompter for your DSLR, contact me via my web page and we can discuss over Skype or Zoom. The link is in the description below.

 

If all of this sounds too hard, then your decision between Face-to-Camera and Voice-over will be easier to make - and go for voice-over only.

 

 

The background behind you

It is important that you consider the background behind you. Something in-keeping with the image for the target audience you are appealing to.

 

Another option is the use of a green screen, I discuss them in the video that talks about what other equipment you may need.

 

 

 

As a Final Tip:

Most importantly, think of how the image you are presenting will encourage your audience to go to your web page.

 

As I have said before, your web page is your shop, whether it has eCommerce or not, Just as you would want your physical shop to look attractive and inviting, do the same for your web page.

 

Now you have the camera or webcam to film your video, the next set of tutorials will look at each device in detail.

 

a/ Webcams

b/ Cell phone

c/ DSLR

d/ Voiceover

 

 

 

Approximate Equipment costs:

Webcam recording.

 

Required

WebCam

Sound card - for PCs

Screen recording software

 

Suggested:

Teleprompter. Free

USB Lavalier (Lapel) Microphone: from $20.00

USB mic inc stand: from $40.00, suggest Blue Yeti $70.00

 

Optional extras:

Filmage Screen.

Audio recorder such as a Zoom H1 - $99.00

Logitech Brio 4K webcam inc Microphone attached mid US$200.

3 x LED lights and stands: From $60.00

Green Screen and stand: from $80.00

 

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Equipment for Cell Phone Cameras:

 

Required

Tripod - $2-$10.00

Tripod Mount for Phone - $5- $10.00

 

Suggested:

Video teleprompter lite for iOS or equivalent - free version Pro version: $30.00

Lavalier (lapel) Microphone. From $20.00

3.5 pin for PC and Lightning cable for iPhone

 

Optional extras:

USB mic inc stand: from $40.00, suggest Blue Yeti $70.00

Audio recorder such as a Zoom H1 - $99.00

3 x LED lights and stands: From $60.00

Green Screen and stand: from $80.00

 

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Equipment for a DSLR:

 

Required

Tripod $10 - $20.00

3.5mm jack Lavalier microphone: $40.00 plus

 

Suggested:

 

Optional extras:

Audio recorder such as a Zoom H1 - $99.00

USB mic inc stand: from $40.00, suggest Blue Yeti $70.00

Teleprompter: From $100.00

3 x LED lights and stands: From $60.00

Green Screen and stand: from $80.00

 

 

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