Hold your horses and hold your Hamiltons too.
Most people reading this—if they need to invest in anything A/V—should probably spend money on the A before spending money on the V. Here’s why:
Bad video is tolerable; bad audio is impossible. Especially in our domain—digital business and marketing and so forth—most value takes the form of information. Sure, visuals sometimes help transmit the information, but it’s the audio carrying 98% of the substance. If the sound doesn’t work, everything you said may as well be Radiohead.
It’s getting harder and harder to shoot bad video. A new smartphone camera (by itself) would have been worth several grand 5 years ago. So in all probability, you already have a fantastic camera for your needs—and all you really need (in many cases) is a good tripod.
Here’s what we use for audio:
- Rodelink Digital Wireless Lavalier Mic — We use this for head-on video. Wireless is key.
- Rode Podcaster USB Dynamic Microphone — We use this for podcasts, webinar, screencast videos, etc. Spring for the swivel-mount boom that attaches to your desk (especially if you wanna feel like a real podcaster).
So, once you’ve got audio hooked up, then you should upgrade cameras. Right?
Nope. Your camera is still probably just fine.
Your next purchase in the V department (after a tripod) should be some lighting. After all, cameras are light-capturing machines; the fanciest camera in the world won’t make you look any better sitting in the dark. No kidding: the camera which just happens to be in your pocket really can make magic if you give it the ingredients.
Get yourself a three-point setup (we use 3 of these lights) and position like so: