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  1. Member
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    Hey Guys!

    Newbie here. I have modest goals and would welcome input on how to affordably achieve them.

    I am a Chief Technology Officer for a school district and I need to produce a series of video podcasts, or "Todcasts" to communicate to (and, sigh... entertain) my customers. What I need to do is have talking head video, interspersed with screen shots and quick edits of folks asking questions and demonstrating principles I'm discussing. I'll have voice overs, music and audio effects. I will need to spice it up with cool graphics and funky effects from time to time. I am a musician on the side with formidable audio equipment, mostly for music making. I am learning video by applying my audio knowledge, which fits well in some cases, not in others. I'd like these to be as close to professional as possible, more to make them more compelling for my audience than as for marketing.

    I need to make these videos fun, funny and secretly informative. They'll be less than 5 minutes apiece

    Here's what I think I need, please provide feedback:

    A $1,000ish camera, including lens (recommendations?)
    Lighting diffusor and lights for indoor shots
    A decent, not great external mic (I have some super high end boutiquey mics as needed)
    A GroPro (already have this) for fun affects
    Screen recording software
    A decent tripod
    camera clamps for DIY dollies and other moving camera effects
    basic video editing software (I'm thinking of just Adobe Premiere Elements for now)

    I work on Windows equipment, although I use a MacBook Pro (late 2011, i7 quad core, 16G RAM, 1TB SSD) for my music stuff. I'd rather do this on my work laptop, but if need be, I could use the MacBook Pro and then iMovie or the like.

    I assume, as with audio production, the equipment is 10% of the end product, while know how and creativity is the other 90%? I assume lighting is a big part of visually compelling video, just as the acoustic environment is for audio?

    I'm looking at less than $1,500 bucks for a modest package of the above. Am I forgetting anything important? is my target goal achieveable?

    Thanks in Advance,

    Todzilla
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  2. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    Todzilla, in the future please use a more descriptive subject title in your posts to allow others to search for similar topics. I will change yours this time. From our rules:
    Try to choose a subject that describes your topic.
    Please do not use topic subjects like Help me!!! or Problems.
    Thanks,

    Moderator redwudz
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  3. Member bendixG15's Avatar
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    You have a full plate. Just who is going to be doing all this work ? That's a steep curve to climb.
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  4. Originally Posted by Todzilla View Post
    A $1,000ish camera, including lens (recommendations?)
    No reason to spend that much money. All you need is an HD camcorder that has manual controls. You will want to be able to fix the focus; select indoor white balance (or outdoor if you are using 5000K lighting); and have manual sound levels, although this last one may not be available in really low-end cameras. Given what you are doing, a good microphone is far more important, and I'd save money for that.

    Originally Posted by Todzilla View Post
    Lighting diffusor and lights for indoor shots.
    You can build your own lighting kit for next to nothing. It doesn't take much time, other than a trip to Home Depot. Use Google and look for "build your own video lighting kit."

    Originally Posted by Todzilla View Post
    A decent, not great external mic (I have some super high end boutiquey mics as needed).
    This is the one where you need to spend more money than you are currently contemplating. There is a substantial difference in the sound quality between the mics in even a half-decent camcorder, and a semi-pro mic. The professional microphones can cost more than a car, but for $200, you should be able to get something that will make the audio much, much cleaner and clearer. I prefer a regular hand-held mic rather than a small lapel mic, although the latter is really easy to set up. If you use a hand-held, you can get a long pole from Home Depot, tape the mic to it, and then use the pole to suspend the microphone just out of the shot, above the talent.

    Originally Posted by Todzilla View Post
    A GroPro (already have this) for fun effects.
    I see absolutely no need for this. A GoPro is an amazing camera (I own the Sony Action cam, which is a direct competitor). If you are planning to have your teachers sky dive, surf, or ride a bike really fast, then get a GoPro. However, once you remove it from its POV video use, it really suffers. Remember, it has no focus; has a huge amount of barrel distortion; and a lens that is built for durability, not quality.

    Originally Posted by Todzilla View Post
    Screen recording software.
    Camtasia.

    Originally Posted by Todzilla View Post
    A decent tripod.
    Two ways to go on the tripod. If you are going to be mostly pointing the camera at talking heads, you don't need to spend significant money. However, if you are going to be panning and following the talent, or if you are doing a lot of extreme telephoto work, then a solid tripod is essential. You also must get a fluid head if you plan to pan. That is essential, not optional.

    I would research both this and the camera choice at one of the camera or video sites. This site certainly has people that know about these things, but the other sites have a repository of information that dwarfs what you will find here.

    Originally Posted by Todzilla View Post
    camera clamps for DIY dollies and other moving camera effects.
    Home Depot.

    Originally Posted by Todzilla View Post
    basic video editing software (I'm thinking of just Adobe Premiere Elements for now)
    Learning curve is an issue. Pinnacle Studio is the easiest to learn video editing software for the PC. As a long-time (15 year) user of Vegas Pro, I would also recommend Vegas Movie Studio which is their entry-level version. It is not as easy to learn at Studio, but it is much easier to use. In other words, once you have it figured out, you'll get a LOT more work done per hour than with almost any other editing tool on the market.

    Originally Posted by Todzilla View Post
    ... acoustic environment is for audio?
    I highly recommend building your own "Porta-Booth" for any voice-over work. Here is a picture of mine:



    I just picked up some acoustic foam and glued it to the inside of a cardboard box (that extra piece of foam in the back is a scrap that I forgot to remove before I took the pic). I place the microphone inside the foam and speak into the box. Here is a link to one of dozens of sites that tell you how to construct it, and it shows the microphone inside the box:

    Porta Booth

    If you want more information, do a Google search for Douglas Spotted Eagle (an Emmy award winner who also jumps out of planes, teaches video editing, and much more) and you'll find more information about this great way to get professional voice-over audio without having to build an entire soundproof room.

    If you do a lot of voiceover, you might want to get a pop filter. I got a really good one, but you can spend less and still get good results. Here is a pic of mine:



    Here is a silly trailer I did for a film some of my friends made when we were in high school back in the 1960s. One of them recently re-discovered the film, sent it to me, and I transferred it using my film transfer equipment, added foley and other stuff, and then got inspired to make a deliberately stupid trailer:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AiTW8GdmYI

    Pay attention to the audio quality (not my stupid voice, which I surgically altered to make it deeper).

    Originally Posted by Todzilla View Post
    I'm looking at less than $1,500 bucks for a modest package of the above. Am I forgetting anything important? is my target goal achieveable?
    Easily.
    Last edited by johnmeyer; 7th Apr 2017 at 19:57. Reason: minor typo
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