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March 02, 2011


Ian Brodie

Hi Barbara - thank you so much for your kind words.

Camera wise, it's getting increasingly tricky to get one with an external mic that doesn't cost the earth. The low end market is focused on people taking holiday videos who don't particularly need studio sound. So in marketing terms they're focusing on their core customer but unfortunately it's no good for us small businesses!

The particular cameria I use is a Samsung vp-hmx20c which I picked up on ebay as they no longer make it. It's got a nice big lens in addition to the external mic.

Another one with an external Mic is the Canon HG10.

The Kodak Zi8 also has an external Mic socket - it's like a little flip cam so could work well for short videos as long as you're not expecting too much from it. I used it for some of my original videos but it doesn't like it when you use powerful artificial lights - you get a stroboscope effect.

Light wise, I use a set of 3 continuous lighting softboxes along with a white backdrop.

To get the pure white effect you need to blast two of the softboxes onto the backdrop with one on your face. You then need to manually adjust the white balance on your videocamera (not possible with a zi8/flip) to overexpose the background so it comes out as pure white.

If you want to do it professionaly you need 1 or 2 more F stops on a light meter on the background than on the subject. But I just use trial and error.

For the background, I do have a proper white cotton muslin sheet with a giant frame - but I actually find it easier just to erect my overhead projector screen and use that - no wrinkes to iron out!

Hope this helps.


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