Video Equipment Revisit

It’s been quite a while since I wrote the Video Equipment Overview article and some of the parts are worth taking another look at and some new offerings as well. So, let’s jump right in with some new and improved recommendations.

 

Smartphone Microphone

Rode VideoMic Me-L $80

A Lightning jack version of the original VideoMic Me for iPhone and iPad users.

 

Smartphone Stabilizer

DJI Osmo Mobile 3 $120

Since offering their original OSMO that took the gimbel and camera from their drones and mounted it on a convenient handle, DJI has replaced the integrated camera with a pinch-mount for your smartphone giving you all the functionality while utilizing the high-quality camera we carry around in our pocket dropping the cost to just over $100.

 

Budget/Prosumer Production Microphone

Rode Wireless Go $200

Rode has a new wireless on-talent microphone at a great price with some nice features. On top of Rode’s quality, the Wireless Go is tiny, can clip on using an integrated mic or be a beltpack when paired with their smartLav+, auto-negotiates between the transmitter and receiver, and is rechargeable with multi-hour runtime.

 

Budget RGBW Light

Aputure MC $90

RGBW lights aren’t new and even small versions have been available for a while, but the new MC combines several features hard to find together under $100. It has full HSI controls with special FX, is surprisingly bright for being thin and easily pocket-sized, comes with a very robust control app, has super strong magnets on the back for mounting, and can be charged wirelessly on a Qi charger or via the custom case that doubles as a multi-charger.

 

Professional Camera

Panasonic AU-EVA1 $6500

While a slight step up from the previous camera cost-wise, the EVA1 ups the ante to easily justify the extra money with a 5.7K sensor, 10-bit 4:2:2 at 4Kp60, dual native ISOs at 800 & 2500, 14-stops of dynamic range, V-log, and dual SD card storage.

 

Tripod System

Manfrotto MVH502A + 546BK-1 $640

A very respectable tripod system that is robust enough for daily use, while not breaking the bank. It’s not as sturdy with a heavy camera atop it as my previous suggestion of the Vinten Blue, but cameras are getting so light that unless you’re weighing yours down with tons of accessories that shouldn’t be a concern and when you have a lot of equipment to lug around you appreciate weight conservation.

 

Webcams

Webcams have made some nice improvements in the last few years, but at the same time haven’t changed dramatically. While my previous suggestions are still great options, there are a few new models to consider if you’re looking for improved quality.

Logitech Streamcam $170

A great webcam that delivers 1080p at 60fps, is Windows/OSX cross-platform, provides robust control via Logitech Capture, plays nicely with OBS, and can be easily changed to vertical orientation.

 

Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro $200

While Zoom calls can only look so good with heavy compression, if you have the need for 4K or 1080p60 the Brio Ultra HD Pro fits that bill. It also features HDR, which is especially useful if you can’t avoid being near a window, and an adjustable field of view to accommodate groups of people. It comes with a comparable price tag though.

 

USB Microphone

Blue Yeti X $170

An update to the Blue Yeti mic, the Yeti X adds a conveniently visible audio meter directly on the mic curved around the control knob and an updated mic capsule. While both are nice to have, they may not be worth the extra $50 unless you have trouble keeping your audio level meter in sight and find yourself having to address your levels in post.

 

Webconferencing Light

Selfie LED Ring Light $25-150

Intended for taking selfies, these lights work very well for lighting you during a video call. Features typically include a daylight/tungsten selection, dimming, remote control, and included tripod. You can usually get one on Amazon for around $50 with more professional versions around $100.

 

HDMI > USB Capture Device

Ikan Homestream &85

If you have a need to use an external video source for a video call, one of these adapters is the easiest way to get that feed into your computer. Ikan’s new Homestream converts 1080 HDMI signals without the need of a power supply. These are a great accessory if you plan to use a DSLR or mirrorless camera instead of a webcam.

 

Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras have become mainstream in the last few years providing lighter, smaller, typically cheaper options to DSLRs. However, not as many lenses are available. Below are a couple options on the cheaper end that would be hard to go wrong with, but please do your own research. If you plan on using a mirrorless as a webcam make sure that it doesn’t have a timeout that would keep it from being useful. A 15 minutes timeout is common.

Fujifilm X-T30 $900

 

Canon EOS RP $1000

 

DSLR Cameras

DSLRs are still the mainstay for pro photographers providing faster autofocus and optical viewfinders. Here are a couple entry level options that warrant serious consideration.

Canon EOS Rebel SL3 $550

 

Canon EOS Rebel T7i $700

 

 

 

RECORDING MEMORY

With 4K and 360° recordings now commonplace memory write speeds have had to advance alongside as these new space hungry formats have gone mainstream. The new Video Speed Class is used for today’s fastest flash memory cards. UHS-3, the previous reigning speed champ, is only in the middle of the VSC ratings. While UHS-3, or V30, is fast enough for some compressed 4K footage, the less compressed and higher bit-depth you go the faster the memory you’ll need, reaching up into V60. For high-quality, single-device 360° and VR recordings as well as 6K and 8K, you’ll need V90 certified media. With devices continually moving smaller it’s likely that most lower-end professional and consumer cameras will keep the SD card format making the investment in a V90 over a V30 or V60 card a good option, as long as the price gap isn’t jaw-dropping.

Below is a chart from the SD Association about the Speed Class Standards comparing the minimum write speeds for each class and the associated video resolution. Their page on Speed Class Standards provides an introduction video to the new Video Speed Class and further detailed information.

Chart comparing minimum sequential write speed, speed class, and recording video resolution

 

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