Sometimes, people ask me what gear I use to create a videoblog. For the most part, the stuff you already own is pretty good. But let’s pretend you’re going to run out and buy some new stuff to create videoblogs. I’ll tell you what I’ve got, give you some variations on the theme, and we can discuss other people’s setups in the comments section. Sound good?
My Computer: A MacBook– I have a dual core Intel Macbook. Not the pro. Just a Macbook. This has proven to be strong enough to handle my video needs. I am a Mac guy. I’ve used Macs, PCs, and Linux boxes for decades, but my heart belongs to Apple. Why? Easy. They’re easy.
My Software: iMovie or Final Cut Express– MOST of us don’t need Final Cut Pro. We’re barely scratching past iMovie, most of us. But if you want “real” video editing, I’m told Final Cut is real, and what I do in iMovie is fake. Tell you what: iMovie is free and it’s easy to use. You decide.
Storage: External Hard Drives– Storage is getting cheaper and cheaper. Don’t shackle your computer with buying a big hard drive on board. Use the built-in 40 GIG drive or 80, but use that for your WORKSPACE, and store everything off-box on an external hard drive. And while you’re at it, buy two. They’re cheap. Back one up to the other, and bring the other drive to your family’s house, or to the office, or somewhere that will protect your media, should disaster strike. Do a drive-to-drive backup once a month or once a week, depending on your production volume.
The Camera: Sony DSC-T9: This is where we can all disagree, or pimp our own favorite camera. I have a really nice Sony camera, and I have my T9. I *always* have the T9 with me. I often forget the lah-ti-dah camera. I don’t care which you use. Here’s what to consider:
DV cameras record to little magnetic tapes. This means when you’re ready to load it into your computer, you have to wait for the tape to load.
DVD cameras record to DVDs. This is pretty much only a good option for parents looking to launch unedited DVDs (or lightly edited) to grandma.
HDD cameras (not high def, but hard disk drive) record to a hard drive, and then transfer digital data at digital speeds. I prefer this type of camera, and yet, I read often that DV is better, because doing the on-camera transcode to the hard drive causes some loss of quality. *I* haven’t seen this, but I should let you know, in case you have “mission critical” data conversion requirements.
To go Hi Def, or Not to Go– Andrew Baron of Rocketboom answered this months ago. He says that hi definition is important now, even if you’re uploading video that will go to a two-inch iPod. I used to disagree. I now believe that transcoding your video to the highest quality possible, and then offering a flash or lower resolution version is the way to go. I agree. High definition is probably a good thing to shoot for now.
My Online Host: Blip.tv I need to qualify this. I use Blip.tv because I know the people who make the app. I use it because I’ve had nothing but success. I use Blip.tv because I think their product works well, and it does a ton of things for me that I don’t have to think about, just as a matter of course. So, they’re my favorite.
HOWEVER, all the other guys are reasonably good, too. I like Veoh, Revver, Brightcove, VideoEgg, and plenty of the other hosts, too. I like YouTube for what it is: a platform for fast and easy distribution where the abundance of eyeballs happen to be at present. No slight on any other service.
Your Turn– Why don’t you describe your setup. What do YOU use? What did I miss? Questions?
Chris Brogan blogs at [chrisbrogan.com]. Add him on Twitter