Video Gear – Don’t Overdo it!

I’m working on a music video for my library right now, so lighting, audio, and video equipment is pretty fresh in my head at the moment (more on that video later).

If you make video of any type for your library (and you should be!), here’s something to remember: don’t overdo it.

Remember your end-goal. The goal really isn’t a professionally-polished video (although that’s nice). The goal isn’t to have crystal-clear, audiophile-quality sound (although that’s nice). The goal isn’t to have pristine lighting (although, again … that’s nice).

Your real goal is to be seen and heard – to communicate. Make the video, the lighting, and the audio good enough so that it doesn’t distract viewers from your real goal.

With that goal in mind:

  • Do you need a great set of wireless mics, or do you just need to scoot the camera closer to the person?
  • Do you need a great three-point video lighting system, or do you just need a sunny window?
  • Do you need a fancy DSLR camera, or do you just need to … learn the equipment you have first?

Definitely focus on making the best video you can. But also don’t lose track of the real goal.

Cool DSLR setup by Andy Ramdin

Video Creation at the Library

The video in this post is just me, playing around with a greenscreen for the first time (and playing around with the new Final Cut Pro X – nice app!). So in the video, first you’ll see me with a green background. Then I replace the green color with black, and then I replace it with a silly image.

Yay – I figured out how to use our greenscreen!

Towards the end of the video, I show off the beginnings of my library’s video studio (and I have to say – I really need to work on my video narration skills. I can do it pretty well when I do a little prep work, but not so much when it’s off-the-cuff. Yikes!).

So, our video studio. It’s really just some office space we weren’t using anymore. We cleaned it out (it had turned into storage), painted one wall with a bucket of chroma key greenscreen paint, and set up a couple of computers in the room:

  • Computer #1: A PC that we use for creating screencasts. We use Techsmith’s Camtasia.
  • Computer #2: an Apple iMac with Final Cut Pro, iMovie, GarageBand, etc on it. We use it for video editing, and for creating our HUSH podcast series.

Assuming our Board of Trustees votes our 2012 budget into existence next month, I’ll be able to buy some more video equipment next year! I plan to get a backdrop stand, some backdrops, and a lighting set. Most likely, I’ll also buy some microphones – especially some wireless mics. Take a good listen to the audio in my video – adequate, but not great. I used the internal mic on the video camera, which picked my voice up fine … it also picked up a bunch of room sound. That can be easily fixed with better mics!

That’s what we’re doing, anyway. How are you growing your organization’s video setup?