Best tools for capturing video and audio on a tradeshow floor?
August 28, 2008 2:16 PM   Subscribe

Help me figure out the best video/audio recording gear for my company.

We're starting to do some in-house videos, and a lot of them are being filmed (at least in part) at trade shows, on the show floor. In the past, we've had a really cumbersome setup that involved a tripod, a tape-based camera, and an external mic. More cumbersome was the fact that only one person in the company had the necessary tools to get video off the camera, and he's always really busy.

So when I saw the Flip camera, I thought, this is it! Guys can shoot video on the show floor, then when they get back to their room they just it to me for editing. But it turns out the Flip doesn't have a jack for an external mic, and the internal mic is no good for a loud tradeshow floor.

So, I guess this is a two-part question - is there a Flip-like alternative that either has a great built-in mic or an external mic jack? The USB connection is the big allure of the Flip.

And, what microphone is best suited for such an environment? Is there a reasonably priced microphone that is great at getting the up-close audio while capturing just a bit of ambient sound?

Price is a little bit of an issue, because in a perfect world we'd have 3-4 of these complete kits in the office for people to take with them on trips. So we can't quite afford top-of-the-line, but we don't want to look/sound like amateur hour either.
posted by jbickers to Technology (1 answer total)
This article may be relevant to your interests. But for them, "budget" means $20k.

If you want usable audio on a noisy show floor, you either want a wireless lavalier or a directional (shotgun) microphone. Both are external. There are relatively nice and relatively good sounding shotgun microphones available today. The same thing goes for wireless lavs, but you have to know that when operating them, you'll be using a radio transmitter without a license (outlaw! but then so is the Superbowl), and that starting Feb. 2009 the FCC will be doing whatever it will be doing with the spectrum most lavs (and certainly budget ones) operate in.

Whatever microphone you use, you'll get some bleed from the floor. The wider the pattern of your shotgun, or the farther the lav from the source, the more you'll be getting. In an ideal (and expensive & complicated) world, you'd have a 3rd microphone (or set thereof) recording just floor ambiance. The least complicated might be to record some "floor noise" and mix to taste in post-production.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 11:22 PM on August 28, 2008

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