Videos on a budget
April 14, 2016 2:48 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to record some short videos of myself talking. What equipment do I need to supplement what I have?

Difficulty level: I want to record most videos outside, and some while in motion.

Equipment I have:
1. iPhone 5
2. This Sony camera: DSC H300
3. Camera tripod
4. Selfie stick

The videos will be of myself talking. In the interest of having backgrounds more interesting than just a wall I'd like to record them outside. I assume this means I'll need a microphone. What kind? One that clips on to my shirt or one that attaches to the camera?

Second, I'd like some of the videos to feature me walking, similar to the shots in this commercial. while the conceit of that commercial is that they're just using their cell phones to film it, surely that's not all that's needed, right? I would imagine just holding my cell phone while I walked would result in a super bouncy nauseating video experience. Is this correct?

So basically my two main questions are:
1. What does it take to get good sound and eliminate wind noise?
2. What do I need for image stabilization for video filmed while walking?
posted by MsMolly to Technology (6 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I got a pretty decent lav mike for my iPhone on Amazon, and it wasn't very expensive. It's not professional quality at all, but it can reduce the wind noise.
posted by xingcat at 3:12 PM on April 14, 2016

This budget microphone has gotten good reviews, considering the pack of three costs $6.50. You can plug it in directly into your phone and probably the camera too.

iPhones have pretty decent image stabilisation. If you're not willing to spend a couple hundred dollars on a gopro camera you may just use the phone and then stabilise further in premiere pro or whatever software you use.

There's a very easy way to know if your phone and camera have enough image stabilization. Just record a few seconds of video while walking around your yard. Putting the camera on the tripod (legs extended, but closed) and holding it lightly from right below the head can stabilise the images further.

You can also get a tripod mount for your phone.

This is, of course, the cheapest way to do it, since you didn't mention a budget.
posted by Promethea at 4:29 PM on April 14, 2016

If you're filming yourself, like a selfy, you might not need any further stabilization.

When you're walking and filming something else, that's horrible bouncy video because you've got this whole chain of moving parts all the way from your toes up. When you're filming yourself, all you've got to hold still is your arm.
posted by RobotHero at 6:24 PM on April 14, 2016

You really need to focus on the sound quality. People will watch videos with garbage image quality, but if the sound quality is bad they will watch something else. You need some kind of lavalier, and you probably want to record into some kind of recorder. If you're outdoors and there's any wind you'll need a wind muff for your lavalier.

Your camera doesn't record 1080p video, but your phone does; I would use your phone to record the video. Neither the camera nor the phone will make great quality video if the light is low, so if you don't want to buy a fancier camera shoot when the light is good.

There are motorized stabilization rigs for cellphone cameras, but they tend to be a few hundred bucks. I would practice walking smoothly and not making your arm sway a whole lot.
posted by gregr at 7:31 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you really want to save cash, you can use a phone headset (earbuds+microphone) as a lapel mic- just pin it so the earbuds aren't bobbing around. To make it look even more pro, snip off the earbuds and use tape or spraypaint to colour the wire to match your clothing. And you can make a clip to attach it to your clothes by hot-glueing on a paperclip or safety pin. Works pretty well and costs very little.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 8:16 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Occasional YouTuber here.

I use my iPhone for my projects. Been thinking about going full DSLR but money's tight and really, the phone's quality is more than good enough. I use a mini boom mic (link) for better sound. I use a Glif (link) to attach said phone to a tripod.

If you haven't already, look into apps that help with filming. Filmic Pro (link) has great features, including image stabilization and audio monitoring. Instagram's Hyperlapse (link), while designed for timelapse videos, also works as a decent stabilizer when set for normal playback.
posted by Eikonaut at 11:51 PM on April 14, 2016

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