If you’re interested in using video in your communication plans but don’t really know where to start – what equipment to get or what software you’ll need – three excellent articles published today on Journalism.co.uk will give you some clear pointers.
Written by Andy Dickinson, who teaches digital and online journalism and is course leader for the BA Digital Journalism Production at the University of Central Lancashire, the three articles discuss options to consider depending on the budget you have.
Although the articles were written with a focus on how mainstream media newsrooms could apply video to their websites, I think all the content is valid and wholly applicable from a broader organizational communication perspective.
Take a look and see what you think:
- How to: set up video for newspaper websites on a budget (part one) – If you want to take the plunge and have a go at video in your newsroom or to add another content string to your bow, you don’t have break the bank. Start small (and cheap) and you can try out the process before you commit to more expensive kit. Budget: £0 to £150.
- How to: set up video for newspaper websites on a budget (part two) – If a mobile phone or stills camera seems a bit limiting and you have some money to spare then you could take a trip to your local electrical retailer and buy a camcorder. Budget: up to £300.
- How to: set up video for newspaper websites on a budget (part three) – If you have a bit of money to spare and want to kit yourself out with pro level kit then you will find yourself spoilt for choice. Budget: over £300.
Really, some great advice.
Although I’ve been shooting video for some years with a mobile phone – from a Nokia N70 in 2005, then a Nokia N73 and, from a few months ago, a Nokia N95 8GB – I’m a relatively new starter with video beyond that.
Mobile phones are great devices for on-the-fly video recording, increasingly so with services like Qik that provide opportunities for live video streaming on the web from a mobile phone (I’m trying out Qik with my N95 8GB).
If you want to move into some of the capability areas such as Andy sets out in his second article, though, you’ll need a camcorder.
Last year, I bought a Sony DCR-SR52, a really excellent device that I use with some client projects as well as for general use.
So to add to Andy’s content, here’s my current video equipment list:
- Sony HDD Handycam Utility and Sony Picture Motion Browser – these applications come with the Sony camcorder and are the bare essentials you need to manipulate video files to and from the camcorder. One important note – Sony camcorders like mine don’t officially support the Mac, something Sony don’t make very clear in the product information (nor on the product packaging other than in small print). Windows Vista support is ok.
- Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum Edition – I’m just getting to know this editing and creating tool which is a powerful yet easy-to-learn application for editing and manipulating video files and producing movies.
- Camtasia Studio 4 – an indispensable application for creating screencasts (eg, narrated PowerPoints presentations or recording application demos) and for its simple and powerful features for producing movies in formats like FLV (perfect for use on the web). The latest version of Camtasia is 5 but I’ve seen no compelling reason to upgrade from version 4.
- Xilisoft Video Converter – offering an amazing array of options to convert to and from over 20 different video file format types. The latest version 3.1 includes the capability to convert files to the new iPhone file format as well as formats for PSP and Blackberry.
- FLV Player – in my view, the best free Flash video player for Windows.
As I said, this is just my list. There is plenty of choice out there which is explored by Andy in his three articles.
It’s never been easier – and never at such low cost – to get started with video.