Recording high-quality videos can be quite difficult, but it doesn't have to be. In this article, we will show you how to maximize the video quality without breaking the bank.
If you want to use a webcam:
Having a good webcam is crucial for being able to record good video. Not all cameras are created equal, and they need to have certain features in order to perform their best. here's a breakdown of the features your webcam should ideally have:
- High-resolution sensor
- This determines how sharp the video will look. At a bare minimum, you should have a camera with a VGA (640x480) resolution for video, but you should try to get 720p or 1080p HD. This is becoming cheap now, and should not be a problem. Be sure to take note of whether or not the webcam takes video at that resolution as well, some only take still images at these resolutions.
- High frame rate
- This is how fast the camera can take pictures in video mode. It determines how well your camera will handle movement. A low frame rate would be anything less than 24 frames per second. If it doesn't support speeds at least that fast, then your video will look choppy or jittery.
- A good microphone
- Nobody wants to watch a video with bad sound. The best way to ensure your webcam has a good microphone is to see if it is stereo or has noise-canceling technology built in. Ideally, you should use a separate microphone, but some webcams are good enough to not need that.
- A mount that supports your monitor.
- Many webcams are designed to work with both laptops and desktops. However, some are only designed to work with one or the other. Make sure you check to make sure the one you're getting will work well with what you have.
If you want to use a real camera:
Using a real camera is always preferred to using a webcam in terms of quality. However, full-blown cameras are considerably more expensive than webcams. If your budget allows for it, then you should look for an HD camera that has support for 1080p and support for an external microphone of some kind. The microphones that are built in to most camcorders are usually only marginally better than or as bad as the ones in webcams.
The best brands to look for in a camcorder are Canon, Panasonic, and Sony. They have the best reputations in the industry for consumer and pro-sumer equipment.
It's important to note, using a physical camera adds some extra steps to get the video into BombBomb, including loading the video onto your computer, and possibly some editing as well.
Mobile device camera:
Having a good external microphone is ideal for your video, as microphones that are built-in to most cameras have harsh sound and will pick up unwanted ambient noise. Most microphones will do, but you should read reviews to see how good the quality is. Also, if you are buying a microphone for a dedicated camera, you need to make sure it either uses the same connector or has an adaptor for what you need.
One thing to keep in mind with microphones is what kind they are. Unidirectional microphones are microphones that will only pick up the sound of whatever they're pointed at. They would probably be the best for recording single subjects, and will all but eliminate any background noise. Omni-directional microphones, on the other hand, are the most common and are designed to pick up everything. While convenient, these microphones are much more prone to picking up background noise.
Unidirectional microphones usually have to be bought at music shops and other audio equipment shops. They also typically use the professional XLR connector type, and will probably need an adaptor and/or amplifier to work with your computer or camera. They are well-worth the money and will last a long time.
Sometimes, the microphones will have names like "cardioid" or "super-cardioid". These mean that the microphone is almost unidirectional, with a narrow listening angle. Super-cardioid is even narrower, so that would likely be a good bet for a first microphone.
One other thing that can greatly improve the audio of your recording is to place sound-absorbing foam panels on the walls around your recording room. They don't have to cover the entirety of your walls, just have a few be strategically placed around the room. Egg cartons and cardboard work too, but sound absorbing foam isn't too expensive and looks a lot better on your walls.
For basic video editing, Windows Movie Maker (for PCs) or iMovie (for Macs) will suffice. You can trim the beginning and end of videos, add some effects or titles and a lot more. For more advanced editing, you many want to consider Adobe Premiere or Adobe Premier Elements, Final Cut Pro, or Sony Vegas Pro.
Lighting is by far the most overlooked part of video production. Just by having better lights, you can drastically improve the video you get from your camera. Once you know the basics of three-point-lighting, you should invest in a good starting light package or build your own using ordinary clamp-lights, decent bulbs, some dimmer packs, and some white, heat-resistant fabric with clothes pins to serve as a diffuser. It's not hard to do and will make your viewers go "wow!"
While having your own lights is great, another thing to watch for is light bleeding in from windows or open doors. They can detract from the subject and make the video harder to watch. Black curtains or even towels can easily absorb the light from windows and should be one of the first things you consider when making your video.
One last thing that can really help your videos for cheap is a bounce board. A bounce board is no more than a large white sheet of posterboard. You use it to softly reflect light and fill in shadows on your subject. All for the cost of about $2 and a volunteer, you can drastically improve the quality of your shots both indoors and outdoors.