I did a 45-minute podcasting presentation at MEMO yesterday which focused on some of the practical aspects of podcasting. One of the things we talked a bit about was equipment for video podcasting. (I really don’t like the “vodcasting” or “vlogging” name.) I’m thinking about starting a video podcast, so I picked up the following gear to enable me to use my high-quality microphones with a low-end camera.
- Canon ZR800 ($200) is low-cost camcorder that records onto DV tape. Canon has always provided a low-end camera with an audio input primarily intended for the education market. The audio input is key. Without it, you’re stuck using the relatively sucky built-in mic.
- Studio 1 Productions XLR-BP Pro ($180) XLR microphone adaptor. The Canon ZR800 audio input is a 3.5-mm miniplug which means that it will be almost impossible to find a decent microphone to plug in directly. This adaptor makes it possible to use standard XLR microphones with the ZR800’s audio input. It has two XLR inputs plus a miniplug and a ¼" plug. You can mix and match any two of these input simultaneously. It’s got a clip on the back that makes it easy to hang it from your belt or attach it to a tripod.
- ARTcessories Phantom II ($60) phantom power supply will deliver the phantom power you need to use condenser mics. I got this model because it’s battery powered and thus more friendly to mobile applications. If you’re using dynamic mics then you wouldn’t need this box. Most good lavalier microphones (aka lapel mics) are condenser mics that need the 48V phantom power.
We talked about microphones, and I recommended USB headset microphones like this Logitech model for student use. The beauty of a headset microphone is that once the proper levels are set, the student can move around and not change the distance to the mic. You’ll get much more even sound levels than with a microphone on a stand.