Welcome to part 3 of the Christmas Wish List Series. Today's list is all about audio/video recording gear.
Before you click away click away thinking you've "got people who do that", hear me out.
Even if you are manager, or director, or training/eLearning, there are a few things you should know. We are in a transition stage with eLearning where video is not just "part of the eLearning course". Video is becoming part of everything. If your first thought, when reading the title of this post, was of a professional video crew hired to produce your latest training video, then you are limiting then possibilities of your training organization. There is so much more going on with video.
There is mobile recording/editing, and live video streaming, and so much more. In the very near future you will be utilizing video in some fashion every single day at your job. I don't expect any training department to have the budget to support professional video crews for that. At the very least, you should be equipped to make yourself look and sound terrific when using video.
There are many techniques to getting your lighting right. I will not go into those here. Depending on your location additional lighting is not always necessary. But it's always nice to have them on hand in a pinch. The best deal I've found is this starter kit by LimoStudio for under $50. It may seem strange as a gift, but you may have someone on your list who would really appreciate it.
I'd also recommend small LED lights that can placed on a mini tripod near your laptop during webinars, or live streaming events. These can be tossed in your emergency trainer's kit as well, and taken on the road with you. Because you will find yourself live streaming from hotel rooms with horrible lighting. I like the Godox LED64 but you will need to pick up a mini tripod as well. Or you could try out a table top studio kit from LimoStudio. These were meant for lighting small items for product photography, I'm guessing they'd work just as well for lighting up a face on a webcam.
I've always had fantastic results from my Logitech C910, but I would highly recommend upgrading to the Logitech C920. They have great image quality and the microphone is impressive for a webcam. You may already be using your laptop's builtin camera. But you will be much happier with how you look and sound upgrading to a quality webcam. If for no other reason than giving you more angle options to position the camera. They also handle low light situations more effectively than your builtin camera. But you should have that taken care of anyways with proper lighting gear.
Camera and Supporting Gear
This is a tough category to pick products in because there are so many to choose from. And the biggest point I'd like to make is that in many situations its better to have a cheap $100 point and shoot recording video than nothing at all.
Mobile Phone Holders
If you have a mobile device you can find many inexpensive tripods with phone holders like this one. These come in handy when using the latest mobile streaming apps like blab.im, Periscope, Meerkat, or others. These are nice to have even if you are just viewing and not participating. And they make great stocking stuffers.
If you start to get serious about your video production, or you just have some money to burn, then consider a filmmaker bundle like this one from Canon. This is the camera that popular vloggers are currently using. The Rode microphone increases your audio quality significantly. So even if you already have your main camera rig then I would suggest asking for a Rode mic this Christmas. I use the Rode VideoMic Pro. And it works great connected to my iPhone as well.
I like to recommend the items that are both inexpensive (relatively speaking) and useful. I currently have 3 different tripods in my kit. A mini tripod, a flexible medium sized tripod, and standard camera style tripod. I've already linked to a mini tripod above as well as the flexible tripod. Here I'd like to point out the standard tripod. For a little over $20 you might think this is a bad deal. But honestly, I love this 60" lightweight tripod by AmazonBasics. It's light weight, and has everything you want in a tripod. If you've got a little more room in your budget, I saw a very cool tripod at my local Apple store. It was very similar to this travel tripod for $100. The only bad thing about the $20 tripod is that it won't fit in my carryon bag or backpack. So, I'm definitely in the market for something in the travel tripod category as well.
What can I say about these little guys other than you just can't have enough of them. They would make great stocking stuffers for anyone. Who doesn't use these? I'm talking about SD Cards. There used to be many different types of memory cards, but I think the market has finally settle on SD Cards as a standard. Most cars today even have SD card slots. Amazon always has great deals on them. I'm not particular about brand. I've never had an issue with any of the cards I've purchased. For video work I would recommend the 64gb SD Cards.
You can never have enough juice for your tech gear. And cameras are no different. Always pay a little extra for a second or third battery. They will save you in times of need, or make you a hero offering it up to a friend in need. But batteries are not quite as standard as SD Cards, so make sure you know the brand and type you are looking for or requesting on your wish list.
I've already mentioned the Rode VideoMic Pro, but you may also want a clip on mic. The Rode smartlav+ is a great choice for enhancing your mobile phone video audio. Rode also carries a wireless version but it's $400. I think that's a little overkill for a trainer's gear bag. But if you've got the budget, go for it.
As I've done in the past 2 posts, I'll ask you for your list items. What did I miss? What's your favorite gear? Let me know @Litmos.