Holiday Wish List for Corporate Training Professionals: Part 3 – Video Gear

my holiday wish list

Welcome to Part 3 of this year’s holiday wish list for the corporate training professional. If you want to catch up, here is Part 1 & Part 2. And here is last years Video Gear Post.

I still believe video to be the most useful medium for the 21st century training professional/team. Video is cheaper and easier than ever to produce. Video can be captured on in many different ways. There are GoPros, mobile phones, webcams, security cameras, screen capture apps, professional DSLR cameras, pocket cameras, and yes people still use the standard video cam. Editing has never been easier as well with mobile apps and even browser-based editors. Publishing/sharing your final masterpiece is as simple as a couple taps/clicks, upload, and send/post. And live streaming is also booming right now. All of this adds up to the fact you must consider using video at some point in your training strategies. This list is for you, and/or your team members, colleagues, or friends in the training industry.

Get the Right Lighting for Your Training Videos

Lighting is getting cheaper and cheaper as well. So spend $100 and pick up a cheap lighting kit from Amazon. I’ve purchased a few over the years and I can tell you that you get what you pay for. If you attempt to purchase the entire lighting kit that includes the backdrops… or $100, or a little more, you will be disappointed. Spend at least $100 on just the lights, umbrellas, and stands. And then go back and find a good backdrop if you really need one.

This kit from Emart also includes 2 extra reflective umbrellas. But just search for lighting kit and you’ll see all the options around $50.

You also may want to consider a small portable light for mobile phone videography in low light situations. You can get small “selfie” ring lights that clip onto your phone for $12. It’s worth having one in your kit just in case. Sometimes I clip it onto my laptop for extra lighting during webinars. They may seem silly, but they come in handy.

Good Microphones Make Your Training Videos Better

Your viewers will put up with bad video, but they are far less likely to put up with bad audio. So make sure you get the sound right. If you are doing mobile phone videography you’ll find that the built-in mic is actually pretty good. However, point and shoot cameras, and DSLRs often have horrible builtin mics. So make sure your camera has a mic input so that you can connect a better microphone.

I prefer the Rode Videomic Pro but it is not cheap at $229. There are plenty of blog posts written on this topic in great detail. Do a quick search, narrow down your choices, and then ask your network.

Stabilize Your Training Videos with a Tripod

A lot of trainers first starting out with video will point and shoot. I’m a big fan of that. You’ve got to start somewhere and just overcoming the fear of tapping the record button is a big step forward. But once you’re comfortable and past that stage, then you’ll wonder how to make your work look better. Besides lighting, stabilizing the camera is an easy step to take towards improving your video productions for training.

I recommend 3 different sized tripods: Small, medium, and large. The small tripods are often called table top tripods, or Lightweight mini tripods. The medium tripods are also table top style, but a little bigger. I like the pakpod and the GorillaPod. Each is useful for different reasons. You will see today’s popular Vloggers using the large Gorillapod for their DSLRs. The pakpod is relatively new but extremely flexible in it’s ability to handle many shooting situations. And for a larger, standard, size tripod I recommend the cheap 60inch variety. You can pick them up for $20 on Amazon.

Upgrade from Your Built-in Laptop Cam to a Webcam

It’s easy to simply default to your computer’s builtin camera. It’s convenient and simple to use. But it’s rarely at a flattering height and often is low quality. The simple answer is to invest in a good webcam. The only webcam I like is the Logitech C920. There are a lot to choose from but I’ve heard from the professionals that this is the best on the market at the $60 price point. And I’ve had fantastic luck with it. One of the nice features is the tripod mount. This is where your table top tripod comes in handy. Either rest the C920 on your laptop monitor or screw it into your tripod for more flexibility in height and location.

Live streaming video is becoming a very popular way to communicate. And that means live streaming video will soon be common for training events. It’s not much different from the training webinars you are used to, however most live streaming platforms can host up to 20 or more attendees in the same video room. And you don’t have all the hassle of dialing in codes and numbers, etc. You just go to the browser location and activate your camera. And you will quickly discover that you don’t like the way you look if you are just using your builtin camera. So, invest in a light, tripod, and webcam for the best results.

These items are all relatively inexpensive and would make great gifts for your team, or professional colleagues. Maybe even get the company logo on the items. Everybody loves good, useful company swag.