TheMeFund

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Equipment

I primarily use a Canon Vixia HF200 video camera for all of my shooting, although I have been known to use a Canon PowerShot SD1100IS (I still have that model as a back-up, and for taking small snapshots around town). I really love my video camera, the lenses on most Canon cameras just can't be beat (when you get up into the high end SLR models, Nikon can usually compete pretty well)

My only complaint with this camera is that it doesn't always hold focus that well. It has a feature that detects faces, which works REALLY well, but when I shoot my vlogs there is a big painting on the wall behind me that the camera will occasionally pickup as a face, and thus try and put the focus on that face, rather than my face. The other thing is the lack of built in memory in this camera, so I'm limited to the SD cards that I can afford. Luckily I had some serious cash to throw down when I bought the camera so I could buy a big beefy 32GB SD card so I really don't have to worry about running out of space.

All in all I think this camera is really great for what I'm currently doing on YouTube, but I will eventually want to upgrade to a Canon EOS 7D or better, mostly because I would really like to get back into still photography, and also because I miss having a good camera for shooting Macro stuff. I love Depth of Field.

I edit everything I shoot nowadays in Sony Vegas Pro 9. I don't use aftereffects or anything else, everything is either done in camera, or with the tools provided in Vegas itself.

I realize this software is not the cheapest on the market, but I think it's one of the best out there. I began using Adobe Premiere Pro at one point, but found it to be really bloated: it took almost a full minute just to BOOT the software, let alone render a 4 minute HD video.

Speaking of Rendering, I always render to 720p, not because I have to, but because it gives me the option of cropping shots in editing without losing any of the original quality shot. My camera shoots in full 1920x1080 progressive so I have a good bit of room to play with the framing in post.

One of the issues I do have sometimes is that the software will not edit the footage directly off of my Canon PowerShot SD1100IS with 100% success. It will edit the video, but occasionally during rendering the video track of some of the clips would go black r no apparent reason and I would have to re-render. I solved the problem by simply getting VirtualDub and converting the files before I used them. It caused the files to take up A LOT more space than before though (some clips were multiple gigs of space), so I don't really recommend that as a solution unless totally needed.

When I do blogTV shows I use the blue Eyeball mic/webcam.

Blue has some of the highest rated USB microphones on the market right now, which is really what drew me to them. The fact that they also made a webcam was steller. The quality of the cam is that fantastic, I mean it's better than the built in camera on my computer, but it's not the ultra-HD-super-mega-foxy-hotness that they claim it is. The mic is really great though.

For some reason the microphone that is built into my computer is really kind of crap, it was always cutting in and out on me at odd times, and seemed to be adjusting the system microphone level in windows at odd times. After I got this set-up though, it was all good.

I think given a second go-round at the thing though I would choose to just get the Snowball from blue and just stick with the built in camera on my computer. YouTube doesn't like to recognize the video feed from the Eyeball, so when I do direct uploads I have to use the built in camera anyway. Works good for blogTV though.

OK, so I lied before when I said I only had one complaint with my camera. When held at arms length the lens just doesn't have nearly a wide enough framing. Since I tend to vlog a lot for my colab channel with my camera held at arms length, this became a problem. It was not a difficult problem to solve however. The advantage to purchasing the higher end prosumer cameras is that there is threading at the end of the lens barrel for attaching things like a Wide End Conversion Lens, or a Depth of Field Adapter.

I got my conversion lens on sale at Walmart for $20, which is one of the only reasons I could get it. There is a bit of "fish-eye" look at the very extremes of the frame, but over all I think the lens provides a much bigger frame to play around in, without losing much quality.

The one major complaint I have with this lens is that when I attempt to zoom the camera just frizzes out and goes all out of focus. I'm not sure if it's a problem with the lens adapter or the camera itself, it makes for frustrating issues sometimes when I'm doing outdoor shooting or something and I need to use a zoom.

This is a serious workhorse of a computer. even at the base specs this puppy is cranking out HD videos in less than 30 minutes and hardly breaks a sweat. If given the option again however I think I would have gone with a bterr, dual-core processing system, the processor that come built-in is pretty wicked fast, but still gets a bit bogged down when I'm trying to render video and do other tasks at the same time like watch Youtube videos. It still plays the videos but you can tel it's working far to hard to do so.

The major complaint I have about this Laptop is portability. For starters it weighs a little over 10 pounds, which is a back killer when carrying it in a backpack, which is another problem, there a very few packs on the market that can handle the 18.4" widescreen, it tends to stick out the top. I generally leave this computer at home and have a secondary computer for light travel (a macbook air is next on my "to buy" list).

The touch controls on the side of the full-sized keyboard are actually pretty annoying. I have no practical reason for needing touch controls for my media (as most of my media is through online streaming anyway) and I haven't figured out how to turn the controls off, I will often bump a control by accident and bring up some software or panel that I do not want and it is disturbing.