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Recording Equipment Recommendations


#1

So I’ve been recording games for an upcoming mini-series about Edward Kim I plan to make and release via ANRBlackhats, and my ability to frame/shoot them has now exceeded the capabilities of my wife’s 8-year-old Canon camera. The videos are low-res and grainy, and if I get shots well-lit enough to clear them up a bit the glare (even on unsleeved cards) is so bad almost nothing is legible, even by the art.

Long story short, I’m looking to upgrade! I am interested in a good, solid camera to do live game recording, or also record round-table style discussions (like TC’s recent Fight Night series). I’m assuming to purchase something with the long term in mind; something beyond entry level, though I don’t want to drop 600-700 either. Additionally, hardware recommendations- tripods/booms, rechargeable battery packs, etc.

What do you recommend, Stimhackers? Feel free to comment on what you do NOT recommend either based on your experience. Thanks!


#2

I’m also curious what other people are using. We’ve just been using a Samsung Galaxy S4 to shoot, and the image quality isn’t fantastic. Also doesn’t help that the auto-focus is a maniac.


#3

I like Teamworkcast’s videos a lot. They have a howto series going here, ep. 06 is about cameras:

Hope this helps


#4

Well, that budget kind of restricts you to entry-level, but you can still make some nice-looking videos with relatively inexpensive equipment.

A GoPro will go a long way. I recommend at least a Hero3+ Black or Hero4 Silver. I started PeachHack with a Hero4 Silver and it has worked great. If you set the FoV to “Narrow” there is very little “warping”, and I use Premiere to remove the last little bit of fisheye, but even that much is probably not 100% necessary. (I now use a Panasonic HC-V770 for recordings.)

The big thing that most people forget, though, is lighting. Lighting makes a gigantic difference in video quality, partially because it brings out the color of the cards more, but also because it makes it so the camera doesn’t have to run in low-light mode, which would make the video grainy. I started out with just some simple work lights from Home Depot with Daylight Flood CFLs, and then later upgraded to a nicer lighting kit I got off Amazon for ~$70.

Another thing to think about regarding lighting is reflections. Try to grab a spot in the store where there aren’t any lights that would directly reflect off the cards, if possible. For example, you could try setting up at a table that has one end up against a wall, and set up the camera facing the wall, angled down at the table. A circular polarizing filter could also help, but if you set up in a place with no reflections, you can probably skip this part.

You’ll want a nice, simple camera tripod. Make sure you put the tripod on the table when you record, rather than next to the table, so that people don’t accidentally kick it. If you get a GoPro, you will also need a GoPro tripod mount.

Also make sure you get a few large MicroSD cards. A single 64GB microSD card can hold ~4 hours of 1080p30 video from a GoPro Hero4 Silver, so 2 of them would get me through a tournament that was 5 rounds of swiss + cut to 8. Anything longer, and I would want to get another.

As for power, I just recommend getting an A/C adaptor for the USB plug and keep the thing plugged into an outlet. You’ll probably already have a power strip for the lights, so just plug the camera into there.


#5

THIS. About the Lighting. ABSOLUTELY THIS.

You need to light the shite out of the area. Makes it easier to get a picture quality that you like, reduces low light noise…& you have more room to play with it/color grade it, etc. in “post”. I’m glad he mentioned that since it’s a thing I’ve seen a lot of videos suffer from.

The Home Depot clamp lights work great on a budget like @dodgepong said. I usually have a boom stand set up with an overhead light, you can get fancy & diffuse it with a shadow box, etc. which will also help minimize glare. Some stores you’ll have a problem with no matter what you do, with all the fluorescent lights abound.

I do the DSLR thing when I record. Just a simple Canon Rebel SL1 (the little sibling of their flagship T5i). You an pick up a portable audio recorder for interviews & your commentary if you like (if you ever see TC videos, they use one…a Tascam or Galaxy I think? Zoom makes some really good budget friendly ones too) So it doesn’t sound so “tinny” when you voiceover.

He already hit the main stuff above. Now go record!

Which light kit did you end up picking up @dodgepong ? I could use another frivolous purchase. :smiley:


#6

As others have said, lighting is the most important factor. You can use a smartphone to take reasonable videos, though storage and battery life can be an issue unless you can hook them up to mains power. Though that will be a factor for pretty much any camera if recording a lot of footage.

Nearly all stills camera do video now as well, though be careful that it can record longer than 29m59s at a time (a restriction due to European Tax issues, this restriction may be removed on some models in other regions but on some models it may still exist elsewhere as well).

Looking forward to seeing the results!


#7

It’s funny, I was actually looking into it so I could link to it in my post, but I couldn’t find it. Here it is in my Amazon purchase history:

But when I click that, it takes me to a different item, and I can’t find the original when I search for it on Amazon either. I’m not sure what’s going on. You can probably find something similar on Amazon for a similar price, though.


#8

I actually picked up a SJCAM M10 camera to start recording games but think I’ll just use my SLR instead.

Is anyone interested in it for $60? I’d cover shipping within the US.

It’s 1080p and records to MicroSD. It can also record while charging and has an LCD screen (which isn’t always common in these smaller cameras).

It’s this camera (but I don’t have the waterproof case): http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1112363-REG/sjcam_sjm10b_mini_full_hd.html