Let's talk Podcasts E2: general thoughts on camera equipment

Jan 30, 2024 8:35:41 AM
In this episode, hosts Diana and Diego delve deeper into our ongoing discussion about setting up a home or office studio. Expanding on points from last week's discussion about optimal sound and lighting setup, we now explore the complexities of choosing the best camera. From discussing essential camera features to exploring the pros and cons of used cameras to addressing price ranges, this episode offers insights to guide you through selecting your ideal video camera. We also cover essential accessories and the importance of understanding learning curves. Join us as we break down the factors you must consider to ensure you invest in the right tools for your specific video production workflow.
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Episode transcription

[00:00:00] Diana: Hello everybody. Welcome back to another episode of our podcast. Diego is joining me today again. Hello, Diego. How are you today?

[00:00:12] Diego: Hi, Diana. Doing great here. How are you?

[00:00:14] Diana: I'm very good. Thank you. In today’s episode, we would like to extend the discussion that we started last episode, last podcast. We were talking about how to set up a home studio or an office studio. Last week, the main two topics that we discussed were mainly how to work with a lighting setup, and how to work with optimal audio. So, many things were said last week. So today, I would like to extend a little bit that discussion and summarize a little, or compress a little bit the information that we already talked about. So, for example, Diego, if we want to talk a little bit more about a lighting setup very quickly overall, what do you think should be the top three things to consider?

[00:01:29] Diego: All right. So, let me try to grasp three that I will consider essential. Maybe the first one will be to allow yourself... or to think, to change your mindset if you already had one that was very focused on the camera equipment, to change a little bit your mindset and to add a little bit more of importance to the lighting, and also to the audio, this one will be shared with audio, because it's very important to care about lighting. The shot can be great even if you don't have a great camera if you are having good lighting, and vice versa, you might have great camera, but it wouldn't matter at all if you don't have a proper lighting.

This being said, maybe my second one would be that having great lighting doesn't necessarily meaning to purchase expensive lights, or to even purchase them at all. Like for instance, very good lighting can be achieved using natural lighting, if you're having a window, for instance, and that won't be represented for you to purchase anything. Though you have to think about it, you have to plan ahead depending on what your environment is when it comes to establish your setup, and establish the place you're going to be recording to in regards to the position of your window. And let me think about a third... So, I already mentioned that you don't necessarily have to purchase lighting, but if you will, that will be the third one, there are options so that you can either purchase a professional lighting equipment that is used on professional recording setups. That will be a huge sort of softbox, that is how they call that, with a lighting inside that might be standing on a C stand, which is kind of a stronger tripod that can hold that kind of equipment. So maybe that is an option, but if you're try to purchase lights, you don't have to necessarily go that far; there are many other options such as just having a lamp next to you, a lamp that can have a very good sort of covering to soft and the light. And that will do... and that will do in a manner that won't... sort of... invade your workspace because it'll be part of the decoration of your workspace, as a workspace. So those, yes, I believe those three will be takes on lighting.

[00:05:01] Diana: Yes, absolutely, and of course, we're gonna have future podcasts where we will talk about how to purchase under a budget. And later on, we're gonna be discussing about what type of cameras to choose, depending on the price range that you might have. and it's going to be super interesting also audio; a good quality audio is as important as good lighting, we already discussed a little about audio. So, yeah, instead of asking you for your top three recommendations, what do you think should be the main considerations when choosing or working with good audio for your videos?

[00:05:54] Diego: Yes, like same then first one that I mentioned with lighting, except much important, like audio should be the first want top. Absolute priority. If lighting is bad, if the camera, even fails and stop recording you can still publish a video that is having good audio. But no matter how spectacular your visual production might be if your audio is clipping it is absolutely useless, period no way in the world that you can rescue an audio that is clipping. So, audio should be your first priority always. Don't underestimate that one. That's my recommendation on an audio full stop. Yes,

[00:06:55] Diana: Yeah. Otherwise, you won't be able to convey your message with bad audio.

[00:07:00] Diego: Absolutely.

[00:07:00] Diana: So, yes. That what you said, the first thing we should guarantee is good audio when producing videos.

[00:07:07] Diego: Always.

[00:07:08] Diana: Now that we're talking about that in particular, we're talking about setting up our home studios and office studios.

Choosing the Right Camera for Content Creation

[00:07:20] Diana: I will also like to discuss in today's podcast the topic of cameras. I know that there are endless possibilities of brands and types of cameras, but what do you think should be the cameras that anybody who is just starting to create content, anybody with no previous experience? What do you think should be the main considerations of the different types of cameras that they should purchase?

[00:07:58] Diego: Tough question. I'll try to shrink down a little bit. So, let's... I mean... We have already focused on productions that are relating a home desk work setup. So, that being said, I am going to imagine productions such as podcasts, webinars, maybe talking heads, maybe shorts, but that kind of thing in which you're sitting into in your desk; maybe you're looking, or maybe you're not looking at the camera, but, anyways, like... it is not mobile, it is something that is meant to be set there for you to sit and record. So, let's, work under that assumption because, depending on scenarios, one recommendation for a specific setting or combination of equipment will vary a lot. Okay, so that's my first thing to shrink that a little bit, shrink that out a little bit. Okay. What else should we think of here?

[00:09:16] Diana: Should we start with just our cell phone camera, or should we consider something more? I'm mention is... I'm mentioning this, I'm sorry, because in our previous discussion, when talking about audio, I remember asking you about using our cell phones microphone for video content production. And I do remember that you mentioned that, well, of course, iPhones have a great quality of audio when you record yourself. However, there are other audio devices that are much cheaper than an iPhone that could serve the same purpose.

Using Your Phone as a Recording Device

[00:10:10] Diana: I guess that it's not the same situation where we're talking about cameras. So, would you say that with the advance, different advances in technology cell phones are becoming, cell phones cameras are becoming more and more professional-like? So, what would you recommend first? Should I start with my cell phone, or should I buy an actual camera?

[00:10:38] Diego: Oh no. Nice one. So first of all, if you have the budget to go for proper equipment, and especially if this is for businesses, they probably have budgets in place to get started with that. I mean, if they're paying for post-production and for the time of the people who are actually getting, their hands into recording, they probably can have also the budget to invest on proper equipment.

However, if you, for whatever reason, need to get started with a cell phone, that is totally possible. I have, by the way, experimented with an iPhone 13 Pro, against Z cams, a Fujifilm X-T3 and another cameras, a Blackmagic Cinema Pocket 4K. I have experimented a lot in order to try to understand what the limits are for a mobile device and how to be able to work with those limits because there are scenarios on which it will be inevitable that you require to record on a cell phone. I was talking to you earlier today about this example in which if you, for whatever reason, had the opportunity to make an interview on Michael Phelps and there's one chance, like you got that interview with him, and that will be the only possibility that you will have ever to interview him. You don't have time to for... I mean, he doesn't have the time to care about equipment or anything. So, what you have to do is to send him a link in which you can meet him and to record that session and that link he will probably be attend that on his cell phone. So, that will have to do, and that is why we were experimenting with iPhones on to this professional production environment because, I mean, if it was Michael Phelps and it was a big interview no one will be able to tell that wasn't professional, right?

So, okay. Back to tracks. Yes, it is a likely scenario that of which you're going to be using a cell phone. And if there's no budget and you already have a cell phone, depending on what cell phone, by the way, but anyways, if you're having already a cell phone that can do, that can totally do not only that, depending on the type of production, you might be better to use a cell phone. For instance, if your business requires to produce TikTok videos or shared videos, mainly in that format and vertical format, and your workflow is going to be managed by yourself, you kind of need to record and to produce into the cell phone and to deliver that into the cell phone. That is going to be better than a camera. Much, better than a camera, right?

But then again, back to our scenario on which we consider only a setup, a desktop setup on which we have mainly long format videos and maybe you want to just see it record and leave that in the hands of your team to work on post production and everything. So, back to that scenario, if you have a phone such as an iPhone or something like that or an Android, you will probably be good to use that cell phone. You will require a little tripod in which to keep that cell phone up; you will always want to use the main camera system of that cell phone, and if you want to do some sort of production which isn't only about you, that you're required to be talking with any other person such as what we are doing right now; then, you will likely be good to use something like Riverside install into your cell phone and to have the meeting on Riverside recording from your cell phone. You'll require to care about audio like we mentioned in the past video. That wouldn't be a problem; you can just plug the audio solution into your cell phone. And you won't be really be able to see yourself if you do that on Riverside because you're good to use the main camera which means that the screen of the device will be pointing the other direction, you won't be able to see yourself.

So, depending on the phone, iPhones... No, I'm lying. I was about to say that you can monitor yourself on an iPhone using an Apple Watch device that only works with the camera. So, if you're recording with Riverside, you won't be able to do that. So, anyways. You will be sacrificing something like that except if you connected the iPhone to the computer, like we are doing right now with this Z cam, right? So, what you can do is to purchase a cable that will go from lighting port or USB, depending on whether it is iPhone Android, to HDMI. Then you're going to be plugged in HDMI cable which is the one that we are using on our cameras right now into a USB device that convert the HDMI signal to something that computer can detect as a webcam; like we're using one right now in your case. Now, in both four cases we are using a Z cam device, and then you can open Riverside or a similar applications, there are others, by the way. You can open one application to streamer to meet on your computer and then select the USB webcam which is your phone into your computer, and that will do. But if you do that on an iPhone or an Android, by the way, both of them will be facing similar issue you will not be doing that using the main camera application. You will have to install a third-party application on the phone, which means that easiness of use won't be anymore, automatization and all of that won't be anymore. So, you will require to do exposure and focus and what else do you have to do? Wide balance and a lot of stuff into your phone without being able to see yourself, by the way, in order to guarantee some sort of acceptable quality. And as I am speaking about that, then is it easier to use actually, because there are a lot of things that we have to do if we want to keep quality a little bit acceptable, right?

So, given that part of the history, I won't be that sure about advising someone to use an iPhone if you're to produce this kind of content. , there are odor options. You can also use an application instead of that, a combination of cables connect device to your computer. You can also use certain applications that will transmit the signal from the device to your computer, the video signal via Bluetooth so that you can also use the camera as a webcam in your computer, the phone camera as a webcam in your computer. And you will then be using something like Epoccam or something like that, is much more automated and that can deliver very good results. The signal can be also transmitted via USBC to lighting, which will be avoiding the latency, that is the delay between the video and the video that's coming from your phone and video that is being going to Riverside; that is another option that won't be cumbersome, that's very easy to use. So, yeah, that's a good possibility. So, if you have a phone, you can do that. You can totally, it can totally get you going into production.

[00:19:37] Diana: But you... but there are so many things to consider. Yes. You just... I mean, what I'm trying to say is that, okay I have my cell phone; okay it's gonna be super simple, super easy. I'm just going to record. Well, if you plan to record long videos, for example; if you have a YouTube channel, you need much more, you need to install apps, you need to consider other sorts of resources in order deliver a high-quality video.

[00:20:11] Diego: Yes.

[00:20:12] Diana: I know for a fact well, yeah, sorry. Were you going to say something very quickly?

[00:20:20] Diego: No, Please go ahead.

[00:20:21] Diana: Yes. I'm just going to say very quickly that recently, I watched a Japanese movie. I don't remember the name of this movie. It was about time travel. It's on HBO Max. It was very surprising to me see that in the end credit part there I could see the behind-the-scenes, and they filmed the entire movie with an iPhone. They didn't use a professional or cinematic cameras. They used just an iPhone. It was almost an hour-and-a-half movie. That's why I asked that question before: with certain cell phones can actually have this cinematic feel? But there's so much more behind it.

[00:21:09] Diego: Yes and no.

[00:21:10] Diana: Oh, sure, absolutely.

[00:21:13] Diego: Yes. Yes Like. I love this question because... okay, first of all, it is not only an iPhone that can get... you can get you there. I will argue that the best possible camera on a cell phone equipment that you can use to do full making nowadays will be either an iPhone 13 or 14 Promax specifically that one. I'm sorry, no Promax; the Pro will do both are pretty much the same or an Xperia device that will be an Xperia Pro-I or the others that came after. But I truly consider that the Pro-I is pretty good one because the sensor technology that phone has inside is the very same that one of the best-selling point-and-shoot cameras from Sony has. So, in terms of technology, both are very proficient to deliver results that can be used in cinematography. And iPhone because of... I mean, the iPhone is the probably, I don't know, that is status is correct, but I think that's the best-selling phone nowadays and for several years in a row, whereas Xperia is having less than 1%. I mean, It's into the 0% market share nowadays. So, iPhone does have a lot of productions. I have a few of them and it's amazing what, but you can do there, but it doesn't really mean that is that it is the best tool for all of those scenarios.

Okay. This is a parenthesis, but in order to be able to film such a good production as that one that you're mentioning and others that iPhone also have produced or Xperia have produced, as well. In order to do that, you need, I mean, behind the scenes there is a crew of very prepared and professional people who know a lot about lighting, scenarios.

[00:23:29] Diana: Exactly.

[00:23:31] Diego: They hire actors for those movies. If you film Kenau Reeves on Matrix using iPhone, you won't care about whether... I mean, do you know what camera did they use...

[00:23:45] Diana: No.

[00:23:46] Diego: ...on Matrix? Exactly. Because you don't care about it. It's, I mean, we tend to overestimate, I mean, I laugh all the time that I see YouTube videos about crepe productions and people ask in on the comments like: "what camera did you use? What lens did you use?" Instead of things like: How do you prepare, how the actors prepare for that scene dramatic? Or how do you came up with the story for that? People tend to overthink and to overestimate camera equipment.

Anyways. End of the parenthesis. Thing is that for producing that kind of stuff on iPhones, you're required to be a real professional who knows how to manage lighting, who knows how to manage all of the other elements that are great about e-movies, and also you require to, I mean, many of those scenes are recorded not only on the iPhone main app but also on third-party apps. That will allow you to control which lens are, gonna be used. And then, you have external lenses onto the iPhone to be able to get a little bit more depth of field. You will probably record and progress on the iPhone, which will allow you to do a little bit more of latitude in terms of color grading on post-production.

But it also means that you're required to have a lot more of storage on your iPhone. And by the time you consider an iPhone that is having a terabyte of storage, which you totally required to be able to record something long on iPhone on progress raw, then you will have to pay, I don't know, like $16,000 or a hundred dollars some sort, or something like that. And by the time you make the maths, I mean, that's a Z cam cost far less than that, and is a cinema camera, no? What I'm trying to say is that yes, mobile devices can produce great stuff, but what's great about that is more the people and a lot of ingredients that are next to the device behind-the-scenes.

So, I like then... I don't know how to say this, but yes, it is possible, but it is not the right tool all the time. I mean then, what I'm trying to inspire people that is hopeful listening to me is don't worry so much about a brand or a type of device. It's very... There are a ton of things to be considered to deliver great productions, regardless it is a short film or a podcast. And look at those as tools; don't get in love and then crush on an iPhone or any camera brand. There are many things to consider, and good tools depend on different scenarios.

Okay. End of the parenthesis, back to the phones. Okay. So yes, it is possible to use a phone to productions on which you have to stream and have a conversation with another person. If you already have one, for whatever reason you don't find it according to your plans, to invest or to have budget for camera equipment, yes, you can totally go with it, it is absolutely doable. And for scenarios in which you're not require to talk to someone else in other part of the world, streaming and to record that conversation, but rather still into desk setups, but you just need to talk to the camera regardless of it being a long YouTube video or a short. If that is what you require, an iPhone will be very compelling. I'm sorry, I keep saying iPhone, a phone. Sorry about that. A phone will be very compelling. Like on an iPhone, if you don't have to stream, you can totally use your main camera for pretty much everything. IPhone is absolutely easy to use, it is that simple to use. You can just plug a microphone to it and start recording yourself. If you have an Apple Watch, you can monitor yourself so that you can use the main camera of the phone and to see yourself as you're recording. And if you are editing within your iPhone that short, you can use an app to do so and to deliver that short to whatever application or social media platform you want to do to deliver that within the phone. That is great. If you have an Xperia device, you can use a monitor that they have for their phones that can connect with a cable to the phone. It's very convenient. I find that out and you can monitor yourself and to record yourself. You can also do all of the post-production and onto the Xperia and yeah, it's very convenient. Now, quality is not going to be as good as with a proper camera, like a camera that costs the same of the iPhone will produce much better quality out and in a wide variety of scenarios. There are many YouTube videos comparing phones to cameras, and basically, what they do is to have a shot on the camera and have the shot on the iPhone and try to match them out. My experience though have been that iPhones or ⸺iPhones! I keep saying iPhones!⸺ phones overall find it more difficult to produce good shots in challenging or unprepared scenarios; whereas with a camera you can just... if the camera is great, it will be able to produce good footage in many more scenarios in terms of color, balance and many other things.

So, the quality that you can expect on a camera that costs about the same that a good phone, we'll be able to produce better footage overall in most scenarios than that phone. Then there is the workflow management. Something that I hated about the iPhone is that if I record into the iPhone something long format in high quality, it'll be heavy.

If your iPhone is a basic iPhone with 100 gigs, by the time you're recording your second long video the next week and you didn't edit it the previous one, you have to choose. Should I delete the last week video or should I then stop recording or maybe I can back it up? But you wanted to record at 8:00 AM that morning.

Okay, let's back it up. So, you got your cell phone, you get the cable, you transfer that into your computer, the lighting cable is cumbersome, it is slow; so it is not that much of a good solution. If you consider it an iPhone that is having more search, then you're having a larger investment. With Xperia is different; you have this sync card that you can plug into your phone, and you can have up to one terabyte of memory; you can take it out just as you will with the camera and to download your footage or to use another sync card to record ⸺I'm sorry, sync card no, SD card that's one⸺. So, it is kind of better in that for that camera. I would recommend that approach if you like it. But anyways, I will recommend the phone for those scenarios that I just mentioned: only if you already have one and you don't want to invest on camera equipment. Now, if you tell me: ⸺I want, I have money to invest, I have $1,000 or $1,500 to invest in camera equipment; and I think that a phone will be better because I have the camera and I also have the phone⸺. I'll tell you like no, better go for a cheap phone for you to use it as a phone, and use the other, I don't know, $1,300 by $300 phone, for you to use that as a phone and take the rest and buy a camera, a proper camera equipment, it will do you better.

But if your production requires mobility and editing within the phone on the go by phone. Many professionals produce on their phones. It is because you can't be taking the camera, recording and then taking the footage onto the computer to download it and edit it. So, a phone is good for certain scenarios. It really is.

[00:33:12] Diana: So, it all depends on what your needs are going to be for your content creation of videos.

Investing in a Professional Camera: What to Consider

[00:33:19] Diana: Absolutely. So, let's say that, I'm not planning use a cell phone in order to make my videos. So, this is ground zero; I'm starting from scratch and I plan to buy a camera. What are the most basic... No, let me rephrase myself. What are the essentials features that a good camera should have? Regardless of the price, okay! Let's not talk about the price for now. Let's talk about the features that a camera should have in order to give me optimal production of videos.

[00:34:09] Diego: Okay. Features. Regardless of the price, you say?

[00:34:17] Diana: Yes. What type of camera should I buy. Something that shouldn't be, it's a non-negotiable. Do you know what I mean? My camera should have this order for me to work.

[00:34:33] Diego: Okay. Okay. Yes. So, absolutely non-negotiable for this to work under this type of setups that we have talked about that's it has to be able to deliver a clean HDMI output. What that means is that you can, you have to be able to connect an HDMI cable... HD... I'm sorry, HDMI, sorry about that, HDMI cable to the camera, connect that cable to the USB converter and then to your computer and to receive a clean signal to your computer like we are just doing right now. So, that you can have that camera available for recording podcasts or webinars, or use it as a webcam or whatever production that you might want; to work on via a streaming service like we are doing right now. So, that will be absolutely no negotiable. There are old cameras that are pretty good for the price, but that can't do that and, I mean, don't take for granted that any camera can do that. However, don't be that afraid about that because it's a feature that pretty much any camera nowadays can provide you with. That will be my absolute, absolute, absolute.

[00:36:14] Diana: A must. Yeah.

[00:36:16] Diego: Number one must. What else can I say? Maybe the other one would be to have a camera that can stay on while connected to a wired cable, or even if you can use dumb-batteries or something like when I'm telling... when I'm talking about this, that camera is to be able to hold you, or for at least one hour, or for infinite. You have to be able to get the camera on for as much as you need because, then again, because of the type of production that we are talking about, you have to be able to have the camera there plugged into the wall and to forget about it. You won't care about battery or anything. Again, pretty much any camera nowadays can allow you with that, but certain old cameras can't; they require you to have a dumb battery... it's survey solution. But yes, that will be a number two consideration. Like it's absolutely necessary for this kind of production. So, after that, I don't know, we might be talking about quality and that. That's all very dependent on the budgets, the other two that I just mentioned, regardless of the budget, those are total necessities, but nothing that you should really care about because most camera nowadays are providing you with that anyways.

Understanding Camera Budgeting

[00:37:59] Diana: Great. So, now let's talk about budgets. Can we talk a little bit about price ranges in terms of cameras?

Essential Camera Accessories

[00:38:11] Diego: Totally. Yes. Okay, Prior to budget, I most say that camera isn't to cover your entire budget. So, having a budget of $2,000, you're not going to be buying a $2,000 camera because you have to buy lens a lens, you have to buy a tripod. It might look dumb, but I mean, you can use a box, right? But depending on what your setup is, you are very likely to require some sort of tripod that can hold on your camera.

[00:38:48] Diana: Yes.

[00:38:49] Diego: You have to purchase cables. I mean, that kind of thing looks dumb, really, but, then again, I want to inspire people to not have the mindset of the camera, the camera, the camera. There are many other things that are to be considered. You've required that little device, depending on the camera, because there are cameras that are having that integrated within it. But you will likely require that USB device that will transform the HDMI signal into USB signal, so that you can plug that into your computer and use it as a webcam, with software like this one. Then again, that is for this desktop, home desk scenario on which you are very likely to produce podcast and that kind of content because you can also record from the camera, that's totally perfect. But let's consider that scenario of trying to use the camera on a streaming service as well. So, that is why I'm talking about those cables connect the camera to your computer. What else do you have to have? Yeah, I believe that's pretty much it. Okay, so that being said.

Budget-Friendly Camera Recommendations

[00:40:08] Diana: What could budget friendly type of camera?

[00:40:15] Diego: I believe you can have a $1,000... No, I'm lying, like the most budget I can think of. It will be like around $700, not used equipment; I'm talking about new equipment on which you can have a very small, easy-to-use camera point and shoot camera. I'm going to mention one brand and one specific device, but there are many. I don't want to marry a brand and we will have other episodes to talk to be more specific on what combination of brands and specific units to purchase. But yes, you can have a Sony, pretty basic Sony one-inch, one-inch sensor. Point and shoot camera set V one F for about, I mean, a few days ago on Amazon Prime Day, that camera was not, 399 $. That is a camera that is happening lens into it. It is a camera that is very tailor-made for content makers, for content producers. It is absolutely easy-to-use, very easy-to-use. And although it is not absolutely necessary, because the camera can be matched to a software in your computer to use it as a webcam, that's very cumbersome.

So, I will recommend to also purchase, aside from the camera, the cables and converters that you require to plug the camera into your computer and use it as a webcam. Again, the camera can be matched up with a software from Sony that can allow you to use that camera without those cables only via USB to plug it into your computer and use it a webcam. That process can, it is not that reliable. So, just having the cable, the HDMI cable is much, much better. Okay.

And you can buy a $100 very high-quality tripod, or you can just buy whatever other tripod; there are many from 20 to $100. So, yes, that is a recommendation that we'll do. If it was very like the lowest budget for the highest-quality. Like for a right amount of high-quality coming up front camera and also a ease-of-use that will be my recommendation. And maybe there... or maybe another device from other brand is kind of competing into the same realm. Like I mentioned Sony, but I mean, there are many brands. So, if you want to go that way, please take that camera and find out competitors of that specific camera.

Additional Equipment for a Complete Setup

[00:43:19] Diana: Yeah, it's a great thing that you're mentioning anything else that is beyond the camera itself. I mean, beyond the camera itself. What are some essential accessories that we should consider for our setup? Because you already mentioned the tripod, for example. you already mentioned all the wiring, all the cables, and what else do I need in order to have a full setup along with my camera?

[00:43:52] Diego: I mean, living aside lighting and audio or do you want include audio as well?

[00:43:57] Diana: Yes, accessories. You mentioned tripods.

[00:43:59] Diego: Everything?

[00:44:00] Diana: Yes, what else do I need in order to have it complete?

Audio Equipment Essentials

[00:44:07] Diego: Yes, sure. Okay, audio, that's absolutely necessary. So, if you're gonna be talking onto your desk all the time, I will recommend you a audio device like this one over here, that will be a mic that you will never be taken anywhere. So, that is what I mentioned, that is, if you're only talking onto your desk. We'll surely take audio on and more deeply in the future. But yes, you have to have one microphone. So, let's assume it is one like this one or maybe a gun microphone that is attached to your camera. You have to have one of those. The microphone all pretty much always come with the cable that is going to allow you to connect that one to your computer. Assuming this is a news V microphone, there are versions of this very same microphone that aren't used V but they require an interface that is another box that you have to plug in between the computer and the microphone. I'm not going to consider that and let's assume you have a USB microphone, a microphone that is capable to, of being attached to your computer.

Now, with that scenario and assuming you already established your lights, whether it is natural from a window or you purchased lamps that can serve to decor your home desk office or if you purchase a big softbox lighting. Whatever the solution is let's assume that you're having already the lights into place, then you're done, that's pretty much what you're required to record. Oh. I'm leaving the decoration of this scenario outside this equation, of course, but yes. So, the workflow will be you have the camera, that comes back again to our example with the Sony set you already have your camera.

Understanding Camera Connection and Setup

[00:46:12] Diego: You have the camera. Oh. And this might look a little bit dumb, but you're required a cable to plug into your wall and to be able to provide electricity to your camera. Of course. I mean that, that might sound dumb, but when it comes to record, you, need that. Okay. So...

[00:46:33] Diana: No, no, is true. You need to make sure your space is suitable. And that includes what you just mentioned. Yeah.

[00:46:42] Diego: Yeah, I mean, I'm telling that because I once stopped my plans of starting recording because the cable wasn't long enough. It's crazy that can happen, right? So don't underestimate the hardware that you required to get your setup and going. Okay. So, you connect the camera to your wall because you don't want to run out of battery as you're recording. It doesn't matter if the battery says last one hour and a half, and you say ⸺no, my podcast is gonna be half an hour only⸺. You don't want to reach the limit; you want to... I mean, it is one thing less for you to worry about. That is what you require; you need to worry the less possible about what's going on about technicals, about all of that, and you require to focus on your content.

Okay. So, you plug the camera to the HDMI cable, then, the HDMI to the HDMI to USB converter. That will allow your computer to detect that camera as an USB as a webcam. Then, you connect that one to your computer, and then, you open whatever application you might want to use, let's say, for instance, Riverside; you open that application and you select your camera. In the other hand, you can add your microphone to your computer via USB and also within Riverside or a similar application, you select your microphone and that's it, you're pretty much ready to hit record. When you have to turn on the camera and depending on what camera, you might have to work in some adjustments that will depend a lot on each camera. But say for that one that said we want F, and you have to turn it on to allow the lens to get some lighting to make sure the camera is set up for recording 7 or 9 color space, which is by default and also turn on... oh, that's important to be able to make sure that the camera is recording with a high dynamic range color space. That is not technically color space, but you're able to record highlights so that your color isn't clipped. I mean, it will depend on each camera. You might have to do some initial configuration to the camera, but after you do that, it is smart; pretty much set and forget. So, then you're able to go to Riverside and to hit record. Of course you have to test a little bit here and there prior to record.

Pros and Cons of Buying Used Cameras

[00:49:45] Diana: What do you think about buying a secondhand camera or a used camera?

[00:49:53] Diego: Oh, ooh. Used cameras. I believe that there are tons of possibilities to save on used cameras for granted. But if we are considering this to be a scenario on which you then have either technical knowledge or if you are trying to worry about less things, maybe you don't want to worry about saving some hundreds of dollars onto used equipment. Maybe you want to go new. But that's... I mean, I'm not certain about that would be tech; that won't be technical, that will be more about how to get deals, how to get deals questions, I'm sorry, a how to get a deal question. But if you're comfortable with purchasing used, and with all the time that it requires because you have to go there and research and so on, yeah, that's an option, and you can totally do that. It's very common to purchase used equipment a lot. And, I mean, there are stores that can simplify that for you; if you go to BH, B&H, I'm sorry, which is a huge store for buying video and photography equipment, if you go there, they sell used equipment and you can get interesting discounts and you don't have to really worry about the about risks or anything like that because they provide you with a guarantee. So, that's an option. Yes.

[00:51:53] Diana: It shouldn't be older than what? I shouldn't buy a camera that is more than...

[00:52:00] Diego: Good question.

[00:52:04] Diana: ....do, I wan to say, five years, four years?

[00:52:08] Diego: Oh, yeah.

[00:52:09] Diana: What is the span a time?

[00:52:10] Diego: Five years will be an issue. Yeah, that's, ooh! That's a nice one 'cause there are cameras that are old that can produce absolute better quality than some that are new.

[00:52:24] Diana: Ooh! That's interesting. I didn't know that.

[00:52:26] Diego: Yeah, yeah, like...

[00:52:28] Diana: Oh! Good to know.

[00:52:30] Diego: If we're getting into cinema, let me get you an extreme example. Let's say that you are talking about cinema and we're talking about a Arri Alexa or something like that used made for $5,000 on eBay. I mean, let's say you got one of those. I mean, those are cameras with directors filmed extraordinary movies that we still watch today. So, for filmmakers, it could look like that is an option, right?

But then you are facing the lack of many things that you're taking for granted with new ones that aren't necessarily related to quality on the footage, but that are essential, such as, the cumbersome process of serving footage into the camera with old cards, with old technology cards.

[00:53:37] Diana: You would need to know a lot about cameras in order to work with them.

[00:53:44] Diego: Kind of I'm giving you a very extreme example that was first one that came up that popped up to my mind. Those kind of cameras right away are nothing to do with this kind of setup. But yes, like quality can be high, but maybe there are certain things that won't be suitable for a more modern workflow like batteries as well. So, okay, let's, work now onto another example that is more into this scenario of a home setup. Let me think about it. In all camera that can allow you to do this. Maybe... okay. There's another thing that we have to have in consideration. For older cameras, like for really old cameras, chances we're buying those used, right? So, it'll be relating the previous question on whether go used or new. So, if you're going new, you might not ever consider any of those cameras.

But let's say that you want to work with a Panasonic... Oh, I have a good one! There's this brand: Blackmagic; they have the Blackmagic Cinema Pocket at 4K and 6K. Those are pretty amazing cameras. Absolutely amazing for certain scenarios. I will recommend those, no question. But they previously had one camera that was like the original one, the Blackmagic Cinema Pocket original. It is a interesting camera. You can produce footage that looks absolutely stunning when compared to prices of older cameras that are more modern. I have seen Blackmagic originals, eBay for $400, something like that, and the footage, in my opinion, that those can produce is much higher quality than a Sony Z V 1 F, the one I previously mentioned, because it is a camera that is being produced by Blackmagic. Blackmagic is into cinema, I mean, not the cinema camera that a cinema production will use, but it is offering really good footage for that price. I like the magic quality of Blackmagic is into that camera and the roll off for highlights and the dynamic range is good. And like... overall it is good footage. However, batteries can last, I don't know, 20 minutes with that camera, kind of camera.

[00:56:56] Diana: That's the main disadvantage, I think.

[00:56:58] Diego: You don't have auto focus or anything like that? It is, I mean, it's not because if it is old, it is because it is a cinema camera. So, let me get that out of the equation. The auto focus, auto focus.

[00:57:11] Diana: The batteries is essencial, what you're saying is absolutely right, and older camera wouldn't last.

[00:57:16] Diego: Just an example like you can totally connect the camera to plug it into a wall, but then you're going...

[00:57:24] Diana: In case you would like to record outside, you have to consider your battery time.

[00:57:31] Diego: Yeah, although it's not the scenario that we are considering right now, but yes. So, if you want to record the footage into the camera, not doing a streaming, but rather to record speaking directly to the camera and no connection to the computer, then you're having to use older cards that might be a little cumbersome for some workflows in your post-production process. I mean, it's not the end of the world, but... Oh, and by the way! Because it is a cinema camera you might think like, okay, $400 for the pocket, or $400 for the savvy one. And you might say like quality's higher with this one. Let's go with this one but it is also more difficult, much, much difficult to use. So, for this kind of scenario, I will never recommend you to get that camera for what we require now. Now, let me give you another example that is kind of better for what we are talking about. Let me tell you about Okay.

How old that camera might be? Okay. I don't know whether this example is necessarily good in terms of pricing, but it is an example in terms of old cameras. There's the X-T3 from Fujifilm. That is a camera that despite of having a 30-minutes limit on recording into the camera, can provide you with a an HTML signal, come from the camera and go into your computer.

[00:59:23] Diana: Oh, okay.

[00:59:24] Diego: Once you're recording on your computer, you really much don't have to care about that recording limit. So, it might work for these kind of scenarios. And I believe it is a five years old camera if I'm not mistaken, that was, that one was released in 2018. don't quote me on that, but I believe that is a five years old camera. And regardless, it is a camera that is capable of producing extraordinary footage. And yeah, you just plug that camera into your computer with a HDMI cable and you're down. There are many other examples like that. I mean, if we're talking really old, I will talk about the Sony Alpha 6,000 series. That one is all, I believe that is from 2014 if I'm not mistaken or something like that. But that is an alpha camera that can allow you with a HDMI clean signal from the camera to your computer and it can work for this kind of recordings. Now, I'm not recommend that one because the price even if this is old you won't get it for free. So, it's much better to invest into... I mean, it all depends on your budget. I believe that I will have recommend specific recommendations for different budget tires. But I, was just trying to give you an example on how maybe all isn't the best and maybe all can be useful or even the best. So, I believe it depends. Now, if we're talking about a threshold of three years, three years is new for me like really it's new, even four years that is new for I would consider that to be new. Yeah.

Understanding Camera Learning Curve


[01:01:30] Diana: The last thing that I would like to discuss is something that, for me, was very important when I started producing videos which is the learning curve. I've had this camera for about, I believe it's a year now, if I remember correctly. And can say that right now, after a year I am pretty competent at the moment of setting up my camera, which in my particular case is a Z cam. Okay. But we have to consider many things. For example, a person like me that a year ago didn't have any prior knowledge about how to handle cameras. I would say that it was not hard for me to understand how to use it. I understand that depends on the camera, and depends on the purpose that I'm going to have, the needs that I'm going to have for my particular videos. But I believe that a learning curve of about, let's say, a couple of months, in... that's my... from my own experience should be enough in order to be comfortable working with cameras such as the one that I already mentioned. Every person is different, though, but if I'm talking about from the point of view of somebody who hasn't had any sort of experience producing videos, keep in mind that it's going to take some time to get used to learn about how to work with a camera, regardless of if it is an old or a new camera. Would you say that should be something important at the moment of creating your studio, your home studio or your office studio? Should it be crucial to understand that it's going to take some time get used to and to become familiarized with all the equipment that you have?

[01:03:53] Diego: Absolutely yes. Totally. Because we are considering this scenario on which it is a desktop on your home, on which the camera is going to be pretty much into the same place all the time, and your chair is gonna be there all the time for you to set and forget because of that we have a ton of latitude in terms of what combination of equipment to use.

So, for instance, even if you didn't have any knowledge on how to use cinema cameras because your is a Z Cam E2-M4 that is a cinema camera; cinema cameras are absolutely complex and absolutely manual, and I mean, if you have some sort of basic autofocus, you are lucky. Blackmagic cinema cameras don't even have, don't even bother on offering that kind of stuff.

So, because we are working onto this kind of setup, and the idea on the workflow that we have with data set and forget to invest quite a little bit of time at the beginning, but leave it there so that we can just forget about it and just record whatever is next because of that. We have that latitude and we can either use a cinema camera or a mirrorless camera. It will be great. But for older scenarios, the latitude is reduced considerably. I already mentioned that scenario on which a phone will be my absolute recommendation. If you produce content on the go. So, you need something in your pocket to shoot as you move around, you might need something discreet as well, and you add it within the phone and publish immediately. So, you can't have a camera to take the SD card to plug it into your computer to open an application to edit that. So, for those scenarios, phones will be ideal.

But and that will be the easier to use. But for a scenario like this, if you want to have the highest-quality, a phone will be actually harder to use because the amount of post-production and the consider so many considerations into the production you will have to care about to try to get the phone footage to look decent like this, it's a lot of work. So, it won't be easy to use, actually not even easy to record. Let's assume that you have a magic team that will care about Albus production. You will even so require yourself to consider certain things when trying to record because you have to be gentle with that, with, I don't know, maybe the sun is brighter as I am recording, and it is hitting harder into this wall over here on, into my front head, like my head. And a phone won't be able to cope with that in terms of quality. As well as a cinema camera will, a cinema camera can, I mean, as I mentioned at the beginning, it will produce better footage in most situations, so you won't have to occur as much as many things. And that I believe can translate into ease of use views because, I mean, you don't really, after we set, up your recording set, we didn't really have to do much more, right? Like we just connect and check a little a few things here and there and just hit record. Exactly. So, again, because of the nature of this setup, we are not moving your camera anyways, because let's imagine yourself vlogging on a street with a cinema camera without autofocus, without even being able to see yourself, because that is a box that doesn't even have a way for you to monitor yourself. That is impossible. So then, for this specific kind of scenarios, I will recommend... I only recommend, I will say, that we have a lot of latitude to recommendations in terms of ease of use.

By the way, for instance, this camera that we are having to record right now can allow you to do the color grading, which is a process on which you tweak the row image of the camera to get it a little bit blusher, a little bit greener, a little bit jellyish, you maybe adjust black levels or highlight levels, adjust the exposure of the image, adjust the... how the skin tones look like, and how your shirt and everything look like. You can do all of that in post-production with cameras that produces raw footage. I'm, sorry, it isn't raw footage, lock footage. But also with cinema cameras, you can take a sample footage, do the post-production, produce a file that is named lut, upload back into the camera, and then the camera is going to record with that color grading on real time, allowing you to not have to do the color grading step. Afterwards, and simplifying things a lot for, especially for this kind of video format, when it comes to post-production, because the dress is tap less to be done on post-production; you have to do color grading. It was already done on the go within the camera.

So, cinema cameras can allow you to do that. I mean, mirrorless, some mirrorless as well. For instance, the Panasonic S5 can allow you to do that kind of thing as well. So, that is another thing that I will put into the equation in terms of ease of use. In this time, in this occasion, it won't be ease of use specifically for whom is being recorded, but for the entire team who is working on post-production, and ironically, a more manual complex camera can make things easier to produce. And that is my point here, that investing on equipment, in tools, let's call those tools, investing in tools that can make your specific workflow easier is totally worth it. It might not relate even to cheaper or more expensive. Just the right tools, the right combination of camera equipment, and everything.

Closing Remarks and Future Discussions

[01:11:41] Diana: Yeah. So, I'm sure there's so much more to say about cameras and how to use them for our studios, but I'm sure that we will continue talking on this topic in our future podcast. I just wanna say thank you, Diego, for sharing your knowledge with us today.

[01:12:09] Diego: My pleasure.

[01:12:11] Diana: I can see that you're very knowledgeable about the area of cameras.

[01:12:17] Diego: Oh, I'm a nerd on those things. I like them a lot.

[01:12:20] Diana: No, but it's absolutely important for us to share what we know, with the people, with the audience that are listening to us. It's essential. It is very valuable to make them into recommendations. Your recommendations today, of course, are very valuable. So, yes, basically, thank you so much and join us next week for another podcast episode. We will continue talking about video production and how to set up our home or office studios. So, I'll see you next week everybody. So, bye-bye.

[01:13:07] Diego: Bye-bye. Thank you, Diana. See you later.

[01:13:09] Diana: See you later.

About the series

Join us for Tech Talk, a business podcast hosted by the Quo Agency, a leading provider of complex CMS integrations and website design and development services. Our expert guests and hosts dive into the latest technology trends, and industry news and share insights and strategies to help businesses succeed in the digital space. So whether you're a seasoned tech pro or just starting, Tech Talk is the podcast for you. Please tune in and find out about the latest in website development, CMS integrations, and more.

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