snoopy reclines on a temple

Making the Most of Simple Video Equipment

Suppose two people each set out to build traditional doghouses. One is an experienced woodworker, the other a hobbyist getting into woodcraft for the first time. Excited by a new project, the hobbyist purchases the best wood money can buy… let’s say old growth mahogany. His dog is not an environmentalist. He also buys top quality nails, and picks up a $214.56 titanium hammer from the Home Depot?

The experienced woodworker raids her shop for some cheap pine, a few tools that have seen better days, and a bucket of old nails. She got a tetanus booster yesterday. It’s fine.

While our hobbyist struggles to assemble a basic structure with his expensive investments, our master carpenter produces the most beautiful doghouse imaginable – the Horyu-ji Temple of outdoor pet accommodations. Snoopy, eat your heart out.

My point is that the best tools and materials do not guarantee success – rather, results come from the skill with which those things are put to use. I learned this universal lesson during my first weeks in film school. Like most students, I was excited by fancy lenses and professional set lights, but those things were no good to a person with little experience. While struggling to learn the new technology, I watched industry veterans create beautiful shots with nothing but floor lamps and cheap cameras.

So, what does all this mean when it comes to upping your Zoom game? Watch the two videos below, and draw your own conclusions.

While I stand by the idea that technique is paramount, it’s important to acknowledge that better technology does make a noticeable difference when it comes to image and sound quality. The best photographers typically do work with high quality cameras and lenses. So, if you’ve got your head around the technique, here are some links to help you find better tools.

Webcams – Some have built in Mics and Lights

A Simple USB Light – Great for lighting your face, but you can always turn your monitor brightness all the way up to accomplish the same thing.

A USB-Powered Prosumer Ring Light – Requires a separate Tripod

USB Mics – These will help eliminate echo and ambient noise, dramatically improving your sound quality.

A final note: if you’re not ready to make a purchase, Media Services has a limited assortment of equipment available for loan. You can contact them here.