I have an inexpensive Sony camcorder (Handycam Model HDR-CX580 with 20.4 mega pixels) and RODE shotgun microphone (not sure of the model, but it's older and uses a 9 volt battery). I also have a wireless lapel microphone transmitter and receiver from Azden and a Blue Snowball iCE microphone. I am using Audacity for audio mixes and Camtasia for video editing.

I doubt that I can get approval for much additional funding to upgrade our equipment. What suggestions do you have to improve the quality of our videos? Should we purchase a Zoom H4N audio recorder? Can I tie that into the public address system at work with some time of connector or converter? I would appreciate your advice!

    Joke Tax

    Did you hear about the nearsighted female filmmaker who backed into a wind machine turbine on the set? Disaster!

    You Talkin' to Me?

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    Yeap It is not clear on what videos you are making, and how they look.

    First of all. Stop focusing on gear and focus on what you need to do.

    Do you have an excellent composition on your cheap camera? That is the first, cheapest improvement you can make. Compose your framing.

    The second most important thing is… Is the lighting good enough? Are you using direct light? Diffused one?. Good light is also a really, really cheap thing to do and makes a TOTAL difference between a bad shot and a good one. All you need is an expensive equipment… or a white cardboard to reflect light and make it diffuse. Actually, there are a ton of different cheap modifiers. Vegetal paper, the sun shield of a car…

    Go to a hardware store and imagine stuff to bounce light or diffuse light in different ways. Do that to a fabric shop and you will find some options, go to a bakery store and buy wax paper…

    For the editing, of course, it depends on the computer you have, but you could use some free and excellent programs like Davinci Resolve or Hit Film Express. Audacity is good enough for the audio.

    But all that will not make your shots better if, for example, the problem you have is a dirty lens, so, a better way to ask for improvements of your shots is show them first.

    John P. Hess

    First of all – I would need to know what kind of videos you are trying to produce. Any camera on the market given enough light should expose a pretty good image.

    Now as far as sound is concerned, it would be advisable to have some recording capbility as your camera has limited audio inputs. I’m more of a fan of the TASCAM line of recorders – I would look into those instead of the H4N but people make the H4N work just fine.

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