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3 Lights - 2 Cameras - 1 Recorder

Published: Sunday, January 14, 2018

Have you heard of the saying: "If you can see the bandwagon, then you've already missed it." 

I believe that saying holds true for videos in L&D departments today.  If you're currently not doing videos as part of your holistic training offering then drop that webinar and eLearning right now and take heed. I'm not saying that live trainings, live remote, and eLearning’s aren't valuable but what I am saying is that videos are here and here to stay. 

It doesn't take much to get started either.  For a really good (low budget) option all you really need is 3 lights, 2 cameras, and 1 voice recorder. (Of course, you'll want to have someone that can be on camera.) We'll get into why those 3 things in just a moment. First off, why videos?

Let's take a step back and look at how people are learning today.  The smartphone- which hasn't been around for a long time has already disrupted the way that we learn and consume information.  Gone are the days of going to the computer lab and playing 'Oregon Trail' on the big green computer screen with floppy discs. Gone are the days where you have to go to the library and pull down encyclopedia and dictionaries for every single report or project that you have.  Even taking photos and driving to new places have been drastically altered by the development of the smartphone. 

When someone asks me a question today- one of my favorite first responses is, "G...O...O...G.." and by about that time I get the eye roll.  Today, information is self-serve and right at your fingertips.  Heck, in many instances all you have to do is ask your phone- you don't even need to type anything in!  YouTube is another huge learning environment disruptor. I don't have to have an expert come in for every house project and I sure don't have to always try to decipher the instruction sheet- I just ask my phone to find a 'how-to' video for the particular project or product model that I have and it's right there for me to see. 

Not into ‘googling’? That’s OK… just think about TV and commercials- how fast the perspective changes and how often things pop up on the screen.  The next time you see a commercial truly watch it and ask yourself how many times did they change the camera angle or how many times did they flash something up on the screen or across it? We are conditioned to see things move fast and as learning develops and changes to the way people consume information I continue to find that videos are already a firm part of a solid and holistic offering.  Learners almost expect videos in many instances.  Quick and easy ways to get the information they need in the moment.  So, if you're not doing videos as part of your offering here are three items you should look into investing in so that you can start to offer quality (low budget) videos as part of your learning and development offering.

3 lights- I recommend 3 different lights for the startup videographer.  This allows you to have a back light, a fill light, and a key light which greatly reduces shadows.  Additionally, if you're going to be doing detailed shots or ever have to record in darker areas you'll be thankful for the several lighting elements that are ready to go.  Below is a good lighting option that won't break you're bank, but if you're going to be setting up and tearing down you may want to invest in LED lights so that you're not having to remove the light bulbs for every single time you have to pack it up. 



2 Cameras- Yes, you can likely get away with one. But I find that usually if you're going to ask upstream for buy in for equipment it's best to do it at one time.  It might be harder to ask for an additional camera later on down the line.  However, purchasing is not the only reason for having two cameras.  If you're shooting multiple angles and multiple videos a day then having two cameras focused on different elements running at the same time will dramatically cut down on your time to shoot the videos.  If you have to shoot the video so that you capture everything and then move in for close ups later on you're basically shooting the whole thing twice.  You're better off having two and doing it all at once. The cameras are the area where I would invest a little more so that you always have the option for more quality. A couple of Canon Vixias should do the trick- make sure to get the bags to protect them and extra batters too if it doesn't come as part a packaged deal!

1 Voice Recorder- This is what will begin to separate you from the rest of the pack as far as quality.  A simple Zoom voice recorder and a lav mic to clean up the audio will dramatically change the video outputs that you have.  Inevitably, there will always be some form of background noise.  Additionally, the simple fact of the speaker being away from the source of the camera audio creates unclean audio.  By simply putting a mic on your subject you'll drastically change the outcomes of your videos. A Zoom H1 and a lav mic is all you really need to get going without scaring your finance department too much! 

Of course you'll want to have a room to shoot, a willing subject, a couple of tripods, video editing software, and a place to host the videos but the big three are really what you need to get started without breaking the bank.  Remember, videos are here to stay and that bandwagon is already getting ready to head out of town!  


How do you incorporate videos into your learning and development offerings? What is your favorite equipment to shoot videos with?

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Nice post! Thanks for sharing, Richard!
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Richard, I was looking for quick simple information on this and that is precisely what you provided in the piece. I also really like the links to actual products with prices. Thanks very helpful.
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