Best Video Camera for Shooting Interviews

What is the best video camera for shooting interviews and talks?

  • First, forget about using DSLRs or cameras made to take still photos. Why? They are not made to record good quality sounds. You can overcome that by getting an external audio recorder, but that is additional hassle.
  • Get and use a proper video camera or more commonly known as camcorders.
  • The top 3 well known and reliable camcorder brands are Sony, Panasonic and Canon.
  • If you ask me, I will choose Sony. Why? I have used all 3 brands and Sony is simply better design-wise.
  • Sony’s recorded color seems to be richer than other brands, which is a good thing because we need to enhance colors in edit anyway.
  • Sony is way more expensive than other brands, which it has lived up to, in terms of reliability and design.
  • As of this month November 2015, Sony has 5 available models in Singapore.
  • The prices of the models range from S$549 to S$2299 depending on its number of features.
  • WAIT! Don’t go rushing out to buy the cheapest model just because I said Sony is good.
  • You want to use the video camcorder to record interviews and talks. So it must be able to do that well.
  • To record great audio quality of speeches with any camera, you must use an external microphone.  I am going to recommend you one later.
  • When I say external mic, I don’t mean the shotgun mic you can plug on top of your camera! I mean one you can shove, or clip it, about 6-inches from the speaking person’s mouth.
  • Hence you need a microphone input jack to plug in the external microphone.
  • WAIT again! Some cameras have microphone input jacks, BUT do not have headphones output jack.  What?
  • Why do you need a headphones output jack?  You want to record great audio, and to do that, you have to listen closely to what you are recording at all times.
  • WAIT once more! So you have great audio. How about your video? Is it equally great? One without the other makes a sucky video.
  • Here is my list of 6 must-have features in any camera that I buy for business:
    1. Focus Manual/Automatic
    2. ExposureManual/Automatic
    3. White Balance Manual/Automatic
    4. Optical Zoom
    5. Microphone Input Jack
    6. Headphones Output Jack
  • Now lets look at the 5 current Sony video camcorder models:
    1. HDR-CX405 – S$549 | F E W Z O M H
    2. HDR-PJ410 – S$799  | F E W Z O M H
    3. HDR-PJ670 – S$1299  | F E W Z O M H
    4. HDR-CX900E – S$1999  | F E W Z O M H
    5. FDR-AXP35 – S$2299  | F E W Z O M H
  • Only 3 have all 6 must-have features:
    1. HDR-PJ670 – S$1299  | USP: Projector
    2. HDR-CX900E – S$1999  | USP: 1″ sensor
    3. FDR-AXP35 – S$2299  | USP: 4K
  • Which ONE out of the three should you choose?  Considering the fact that you will be making videos for business that will most likely end up on the web, you don’t need 1″ sensor and 4K super high resolution arty feature. So the winner is…
  • The microphone I recommend is… Sony Bluetooth WirelessMicrophone System ECM-W1M – S$279  Bluetooth® Wireless Microphone System ECM-W1M
  • You need tripod and lights too… and optionally a backdrop.
  • Recommended video tripod: Sony Remote Control Tripod VCT-VPR1 – S$159
  • Recommended on-camera light: Sony LED Video Light HVL-LE1 – S$269
  • Recommended backdrop: Get from Amazon – Photo Video Studio Backdrop Background Kit US$60
  • Recommended a pair of studio lights for backdrop: Get from Amazon – 700W Photography Softbox Light Lighting Kit US$70
  • You can try to get the lights from Red Dot Photo in Singapore.  I got mine from the friendly people there.
  • You also need to know the best angle to frame and shoot. I will talk about this more in a later post.

Feel free to write your thoughts or leave a question.

About the Author

AdrianLee

I am Adrian Lee from Sunny Singapore. My passions are in digital electronics, quantum physics, and exploring lifestyles. In this personal blog, I journal my thoughts and lessons. Enjoy!

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