My awesome sub-$500 HD Camera Setup
I've been using the Kodak Zi8 camera for several years now, and it's been a workhorse of my ability to capture content. I originally reviewed the Zi6, and then reviewed the Zi8 more recently on this blog, and I also did a post on using a wide-angle lens with the Zi6 or Zi8.
But recently, I gave a speech at TJHSST and the Zi8 failed to record the video correctly, so I decided it was time to revisit my setup, since capturing content is so important to me (as per our company manifesto points #13 and #19).
The price of the Zi8 camera has come down so much since its launch (from above $200 to under $100 now) that I decided to use the following strategy:
- A main tenant of my ability to capture content is that I always have the device with me, since I often don't know ahead of time that I'll want to capture content. Therefore, I'll always carry with me one Zi8 camera ($98), one stereo digital condenser mic ($29.94) as well as one X-shot extender ($19.95) and a mini UltraPod ($12.32). This is in my bag at all times, and gives me a solid content capturing setup for under $175.
- However, there are times when I know that I do want to capture content (such as today's LAUNCH conference). And for that, I've created a more in-depth setup with some additional components. I use a Shaun Jackson Design bag called the "BackOffice" and since I had an extra one laying around, I pulled out the middle insert that's typically used to store a laptop and instead turned it into a container for this more detailed componentry. It's comprised of another Zi8 camera like the one above ($98), a Rode microphone ($149), a lightweight compact mini tripod ($19.99) that extends from 10.5" to 40" for standing on the floor, an X-shot extender ($19.95) -- it's the same as the one I keep in my bag above -- as well as a larger UltraPod ($17.98) that is able to handle the Zi8 + Rode Mic + Adorama Camera Grip ($12.90). I also bring an Olympus audio recorder ($39.88) so I can record audio separately from video. Throw in the cost of the foam ($16.00) and a 16GB SD card ($26.49) and the whole rig costs right around $400.
Here's a video of the entire setup, with pics below that: