I get this question all the time. Too much honestly. The problem is people aren’t happy with my answer: it doesn’t really matter. A couple of years ago, I was at a Travel Bloggers conference in New York City. Gary Arndt, a successful photography blogger, was giving a speech about the importance of photography online. I’ll never forget his line, “Nothing pisses me off more as a photographer as when people say, ‘oh Gary that’s a beautiful image, what kind of camera do you use?’ I mean go up to a [talented] writer…and say, ‘Great article. What kind of keyboard do you use?’”
(Thanks to the Art of Backpacking for recording this session on video, so I could actually quote it verbatim—another good thing about video!).
I think many get way too caught up with the ‘what camera should I use’ mentality and worrying about name brands or the latest gadgets & gizmos.
I am not saying that this has no importance, it does, but what I am saying is it’s not the most important. If you are new to video or are trying to improve your video skills, the most important thing is to learn how to make a good visual story. Sure you have to learn how to use your camera and gear, but at the same time, you need to know how to shoot, how to shoot well, how to get good sound, how to do good interviews, how to write for video, and how to edit together a compelling and interesting story.
Q: What makes good video?
A: NOT your camera, but:
- Understanding your gear
- Well shot, more professional looking video (shots & interviews)
- Good sound
- Good interviews (questions and the shots)
- Good, succinct, focused, conversational writing
- Well-paced editing
It is a common issue with teaching photography or videography today – people get distracted by gadgets and don’t bother learning true shooting and sound techniques first, to give them the right foundation they need to continue to elevate the quality of their video.
I do not want to get into the gear ‘rabbit hole’ since technology changes so fast, but that being said, you can expect some occasional equipment news and reviews on here and in my newsletter.
Overall, the best place to buy your gear (professional and consumer):
Almost always better deals PLUS if you are in the states (and don’t live in New York where they are located) – enjoy NO tax and NO shipping costs.
Nowadays, even the tiniest point and shoot camera shoots HD video and records sound.
Remember it truly is more what you do with it than what you are shooting on.
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