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Social Media Hardware

I've had several people ask me what hardware I use to capture content.  First, here are a few examples of the content I've captured:

Pew Research's "9 Tribes of the Internet" presentation

Mobile presentation at the Finnish Embassy

Here's what's in my bag of tricks (total cost $230.83):

Kodak Zi-6 HD Camcorder ($129.99 or get it refurbished for $99.99).  This is a great little device and it captures video in HD.  I prefer it over the very popular Flip camera for a few reasons:  1) It accepts external SD cards.  This is a huge deal, as it gives you expandable storage (the camera uses about 1 gig every 15 mins, so you should get at least an 8 gig card for $20.51).  2) It uses regular AA batteries that can be swapped out when you need to, instead of having to recharge via USB connection.

I've had several people ask me what hardware I use to capture content.  First, here are a few examples of the content I've captured: Pew Research's "9 Tribes of the Internet" presentation Mobile presentation at the Finnish Embassy Here's what's in my bag of tricks (total cost $230.83): Kodak Zi-6 HD Camcorder ($129.99 or get it refurbished for $99.99).  This is a great little device and it captures video in HD.  I prefer it over the very popular Flip camera for a few reasons:  1) It accepts external SD cards.  This is a huge deal, as it gives you expandable storage (the camera uses about 1 gig every 15 mins, so you should get at least an 8 gig card for $20.51).  2) It uses regular AA batteries that can be swapped out when you need to, instead of having to recharge via USB connection. Vimeo Plus membership ($50/year), which allows me to upload HD video (YouTube allows this now too; I like the Vimeo interface better but you might not want to pay $50/year) USB Digital Voice Recorder (here's a good one from Amazon for $49.97).  Make sure you get the type that just plugs into your computer using a USB connection - no cables required. Omnidirectional tabletop microphone ($22.99, plugs into the digital voice recorder).  Great for capturing panelists by just putting it on the table; turns the surface area of the table into a microphone. A regular sized tripod, and the T-Pod tabletop tripod or the QuickPod ($17.37 on Amazon).  These are critical to setting the Kodak Zi-6 camera up in places that aren't expecting you to be capturing content! Eneloop rechargable batteries (Costco & Sam's Club sell these for less than Amazon, about $20 for a set)  You'll go through batteries quickly - about every 30 to 45 minutes on the Kodak camera, so always have replacements.  The Kodak takes two AA batteries and my Olympus recorder takes one AAA (not sure about the RCA but probably similar). Some Additional Tips: I always put the voice recorder up by the speaker or panelists even if I'm videotaping using the Kodak HD camera.  This way I get a clean audio source.  If necessary, I can always splice them together using an editing program like iMovie, however I always try VERY hard to ensure there is no editing involved (i.e., get the Kodak HD video camera close enough to the speakers to be able to use its audio).  Once you start editing, the content uploading process easily can take 10x as long.   Do your best to never edit video, even if it looks less professional.  Better to have it up & accessible than sitting on your to-do list because you haven't gotten around to doing the edits yet. By the way, an issue with getting the Kodak HD camera close will be that you can't get everyone in your shot if its a panel, etc.  Here's a great blog post on a hardware hack to put a wide angle lens on a Flip camera.  I haven't tried it on the Kodak yet, but it should work just as well. I have a contractor who transcribes my audio for between 50 cents to 1 dollar per minute of audio captured.  This is another reason I use the digital voice recorder and the Kodak HD video camera.  It's much easier to upload the audio and send it to her, than to wait until the video is uploaded.  Let me know if you'd like her contact information. Also, by recording the audio separately, I can use AudioAcrobat to turn the audio into an iTunes Podcast. Also, Vimeo (and all the upload sites such as YouTube, Viddler, etc) has a limit of 1 gig per video, so I often have to upload the videos in segments (1 of 7, etc.) to upload the entire event.

Gear Post 2012: Zen Edition

On Tynan

Okay, okay, okay... I'll write the gear post before the year's over! One of the things that keeps me from writing all year is that it never really feels like the stuff in my pack has changed all that much. I switch one item at a time, never thinking I have much to write about. Then the end of the year comes, the citizenry demands a post, and I'm always surprised to see just how much has changed.

I called last year's gear post the Style Edition because although it was 100% functional, I also made a few choices to have slightly better looking clothing. That trend has continued a little bit this year, but I'm calling this one the Zen Edition because my already minimal packing list has become even shorter.

When I first started traveling, the minimalism aspect of it was pure coincidence. I had intended on buying a normal backpack, but Todd convinced me to go smaller. Our first 28L Deuter Futura backpacks seemed impossibly small at first, but after a year of learning what is and isn't necessary, space gradually opened up. My response was to fill it with new gadgets-- eventually I had a portable kettlebell, a full cot with silk sheets, and who knows what else.

As the years went on, Todd continued to get smaller backpacks, which influenced me to get smaller backpacks as well. I would always pack them completely full until recently. Last year I had some empty space, and now my pack is less than halfway full. If I could find a well organized and designed 12 liter pack, I would use it.

Part of the reason I have less stuff now is because technology keeps getting better. My laptop is tiny and light. The camera I have now couldn't exist five years ago when I started all this. Everything charges with the same cable. The other reason I've continued to reduce what I travel with, though, is because carry unnecessary items makes your trip worse. They weigh your pack down, clutter it up, and make it take longer to pack and unpack. The less I travel with, the better my experience is. At this point my pack weighs 10.7 pounds, which makes it trivial to carry it all day, even when climbing through the mountains.

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