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:
Daniel: Hey it's Daniel, I'm at the Launch Conference and I figured I'd take a moment while I was here to show you my camera rig for capturing content.
This is what I carry around with me: It's just a Sean Jackson design bag, and I'll actually zip it up for you to show you how it goes- it's a little hard to do with one hand here. This is just the bag, just like this, and it goes right here. This closes up like this, and that's my bag.
So to show it to you, take it off...open it up, and I've basically assembled what I think is the best content capturing rig around so let me show you the pieces.
First of all, I've got a tripod here. This tripod actually extends out. I've also got another tripod here, and I use this one, which is an ultra pod, along with (?) shot. So here's the ultra pod...let me unscrew this guy...bring him up...about like that...and then in here this is the X shot. This guy telescopes out and can actually be quite tall. What I can do then is assemble these guys here and then I can start capturing content from a table at a pretty tall height. Let me just adjust this real fast.
There's this guy here that I'm actually going to use this tripod to steady this camera while I show you the other stuff. (One second.) This guy here connects to the Kodak Zi8. I actually have two of them- I've got the one I'm recording with right now and then I've got this other one and I use them especially at important events- I like to have redundancy when I'm recording. So I actually record with both......By the way, the Kodak Zi8 has a very nice feature where it's got a mic that can be plugged in externally. So now I end up with a pretty sweet rig just from doing that. And what I can do is attach it up here using the ultra pod and get a pretty good setup just by doing that. Get a lot of height off of it, so it's pretty sweet.
I also have a fish-eye lens for wide angles. I'll actually put this one here so you can see the difference. So the edges get a little blurry, but it does give me a wider angle of view. It just uses a magnetic connection, so that's the wide angle. Then I have an Olympus audio recorder to record audio separately. And then I have the charging equipment for the Zi8. Again another great thing about the Zi8 is that it allows itself to be charged while it's being used which is great. So that is my set up! Hope you enjoyed.
And here are pics:
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