High-End Audio Video Production For Under $1,000?

Low Budget High Quality Audio Video

Seinfeld tells YouTube celeb Miranda Sings how much HIS gear cost.

So you wanna be a YouTube Star, we know. Doesn’t everybody? Who wouldn’t want to create the next “Gangnam Style”, which finally received so many views that it broke YouTube? Well, to be honest, you and I probably aren’t the only ones who aren’t desperate to be a YouTube phenomenon. But like me, you may have some need to create high-quality (broadcast quality, if you know what you’re doing!) audio or video content.

In my case, I needed very portable gear that allowed me to capture a high-quality image from at least two angles, and multiple channels of audio, mostly so different people’s voices in a recording could be managed individually, since people can have such varied speech dynamics. A special plus for me is the idea of being able to dub in audio with a dedicated device, instead of always having to have a computer in front of me with clumsy audio software filling the screen.

Psy Horse Dancing his way to 2 billion views

Psy Horse Dancing his way to 2 billion views

I didn’t have much of a budget, partly because I wasn’t convinced I would follow through on the whole thing and really put in the time necessary to create a finished product. That was prudent, and something YOU should think about if you’re pondering creating some audio/video content. It takes a lot of time! The fact is that in spite of being a very motivated, fearless, and highly productive person, it took me nearly a full year to get down to serious work. On the positive side, I had the opportunity to try out a lot of the gear working on other random production tasks during this time, so I can share my insights about the gear with people like you.

The Rig

So below is the basic rig I ended up with. Some of it is more than most people need, and some of it ended up being a little substandard in quality. In part two, I’ll get into the details of why a couple of these items were a great value, and where I wish I had spent more.

The Rationale

The reasons I selected specific pieces of gear may not line up with your exact needs, but hopefully they’ll help you think about your needs and make smarter choices. My main concerns were a) keeping costs low, and b) capturing reasonable quality images, and high-quality audio. The reason I say “reasonable quality” images is that the videos were only likely to end up on YouTube or in multimedia DVD packages or downloads, not broadcast TV. And the reason I focused on audio was two-fold. First of all, as a part time musician, I’m very sound-oriented, so it was just my nature. But more importantly, sound is one of the most overlooked aspects of creating video or film, and can literally make or break the viewing experience. How many times have you really wanted to absorb someone’s expertise on line, and just given up because their crappy laptop mic combined with your crappy laptop speakers made it sound like they were talking through a fifty foot long coffee can?

In part two, we’ll include actual reviews of the gear, as well as some additional gear that no small production setup will be complete without. Stay tuned

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