View Full Version : Video content creation - equipment advice please

26-09-2019, 8:28am
I'm wanting to make some video for youtube, which will involve some outdoor components.

I'm wanting to do a few but not invest in further equipment except an (ideally inexpensive) microphone if needed.
My plan wil involve some outside filming (talking to camera) and screen capture stuff.

For the former it's unlikely that the microphone in my devices wil be sensitive enough to pick up over any distance, especially if there's any breeze.

Filming devices available are an old GoPro Hero2, a Sony Action Cam (a bit newer), a Panasonic Lumix FZ200 camera, and my Huawei Mate 20 pro mobile phone.

I guess it'll come down to either the FZ200 or phone.

But the video itself is only half of the equation I will need decent sound quality (the main difference between an Ok and terrible video).

Microphones for mobile phone cameras are pretty expensive for what they are (ie $ for 'ok')

If using the FZ200 the built in microphone is pretty useless.

According to https://www.panasonic.com/content/dam/Panasonic/support_manual/Digital_Still_Camera/English_02-vqt3-vqt9_other/vqt4h84.pdf
it has an optional external mic (DMW-MS1) the quality of which I have no idea but does appear to be monaural.

I'm not sure whether its a general mic plug or more likely some special 'suitable for panasonic's mic only' socket. I suspect the latter because the camera's manual states "When a stereo microphone other than the dedicated stereo microphone is used, it will not only malfunction, but may also cause damage, so do not use it."

So I need a mic solution that doesn't have to plug directly into the camera

In any event all advice is welcomed. :th3:

27-09-2019, 7:57am
Just had a quick peek at some specs .. very hard to find!! .. on the FZ200.
External mic connector appears to be 2.5mm type, which means .. uncommon!
Most external mics will be either 3.5mm or XLR connectable ... so I assume you'll need an adapter too. Just something to be mindful of.

A good quality external mic will have adjustability of it's output signal/power level.
I can't see if the FZ200 has preamp(it's really hard to find any specs of significance on this model!) for the mic.
Preamp is the ability to adjust it's sensitivity.

Depending in what type of video you want to record, will determine what type of external mic you want to get.


if you want to do 'interview' or presenter type videos .. where you may be 10m from the camera and showcase a thing, or interview a person where you are making the noise! :p ... then a lavalier mic(or two) is the best option.
You connect the mic to your collar(near your mouth) .. and it takes sound from close by .. best sound quality for 'presenter' type video.
Expect to pay a minimum of about $100 or so for a half decent quality model. You can try a cheapo Chinese device off ebay .. but it'll be pot luck.

If you want to do nature type videos .. ie. general video of the environment where the sound of the background is important, then a shotgun mic is the better type.
Shotgun have a directional recording capability, so noises from the camera operator or behind background sounds won't interfere.

All microphones have their good and bad points, and hence specific usage scenarios .. so it's unlikely that one type fits all bills ... so to speak.
Just know what type of video style you're going to be producing so you know the best type of mic to get.

If you want high quality product .. Rode and Senheiser are up there .. other good brands too .. but they're high end high $ stuff.

I'm assuming(again because there's literally zero info on specs and stuff on the FZ200!) .. it has a limited ability to accept any mic gain maybe??
That is, the output/power level of the external mic may have specific limits for connecting to the FZ200.
Shouldn't be a problem tho. external mics all should have settings you can set to work with many devices.
That is, whatever model external mic you get won't just damage the camera automatically ... as the Panasonic scare campaign says.
The external mic will have adjustable settings that if you get wrong could damage the external recording circuits in the camera.

27-09-2019, 8:51am
What about a bluetooth mic ?


27-09-2019, 12:59pm
Ok thanks.

I think the reference to damaging the camera is probably if you try to plug a 'normal' microphone plug into the 'special' Panasonic receptacle.

My research here and elsewhere indicates that a separate microphone is the best option and then sync in post. Also I won't need to get a new mic if I change cameras.

To that end I bought myself a Zoom H1n which seems a good balance of cost vs performance. Should have that in a week or so.

Next job is to record a few test videos with the FZ and the phone and see which looks best 'out of the box' and then see what's possible by way of settings adjustment. Next job finding a background for the outside 'pieces to camera' that looks like the bush but isn't an hours drive away...

27-09-2019, 11:12pm
I have a Zoom H1. I bought it for the reasons you suggested - cost vs performance. It can plug in to my canon or be used separately. I have mainly used it as a separate sound recorder. For bird calls, I think I would have been better off with a directional mike, but for talking, it should do the job.

18-02-2020, 4:55pm
OK so getting back to this - I bought a Zoom mic but haven't had a chance to use it much as yet.

The real issue I'm having is - of course - lighting.

It's interesting that it's something we always have at the front of our minds when composing still photos, but I didn't really give it any thought for doing video. That's something I'll have to remedy but I'll need to fid a way to do so cheaply.
Also for speaking to camera inside, I need to find a suitable background and there's really nowhere in the house that has an appealing one (nowhere suitable to film anyway). Most especially for doing stuff when sitting at my computer - background is way to cluttered and no nice flat wall just to hang a picture on or anything like that.

So much to think about.

19-02-2020, 12:37am
Can you buy a backdrop and stands to hold it? There are lots on Ebay, and they come in a huge range of plain colours , plus a whole lot of ones with scenes on them as well. The backdrop could be placed where ever you wanted it. If not a backdrop, what about sheets pinned up?