How to Fake a Webcam

The Zi8 comes though again. For this episode of FashionCents we needed a webcam look but I didn’t want to record the webcam video and try to make that HiDef. Of course I could have purchased a HD Web Cam but why when I had the Zi8.

I could have had our talent use a regular camera but I knew the small camera taped to a Netbook would work better. Why? You would carry a Netbook one way and a camera another. Plus as a prop it helps the talent visualize the webcam and use the prop more like a computer. Also the Zi8 video file format made it easy to bring into our video editor.

I only had electrical tape in my camera bag. But it’s a good idea to get some real Gaffers tape which you can get at these fine places. FilmTools narrow and wide, B&HPhoto and my local place Calumet Photo

Electrical tape got me through this shoot but try to have a roll of gaffer tape, NOT Duct Tape, while it might be fine for home repairs and mending your favorite shoe it’s not great for cables or gear. Because it leaves such a sticky mess behind. Duct tape is made to stay put and last till the end of time. Electrical tape is good to have too for that occasional wire fray.

zi8webcam

Here’s the final result of the video. I think you’ll agree it has more of a webcam feel than it would if it was shot with a regular video camera.

The Kodak Zi8 is a great camera that should be in every video-makers back pocket. Because of it’s features which you can read about in this story you’ll see why that’s camera is a videomakers buddy.

Mini MultiCAM

In an effort to try something new with new media or at least new to us we set up a 3 camera shoot with our at Starbucks as part of our regular Wednesday gatherings. We’ve started experimenting with a live feed webcam which you can here.

One of our regular members is building a setup that will fit in to 2 small cases and have 3 cameras, a switcher, color corrector, titles and sound mixer. That’s all that other gear you see on the table. The other systems you can see used on our uStream Channel as well. It has the feel of early radio I know but it’s funny when you can bring all that stuff together and go live right from Starbucks!

Okay so that’s not what we did with this video. This was more of a test so Midwest Media Now could start integrating video into our podcasts and articles. We had recorded nearly 45 minutes worth of video on the Kodak Zi8. There was about a 2 minute clip in there where we turned our attention to the Kodak Zi8’s and pointed out what we were doing there.

We still have a few kinks to work out but you can watch the video below to get an idea of how it turned out. This was shot with 3 Kodak Zi8’s, edited with Adobe Premiere Multicam Edit Mode. We are still working out some audio details but just wanted to see how this would work. All cameras were switched to 720p. For what we were shooting I figured we didn’t need 720p 60. Also no need to use full 1080p.

WHAT WE USED:
3 Kodak Zi8
Azden 3 channel mic mixer
Samson hand held mics.
and various cables to hook all this stuff up.

Nothing too fancy, audio is okay but not great this is because we didn’t speak directly into the mics. Leave it to nerds to play with two things at once. We were in the middle of trying out other things so we didn’t even pick up the mics or put them on the stands to use them had we done that the audio would have been even better.

There are 2 other ways you could go with the sound.

1. Use an H2 external recorder or digital recorder of your choice and sound mixer and use that to be a separate audio channel later you would bring into post.

2. Use tie clip mics directly into each camera to act like a three channel mixer.

In this video you can see the difference a mic makes. In an earlier test I used a $27 tie clip microphone from Radio Shack it really worked great but guess what you won’t see that in this example. Use it with an extension cord and you can get your subject a little farther away from the camera.

We’ll have a better example later and we’ll do a break down of all the parts involved.