THE EQUIPMENT PURCHASE THAT BUILT CREDIBILITY
Business Insiderwanted a way to shoot digital video with a polished, multiple-camera look but at an affordable cost and with immediate playback. Figuring out how to do it turned out to be a real challenge, but it brought immediate and surprising benefits.
Web video can be as easy as a digital camera and a computer. Shoot video and record audio together; stream live or upload for on-demand playback. Voilà! You’re an auteur.
The complexity comes when you want to use multiple cameras. Most video producers who shoot with multiple video save each camera’s output as a separate digital file, then bring it into editing software to create the final version. This is costly and time-consuming. We wanted a way to use multiple cameras but edit in real time, so files would be ready to stream or upload to an on-demand library immediately after a shoot.
It took months of experimenting to figure this out. We tried a hardware-based solution first, using an expensive computer called a “tricaster” to switch cameras in real time. Despite trying a number of video player solutions, we never managed to get a crisp image that way. We then tried a software solution, Wirecast, which places on-screen graphics and switches cameras during the live shoot. It works flawlessly.
Now we can shoot a fully produced, three-camera video, and have it live on the website within minutes.
- $1,800 for three cameras
- $2,000 for a souped up Mac
- $800 for a Mackie audio mixer
- $500 for microphones, cables, batteries, and miscellany
- $1,500 for Wirecast and Final Cut Express software
- $6,600 all in.
As we expected from the outset, the video investment quickly paid for itself in advertising sponsorships.
But it also had an unexpected payoff. We've been surprised by the quality of the interview subjects we've been able to attract now that we have video capabilities.
CEOs and investment gurus alike are willing to come by our "studio" to shoot a video interview when they might not have come in otherwise. The investment paid off as expected, and the enhanced credibility and marketability is a welcome bonus.