Hello PG people,
I made a survey yesterday at Fry's and Guitar Center for equipment, here
are my conclusions:
Camera: The only consumer brand that has an external microphone input is
Canon. Without at least the options of using an external microphone for
the speaker voice we can only use the camera mic and will record all
ambient room noise, reverb etc. and we all know this is a suboptimal
solution. With Canon we have currently three options, cheapest is tape
based and standard definition for ~$200, SD card based which records
directly in MPEG-4 $320 and high definition for $700. You should be able
to buy those camera's at all electronic stores.
All camera's have an analog video out. I don't remember which ones also
have firewire and if they have a live picture/audio on the firewire. To
get the live video/audio from analog into a computer we would need an
A/V converter (USB based, so we can work with laptop). They can be
bought for ~$100.
We also need a tripod, they come in the $30-$120 range. I did not like
the models they had a Fry's and would suggest going to a camera store.
If we want to go with an external microphone we can buy a wireless
head-mounted pack, the cheapest seems to be Shure PG14, which I saw on
Guitar Centers webpage for $299. If we would like to have a little bit
more flexibility with a second mic for a moderator, audience questions
etc. we can get a cable mic for ~$50. A dynamic cable mic also needs a
pre-amplification with a small mixing console (Behringer 802XL ~$60).
Using such a console has the advantage, that we can use two mic's
simultaneously and could also mix in a computer audio, if the speaker
wants to show a video etc.
Along with that go some cables for microphone, connetion from camera to
computer etc. some of which may be included in the retail packages. Also
having a power extension and outlet ready is a good idea (however I'm
certain we can find all of those cables from our own cable collections
as surplus parts).
I also had a look into live-streaming video chat solutions. I liked
http://www.stickam.com/ They have a no-registration, no-configuration,
no-installation flash based chat solution with video/audio, web-cam,
chat etc. It seems to work really well and supporting dozens of people
in one chat-room simultenously. The advantage is, that *their* server
handle the streaming band-width, so we only need a normal
internet-connection to transmit our own audio/video stream out. If our
guests have a webcam/mic setup (recognized and supported by their Adobe
Flash plugin, which should be standard on windows [I can't comment for
OsX]) guest can also talk to us for questions, comments, chat etc.
I'm willing to run the event and help purchasing hardware etc. during
the upcoming week.
---> Dirk Jagdmann
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