As a lot of you are aware, my producer mithras (that’s Mike Gearman to the uninitiated) got us a Canon HV20 a while back, specifically so the production value of the videos would improve considerably, and so he could get his name in the credits. I absolutely adore this camera. It’s got a few years on it and it doesn’t have all the features of the HV30 or HV40, but for my purposes its fantastic. I’ve loved the quality of the video it puts out.
As luck would have it, we also have two spare extra-long life batteries included with the unit, as well as an Azden shotgun mic . . . not the best in the world, but far and away better than the built-in microphone (which for some unfathomable reason is pointed straight up in the camera’s body). However, even with all that, I’m augmenting it with a bit more junk out of my (nonexistent) budget.
When we cover Dragon*Con this year, we’re going to be on the move just about all day. It’s going to be more than just interviews; for the first time this year, we’ll be able to give you a sense of the con in a way we haven’t been able to before. There’s exhibits, costumes, performances and just the sheer madness of over 75,000 geeks crammed into four hotels. But this means we’ll have to be a self-contained unit during our roaming.
Three batteries is good. Three batteries with the ability to recharge on the go? Even better. I picked up a very cheap little Black & Decker 100 watt “Power to Go” portable power supply. It’s a tiny little unit that’s essentially a rechargable battery with an AC output. Translation: if one of the camera’s batteries runs down while we’re out and about, then we plug it into this gizmo to recharge it on the go. Hopefully this will double our available filming time from three hours to six, if not longer.
Also added a lens hood for a mere $12, shipping included; not only will this help protect the camcorder, but it’ll cut down on lens flare and improve the quality of the video. And being that we’re doing this on an utter shoe-string, additional lighting will be provided courtesy of A Maglight Zip-tied to the Microphone Productions, Inc. Is it pretty? Not really. Will it work? Yup.
Not only that, I’ll be running the good ol’ Electrovoice RE50 through the camera’s microphone port to give us the same excellent quality on the interview audio that it’s provided for the past four years. And on top of THAT, in case everything goes absolutely to hell we have the backup camcorder and MP3 recorder just in case. I considered getting a wide-angle lens, but at this point I think that’d be overkill. I might be proven wrong when we’re out and about, but just chalk that up to the learning experience of self-production.
Just giving you folks a glimpse into what makes covering an event like Dragon*Con possible. It ain’t all green rooms and backstage access . . .