Three Common Devices for Shooting Video

Only 10 years ago, shooting video required a dedicated video or film camera that shot low-resolution, blurry footage to a bulky and slow video cassette tape. Even the most professional, multi-thousand-dollar video cameras were only capable of shooting low-resolution, fuzzy, artifact-laden footage.

How times have changed. Today, there are a wide variety of devices that can be used to record video content as crisp digital files. You probably have several already! This video on "How to Choose a Camera" provides a good guide on camera features and functions.

1. A Digital Video or Still Camera

This is the obvious one. Today's digital cameras are amazing hybrid devices that might be designed shoot video but can also shoot still images, or still cameras such as DSLRs that also shoot video in amazing quality. Even the most compact of digital cameras is capable of shooting video these days, and they can do so with amazing quality even compared with professional video equipment of just a decade ago.

In particular, interchangeable lens cameras such as Panasonic's GH- series and Digital SLR cameras (DSLRs) can shoot such high quality video that many filmmakers, including myself, use them professionally as our "cameras of choice".

Compact camera capable of huge results: Panasonic GH-2 being used for professional filming

2. A Mobile Phone or Tablet Device

Recent mobile phones have incredible image-making capabilities that have begun to challenge conventional cameras. Indeed, you may not even own a digital or video camera because the camera in your mobile phone is sufficient for your needs, and more often with you.

While a mobile phone certainly doesn't provide all of the controls of a dedicated camera, they have amazing technical capabilities and can be very capable in the right hands. Here are some short films, shot by professionals, on mobile phones:

Some mobile phone cameras even boast technical capabilities that exceed those of most digital cameras. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a camera capable of recording "4k" video - more than four times the resolution of a Blu-Ray disc, and more than twenty times the resolution of a DVD.

Diagram comparing the resolution of DVD, Blu-Ray, and "4k" video frames

We'll be looking at all kinds of shooting hints over the rest of this course, but if you're specifically interested in shooting videos using a mobile phone, there is a good article on all of the basics here. The number one rule when shooting on a mobile phone? Say NO to "Vertical Video"! [Warning: Some explicit language]

3. A Webcam

Another way to create simple videos is with a cheap webcam connected to your computer. Some webcams can be purchased for just a few dollars, so this might be the cheapest way to get started with creating video footage if you don't have a mobile device or digital camera.

Here is a guide on a few ways to record video onto your computer using a webcam. It is also possible to record from a webcam directly to the YouTube site.

ACTIVITY: What cameras do you own or have access to to shoot video footage? Which of these do you think is most useful for the kind of video you would like to shoot? Post your responses in the Comments section below.


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