Testing cameras and mics for YouTube

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So today I took my first steps in my journey towards YouTube, and let me tell you, it’s a scary road I’m trekking here.

Today was just a test-run for equipment-sourcing purposes but during the recordings I was still stiff as a motel mattress for most of it (that may not have been fair; I’ve never slept on a motel mattress.  It just seemed apt.  I apologise to motel mattresses).

For about an hour today I experimented with three recording devices (four including audio) to assess which would be the best one for starting off my channel, and there were pros and cons a-many.

I decided to keep it simple and ease myself in (lest I scare myself too much and convince myself that YouTube really isn’t that important a platform to utilise), so I started with my most familiar companion and device, my phone, and I recorded myself relaying three rather dull introductory facts about myself.

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The pros of using my Huawei phone were easy to identify even before I began the experimentation process:

  • It’s portable – I could record anytime I want and anywhere I want.
  • As well as the phone itself being portable, I also have a desktop tripod that’s equally as mobile so I would never have to contend with messy handheld shots (and believe me, in my hands, they certainly would be messy shots).
  • I would be able to frame myself up without much difficulty because of the selfie camera option.

Unfortunately though, there were quite a few cons as well, and not the ones I was expecting!

My major concern had been the sound quality, which is why I kept my Zoom H2n handy.  Surprisingly, though, the sound was pretty clear.  The phone mic picked up everything I said without getting much background noise or the general ‘fuzzy’ sound that I got with some of the other devices.  Instead, my only real issues with the phone were that

  • The lighting seemed to flicker somehow every time I moved.  I was generally lit quite well, as I chose to set up by my bedroom window for natural lighting, but the background went from light to dark like traffic lights.  Or, actually, quite a bit quicker than traffic lights.
  • The quality wasn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.  It was fairly grainy, but might be workable, especially if I’m ever in a bind and happen to be without any other means of recording.
  • My phone also gave up on me after about three minutes of filming, so if I was ever going to use my phone I would have to keep my videos very short and sweet, or else purchase some additional storage for my phone (a highly likely option).


So overall I’d say the phone gets a 3/5 from me for its YouTube Suitability Examination.

Next, I tried my trusty Canon DSLR (I cannot get more specific than that, I’m sorry).

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Now, I’ve filmed with this little guy quite a lot.  We’ve worked on many a college project together so I am well aware of the shortcomings of this camera.

  • The audio.  Simple as that.  Although the on-board mic can certainly pick up everything that I want it to, it also has the aforementioned fuzzy background sound which is just utterly distracting and annoying.  As a result…
  • I would have to use the Zoom to record the audio, which would be a bit of a pain to sync up in editing.
  • The quality still isn’t perfect.  Fairly grainy at times, but probably a tad superior to the phone.
  • It could be challenging to frame up without knowing exactly what the camera is seeing.
  • Not as portable as the phone, but still, manageable.

But on the plus side

  • The Canon probably has more features than either of the other devices I tested, so I’m imaging that there’s a lot of potential here.  I just have to put the work in to suss it out!
  • I have two tripods (one full-size and one desktop) that are compatible with it for a variety of shots.
  • It’s got the highest quality picture of all my options.  That definitely counts for something here.


So, comparatively, and taking into account the fact that I can use my Zoom for crystal clear audio, I give my Canon friend 4/5 for its YouTube Suitability Examination.  Although there are numerically more cons than pros, in this case the pros seem more weighty than the cons.

And finally, I had a little look at the newest addition to my collection, my not-Go-Pro.  Again, couldn’t give you the details, as that knowledge is too dark for my delicate mind.  All I know is that I saw an imitation Go Pro on Groupon and it came at a significantly reduced price.  Yay for bargains.

Except…WhatsApp Image 2017-06-02 at 12.34.51 (3)

  • The quality was certainly not the high definition 1080p that I was promised.  But no hard feelings, Groupon; I got what I pair for.  Or rather, what Santa paid for.  This was a Christmas gift, not that that’s particularly relevant.
  • The audio on its own also would not have been sufficient.  The Zoom would definitely have to be used in conjunction with this one, and then the audio quality would far surpass the visual, so that would be a very odd mix.
  • Plus, again, the syncing up of the audio.  Mildly irritating.
  • Plus, again, the framing up difficulties.  Mildly irritating.
  • Also, I had a similar lighting issue to the one I faced with my phone, the strange and uncontrollable background flickering, so that’s not very promising.


But on the plus side…

  • It’s quite portable(???).

That’s about it, I’m afraid.

1/5. That’s all I can muster up for the not-Go-Pro.  I mean, at least it actually recorded me.  That’s worth a 1/5, I think.

So, now that my process is complete, it’s time for some decision-making.

And based on the scores given by my distinguished panel of judges, it would appear that my long-term pal, the Canon DSLR, is the winner.  The Canon and Zoom duo have made it to the finish line and will be proceeding to the next round: YouTube!


Well, that’s step one complete.

Step two is to actually film and edited an introductory video to be uploaded to the webbernet by the 7th of June, and then three more videos throughout the rest of the month leading up to Camp NaNoWriMo.

Wish me luck!  This stuff only gets scarier the closer I get to uploading.



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