Jeff Geerling's blog

What's a good video camera to use for short YouTube videos?

I've gotten this question enough times via email that I thought I'd create a quick blog post mentioning what I think is a good deal for a video camera setup for recording short videos, ideally with one person speaking.

In such a situation, since you probably won't see a major difference in picture quality in anything under $500, I'd skimp a little on the camera itself and just make sure the video camera you buy has an external microphone input, then buy a microphone like the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 to clip onto the person being recorded.

A microphone goes a long way towards making quality video—many people think the camera's the most important part of a video recording setup, but it really isn't (unless you're doing a top-notch production!). That's how I can use the tiny iPhone camera as my primary video camera and record good videos, since the iPhone accepts external microphones so easily.

The camera

Canon VIXIA HD Camcorder

I'd buy a Canon VIXIA camera, as long as it has an external microphone input. The Canon VIXIA HF R100 is only $179 on Amazon, and it records great video and has a microphone and headphone jack.

The microphone

As stated earlier, using an external microphone (instead of the cheap, junky built-in microphone) will dramatically improve the overall quality of your recordings. I recommend two different microphones:

Beautiful tour of the Sistine Chapel (VR)

The Last Judgement - Behind the Altar in the Sistine Chapel - Michaelangelo - The Vatican

In some ways, viewing this VR image (zoom in to see incredible detail) is better than visiting in person, because you don't have to listen to constant shushing and be packed in a small space with more than a hundred other people!

The picture above was adjusted in Photoshop after a screen grab, and shows Michaelangelo's famous The Last Judgement.

The best part? It also works on the iPad. Check it out here: Virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel.

It's going to be a good Saturday

Tools for wrecking - reciprocating saw, hammer, prybar, bolt cutter, screwdriver

Dear old scrap wood furniture that came with the house: say hello to my little friends.

3 million pageviews

Wow. Just glanced at stats for 2008-now on, and it looks like I've passed 3,000,000 page views, with more than 1.6 million unique visitors (I didn't keep stats from 2004-2008, so I don't have data for that time).

Thanks for all your visits, and for helping me improve this site through your feedback! I've received over 1,500 comments and 1,000 emails over the course of 800 blog posts, 60 articles, 31 reviews, and 1,100 photos posted to this site. I've written over 40,000 words in the posts on this site (not yet enough for a novel), and I've written similar amounts for sites like Open Source Catholic and Midwestern Mac.

One of my greatest dilemmas is whether to consolidate sites like those into this site, or to try to keep Life is a Prayer more about personal things, marriage, family life, etc. Here's to another 40,000 words figuring it out!

Daddy #protips

I've been thinking about starting a Tumblr account for some of the many Pro Tips™ I'm learning from raising a baby. I'm sure there are about 10,000 more that I will learn in the next month alone.

Like "when your baby boy starts peeing during a diaper change, you can either let the stream hit the nice carpet and cause a stain, or use your hand (which is much easier to clean) as a deflection shield to keep everything in the waterproof changing pad liner." Apparently this also makes your wife laugh.

It's like babies know when the worst time is to spit up, go potty, and scream—and intentionally do those things at that time. I think they're just playing us parents all for fools.

But they're so darn cute, it's impossible to get angry.

What were they thinking?

I noticed this video from the Center for Reproductive Rights on YouTube today, after seeing it posted by a few different people on Facebook and Google+:

What were they thinking?

There are so many things wrong with this video, it's hard to pick just a few to comment on:

  • A black man. Seriously? Do they realize that abortions are performed disproportionately on the black population, and that those who dismiss this statistic's negative interpretation as evangelical fanaticism say it's a good thing because it helps black people in their struggle to overcome poverty and poor health care?
  • A black man. Okay, so the video's already able to be construed as having some sort of racial overtones. As if that's bad enough, a man celebrating a "women's right to abortion" is about the most sexist and anti-feminine thing I can think of. The man is rightly happy (and strangely turned on—can you say creeper?) in the video because of the fact that he can have sex without consequences, with any woman he chooses, consequences-be-darned, because he knows women feel the pressure to use birth control—and when that fails, have abortions.
  • A black man drinking. Is the man drinking because he knows there are higher risks of substance abuse for women who have abortions? Is he drinking as an in your face to the heroic women who choose to carry a baby to term, but sacrificially forego drinking and modify their diets to help their babies remain healthy?

It's like the Center for Reproductive Rights is run by sexist, racist white men! Again: what were they thinking? I'd be surprised if the video is not pulled offline at some point. It's already at 2.5k dislikes (with just 114 likes), and all the top comments are negative.


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