You may have heard me mention that audio is a vital ingredient in video production. I've lost count of the number of video conversations with sound that you can barely hear. Here's a solution.
The ability to use an external microphone to record sound is essential – a clip on microphone for interviews or a directional microphone on a lead. But it's astonishing that an external microphone connection is a rare feature. There are hardly any video camera with this facility.
In the schools work I have been doing, video interviewing practice is proving very popular. Interviewing hones the children's listening and questioning skills and also provides good content for the school web sites and blogs. Clear recorded audio makes it a lot more rewarding. Flip cameras are very limited.
The other two issue to go with camerawork are, wobbly shots and flat batteries. The batteries supplied usually last no time at all. A big long life battery will enable you able to shoot for hours and maybe work after a few days in the bag.
Along the camera and battery I'd recommend spending £30 or £40 on a simple video tripod and a cheap lapel microphone on a lead. I'd resist spending lots on the microphone without trying ones that cost only a few pounds. Amazon have a few.
It may seem like a lot of money to spend but with the increasing popularity of school blogs with embedded video, the clarity of the spoken words will be important. Good speaking, good listening, good impression.