Clearly recorded audio to improve school blog experience

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.

Thanks to Phil Marshall of KPMS  I now know that the Canon M31 Camcorder does have an external mic socket and is available for around £600. It's costly, I know.


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.

Canon BP-819 High Capacity Battery Pack

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.



Shortcuts: Framing a TV interview

Poor framing makes a video interview look amateurish. Of course there are many styles of shooting which leaves room for variation.  But if you want to achieve the framing of a conventional TV interview then these are my suggestions.


  • Eyes on the top third line of the frame
  • Eyes looking into a space towards the interviewer
  • You can see both eyes
  • Back of head away from the frame but not too much dead space
  • Little bit of space above the head but not to much

Any other ideas welcome.


The Tate Channel

I have been enjoying the Tate Channel  -  an online collection of videos with artists of various shades. This is a rare and inspiring resource.   I say rare because these videos have been prepared with the context in mind, on the whole they are not mini documentaries, news reports or commercials, but are made for the web audience. The videos are very simple interviews (usually minus the interviewer) which allow the artists to talk in a very natural and open way.  Here is the deadpan world of John Wood and Paul Harrison, a pair of unusual video artists.