Because we all want the sweet sweet bokeh and have a lot of time on our hands.
I work in tech. As soon as the pandemic hit last year and we were all relegated to working from home with our built-in to the monitor video camera. This put myself and my coworkers into a immediate state of we must upgrade our systems for best video and audio quality because it’s noticeable and to make this something to geek out on (because well… boredom).
I’m going to skip my normal tools of the trade and just talk upgrades here.
Here’s what I ended up with:
Sony a7 – I bought this in 2014 and promptly decided I liked my original Nikon better. This basically sat in a drawer until the pandemic hit.
To be perfectly honest all I ever shoot with my camera are landscapes, so I needed something with a closer range but within budget. Sony lenses are quite pricey and as I don’t see myself becoming a portrait photographer, I didn’t think that it would be that important an investment at the time. Ended up getting the Sigma 16mm f/1.4. Probably really should have done the Sony 16mm 2.8, but alas that glass is still 2k. Nope.
CCYC USB Power Cable Replacement for a7. After one meeting, the battery charging for the camera was going to make me lose my mind. Dedicated power was a must.
In this case I bought two. I groan here immensely because the expensive one crapped out on me within the 2nd week because it doesn’t have an automatic off function and I would forget to turn off my camera after 8hrs of meetings.
This is the Mirabox USB-C Capture Card, highly recommended from a slack group we have at work about the best video setups. At the time elgato Cam-link 4k was obviously the best, but completely sold out everywhere. This one failed me.
Later on there was an article about the MavisLink Audio Video Capture Cards. The price point was low enough and it seemed too good to be true, but the reviews raved about it. This is what I’m still using today.
Micro HDMI to HDMI Adapter Cable 4K
For the video card to camera connection – I admit I always cheap out on cables, but what I’ve learned over the past year of consuming a lot of video content in the pandemic is that they make a difference.
Sit Stand Desk
My main workstation is on this odd middle ledge in between floors. I put together a custom rising desk from a piece of wood I bought at Home Depot that I later stained and added Mono Price Motor Height Adjustable Table Desk Frame.
Honestly, I hate my camera stand situation, so I’m not going to include any links to it, but it’s a tiny tripod that sits on top of a Twelve South Backpack. After the camera fell from the ledge once while raising the desk *facepalm*, I secured it into place with tape. It’s completely insecure, but I haven’t found anything I liked better thus far.
4/21/21 Edit: I did finally find an option that I love. The Elgato Master Mount L is amazing.
I added a SmallRig Tilting Monitor Mount to this set as well as to make daily adjustments easier.
For the mic I decided on getting the Apogee Hype Mic. I’ve been told it sounds incredibly crisp when I talk into it and sets my voice apart. I also enjoyed that it had a travel case, you know in case we ever get to travel again (then maybe I can host a podcast?).
In so far as lighting, I already had this great WorkRite Astra LED Task Light. What I love about this is the top part can flip upwards to use as a ring light of sorts, and it has controllable light levels with the touch of two buttons.
And that’s it! This kit was built over the course of several months last year but I always felt like I was just missing one more piece.
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