Camera – I use a Canon Vixia HD camcorder, or a Canon EOS 70D DSLR. I’d say don’t cut corners here. Having the right camera directly translates to having a great quality finished product that will be pleasant to look at. If going the DSLR route, you’ll want a good zoom lens, with enough range to work in small rooms and large. ~50mm on the low end and up to 250-270mm.
Tripod – Make sure it’s a video tripod and not a photo tripod. The video tripods allow for more fluid camera movements. Big plus towards a quality finished product. I use a cheap but effective Magnus VT-4000. Tripod placement should generally be at the very rear center of the room. Having a raised platform to set the tripod on is a big plus as it allows you to avoid getting the heads of people walking by the camera out of the frame.
Mics & Audio – This one can get complicated… Few ways to handle this:
- Presenter is already mic’d by the in-house sound system – You can use a Digital Audio Recorder (DAR) and take an output direct from the house soundboard. Easiest solution, but relies on how well the presenters levels are being set and maintained by the house sound staff. If the levels are peaking you will end up with distorted audio and that makes the finished product quality suffer. B/c you’re recording audio and video separate this method will also require you to match up audio and video tracks in post-production. This is easy enough to do, but just one addt’l step.
- RE: DARs. I’m personally a fan of the Tascam DR-05. I know the Zooms are good too, more expensive though. If you aren’t relying on the mics built into the DAR but just using it as audio storage you can also go the super-basic approach.
- If you will be taking your recording from a house soundboard you’ll want to make sure you have a couple options for audio adapters, in case the house A/V staff doesn’t have what you need. The DAR accepts a 1/8″ AKA stereo mini plug. The soundboard will have either 1/4″ or RCA outputs in most cases. So you should purchase a:
- Presenter isn’t already mic’d – Use your own wired lavalier mic connected to the DAR. Here you get to set your own levels to ensure good audio. Note: you CAN also use this approach in the above scenario. The presenter will just wear 2 mics. Also requires syncing tracks in post.
- A little fancier – Use a wireless lavalier system, with the receiver plugged directly into the camera. This approach you are recording audio and video to the same track so no need to sync up later.
Storage – You’ll want the high-speed (SDXC) SD cards for recording HD vid. 64GB should be good for over 10hrs of full HD video recordings.