Without giving too much away, there hasn’t been a ton of surprises so far. Everyone tends to have a handheld ENG camera, some kind of bonded cellular transmission gear, a powerful laptop and a plethora of smartphone apps that they use on a daily basis.
When learning about what kinds of cameras MMJs are using, I was a little surprised that many don’t have some kind of specialized camera thrown into their gear bag. What do I mean by specialized camera? Here are a few cameras that every good journalist should have with them:
iPhone or Android Smartphone
This one is a given (and all MMJs have of one these, obviously). All good photographers, and probably videographers, will tell you that the best camera is the one that’s always with you, ready to shoot. Today’s smartphones tout pretty sharp lenses and strong image quality that more than passes what’s acceptable for breaking news coverage. Smartphones especially became that must-need camera when bonded cellular companies like TVU, LiveU and Dejero released apps that let reporters go live from the field straight from their phone, without worrying about any wires of transmission gear.
The GoPro Camera is like the fisheye lens on an SLR camera — it creates a neat effect, but when overused, people get sick of it pretty quickly. For $300-$400, you can’t beat the versatility that the small-sized GoPro offers. Its wide lens and HD video capabilities makes it the perfect auxiliary camera for perspective shots in large crowds or at major events. It’s size and ability to be mounted anywhere makes its a great tool for shots while driving. And when it comes to sports, you can’t beat throwing a GoPro behind a backboard to capture the thundering slam dunk of a basketball player.
Most laptops today come with a builtin webcam. Now the quality isn’t anything amazing, but in tight situations where you need to be on air, or seen speaking in your story, a webcam offers that flexibility. It’s not uncommon to see broadcasts today where sources or reporters go on air via Skype or FaceTime. That’s made possible via the webcam.
I’m not sure where you draw the line when it comes to ethics, but for those investigative, hidden-camera pieces, you can’t go wrong with some surveillance cameras. Of course, they come in a plethora of shapes and sizes, depending on what kind of shot you’re aiming to capture. And hey, for $250, you can buy this cute, cuddly teddy bear nanny cam! Tell me who wouldn’t want that in their gear bag.
(Also worth asking, are local stations still doing hidden camera stories? Fill me in below in the comments section.)
Did I miss anything? Share below.