Why hello there! My name is Jenn and welcome to Hitchhiker’s Guide to Video!

I am starting this blog as a labor of love for folks that want to start making short videos, want to make BETTER videos, or may find themselves in a situation similar to where I found myself in the summer of 2011. I won a dream job with a local credit union here in St. Louis that consisted of writing daily blog entries, posting on social media, planning and attending events and of course, making videos…

…LOTS. of videos.

At least one short video PER. WEEK. For a YEAR AND A HALF.

I also actually went to college for video production and this job still ended up being harder than I expected. Being at the creative helm of your own veritable Video Ship each week where you are responsible for every single part of your production puts you through a crazy transformation. On the one hand, some videos you look back at and kinda want to put a fork in your eye but on the other…I now have a portfolio of around 80 completed projects that I have produced from start to finish–and that feels damn good.

The one thing that I can say I really will carry with me forever from the experience is:

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done.”

-The Bible – New Living Translation, allegedly

With something like video (or almost any new-to-you endeavor!) a lot can be accomplished by just doing anything at all and staying hungry to do it better because there will always be more to learn. With video especially there is always new gear, new software, new techniques new technology…trying to wait to know all the stuff and have all the gear before you start will paralyze you permanently because it’s impossible!

Here’s what I started with:

Jenn's Beginner Video Gear

  1. A Canon Vixia HF M300 HD camera – I’m a Canon girl, the first camera I ever bought was also a Canon back in like…2004 or 2005. A friend ended up breaking it and at that point I had access to my college’s camera so I just said screw it. I was way nicer back then.
  2. A Sennheiser E835 hand-held microphone – a basic hand-held mic. I definitely didn’t maximize it when I just plugged it right into my camera with the …
  3. XLR to 3.5mm adapter – this made it so that I could plug the mic, which has an XLR plug on the end of it. directly into the tiny jack on my camera. 3.5mm is the same size as the plug at the end of your headphones. I can’t say enough about using a mic, if you spend a lot of time filming in noisy environments they’re indispensable!
  4. A couple of XLR cables – Ye Ole standard audio & video cables. These are pretty much the veins of everything that goes into video production. We had so many of these that we used for everything that I could have been buried in these in college and no one would have ever found my body…
  5. A tripod – Mine looked kinda like this but this one is cooler. Mine didn’t even have a bubble level on it which could make things pretty annoying…and crooked…
  6. My MacBook Pro laptop  with Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) – Final Cut Pro & I have had a very interesting relationship curve. I learned on 7, loved it, was given X when I started my job, hated it for basically the whole first year then something my husband said to me drunkenly one night changed everything. No, seriously! More on this later.

You certainly don’t even need this much to get started. Can you record video on your smartphone? Do you have a flip cam? This is just what I started with because it’s what provided me with when I won my job.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

– Arthur Ashe

If I had the opportunity to choose my gear myself at that time though I still wouldn’t have known where was best for me to start. It actually turned out to be really good for me to get into such a basic camera, stretch it to its limits and then grow out of it fully knowing how I worked and what I wanted to do, next.

I will be upgrading my camera in a few weeks to a DSLR but don’t freak out! I will still be chronicling my beginner’s journey because I have a LOT to say about what I’ve learned poking around with my little handicam for the last 18 months. This will just make it so that I can take my own pictures and videos of my picture and video stuff and it will get all meta…or something…?

You can see the rest of my ridiculous story on the About page and I would adore it if you could also say hello on Facebook and Twitter! I’m planning to post here 2-3 times a week and trying to determine the most effective posting schedule for myself so stay tuned!

Anything you already know you’d like to see me cover here? Please let me know in a comment!

For those about to [REC.], we salute you!