Creating content is getting a little easier, mostly thanks to new and technically more advanced gear. Cameras that shoot multiple photos in a row in extreme high-resolution; a new recording device that helps you capture Facebook Live events without a lot of hassle. I tested the following gear hands-on to find out how each gadget can help with content for a startup. These are my top picks for ease-of-use, high-end features, and game-changing tech. marketing
1. Sony a7R III ($3,200)
My favorite camera right now hands-down, the Sony a7R III has a super-fast shutter, and at 42.4 megapixels, every Instagram photo you take will look ultra-professional. It can become the basis of your content marketing program, for both photos and videos. At 10-frames-per-second, you can snap multiple photos in a row and pick the best one. It's expensive, and the technology is a bit untested since it doesn't use mirrors like a traditional digital single-lens reflex camera, but my photos looked brochure-quality crisp.
2. Mevo Plus ($500)
Designed for people who are not overly techie, the Mevo Plus camera lets you create a livestream on Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter (on the Periscope service) without a lot of fuss. The camera sits on a tripod (included only in the bundle for $800) and connects to your phone. The big advantage is in controlling the camera remotely from up to 100-feet away, and the stereo microphone that records all around the room. The downside? There's no Ethernet, so you have to rely on WiFi for a smooth stream.
Update: A company representative sent this note about the Mevo Plus: "Although there is not a direct Ethernet input on the camera, the Mevo Boost accessory offers this option (priced at $249 or included in the Pro Bundle for a total of $799). The other streaming option is via your phones LTE network which is a very common use case."
3. MeVideo Tripod ($649)
Pros have one mantra for anyone trying to create media content. It's this: Get a good tripod. It means everything will look clearer and more stable, especially video for livestreaming or making a startup video. I tested an early carbon-fiber version of the MeVideo tripod, and I liked how smooth it worked for video and its ability to fold-up and go quickly. It's a little pricey for a startup, but there's also an aluminum version that costs $499. It's also only available for pre-order as part of a Kickstarter campaign.
4. SlingStudio ($1,348)
A direct competitor to the Mevo Plus, the SlingStudio is a little more complicated in terms fo features and setup but gives you much more flexibility. The hub connects to a wired Ethernet feed, which means you won't have to worry about a sketchy Wi-Fi connection. You can switch quickly from the main camera (which is not included, but SlingStudio works with many digital cameras like the Sony a7R III) to a smartphone. The required iPad app is handy, although some of the advanced features were a little hard to configure. The best features related to camera-switching make it seem like you're a news station.
5. Shure VP83F Shotgun Mic ($349)
Besides saying "get a good tripod" a professional media producer will also tell you to get a good microphone. It's required for any pro video. This Shure model that works with most high-end digital cameras and video cameras snaps easily into place and uses noise-reduction tech. For Facebook livestreaming, it's ideal because the VP83F is portable enough to carry anywhere and use in the spur of the moment. Just keep extra AA batteries on hand; the microphone lasts about 10 hours for continuous use.
6. GoPro Hero6 Black ($399)
Still my favorite action camera, the GoPro Hero6 Black is a smart choice for content marketing when you combine it with the Karma Grip ($299) gimbal. You can record videos with movement of someone talking and walking (say, your CEO); the Karma keeps the video stable and smooth as you move around. The Hero6 records in 4K and snaps photos in 12-megapixel resolution. You'll want to buy an extra battery for the camera and the grip; the Hero6 lasts only 70 minutes for 4K video recording.