Sort of Frustrated

While Andy was here last month, I edited and posted the first video in my “Great Eats in Bangkok” series.  Since then I’ve shot video for another three segments, but I’m finding myself frustrated with the audio quality.  My camera, a Panasonic Lumix LX-3, takes fantastic looking pictures and video and is especially good in low-light settings.  But like most cameras with video functions, the built-in speakers leave something to be desired.

Most of the great eats in Bangkok are located in noisy places – crowded restaurants, street-side stalls, busy markets – and my camera’s microphone doesn’t distinguish my voice from the ambient noise from the background.

Exploring my options, I found a relatively inexpensive solution.  What I did not want to do is buy a full digital video camera.  That would be too bulky and I’m not willing to leave my Lumix behind because most of my blog content is photos, not video.  After some research, I settled on a Kodak Zi8.


The Zi8 is a handheld high-definition video recorder, a simple point-and-shoot model along the lines of the Flip video camera.  It doesn’t have a lot of functions – zoom, different shooting modes, etc. – but it does have one feature I was most looking for: an external microphone jack.  Which leads me to my next purchase:


A wireless lavalier microphone set from Azden.  This way I’ll be able to mic myself so even in the midst of a crowded environment you should be able to hear my voice distinct from the background noise.  Funnily enough, the microphone set is about half again as expensive ($150 vs. $100) as the camera.  I was initially hesitant to spend that much money, but after talking it over with Tawn he encouraged me to make the purchase as an investment in my blogging.

My cousins in LA will be bringing my purchases to Hawai’i next week where I’ll met them for another cousin’s wedding.  Perhaps the first test of all this will be on some local Kaua’i grinds.  Stay tuned!


0 thoughts on “Sort of Frustrated

  1. Chris, I’m going to have to check out that little Kodak video recorder. Though back here, the Department of Homeland Security might get suspicious!

  2. i think that’s a great buy. it’s really amazing the technologies that they’ve come up with today. i myself would like one of those flip camcorders but given the explosion of 720 recorder cellphones, i figure i’ll just wait until technology converges and they come out with a 1080 device. personally, i think your recent kodak viewer is all you need with the additional mic. i’m just going to wait until i see what other things come out as i’ve just bought a new phone.

  3. My Nikon s3000 camera catches video pretty well.Those itty-bitty video recorders are so neat! Maybe I’ll get one when I move abroad, so that I can send home videos to my family in the States.

  4. Hehe, I forgot these would be coming to our house. This explains the mysterious battery that arrived yesterday. Bill would like to charge you shipping and handling for bringing your items to Kauai. Payment may be made in the form of spam musubi and shave ice. I’m interested in how the Kodak camera fares. We have a Flip camera and really like it. I’m just not comfortable with the hand-feel. It has a very smooth surface and is small, so I feel like I’m going to drop it.

  5. That is one nifty gadget to have. It will be wonderful to see you working in either your kitchen, or doing a video shoot out on a street. Have fun.

  6. nice! i love kauai, but i haven’t been there in ages. i think it’s the greenest and most lush island when taken as a whole. out of curiosity, where will you be on kauai and what are your plans for exploring the island?

  7. @kunhuo42 –  This will be my third time to the island and I agree that it is the lushest one. The wedding is in Poipu so we will stay nearby. I have a list of some local eats and a few farmer’s markets I’d like to check out but if you have any recommendations, please let me know.@alextebow – @ac325i –  Yes, that explains the battery arriving on your doorstep. Odd that it arrived first. Payment in shave ice will be fine. Thanks again for bringing them over for me – feel free to unpackage them as necessary. As for Alex’s comment about the usability of the Flip, I agree and am concerned that the Kodak’s small size may present a similar challenge, but it seems to be the most cost-effective solution and is well-reviewed.@ThePrince –  There does seem to be an interesting trend towards a merging of technologies. I mean, I can shoot HD with my Lumix camera so the audio is the only missing element. What I discovered is that it has the most trouble when in a loud, enclosed environment where there is a lot of echoing ambient noise. Outdoors it isn’t so bad.@RakkaRay –  Put a small headphone in your ear, talk into your sleeve from time to time, and they’ll think you work for the Secret Service!@murisopsis –  I think I have enough workable footage from a recent Thai breakfast that I can cut one more video in the series. The rest of it, though, I’m going to reshoot once I have the new camera and mic.@ZSA_MD – @yang1815 – @icapillas – @Roadlesstaken – @Fatcat723 –  Stay tuned to see how it works out. In fact, there should be some Hong Kong footage, too, as we’re going to stop there for a few days on the way back from Hawai’i.@Cestovatelka – I used to be strictly a still photo person but it seems that there are some elements of life that are more fully conveyed in video.

  8. @christao408 –  yes, and i think this is why the added mic purchase you made – in my opinion – will improve the quality of videos exponentially. then again, i gotta admit man, i’m looking at the food/sights lol. but if you can find a way to distract me from that with your commentary, i’ll be impressed!

  9. Oh, “Rick Steves” in the making! On a seperate note, I hope wind noise will not be too intrusive along the Kaua’i grounds! Look forward to viewing your new videos!

  10. @beowulf222 – Trying to sync the voice at home isn’t even feasible.  I can do voice-overs but there are many situations where I want to be able to speak on camera.  I did some tests using a separate digital voice recorder and micing myself, but even that is still a pain because I have to manually sync the audio trac to the video trac.@ElusiveWords – The second career being the one that provides no income?@CurryPuffy – Wind noise shouldn’t be bad since the mic does have a foam wind guard on it.@ThePrince – One thing I’ve learned is that audio makes a big difference in the quality and professionalism of a video.

  11. Very cool. I own the Flip Video and I’m amazed at what it can do! I’ve done a few promo videos and I’m getting into shooting videos of houses for sale to promote via youtube and to the local community. Technology is something else at times, eh? 🙂

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