I have been rather busy actually making video these days and that is why I haven’t updated this site too much but I wanted to share with you guys my recent camera setup I re-did in my office for my Galaxy S8 Plus Unboxing video that I did on my main YouTube channel. And I hope this helps some of you just starting out setup your cameras correctly for unboxing videos.
Anyways, you can watch the video first then let me explain all the different part by part on my blog here.
The Overhead Camera Setup for Unboxing
Want to have a overhead camera setup like Unbox Therapy? Well, there’s a lot of ways to do it but if you are next to a wall like me, you can do something like this. In above setup, I used a lighting wall mount to setup one of my cameras so I can get that perfect 90-degree perpendicular look. I initially used a Sony A7Sii but I wanted to have auto-focus and the A7Sii is just so horrible at auto-focus, even with Sony native lenses. I swapped it out for my cheaper A6300 which focuses very fast just like my A7Rii.
If you are interested, here’s the parts list:
- Newer Wall mount – I really love these wall mounts. I have them in fact mounted on my walls and even ceilings for my softboxes and for my cameras. They can adjust in many different angles and can hold pretty heavy things.
- Sony A6300 – Fast auto-focus, great 4K, if you are going to mount your camera on the wall anyways, you don’t need to spend the extra money on the newer A6500 which has 5-axis stabilization.
- Sigma 30mm F1.4 DN – Very very sharp lens, auto-focus is fast and it is native Sony E-mount. The lens is very portable and lightweight with F1.4 aperture so you can get those low-light shots or shots with lots of bokeh. The only thing I don’t like is the wire-type manual focus ring, it is worthless for manual focusing but excellent for silent and quick auto-focus.
2nd Camera Setup Behind Me
For my 2nd camera setup, I wanted to really get that shot from behind me and I wanted to be able to give my viewers close-up macro shots and also be able to easily reach my camera so I can adjust the settings. For this setup, I used my Sony A7Rii, which is great since I can switch quickly between full-frame and APS-C mode. Recently, I picked up the Sony FE 90mm Macro F2.8 lens and the image that comes out of this lens is the SHARPEST I have ever seen. In fact, DXOMark listed this lens at the second sharpest lens all-time. Now, what’s great with this lens is that it is a “macro” lens, meaning I can get that close-up macro and the lens will focus with the subject 6-inches away from the lens. Auto-focus is excellent with this lens and super-fast and for getting those close-up shots, this is excellent.
- Sony A7Rii – Probably the most versatile 4K camera with 42MP photos, does many things well. If you want to get one Sony camera that does both great videos and photos, this would be it. In fact, I think it’s better than even the new A9 since it has 42MP.
- Sony FE 90mm F2.8 Macro Lens – This is my 2nd favorite lens now after the Sigma 24mm F1.4. It’s great for both zoom and macro.
If I am setting up my cameras, I like to have the best audio recording possible and that means using an external microphone with an external audio recorder. You can use wireless microphone but sometimes the wires are pain to wear and besides, you will get much better audio with a shotgun microphone, which can be placed anywhere from 3-10 feet away from you.
I use the Audio Technica AT875R microphone (in fact I have 3 of them) and this is the best shotgun microphone under $200. I highly recommended for those of you who want the best sound on a budget. This is a phantom-powered microphone so you will need some kind of phantom power and I use my old, trusy Zoom H4N which does a good job.
It is always good to have a backup microphone and since I have a bunch of microphones, I just stick them on my second camera just in case the first microphone files get corrupted or I forget to hit the record button. One of my favorite microphones I use when I travel is the Rode VideoMic Micro, which is awesome because it gives you excellent audio and DOES NOT REQUIRE EXTERNAL POWER OR BATTERIES.
Yup, this is the one Flossy Carter called the “rabbit fur”. LOL.
External 4K Video recorder and Monitors
Since my camera setup requires an overhead and also a camera behind me, without an external monitor, you will have a hard time while making the video. I am currently using a SmallHD 501 5-inch monitor for the overhead camera and since I already have the Ninja Flame 4K external recorder with 7-inch HDR screen, I am using that for the camera behind me.
Now, Atomos, the maker of Ninja Flame, has lowered the price of Ninja Flame by almost 50%. While I paid around $1500 when it came out, it is now only $795. This is ridiculously cheaper and better than my SmallHD 501 which retails for $895! When I first got the Ninja Flame, I didn’t really use it much but it is an awesome external 4K recorder that can give you uncompressed ProRes files so your color grading and editing can be much much quicker. When I render 4K video files in Premiere, it is about 3 times faster on average than editing with Sony’s compressed files. Plus, you can use SSDs as recording and edit them right on the SSD using the USB 3.0 dock provided. Even if you don’t use the external recorder, the Atomos Ninja has HDR 7-inch monitor along with lots of tools to help you while making your video.
- SmallHD 501 – Very portable and good external monitor but it is rather pricey for what you get.
- Atomos Ninja Flame – This is the best investment I ever made, I probably get two of these instead of getting the SmallHD.
I absolutely LOVE this Sirui ET-2204 tripod. It is made out of carbon fiber, super lightweight, and folds & fits in your backpack.
If you need a good fluid head, Manfrotto MVH502AH is a very good fluid head I would recommend for starters.
Well, that’s about it. I didn’t really have time to edit this post but hope this helps you in setting up your next unboxing camera setup. I am about to get on the plane to Las Vegas to check out NAB 2017, the biggest camera show in the world so stay tuned as I should have some interesting videos/posts from there.