I never know how my day will go. Suddenly something completely unexpected can happen and that is when I grab my camera and start recording.
With the demands of uploading two videos a week to her YouTube channel, it is vital that Melanie’s camera fits seamlessly into her life, as well as her handbag. “I document my daily life and create videos about all things that interest me. I talk about fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle, and my camera comes with me everywhere I go,” she explains.
With the emphasis on telling stories and documenting life, a camera for vlogging is very different to conventional filmmaking cameras that are often laden with accessories. “It can’t weigh too much,” says Melanie about her ideal camera, “I don’t want something that is so heavy that it makes my arm go dead whilst I am vlogging!” She jokes. “When vlogging you are naturally filming yourself, holding the camera at arm’s length, so I need a camera with a good grip so that I can hold it firmly and it won’t slip from my hands.”
Filming yourself isn’t as easy as the final videos make it look, and everything a camera can do to allow Melanie to think less about the camera and settings, and more about storytelling, the better. “Making sure that my face is in focus is important. I need to be able to film myself naturally and I can’t do that if my face is blurry. It’s also important that colours look real and natural and not fake.”
For the last few weeks Melanie’s camera has been the new Sony Vlog camera ZV-1, a camera that has been designed with creators such as Melanie in mind. From focusing and image quality, to stabilisation and audio, the camera has been created so that anyone can create videos and tell their own stories.
One of the first things I noticed using the Sony ZV-1 was the focus speed. Often, I will hold a product up to the camera to show my audience and it can take a while for the focus to switch on to the product,” Melanie explains, continuing, “with the new camera it changes focus quickly and accurately between my face and whatever I was showing. The camera has Real time Eye-AF, so it automatically tracks my face and eyes and ensures that they are always sharp. The exposure also automatically adjusts the brightness to ensure my face can be easily seen. These features and image quality have all been designed to make sure that faces look their best when filming.
As Melanie is always on the go, she shoots handheld and never uses a tripod or stabiliser. “Having stable footage is essential. I wouldn’t want to watch a video that is always shaking, and I don’t want my viewers to have that experience” says Melanie. Thankfully the ZV-1 has built-in stabilisation. “The stabilisation is very good,” recalls Melanie, “I can walk around holding the camera and the image is not shaky or choppy at all. That is a big plus as it is so important when vlogging.”
With the features of the camera making sure that vloggers will never miss a shot, it is then down to the vlogger to be able to quickly handle and operate the camera.
“The ZV-1 is very light and compact - I can take it with me everywhere” Melanie continues, “I don’t have to worry about the settings of the camera, as the default automatic settings are almost always set correctly. When I do want to change something the camera is very easy to operate. There was no digging deep into menu systems, almost everything has a very straight forward on/off setting, including an option to quickly apply background blur. Even the record button is a big red button which makes life a lot easier because whenever I hand someone a camera to film me they always ask ‘what button to I press to start?’”
When starting out, many creators overlook audio often using the tiny built-in mic of their camera or phone. Yet audio is just as important as the visual quality of a video. The ZV-1 has a high-quality microphone that emphasises the sound of the human voice.
“I was very surprised with the sound quality of the camera,” says Melanie, “it has a very pure sound that is nice to listen to. And it’s a huge bonus that a windshield is included as standard that you can easily attach to the microphone to prevent rustling wind noise. And there is still the option to add a more specialist microphone if you need to.”
With all of these features designed to make it easier for vloggers to create, it is no surprise that Melanie has a great first impression of the camera: “The ZV-1 combines beautiful image and sound quality to ensure that I can capture all moments of my life easily. I can’t wait to start using this camera every day!”