Treehouse NewsNew Video Equipment for Think Vitamin Membership


writes on May 12, 2011

Photo of our video camera, the Sony EX1R.

(Photo credit: Jon Geilen)

Producing high quality video isn’t easy, but having the right gear helps! If you receive our Think Vitamin Membership newsletter, you may already know about our $14,000+ purchase of ‘Fancy New Studio Equipment’. We wanted to increase the quality of our videos and smooth out the kinks in our workflow, so we decided to purchase some new kit. Here’s a detailed breakdown of what we use to produce video:


After experimenting with DSLR hybrid options, like the Panasonic AF100, we finally decided on the Sony EX1R. While the AF100 boasts cheaper interchangeable lenses, the EX1R ships with a great lens, has more functionality in a live studio environment, and is easier to adapt into our workflow. Their proprietary SxS cards are annoyingly expensive (32gb for $1100), but you can work around that issue with a $45 replacement adapter that allows you to use standard SDHC cards.


If your talented subjects are going to spend more time in front of the camera, LED lights make a huge difference. While it’s cheaper to use Tungsten instead, LED lights run much cooler, draw far less power (fewer tripped circuit breakers), and are an overall better fit for any small studio environment that photographs humans. This is less of an issue if you shoot once a month or once a week, but if you’re shooting video everyday, lighting is incredibly important.

However, LEDs are another product that can get insanely expensive, so shop around. We bought a complete 5 light LED setup from Cool Lights for around $3500 with shipping.

Photo of our studio lighting setup.

(Photo credit: Jon Geilen)


Previously, we recorded screencasts and live video with a mix of shotgun, wired, and wireless mics. Now, we record all of our audio with Rode NTG-1 Microphones. This helps create a consistent sound when switching between different shots.


We occasionally use Blackmagic Intensity Pro Capture Cards to connect our HD cameras to a computer via an HDMI cable. After that, we’re able to capture footage directly into an NLE like Final Cut or broadcast directly to, depending on our needs.

Video Router

With the HDMI 1 x 4 Distribution Amplified Mini Splitter, you can take the HDMI output from your camera and then see your live footage on multiple HD monitors. We use this to share footage with talent and to get a second opinion on framing and lighting from the production team.

Video Monitor

We initially purchased a 7.1″ monitor from Manhattan LCD, but there was a bug in the monitor’s software. After contacting Manhattan LCD (which is located surprisingly close to our Orlando office), they replaced and upgraded us to the Manhattan LCD HD089B-S 8.9″ HD Pro Monitor at no charge.

Additional Equipment

  • Tripod: Manfrotto 504HD Head w/546B 2-Stage Aluminum Tripod System
  • DVD: Mastering the Sony PMW-EX1 & EX1R
  • Headphones: Sony 7506
  • Azden Mic Shock Mount
  • Lavalier Mics: Countryman EMW
  • Tiffen – 77mm UV Protector Filter
  • Teleprompter Stand
  • External Card Readers
  • Pelican Camera Case
  • Dead Cat Wind Muff

And that’s what we use in our current video production workflow! Below is a before and after comparison of our live shots. When these images are placed side-by-side, our new lighting and camera is a clear upgrade.

Before and after comparison of our video gear.

Of course, if you have any equipment suggestions or questions, please let us know!


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16 Responses to “New Video Equipment for Think Vitamin Membership”

  1. Its very great I am very happy with your article nice information

  2. You might lower the power of your highkey background lighting. You can see how the over powered lights are wrapping around the person. It will wash out the image. Almost like getting a nasty flair when the sun is in a shot.

  3. that is some crazy looking hair

  4. that is some crazy looking hair

  5. Nice setup.

    I would’ve gone with the Sony EX3 myself. I’ve worked with a professional video product team that handle the production for major recording artists concerts, and they swear by the EX3.

    Other than that and maybe a composer between the mic/mixer and the audio recorder. But that’s just me being fussy.

    Oh one other tip I was given by a pro, never chreap out on HD/SDI cables. You’ll regret it.

    I do my editing in Premiere CS5 64bit, with Adobe Audition 3 for audio. But I must admit the new Final Cut looks nice.

    Keep up the good work guys 🙂

  6. Its a great improvement. Just curious. How much does the whole new setup costs?

  7. I really love the
    Sony EX1R. It looks like pure pure power!

  8. HD = Hair Definition.

  9. HD = Hair Definition.

    • That’s actually more true than you might think! In the photo of our lighting setup, you can see a small light just behind my head. That’s called a hair light, and it’s meant to give definition and depth to the subject.

  10. I like that the new setup got rid of nick’s stripes on the shirt 😉

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