The Law Enforcement Social Media Blog

The authoritative resource for news and information about law enforcement social media. From Facebook and Twitter to YouTube and Nixle, we discuss social media and its use as the ultimate community policing tool.

I Built Your Live Stream Video Kit For You!

I Built Your Live Stream Video Kit For You!

Although I put the kit together, you still need to purchase it from your favorite camera vendor! At least you can use the info in this post to help you make your purchase.

If you are like many social media marketers and enthusiasts, you’re probably getting into live video streaming apps like Periscope, Meerkat and NomadCast. 

The benefits of these applications for law enforcement social media usage far outweighs any negative issues, thus almost making it a necessity. However, to do it right, we have to have the right tools, which means we have to take the following into account:

  • The equipment has to be durable and dependable
  • It needs to be transported in rough environments, i.e.; trunks of police cars
  • It has to be able to be set-up quickly and easily
  • It has to be worth the investment; if we're going to spend the money, it better be professional grade

The Budget

As with anything, you can spend as little or as much as you want, when it comes to technology. We all know that! When I went shopping for my kit, I did it based on what I could personally afford on my own budget. Since I not only manage social media on a professional level but a personal one as well, I was willing to spend a reasonable amount of money on some equipment to make sure I met the above conditions.

In other words, I assembled a kit that would be dependable and worth it, on a cop’s budget. For those who can get their department’s to purchase this equipment, you’ll make administrators happy. For those who are purchasing it on their own, momma should* be happy.

If you are not in law enforcement social media but need to purchase some equipment for a small business adventure or as a student, it will be worth the expense.

Thankfully, one of my department's social media volunteers, Phil Salvatti, helped me assemble the kit described in this article.

Start With The Tripod

I purchased a Slik 504 QF II Tripod. Compared to many of the tripods standing next to it, this one was the best price, had plenty of height and was built sturdy. Price: $129.95

The Component Connectors

Next, I needed some way to connect everything I would need onto the tripod. So I started with the basics, and that was - the phone. I already had an iPhone tripod adapter, but for this article and pricing, you can get one for about $15.00 online. Just make sure you can shoot video in both landscape and portrait mode when connected to the tripod.

You’ll need a rail system, which mounts between the tripod’s adapter plate and the smartphone holder. This a piece of metal about 12” long, to which you’ll connect other accessories. The RPC RS-3147 will run you $27.95.

I added a male locking flash shoe adapter to raise the phone slightly off the rail, which was $3.99.

Microphone

I chose an Azden Supercardioid Shotgun Microphone which came with the tripod rail bracket, foam windscreen and has a narrow and wide range switch, allowing for multiple uses. However, for doing news reports or interviews, this mic will work great. Price: $85.00 (The microphone requires 1 AAA battery).

Adapter Cable

You will need an adapter for your smartphone’s microphone jack, as plugging the microphone directly to a smartphone will not work.

The Azden i-Coustics HX-Mi Mic/Headphone Adapter for Smartphones & Tablets will allow you to plug in the microphone to your smartphone. The headphone jack will allow you to listen to the audio in playback (You can’t monitor your audio while recording). Price: $20.00

Lighting

We all know you might be doing some recording during evening hours or in poor lighting conditions. If you are on the scene of a wildland fire and the sky has a layer of smoke blocking the sunlight, you’ll need some lighting. 

The Amaran AL-H198 On-camera LED Light comes with the rail bracket and is powered by 6 AA batteries. There are two rotary switches: One to control the brightness and one to change the color of the light. Price: $60.00

Teleprompter or Secondary Camera Anyone?

Using the DLC Tablet Holder w/Tilt adapter, I’m able to mount my iPad Air under the rail system. Why would I want the iPad?

I use the Teleprompter 3 from Bombing Brain Interactive while I record. This app acts just like a teleprompter, in that the words of my script flow up from the bottom of the screen at a speed I select. 

If I don’t want to use the iPad as a teleprompter, I can use it to record my live video stream, for use at uploading to YouTube or Vimeo, or maybe on my website. 

The price of the adapter is $69.95. The price of the Teleprompter 3 App is $24.95 for the iOS version and $49.95 for the Macbook version.

Background

There are times when I need to complete a series of videos which have a uniform background. Also, I might want to record something and don’t want people to see the inside of my house, for example. For this, I purchased a Savage Collapsible Background Photo Kit. It comes with a stand and the background. Price: $139.95

Storing or Traveling

In law enforcement social media, we know we sometimes need to “roll” quickly, and how we do that, isn’t necessarily pretty. Throwing our equipment in the back of a police car’s trunk means we subject it to potential damage from quick accelerations, turns, breaking, other equipment, heavy tools, battering rams, etc. 

With that being said, I chose the Pelican 1500 case with custom foam insert, to protect my investment. The case is small enough to carry on a plane, and of course, waterproof and damn near indestructible. Price: $98.95

So What’s The Damage?

Everything (Including Teleprompt App for the iPad and the background kit) will set you back $713.21.

Test Before You Buy

I actually assembled this in the store prior to purchasing, which is the benefit of going to a smaller camera shop. I had a knowledgeable sales person who enjoyed putting together this kit as much as I did. Additionally, his knowledge of “what worked with what” helped in making sure it all came together.

Share your thoughts or input with us either here on the website or on social media! 

 

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