Chris’ Tools Of The Trade

Curious to know what technology I use from day to day? Below is a list of everything at my fingertips to work, connect, and create. I share a bit of how I use each item and why I included it in my toolbox.

Note: I try my best to avoid purchasing new devices for the sake of owning the newest and best – this is advice I share as well. Instead, I try to get as much life out of my devices as possible before replacing or upgrading. However, sometimes I do indulge myself with the latest tech.

Podcast Recording

After doing much research into audio recording, and looking at other professional setups, I decided on these items for my podcasting equipment.

Audio Technica AT2020 (XLR)

Microphone

I could have easily used one of the cardioid microphones from our production setup, but elected to get a microphone specifically for podcasting and voiceovers. I chose the XLR version of the Audio Technica AT2020 microphone over the USB to avoid recording to the computer – too many things could go wrong! Better to keep it simple.

The microphone is very sturdy, and is on the small side for condenser mics – this is a good thing for travel. The sound quality is excellent. Very rich in sound, as it should be.


Zoom H4N

Recorder

The H4N I have used in the past for audio/video projects. It is probably one of my favorite go-to tools. What makes this device stand out are the options to record in mono, stereo, and multi-channel (up to 4). I am able to pull my microphone audio into one channel, while recording other inputs on separate channels. This is especially awesome in recording interviews and fixing audio independently during post processing.


Sony MDR-V6

Studio Headphones

There really isn’t much to say here. If you want great quality headphones for monitoring audio, these will do the job perfectly. They have never let me down.


Neewer Boom Arm

The boom holds the mic and pop filer, with an XLR cable inside, right over my large desk so I can comfortably sit in my executive chair and record.


Heil PL2T

Boom Arm

After months of recording at my desk for the podcast and voiceovers, I realized how painful it was to slouch into my chair for an extended time. I needed to stand and have more movement while recording. My previous boom arm was simply too small to function in this manner.

Enter the Heil PL2T. A boom arm large enough to reach my mouth while standing up straight with length to spare for any additional movements I need to make. The boom arm is very sturdy. It is a bit inflexible, but is silent when moving while recording.


DragonPad Pop Filter

This is a very in expensive item that makes a big difference in the quality of your audio recording during podcasting. The filter prevents hard pops from the speaker, which makes for a better experience for listeners.


Devices

Samsung Galaxy S4

Phone

This has been a great phone, which was a huge upgrade from my previous phone (The original Samsung Galaxy S). The phone has always been speedy, has no problem with my work/management apps and games, and fits right into my back pocket. It is now a couple of years old and still working quite well.


Samsung Note 5

Phone

Well, after a Black Friday sale that I coundn’t pass up (seriously, it was a killer deal), I switched to a new phone in November 2015. The Note 5 is a little larger than my Galaxy S4, and with the slimmer case it fits nicely in my back pocket.

What really sold me on this phone, over any other phone, were the unique features of the phone and stylus. My favorite feature is the ability to jot down notes quickly without unlocking the phone. I also enjoy the ease of linking contact information with a contact.

Ultimately, this phone has started to replace my notepad and binder than I carry with me at all time. A lighter load is always a plus!


Asus Transformer Infinity

Tablet

I loved this tablet to start, but I have always had the problem of choosing my phone as the go-to device instead of the tablet. The tablet mostly sits on my desk telling me the time and weather. Sometimes, it will control Netflix on the Chromecast. I am still trying to figure out a way to use the tablet in a more productive manner.


Desktop

Workstation

The current version of my workstation consists of carefully selected parts, replaced over time. From my previous life as a Custom PC builder (seriously, I have photos), I have always had an interest in building my daily driver. It is rarely the fastest workstation on the planet, but it is always powerful enough to get heavy work loads out the door and keep up with demanding video games I enjoy playing from time to time.


Asus U35jc-a1

Laptop

I have had this laptop for several years now. The purpose of having a small, lightweight laptop was for traveling. At the time, it was quite powerful and made for a great workspace on-the-go. It does show its age now, by not being the powerhouse it once was, but it still does heavy lifting on audio for podcasting. The laptop is typically sitting on my desk, to the left side, where I manage it through Input Director from my Desktop.

I have recently moved away from Windows 7 to Ubuntu 16.04 as the OS for the laptop, which remains off of the desk most of the time. However, when I do use it, Ubuntu is extremely fast to load and operate. It is amazing on this 5 year old laptop.


Wacom Intuous 3

Drawing Pad

This has been a phenomenal drawing pad to use within Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. If I am doing design work, or feeling like doing some freehand illustration, my Wacom is always resting under my mouse pad and ready to use at a moments notice.


Photo/Video

I’m not even going to pretend to tell you that I am a photographer. I leave that up to my wife and other professional photographers to do. However, from time to time, I do capture photos and video for creative purposes. I always need strict guidance from my wife to get anything in focus. Seriously, its bad.

Canon 60D

Camera Body

I originally purchased this camera for its video capabilities alone. When I decided my business was not getting into recording digital media, I still had this camera laying around, collecting dust. Our studio already has 2 superior cameras, so this camera has become the one that I get to play with. It almost always has a 50mm 1.4 Canon EFS 18-135mm STM lens on it, which does limit the kind of photos it is able to take.


Manfrotto 701HDV

Head

This has been an excellent head for video work, but still does a good job keeping the camera steady for photography. It is very smooth in its movement, and a very steady build.


Manfrotto 055XDB

Tripod

Sturdy and faithful. These legs have given me no trouble, are fairly light, and easy to manage.


Manfrotto PIXI Smart

Tripod

This little tripod is a wonder. It is very sturdy (strong enough to hold the Canon 60D with lens) and keeps every fixed into position. The smartphone holder does a great job of gripping my large Samsung Galaxy Note 5 while I am recording my Thursday Stop videos.

The ball head on this tripod is my favorite feature. While recording in the car, I have to position the tripod at an angle as to not hit the windshield. The ball head lets the smartphone stay upright and fixed.


Yuneec Typhoon H

Drone

As far as drones go, I don’t know much, but I know I like this one. Before I got the Typhoon, I was holding out for GoPro’s Karma or DJI Mavic, but when both began to suffer from delays, I decided I couldn’t wait any longer and bit the bullet.

The Typhoon H has been incredibly scary-fun to fly. I am always concerned that it is going to crash at any moment (due to pilot error) that I am extremely cautious with it. At first, the controls and flight software were a bit daunting, but the more I get the drone out to fly, the more confident I feel about the craft and its capabilities.

The video and photo quality have been excellent, more than acceptable for my amateur and professional needs. Expect to see more images from the drone in future segments.

Yuneec Typhoon H Videos

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