By: JuliAnn Graham, MBA, CCC, CCC Vice Chair, CommunicationsManager, TCEC Oklahoma

​​Back in the day, when I was in a journalism broadcasting course about 20 years ago, I recorded a commercial with a clunky VHS camcorder to edit with the help of an expert in a studio on campus. It took hours to plan, produce and edit a 30-second spot. Video production was not nearly as common or as easy as grabbing a phone, recording a clip, editing it and uploading it to YouTube.

We've come a long way in the last 20 years technologically. For a writer like me, the move to video was both a challenge and a learning opportunity. Choosing video gear to suit our cooperative's needs has not been easy. However, through Cooperation Among Cooperatives, we recently discovered two great pieces of video gear we use regularly. I'd like to tell you more about the Rode Wireless Go compact wireless microphone system and the Mevo Start camera.

TCEC, based in Hooker, Oklahoma, participates in the Co-op Connections program. We produce a video spotlight every month for a local participating business. We'd plan ahead and shoot some great footage, but the audio quality was not up to par for us. After several trial and error attempts, we decided to ask for help.

Leveraging 'Cooperation Among Cooperatives,' we invited the video production technician from our local broadband cooperative, PTCI, to our office. Emanuel DeHerrera brought his experience in filming for the local television channel and most of his equipment. He spent two hours with me and my team members Leslie Kraich and Maribel Esquivel. After his visit and researching our options, we purchased two pieces of equipment.

The most versatile piece of equipment we purchased is the Rode Wireless GO, a compact wireless microphone system. This little piece of equipment packs a big punch. It can be used with smartphones and tablets if you connect it with a special cable called an 'SC4 cable.' We purchased the premium package from Amazon because it included this cable and the Lavalier Go accessory.

We learned from this video that you do not need a lavalier because the transmitter doubles as a wireless microphone. However, we like having the lavalier option.

The Rode Wireless Go microphone is compatible with our mirrorless camera, the Sony α7 III, and our streaming camera, the Mevo Start.

You might be wondering if you need all this equipment to meet your needs. The short answer is no, you don't. Most people will tell you that high quality audio is the key to a successful video. Always use an external microphone so you have superior audio on your video clips regardless of the camera you choose to use. Less expensive wired options are available, but we prefer the wireless option. We also use professional headphones like the Sennheiser HD280PRO headphones to monitor the audio when filming. This is new for us and has been helpful to ensure we have quality audio.

For our annual update video, we used the Sony α7 III camera with the Rode Wireless Go microphone. It was edited in Adobe Premiere Pro by our communications intern Maribel Esquivel. If you subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud – All Apps package, you have access to Premiere Pro and Premiere Rush. Personally, I'll use the Rush version when I can since it's a simpler application and I don't edit that often anymore.

New this year, TCEC's Chief Executive Officer Zac Perkins began hosting quarterly virtual town hall meetings on Facebook Live. We used a basic Logitech webcam connected to a desktop computer with Livestream Studio software and a Shure wireless microphone system. Sidenote: Livestream has since been purchased by Vimeo, which is integrated with the Mevo camera. Next year, we may move to a Vimeo subscription.

However, we found we had video quality issues. The webcam would not stay focused on the presenters. After talking with DeHerrera and purchasing the Mevo camera, we livestreamed the third quarter town hall. We put the Mevo camera in 'wired webcam' mode, which is in beta-testing. The picture quality was much improved.

In the future, we plan to use the Mevo camera with the Rode Wireless Go microphone and an iPad with cellular data to livestream via Facebook from the field during weather or other critical events.

I'm glad the days of VHS tapes have gone by. Digital video is here to stay. It will be interesting to see what the future holds. ​​

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