Equipment and Sound
It doesn’t make sense to buy a camera these days that doesn’t shoot both still photographs and video. Realize that the audio from your camera will not be very good. Record audio separately with a digital recorder such as the Zoom H1 and sync that audio track with your video using DualEyes, PluralEyes or built-in features of your editing software such as Final Cut X. Your audio can be synced with still pictures with Soundslides (see below).
Get a good quality digital recorder with a Redhead Windscreen. Be sure to view the demo videos at Redhead. I currently recommend the Zoom H1 for the most bang for the buck. It will be about $100. You should acquire the microphones that fit your work. Certainly a small clip-on mic is a necessity. A wireless mic is very handy but much more expensive. If you already have an iPhone, you can turn it into a pretty good recorder using an adapter that will allow using professional microphones with XLR cables. There are numerous recording apps available for the iPhone and some allow e-mailing the recording. This is an easy way to get the recording into your computer for editing.
Get familiar with a video editing package such as Final Cut (Mac) or Premiere (both Mac and Windows). If you have a Mac, you already have iMovie.
For preparing pictures for publication, I recommend Lightroom 4. It is cheaper than Photoshop and will do everything you need to do. If you have Photoshop, it works well as does Aperture for the Mac. iPhoto also has basic toning pictures. GIMP is an open source picture editing program that works well. For learning Lightroom, I recommend Scott Kelby’s book.
Putting the story together
Synchronizing sound with still pictures can be done in any video editing program. There are simple programs such as iMovie but the more full featured editing programs such as Final Cut X or Premiere are more daunting to learn.
Soundslides is an easy-to-use program for making stories of still pictures with a synchronized sound track. Make your sound track first and prep your pictures for the web (instructions on the Soundslides website). Soundslides makes a web-ready folder. FTP the folder to your web server and you will know the actual URL of where you placed the folder. Using the actual URL, you can get the code to embed your story in another page on the site here.
Uploading projects to a web site
Use FileZilla (Mac or Windows) as an FTP program.
What laptop should I buy? Get the MacBook Pro that you can afford.
What if I already have a Windows laptop? I’m sorry. But don’t let that stop you from doing multimedia. You can still do it.