Achieving Pro Zoom meeting quality on my Mac

Azden shotgun mic on desk setup

For the past decade, I've worked remote. I slowly moved from full-time software and infrastructure dev to YouTuber, and throughout that time, I kept tweaking my desk video recording/conferencing setup.

I wanted to document my setup today, as I've tweaked it a bit in my new studio space. Hopefully some of my tools and techniques can help you, or maybe you can find a way to make a simpler (hopefully cheaper) but higher quality setup!

I made a video going through everything in detail, but I'll mention the highlights in this post:

Resetting and upgrading old Hikvision IP Cameras

Hikvision security camera installed in drop ceiling

This guide isn't definitive, but it is a good reference point as I am wiping out some Hikvision IP cameras I inherited in my new office space. They were all paired with an annoying proprietary Hikvision NVR, and I wanted to wipe them and use them on a new isolated VLAN with my new Raspberry Pi Frigate-based NVR setup.

The cameras I have are Hikvision model number DS-2CD2122FWD-IS, but this guide should apply to many of the cameras from that era.

Hikvision security camera reset button location

The Raspberry Pi makes a great USB webcam for $100

There are many Raspberry Pi projects where I spend a few hours (or dozens of hours) building something with a Pi, and realize at the end that not only could I have purchased an off-the-shelf product to do the same thing for half the component cost, but it would work better too.

But this is not one of those projects:

Pi Webcam on Tripod - Pi Zero W and HQ Camera

The Raspberry Pi and its HQ camera make a surprisingly potent webcam, and if you want to cover the basics, and rival the image quality of all but the highest-end dedicated webcams, you can do it for under $100.

Still frame grab from recording on Dell XPS 13 using Raspberry Pi Webcam

Above is a single frame from a recording I did with the HQ Camera on my Raspberry Pi Zero W connected as a standard USB webcam using the Camera app on Windows 10 on my Dell laptop.

Review: Wosports Trail Camera for Hunting and Wildlife

For the past few years, I've been tweaking a few different camera rigs for wildlife and outdoor photography. I have set up a few different time-lapse rigs using my Raspberry Pis with Pi Cameras, and I've set up my Nikon D750 in a few different ways with its built-in intervalometer, or with a wireless remote.

This is great, but I've always wanted to set up the Pi with an infrared Pi Camera, as well as a motion sensor, so I could capture wildlife at night. I know there are some animals that peruse the seeds in our yard around the bird feeders, but it's well nigh impossible to capture them with my other non-infrared cameras... and they tend to come out when I'm asleep.

Wosports contacted me and asked if I'd like a discount on their 'Trail Camera' to give it a test, and I thought it was a great opportunity to check out the basic/low-end of trail cameras, so I took them up on the offer.

Wosports Trail Camera

Camera and Lens Rentals in St. Louis, MO

For the past few years, when shooting large events in indoor spaces (such as the 2010 Priesthood Ordination Mass), I've rented camera bodies and lenses from, a great online rental store, with pretty much any lens or camera body you'd ever want to use (especially if you're like me and could never justify the cost of purchase!). I highly recommend BorrowLenses (though I have also used and liked and

This year, however, I decided to look into whether it might be more advantageous to use a local camera shop. I found that both Schiller's and Creve Coeur Camera offer camera and lens rentals, but both have more limited selections. However, the lens and camera body I need are usually available at Schiller's, I don't have to pay shipping (pick-up only, but the store is nearby), and I can pay a one-day rental rate for a weekend (most of the events I use the cameras for are on Saturdays).

Review of Nikon D7000 - Almost Complete

Nikon D7000 - FrontSince about a week after it's introduction, I've been shooting with the D90 as my primary camera, and it's been a great run. The D90 is almost the perfect photo-making machine for me. I was thinking of either upgrading to a D300s, or possibly a D700 (all my lenses would work with either FX or DX), but then came the D7000.

I was instantly thrilled with the specs, especially since the D7000 body is almost exactly the same dimensions as the D90 (meaning I wouldn't need to get used to a bunch of new button placements). So, after a little consultation with my bride, I bought the D7000 (it was in stock, momentarily, from