Setting Up a Sony a6300 4K for Long Podcast Recordings
How-NOT-to Set Up Your Camera for Podcasting
First mistake was recording RAW to my Memory Card
30 minutes before our first Call To Action Podcast interview, that we were also recording on my Sony a6300 4K for our YouTubechannel, the memory card took a dump on me. To say the least, I was sweating profusely and extremely nervous at this point. Our guest was 15 minutes from arriving to the office and I felt as if I had already blown my podcasting career. I know dramatic, but Ben (that's me) was off to a bad start.
Luckily my co-host, Keith, who is also my business partner and an award winning software engineer, had a last second idea. He literally hacked my memory card and within 2 minutes we were back in business. Not 5 minutes later our guest showed up and although the interview went really well, the video only captured 60% of it...
I needed a better solution.
How-TO Set Up a Sony Camera for Direct Capture to Your Laptop
I asked myself later than night probably the same questions you are having right now like:
*"How can I record my Sony camera directly to my computer?"* *"How do I get more than 30 minutes of recording out of my Sony a6300?" * *"What free software programs can I use to direct capture from the camera to my laptop?" *
Don't you worry, I hit the interweazle hard and here's an all inclusive Step-by-Step guide on how to correctly set up your Sony a6300 camera for success. It's not difficult and should only take you 30 minutes or less.
Step 1: Maximize Your Sony's Record Time
The Sony a6300 4K, as many of the other Sony cameras, are great for photography and for short-form content creation under 25-30 minutes. Anything past that 30 minute limit and the Sony starts to overheat and has an automatic shut-off feature to protect the integrity of the internal hardware. This is really frustrating when you want to record a podcast or live-stream.
I found a way to unlock your Sony's default settings to allow me to record my hour and a half to two hour podcast recordings. That1CameraGuy has a surprisingly easy step-by-step process to unlocking the record limit. As I had to do, you will need to install an app onto the camera called OpenMemories Tweak and follow his easy guide. Then come on back here and we'll get you set up for your live stream or podcasting recordings to your camera.
Side note, his website says unlimited record time, but I've tested this many times and I've only been able to get 1.5 hours straight at 1080p and about 35 minutes at 4K before it stops because of overheating. So far what we’ve been able to do is take a 30 second break, restart the recording and can get another 30-45 minutes of recording before it overheats again. #nbd
Quick Overheating Tip: leave all of the doors and latches open on the camera to allow as much heat to escape and act as natural cooling. This would include the battery door, the digital screen pulled out away from the camera body, the flash component up and the charging/HDMI port door open (although this will already need to be open for your cables).
Step 2: Camera Settings For Long Podcasting or Live Streaming
Now that you have unlocked your camera for long record times, you need to set the camera's settings for the best video quality.
If you are going to upload to YouTube, it only accepts standard 1080p quality videos so here are the maximum quality settings. There is a way 'apparently' to get around this, but I haven't tried it. Here’s the Call To Action Podcast settings:
Go to Menu button > Camera Icon > 2 > File Format and set to XAVC S HD >
then right below is the Record Setting > Set to 30p 50M (1080p at 30p is sufficient for a standstill podcast or live stream - this stands for Progressive and represents the number of frames per second - at 50M, which is the bitrate and essentially is they quality that your camera is capturing and storing your video. The higher the bitrate, the higher quality video. You could go lower to 24p 50M, but Call To Action is all about effective premium experience!)
If you are recording for YouTube, you’ll also want to switch the aspect ratio:
Go to Menu button > Camera Icon > 1 > Aspect Ratio 16:9
Step 3: Connect Sony a6300 4K Camera for Direct Capture to Laptop
Direct capture is wonderful for saving storage to your laptop rather than a hard drive. It’s more reliable and the better choice for podcasting and live-streaming. You are going to need a few pieces of hardware.
1. We use a Magewell to USB Capture Dongle ($299) - the Magewell is a vital component to getting the video onto your laptop computer. Th video signal needs to be converted to a format acceptable to your laptop. There are cheaper options like the Elgato Cam Link ($110), but we use a much higher quality Dongle 2. ‘Micro’ (NOT ‘Mini’) HDMI to full HDMI cable that will run from the Magewell to your Sony camera 3. MacBook Pro (or whatever laptop you’ll be using)
Optional Hardware for the Professional Look
1. Zomei Tripod Q555 ($65) 2. Gobe Neutral Density Filter ($53) 3. Neewer 660 2- Pack LED Panel Lights ($158)
Optional Audio Equipment for Professional Sound (we will be posting a blog on audio engineering for podcasting or live streaming like a pro)
1. Rode Anniversary Condenser Microphone ($212) 2. Blue Compass Boom Arm ($99) 3. Behringer Audio Interface 4 Channel ($135) - even if you have one host and one guest, just get the 4 channel ‘incase’ you get a third or forth person.
Simply connect the Micro HDMI into the Sony a6300, the full HDMI side into the Magewell Dongle, the USB that comes with the Magewell from the Dongle to your computer (if you have a new MacBook with a USB C - thanks Tim Cook - you’ll need to but USB 3 to USB C converters for $3), and this leads to the last step…
Step 4: Quicktime or Skype To Video Capture
Now that you have your camera connected, turned on and ready for recording the final step is to use the free software you already have on you MacBook Pro, Air, etc. All you need to do is open Quicktime or Skype:
Go to File > New Movie Recording >
Then click the arrow to the right of the ‘Red Record’ button and set Camera to the HDMI Capture, which is your Sony a6300 input and you’re good to go!
It is that easy. We are going to be posting a YouTube video with a step-by-step visual how to do all of this and will be uploading that soon. For now, you’re all set and if you have any questions, feel free to email us at [email protected].
A little bit of technique and preparedness goes a long way. I've made all of these mistakes so you don't have to.