Recording User Interviews: What's your setup?


I recently go a Ziggi document camera to help with capturing how participants were using our prototype on a mobile device and realized a multi-camera portable setup would be really nice.

Let’s talk about research hardware! What are y’all running??


I use a different document camera from the same company (ipevo) which I was really sad to say they discontinued. The camera itself is really light weight and I removed the weighted base and attached a light switch plate instead to use as a hand held platform. You place the phone on the platform and the user holds the plat form as they would the phone. That way you get natural gestures. I’ll try to get a photo.


I keep things simple now. I have a Zoom H1 recorder and that’s it. You can do recording of conversations just as easily with your phone.

A few years ago I did a course with Christian Payne a UK journalist. He ran a workshop day on what he called geurilla journalism, but essentially it was about stripping your kit away down to just a phone and a few accessories.

He talked about the trappings of getting caught up in faffing with equipment and chasing the next big bit of tech when you really don’t need it because the important thing is capturing the moment and telling the story. Since then I’ve ditched everything.

I used to be a photo-journalist. I had SLRs lighting rigs, pro mics, the whole studio. I gave most of it away to students and sold the rest.

The only reason I don’t use just my phone is because it is forever losing battery power and it is much easier to get another AA battery than find a charger, or tangle up in a charging brick.

I’ve never filmed people because I’m not sure what I expect to get from that based in the context of my work, however if I did, I would most likely use a phone again with a cheap Jobi phone tripod, or a GoPro because I have one.

In the immortal words of Kevin Carter - the right camera, is the one you have.


I’m beta testing this video research repository and so far so good! It helps you store all your recorded interviews in one place and share bite-sized insight playlists to the broader org. Check it out: