1. The best, most cost-effective options around equipment i.e. what type of video camera and microphone to use?
This is dependent on your budget, in terms of cameras, I would go for a decent brand like Sony. They offer a full range of products from the domestic handy cam up to pro level studio cameras. With an established brand you will get good picture quality even with a low end camera. I would definitely use an external mic. I would recommend the sennheiser 416 put they are pricey (do a google serach for gun microphones). Even a much cheaper microphone is going to sound better then an onboard mic purely because you are able to position it much closer to your sound source (i.e someone talking). You want to get the mic in as close as you can without it being seen in shot... tricky with wide shots, that is why professionals use boom poles. You can always mock a similar tool up if you didn't want to pay for one...It may sound silly, but a curtain pole and some gaffer tape would suffice. Don't be afraid to improvise.
2. We will be shooting the videos indoors/in our boardroom so we may need an extra source of light- what recommendations can you provide for this?
The traditional way of lighting consists of three lights. A key, fill and backlight. The Key light is your main light source and should be pointing directly at your subject. The fill light should be front-left or front-right of your subject and isn't run as "hard" as your key (not as bright). The idea is to soften any harsh shadows caused by the keylight. Classic examples are shadows under a persons chin or nose shadow. The backlight is simply pointed at your backdrop, this is purely to highlight depth between the subject and background. Look on google/amazon/ebay and search for a starter kit, which will include lights, stands and maybe other accessories which may be useful for you. You can shoot with two lights, or even just one will make your video look more professional than without.
3. We are looking to use a Mac computer to edit the videos. Can you recommend any suitable, easy to use software for editing?
Again, it depends on your budget, I would recommend Final Cut Pro
. It is a very cheap powerful editing package if you compare it to rival companies such as Avid. However, this maybe overkill for you, it depends what you want to achieve in the edit, if your simply cutting pictures with the occasional dissolve transition, imovie will suit just fine.
4. Since we are beginners and will be shooting the videos ourselves, do you have any tips on how to shoot/produce videos? Overall, we want them to be personal and accessible, yet professional as possible.
Planning is the key. If you are shooting in a boardroom, go and have a look at it. Where are you going to put your camera? Microphone? Lighting? Are there any windows? If you are using lights, do you need to black the windows out? Get an idea on paper what your video will consist of from start to finish and in what order - trust me, this will save you a lot of time when your shooting/editing, try not to make it up as you go a long. Make a plan and stick to it.
In terms of shooting, of course this is merely a style thing, but I would say have the camera at eye level. It looks a bit odd for the viewer looking down at people and even worse looking up. Don't cross the line... by this I mean draw and imaginary line that splits your boardroom into two halves. Only shoot from one half or else you will find it difficult to cut your pictures. The best example I can give to explain this is - say are shooting a football match, you have one camera on the halfway line and another also on the halfway line but the opposite side... what happens when you cut between cameras? A player who will be running from left to right, will suddenly look like he is running from right to left.
Hope this info will be of some use to you, good luck.
 Also, never cut between similarly framed shots, it will look odd. For example, you have a head and shoulders style shot of somebody talking to camera, don't cut to another head and shoulders shot directly after. Shoot some closeups of the product they are talking about and float them in over the edit point. This is known as a cutaway.
Edited by Jayzeee, 30 June 2013 - 07:14 AM.