Sorry for the absence, Jim.
Personally, I use a Canon EOS Rebel T2i, but that is by no means a requirement for web videos. It is versatile in that it takes excellent still photographs as well as 1080p HD videos. It's great to use as a "point-and-shoot," personal camcorder, or pro-sumer grade photo/video camera. I wouldn't recommend someone plopping down $1,000 if all they were doing was web video.
Actually, with the prevalence of point-and-shoot cameras and smartphones (and now tablets) that can shoot HD video, I would say any one would be sufficient for web video purposes. The popular Flip would do just fine.
A couple features I would recommend you look for in a camera are 1) solid-state memory, and 2) a microphone jack.
Solid-state memory (internal memory and/or SD card slot) is pretty much the norm these days. There are still cameras out there (especially on eBay) that record to tape. There is no advantage to purchasing a videoTAPE camcorder; if you have one that you want to make work, go for it, but I wouldn't recommend someone purchase one for the purpose of web video.
Tapes must be played into the computer to create a file that can be used for editing/posting to the web; image quality on tapes degrade a little bit every time you record over a previous recording; the risk of recording over a segment you didn't intend is possible on tape and impossible on solid-state media; tapes take up more storage space and are more susceptible to heat, humidity, dirt and moisture; tapes sometimes get "eaten" by the camera or playback device.
The reason why I recommend a microphone jack, is that the audio portion of your video will sound worlds better if the microphone is close to the audio source, rather than co-located with the lens. We've all heard recordings where, even people who raise their voice sound like they're in a tunnel. Not a way to present yourself professionally. External microphones are inexpensive, and with a long enough cord, can be placed close to the speaker. Lapel microphones are also available.
For those of you thinking, "Usually when I watch an online video, it plays at 320p or 480p...do I NEED something that records at 720p or 1080p?" Do you NEED?...no; however since devices that can record at these settings are available and affordable, I wouldn't recommend anything less. Your image will be clearer, and if you discover something in the frame that you wish to crop out, you have more information to work with at the higher resolution.
For advanced users, you can do some pretty tricky stuff because of that higher resolution. This isn't me, but a great "trick": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZmV0...tailpage#t=42s
The importance of live video for the web is not necessarily the equipment, but how you use it:
Keep the content concise (1-3 minutes. If longer, separate videos to feature individual concepts)Frame the subject properly (Look up "rule of thirds." Chances are, your camera's user manual has a page or two about it).Minimize distractions (Busy backgrounds, other activity not pertinent to the scene).Light the subject properly, especially if backlit. Use a floor lamp or a white board or sheet to reflect sunlight onto the subject. Hint: Providing light at an angle (30 degrees or so) instead of from right behind the camera adds depth to the subject, and just looks nicer.Have a good audio recording source. Even high-end digital video cameras tend to have substandard microphones. Buy an external microphone with a long enough cord to be placed on or near the subject.Use. A. Tripod. I can't emphasize this enough. No matter how "still" you think you can be hand-holding your camera, the resulting video will look more home-video-ish than professional. Tripods are rather cheap, but if you cannot afford one, set the camera on a stable surface, like a piece of furniture.
When using a tripod, turn off your camera's "automatic image stabilization" feature. This is an internal algorithm that tries to correct for shaky hands when shooting a scene hand-held. When used in combination with a tripod, it has the exact opposite effect...creating a "bobbing in the ocean" feel to your recorded video.
good points Scott. what video camera do you use? (David, feel free to chime in...:-)
Scott - excellent reminders about the live video adding a personal touch to your content creation!