Thanks for the reply, Paul. Your colleague’s suggestions are great, and line up with a lot of what we’ve discovered either through research and trial and error.
We’ve been using one of the TAs’ smartphones, which seems to have the best video quality. (Mine’s an old iPhone 6S, so it’s right out.) Audio quality has improved a bit since the first virtual field trip as we’ve gotten better about making sure the presenter stays near the phone’s microphone, and the editor found a new sound filter that helps more with ambient noises (traffic, leaf blowers, aggressively singing birds).
The biggest problem is that we’ve just come up against the limits of the available technology. None of us are going to spend money out of our own pockets to buy additional equipment for this. And I’m still baffled by the fact that the University hasn’t provided equipment assistance with the process of translating courses into online equivalents!