So, you want to shoot a video but are probably asking ‘where do I start?’ When shooting a video there are a lot of things to take into consideration. What’s the video about? Who’s going to see it? Do I need a crew? The list goes on and on. After you decide on the content and the millions of other things, you’ll next need to think about the gear you’ll need in order to pull off your production. It can seem daunting to think about. Keeping your camera package simple is a good way to go if this is your first step into shooting video. Here are four key tools that will help you hit the ground running.
Choosing your video camera
Let’s start with the most important piece of gear: the camera. Professional 4K cameras come in a wide range of prices. If it’s a lower budget project you may want to look at a SONY A7 III or Canon Mark IV. Both cost around $2,000. If you have a ton of cash and want to go high-end, the RED series of cameras start around $50,000 for a “basic” setup.
Yes, price does make a difference in quality, but price isn’t everything. You can pull off a professional-looking shoot without dropping a fortune. Most new cameras have 4K capabilities which is a nice feature to have for quality, and if you’re only working with one camera, it will give you a lot of options in editing.
While the camera is the key piece of gear for any shoot, it’s not the only thing you’ll need to create a compelling video. The remaining three items are also necessities.
Your video camera needs a tripod
A must for steady shots. Unnecessary camera movement is distracting and will take away from your content. Tripods are especially important for lenses that may amplify camera shake, such as telephoto lenses and macro lenses.
The good news, the price of tripods has a wide range and can cost as little as $20. There is one tripod out there that’s listed for more than $15,000. Yep, you read that right. As a beginner though, you should be set with a simpler (and much cheaper) model.
Lighting your video production
Now, you may be thinking that overhead lights are enough to shoot your video, but if you want to take your production to the next level, lighting is key. There are 3 types of lights to add to your video kit: key, fill, and back light.
- A key light produces the most amount of light and shines on your subject.
- A fill light is right there in the name: it ‘fills’ in any shadows left by the key-light.
- A back light beautifies the image with a soft glow on the back of the subject’s head/shoulders to separate it from the background.
Lighting is important and can help set the mood and style of any video.
You’ve probably watched a video before where the audio was so bad, it distracted from its content. To keep that from happening to you, here are some things you’ll need.
- Audio recorder
What’s worse than filming a 3-minute video only to realize you weren’t recording the audio? A recorder is a must.
- Shotgun or lavalier microphone
A shotgun microphone can be attached to the camera or on its own stand. A lavalier (or commonly referred to as lav) microphone is attached to the person talking in the video. Pro tip: using one of each gives you a backup if things go wrong.
- Audio cable
Headphones are used to monitor the audio so that you can catch any glitches while filming.
Great audio often separates the pros from the amateurs. Good audio is essential to good videos.
While there is a basic package for any video shoot, there are other “essentials” that will take your video to the next level. Gimbals, sliders, bounce cards, diffusion, support staff. The list goes on and on. However, if you have a good camera, a tripod, lights, and a microphone, you’ll be on track to shooting your own video with a professional look and feel.