The ultimate equipment list for making your own video content

What equipment you need to get started with video marketing

Videography takes a lot of practice and patience. The more you do it the better you will get. Using the right equipment, good lighting, and sound can make all the difference in your videos. If you are just getting started or if you are wanting to buy new equipment then this article is for you. Keep in mind that there are many different types of cameras out there, so keep your needs in mind when purchasing the right one.

Video Cameras

DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) cameras take high-quality video and are very versatile. They can be used for professional photography as well, giving it a “two in one” feature. DSLR’s range from entry-level models to very expensive professional rigs that can cost thousands of dollars. Entry-level DSLR’s start at around $500 and go up from there depending on the brand and model you purchase. If you decide to invest in a good DSLR it is advisable to buy lenses separately because they aren’t included with the camera body itself when you purchase them new. If you already have a good lens then you do not need to worry about it.

Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras (MILC) are similar to DSLR’s since they both have interchangeable lenses, but MILC’s use a different technology than traditional DSLRs and therefore the camera is smaller, which makes it easier to travel with. It has better low light capabilities than a DSLR and they typically come in at a lower price point than DSLR. You also get more features in some MILC models that you don’t get in entry-level DSLR such as 4k video, which is becoming more popular. MILC’s also come with lenses when you purchase new unlike DSLR’s where the lens must be purchased separately.

If you are looking for better quality videos it would be wise to not buy a camcorder but rather invest in a DSLR or MILC that will cost just as much if not less than getting a more expensive camcorder with higher capabilities.

For recording videos, a good digital camera is required. For beginners, it’ll be easier if the camera can record directly to a computer. However, for DSLR cameras you need to invest in a memory card reader. There are many cameras that can be used for recording.

Some Camera Brands to consider

GoPro Cam

Sony

Canon

Panasonic

Iphone: (a note on iphone vs a high-end DSLR or Mirrorless Camera)

The iPhone is a good option for people who want to vlog and don’t quite have the budget yet. You can film in Full HD, and it’s quite sturdy as well. Also, you should invest in additional equipment like a tripod or selfie stick.

IPhone’s best feature is its camera. With 4K video recording, you can make professional-looking videos with this phone. If you want to vlog on the go, it has good battery life too.

It is a cheaper option is to use your smartphone. But be aware that the quality of the footage won’t be the best so don’t plan on getting any shots that are too far away or in low lighting conditions. Also, take into account that you’ll need a good editing programme for your phone if you want to edit it later on your computer.

Other Equipment to Consider

Monitor

You’ll need a monitor to help you with your lighting and framing. The size of the monitor is not important, but it should be high quality. This can be any sort of flat screen (LCD or plasma) as long as it has good black levels.

External hard drive

You need to record your videos in HD, therefore be sure to get a high-speed external hard drive that is at least 160 GB (300 would be better). If you want the best quality it’s usually recommended to format your external hard drives with HFS+ or NTFS instead of FAT (this is because FAT might cause quality loss). Or, if you have USB2.0, it’ll work as well.

Microphone

The most important part of recording audio for your videos is a good microphone. There are a variety of mics on the market that will give you decent sound, but it’s important to be aware of the differences between the condenser and dynamic mics. Dynamic mics are usually better for recording voice, but all microphones work best if they’re plugged into a mixer board or interface that’s designed to work with your computer (i.e., USB, Firewire).

Headphones

It’s important to use headphones when recording your audio. Headphones allow you to monitor your own voice as well as reduce the noise of the environment. Be sure to use good quality headphones for recording.

Lights

You need lights if you want your videos to look professional. The best option is to get small LED panels that can fit in your camera bag easily and are light enough for you to carry around all day (and night). You should attach one or two of these on each side of the camera in order to evenly light the subject.

Alternatively, if you find it too inconvenient to carry several lights around with you, use more affordable off-camera lighting that uses flashes or constant lights as a source of illumination. Just make sure they don’t affect your exposure and that they’re balanced correctly so the subject’s skin tone looks natural.

Light stands

You need to position your lights at the height you want them. If you’re using studio lights, it’s best to set up the stand before attaching the light. Make sure the stand is heavy-duty because even a small gust of wind can knock over an easily toppled tripod.

Cables

Good cables are necessary for good quality videos. Make sure they’re long enough to reach the desired location, and keep them organized in some way (e.g., tape them down, zip tie them together).

Cables need to be high quality. You will notice that cords that are thicker tend to result in less loss of distortion or noise in the video signal.

Steadicam

Steadicam is very useful if you want to achieve smooth-looking shots. Steadicam stabilizes the camera, allowing the user to shoot while still moving about or following a subject without being too obvious.

There are also more expensive options like the CineSlider, but if you want something straightforward and easy-to-use, get a Steadicam.

Tripod

You need a tripod for most of your shots. With one, you can hold the camera still even if you’re moving. Tripods are usually made with carbon fibre which is not only lightweight but also more durable than aluminium or plastic. Also, make sure to purchase a fluid head that allows for smooth pans, tilts and spins. When recording video, a tripod will stabilize your shots and reduce shakiness. If you’re buying a tripod for filming purposes, make sure it’s sturdy enough to carry the weight of your camera.

Camera bag

Your gear needs to be protected. Purchase a camera bag that is big enough for your equipment as well as comfortable enough for you to carry around all day if necessary. It should also have compartments with adjustable padding where you can place each item. This will allow you to put items of different shapes and sizes in the same compartment.

Adobe Premiere Pro

You need to get Adobe Premiere Pro if you’re thinking of doing any kind of video editing. It’s important that the version you have is CS4 or higher because earlier versions are missing key components.

Computer

The computer does not necessarily have to be purchased specifically for video making, but it should work well with your editing and be fast and reliable.

You will need a lot of memory and at least 4 GB ram. The graphics card should be good for the resolution you want to use (HD or Full HD). Just make sure it can support Adobe Premiere Pro well by reading reviews and checking the system requirements.

Upgrade video memory

If you have a computer that’s more than 4 years old, consider upgrading video memory to increase the quality of the video. Most DSLRs and Handycams record in compressed (or lightly compressed) codecs like M-JPEG or AVCHD which result in large file sizes. Because of this, there needs to be a lot of video memory in order to process the footage quickly. If it’s not doing this, then your clips will lag and/or you’ll get dropped frames which means that some frames won’t be recorded.

External monitor

If you’re a colour-critical person, then consider getting an external monitor so that when you edit your footage, you can see exactly what it looks like. You have to make sure the one you get has the right calibration and is similar in terms of brightness and darkness to the external monitor on which your final video will be projected.

Conclusion

That’s it. This is what you need to get started with video making and editing. And of course, you can always upgrade your gear. Buy the best you can afford at the time. Remember that if you are serious about creating videos then better equipment will also help you improve your skills faster.

If you are just starting out or need content produced on your behalf please get in touch.

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