Want to shoot better videos but not sure where to begin? Well, it doesn’t have to be difficult to start shooting video. Here’s our recommended start kit for budding videographers.
1. Video mic
Sound quality will make or break your amateur video efforts. Audiences can abide slightly wonky shot composition or sub-par lighting while you learn the ropes, but poor quality sound is constantly grating and will make it a struggle for anyone to get to the end of your videos. If you can invest in only one thing make it this – a dedicated video microphone to plug into your camera and ensure that your sound is as good as it can be. Start by looking at models from Rode.
2. Fast memory cards
Shooting video, especially high quality video such as 4K, involves recording a lot of data in a short span of time. This means you need a large and fast memory card – large to absorb the volume of data you’re producing, and with fast enough transfer speeds to manage all of it. We’d say look at some of the high-capacity cards from SanDisk. They aren’t cheap, but this is an investment that you need to make.
3. Tripod with pan head
Photographs that have blurred due to camera shake are annoying – videos that blur due to camera shake are physically nauseating. You need to be able to get steady shots, and that’s where a rock-solid camera support comes in. If you augment this with a smooth panning head then you have a further tool to bring your footage to life by adding (non-nauseating) movement to your shots.
4. Editing software
There’s another way that video shooting differs from stills shooting – namely, that photo editing is a useful skill to have, but video editing is a necessary one. All that footage, however steady it is, will be worth nothing unless you can cut it together, and for that you’ll need to start getting familiar with dedicated editing software. It’s probably worth looking for some tips online or maybe enrolling in a short course to give yourself a head start, but you should be able to pick up the very basics without too much trouble. Adobe Premiere Elements is a good stripped down programme to grapple with first.
5. Monitoring headphones
Even once you’ve got your lovely microphone in place and working, audio accidents can still happen. There’s nothing worse than getting back to the editing suite only to find out that some background noise or a bad connection has rendered your audio – and by extension your footage – completely unusable. Nip the problems in the bud by getting yourself some monitoring headphones. Plug them into your DSLR and you’ll know instantly if any audio issues are messing up your recording.
6. LCD loupe
You’ll be doing your composition on your camera’s LCD screen, and if the sun is shining brightly outside then the glare could make this a challenge. Banish the problem with an LCD loupe – simply wear it around your neck, and placeit over the LCD when it’s time to review your composition. A good loupe will be made with quality optics to give you optimal LCD viewing.
7. Simple lighting
The world of off-camera lighting is a deep, complex and intimidating one, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t need to construct giant complex studio lighting rigs in order to produce great video, however a set-up as simple as an LED Panel and some reflectors can dramatically improve your footage and expand your creative options.