How-to guide to shooting video Pt.2: essential gear guide
May 13, 2022
In the second part of our brand-new series Amateur Photographer, in association with London Camera Exchange, continues our in-depth ‘How-to Guide to Shooting Video’. In the series we will arm you with all the information and knowledge needed to become a competent and confident video shooter. Along with explaining camera settings, recommending equipment and demystifying all the videography jargon, we’ll walk you through all the steps to get you recording your first movie…
In part 1 of this series we looked at how to set up your camera to shoot video… as we continue our guide to getting started with video, here is a comprehensive guide to the essential kit which will make a big difference to your movies.
If you’re interested in shooting more video, the most important thing you need to know is that you already have the most important elements in your hands.
A video-capable camera and lens are the absolute basics, but much the same as photography, adding accessories will stack the odds of improving your footage in your favour.
Gear can help you get a clearer picture of the scene, it can help you balance the exposure, and enable you to capture smoother, more professional-looking movies you’ll be proud to show off to family, prospective clients, or share online.
This module will aim to get you up to speed with what accessories are essential, and we’ll touch on cameras that are perfect for those looking to take their next steps.
Getting started: take the first step with these accessories
Lowepro GearUp case (large) – £29
Video days can often be frenetic, so keeping track of your batteries and SD cards, batteries and cables is essential. This case from Lowepro holds multiple batteries, cards and accessories, so you can quickly access them rather than rummaging around your rucksack for a fresh battery. There’s a two-sided organiser panel, while a scratch-resistant window lets you see the contents.
Sennheiser HD 206 headphones – £25
A quality pair of headphones is essential – not only for monitoring audio levels when you’re out in the field, but also so they’re comfortable during long editing sessions back at the computer. Sennheiser’s HD 206 headset represents value for money while still being well built and offering pro features such as an extra 6.3mm adapter plug to pair with the 3.5mm plug and an extra-long cable.
Hoya ND filters – from £40
When shooting video, your shutter speed will be locked to a set frame rate (1/100sec or 1/50sec, for example) and in bright lighting conditions it can be a struggle to stop your footage from overexposing. The solution is to add an ND filter in front of your lens (although some cameras offer built-in ND filters). Good glass doesn’t have to be expensive – filters from Hoya start at just £40 and won’t affect the colour rendition of the scene.
Rode VideoMic Go II – £89
When filming scenes where multiple people are talking or for capturing ambient sound, add a hotshoe mic to your camera. VideoMic Go II not only comes in at a very reasonable price, but it also weighs just 96g and is powered by connection to the camera – so no extra battery is needed. An integrated ‘shock-mount’ prevents the mic from knocks and a windshield is included to allow use in windy outdoor conditions.
DJI OM5 – £139
Many videographers choose to shoot video on smartphones, so a gimbal helps stabilise the footage. One of the newest options is the OM5 from DJI. The handheld device includes a magnetic clip to quickly attach/remove your smartphone and the built-in extension pole allows the users to shoot footage from further away. The OM5 can pair up with your phone via the DJI Mimo app, enabling you to adjust settings or transfer footage.
Lenspen Hurricane Blower – £8.99
Capturing video out in the field means you’ll be at the mercy of wind-borne dust and debris. It’s only a matter of time before your camera’s sensor picks up spots of dust, but a few pumps with this air blower should clear any debris away, leaving the sensor clean and maximising your chances of capturing higher-quality footage. For under £10, this will make a big difference to your footage.
Take the next step
For more confident video shooters try these great accessories…
Rode GO II wireless mics – £249
For recording interviews, two mics are needed for balanced audio. Rode’s tiny GO II devices can be used with the supplied Lavalier mics, or you can attach them to your subject via the clip; this doubles up as the attachment that connects to your camera’s hotshoe mount. They’re wireless, too, and the battery offers up to seven hours of use.
Leadleds turntable – from £25
If you’re getting into video to shoot footage of products, then a turntable is an absolute must. With the benefit of a motorised turntable, you can set your product spinning and capture a 360° sequence to show all sides of the product. There’s a wide choice of turntables available and prices start from just £25.
Leofoto FL-L190 RGB LED video fill light and power bank – £129
Offers 196 high-powered LEDs and a maximum output of 500 lumens. With a 5000mAH battery capacity, the light can run three hours on a single charge, brightness can be adjusted 1% at a time, and it’s sturdy, too.
SanDisk Extreme PRO 300MB/s V90 – from £69 (for 32GB)
SanDisk offers a range of great cards and the Extreme series offers cards at the sought-after V90 standard, enabling 4K footage to be captured for an extended period of time. The card is available in super-high capacities, such as 128GB for extra flexibility.
Manfrotto MVH400AH Befree Live video head – £78.99
A tripod video head gives more control so you can move the camera and inject motion into your footage. This head from Manfrotto has a video sliding plate for a fast set-up and features the Fluid Drag System for even smoother operation.
Taking it further
Have a bit more budget? If so, take a look at these powerful video accessories…
DJI RSC 2 gimbal – £389
If you’re serious about video and want to capture stabilised footage without breaking the bank then the RSC 2 from DJI strikes a great balance between cost and features. Able to take a payload of 3kg, the gimbal folds away to make it travel-friendly. The gimbal, which tips the scales at just 1,216g, can rest on the supplied tripod foot and boasts an epic battery life of up to 14 hours from a single charge.
Atomos Ninja V HDMI monitor/recorder – £570
A monitor provides a big display of your scene and can be used flipped around if you are vlogging. The Ninja offers a 5.2-inch, 10-bit HDR display, weighs a reasonable 360g and offers advanced features, such as the ability to store and display LUTs on screen. Connecting to the camera via HDMI, the Ninja V records directly from your camera’s sensor to a wide range of codecs including Apple ProRes, increasing editing options.
Leofoto camera cage X-T4 – £64.99 for the Fujifilm X-T4
Cages add an extra level of protection against knocks and bumps, and provide a range of mounts and ports that will enable you to add extra accessories and create a ‘rig.’ These accessories could be a monitor, an external microphone or additional plate mounts to pair the rig with a tripod or slider rail. A cage may seem like a luxury, but once you’ve bought one, you’ll wonder how you lived without it.
Zoom F1 field recorder – £200
A great alternative to a radio mic is a field recorder. A lav mic plugs into the recorder, which isn’t connected to the camera and this means you’ll have to sync up the audio when you edit the content on the computer. The big advantage is that your subject can be really far away from the camera as there’s no Bluetooth link to maintain. A limiter avoids clipping, and you can save to MicroSD cards. Powered by AA cells.
Hague Edge slider rail – £198
Slider rails enable videographers to introduce smooth motion into what could otherwise be a fairly static scene. These shots work best when there is also some foreground interest to emphasise the motion. This slider, which is made of carbon fibre and has a 1/4in screw and a 3/8in adapter, measures 80cm long, giving videographers a decent amount of space.
Loupedeck – £220
Anyone who has edited a large video file will tell you it can be a labourious process but now there is a far better tool for the job than the modest mouse. The Loupedeck provides shortcut keys and dials to complete tasks such as altering the exposure of your footage in a far quicker fashion. It’s compatible with Final Cut Pro as well as Adobe Premiere and you can also use it for stills editing.
Cameras for video
If you want to shoot video as well as stills, these hybrid cameras should definitely make your shortlist…
OM System OM-1 – £1999 (body only)
This Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera features a 20MP sensor, a fast maximum burst rate of 120 frames per second and 1,053 AF points. It’s great for video too, being able to capture high-quality 4K footage at up to 60p. It also has ports for headphones and an external mic so enhanced audio can be both recorded and monitored.
Sony Alpha 7 IV – £2,399 (body only)
Built around a 33MP full-frame Exmor R sensor, the Sony benefits from 759 AF points that back up an advanced autofocus system that includes Real-Time Eye AF. It can shoot 4K 60p movies that can be recorded to one or both of the SD card slots. What’s more, the A7IV also includes Sony’s S-Cinetone feature to bring a more cinematic look to your footage.
Fujifilm X-T4 – £1549 (body only)
This is the best movie-centric camera from Fujifilm’s line-up, built around a 26MP APS-C X-Trans sensor. An advanced IBIS system also gives up to 6.5 stops of compensation. It captures 4K video at 60p, 10x slow motion at Full HD and the IBIS system smooths out your footage. You can also shoot with F-Log and use the various film simulation modes to add retro style to your footage.
Canon EOS R6 – £2,399 (body only)
When it comes to all-round cameras that offer great specs for both stills and videos, the Canon R6 is hard to beat – offering up to 8 stops of stabilisation and a 20MP full-frame CMOS sensor. The R6 can shoot 4K 60p video and also includes Canon’s renowned Dual Pixel AF system. If you fit an adapter you will also be able to take advantage of all your EF-mount lenses, too. A great choice.