photo by golubovy via iStock
With video creation more popular than ever, it's essential that you have the best production value possible. If you don't, people will pass your video without a thought. If you do, you'll have content that grabs the viewer's attention and keeps it!
The question is, how do you create top-quality content? More to the point, what tools are needed for doing so?
In this quick gear review for videographers, you'll learn about five essential tools you need to create high-quality videos.
While this is not a comprehensive list of every single thing you might need, what is listed below are some of the most critical tools.
Let's get started!
Tools for Content Creators: A Solid Computer
photo by DGLimages via iStock
Clearly, one of the first things you need to produce high-quality videos is a good computer.
Now, this doesn't mean you need to go out and buy Apple's new Mac Pro and drop more than $50,000 for a fully-featured model.
But, it also likely means that you should upgrade from your six-year-old old laptop you've had since college.
Having the computing power to process your videos is a must - otherwise you'll spend more time waiting for your computer to do its thing than you will actually editing your videos.
Whether you're a Mac person or a PC person doesn't matter - both iterations offer excellent options at virtually every price point imaginable. So, set a budget, do your research, and get a computer that can handle video editing without constant "spinning wheels of death."
Tools for Content Creators: Editing Software
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Another critical component of being able to produce top-quality video content is having a good video editor that allows you to make a seamless video.
But, just like with the computer you use, you don't need to spend top dollar to get a video editor that works well for your purposes.
In some cases, free software that comes with computers (i.e., iMovie on Macs) will suit you just fine.
In other cases, more capable software might be desired, like Adobe's Premiere Pro.
There are many more options than these, which we outlined in our list of the top free or inexpensive video editors.
Feel free to check out that list for more details on some of the best video editors on the market today.
Quick Tip: Your video editing needs might be different from the next guy or gal, so be sure you do your research before investing in a video editor. Your specific workflow might necessitate a different approach than someone else, so having as much knowledge about possible editors before you buy will help you get the best option for your needs.
Tools for Content Creators: A Teleprompter
When I started making videos, I often did so off the cuff.
I mean, I might've had a few notes here and there, but by and large, my videos were me having a discussion with the camera.
As I got more and more involved in videography and producing different types of videos, I realized very quickly that to get content that actually engaged the viewer, I needed to have a script and I needed a telprompter to read the script.
As weird as it might sound, having the script in front of you where you can easily read it actually makes you look and sound more natural than if you simply try to talk to the camera on the fly. At least that's been my experience!
There are TONS of teleprompters out there at all sorts of price ranges. I've tested many different models and found that just like any other videography gear, some teleprompters are so-so, some are pretty terrible, and some are truly awesome.
I recently got my hands on a pre-production mPrompter teleprompter and have been testing it out for a couple of months. To say that I'm impressed is an understatement...
What I like most about this teleprompter is that it's highly portable. Portability (for me, anyway) is a huge concern because I shoot so many videos on location. Even if you don't do many videos away from your studio, considering the portability of the teleprompter you buy is of the utmost importance.
I also like how durable this thing is. It's in my studio, in my car, being transported from Point A to Point B, and it has stood up to the test beautifully. That's due in large part to the fact that it has a stainless steel body and frame that can take a few bumps and bruises. Again, this is a feature you need to look for as you shop for a teleprompter.
mPrompter thought purposefully about the design of this teleprompter, too. There's a black coating that minimizes reflections and glare (which is a must-have for outdoor shoots), and the 3mm glass mirror has a 70/30 reflective coating as well.
Speaking of the mirror, it's permanently attached and free floated in a protective stainless steel bezel.
Add in the fact that it can be used with virtually any camera, it's easy to set up (less than one minute, in fact), and it's affordable, and you have the makings of a great teleprompter for your needs.
Tools for Content Creators: A Camera With a Front-Facing Screen
One of the things I realized very quickly when I started creating more video content is that I really needed a camera with a front-facing screen.
Having a front-facing screen helps you frame your sequences when you're filming yourself, which is important because how your video is framed makes a significant impression on viewers.
I love my Nikon Z7, but without a front-facing screen, it's not ideal for my video workflow. So, I opted to invest in a Canon EOS R, and it has made all the difference in the world.
There are plenty of other features that I like about the EOS R as a video camera, too...
It's small and lightweight, which is great for on-the-go shooting with a gimbal for vlog-style shooting.
It's weather-sealed, too, so if I'm doing a tutorial video and weather turns south, I don't have to worry too much.
The EOS R also has some absolutely killer glass available, and with more and more RF lenses coming out, the selection is only getting better.
The color profiles of the EOS R are off the charts as well.
In many cases, I don't have to do any color grading because I like the Canon color profile so much. That's a huge benefit!
Now, I know a lot of people will say that the EOS R's huge crop factor for video (1.8x) is a problem, but for my purposes, it's really not a big deal.
The point here is that it has many other features that make it a great option for me. Again, you'll need to do some research on the best video cameras for your purposes, but I think the EOS R should be on your list for sure, particularly because you can get your hands on a good used EOS R and save some green stuff!
Tools for Content Creators: A Great Microphone
For me, it just doesn't get any better than the RODE VideoMic NTG.
I just got this thing last week, and it's already impressed me enough to say that it is far and away one of the best mics I've ever used.
I've been a RODE fan for a long time, but they've definitely outdone themselves here...
When looking for a great mic for video work, you want something that performs well, is easily portable, and highly functional, and the VideoMic NTG definitely ticks all those boxes.
For starters, it has a battery that can last over 30 hours. That's a huge bonus because you can attend to actually shooting the video rather than worrying if your mic is going to die soon.
The audio quality of this thing is simply spectacular too. It captures beautifully natural sound without any interference from background noise. It has a switch to control everything from the safety channel to the high-frequency boost to the high-pass filter, so it's easy to access these often-used tools.
There's even a peak decibel warning light on this mic, that way you can capture distortion-free sound.
I also really appreciate the fact that RODE incorporated a sliding rail on this mic.
This is a big feature because it allows you to slide the mic forward and back as needed. So, rather than the mic ramming you in the face when you're holding the camera in your hand, you can slide it back on the rail. It's just an ingenious feature that makes this mic so much fun to use.
It's small, portable, packed with features, and produces excellent sound. I think that's exactly what you should look for in a high-quality mic for your videos!
Again, these are just the tools that have impressed me the most, so don't just pick them up because I recommended them. Do your research, so how these tools stack up against the competition, and I think you'll find these video accessories come out on top.