photo by Filipovic018 via iStock
If you’re a photographer trying to branch off into videography, then you’ve probably figured out that videography gear is a whole other ballgame.
When I made the switch, I was entirely overwhelmed. Not only is there so much new videography gear to learn about, but most of it is quite expensive.
So, allow me to walk you through my favorite must-have videography gear (that you can buy on a budget).
Use the Camera You’ve Got
photo by basketman23 via iStock
It goes without saying that your camera is the most important part of your videography gear pack.
While you might be tempted to go out and buy a professional video camera or at the very least a high-end mirrorless camera that shoots 4K at 60p, you don’t need to do that right out of the gates.
Do what I did and transition slowly from camera to camera.
I began with an iPhone and expanded from there. If you’re not sure whether or not you want to stick with videography, definitely start shooting on your smartphone. It’s free because you already own it!
photo by basketman23 via iStock
If you’re already a photographer, however, and you own a DSLR or mirrorless camera, feel free to shoot with that as well.
Even if it’s an entry-level camera, chances are these days that it’ll shoot 4K video, or at the very least 1080p.
The point is that while cameras are obviously an integral component of creating video footage, you don’t need to blow your life savings on a new rig right now. Get practice on what you have first, and then as your needs and skills expand, upgrade to a more capable camera.
Invest in a High-Quality Light
One piece of equipment you definitely need to add to your kit is a high-quality light.
After all, just like photography, videography is all about light and how it interacts with your on-camera subject.
With the right lighting, you can create different moods and emotions that make for much more compelling video footage.
The question is, what kind of light is best?
Personally, I like using lights that give me tons of versatility while also being super functional. And for me, nothing says versatile and functional like the Hakutatz Pocket Size RGB+AW LED Light shown above.
I got my hands on one of these things, and to say that I’m impressed is an understatement.
For starters, it fits in your pocket, which is just what you want in a good video light. You want it to be portable so you can move quickly from one shoot location to the next without dragging around tons of big, heavy lighting gear.
Secondly, no matter if you need to use it as your primary light to illuminate the subject with amber or white light, use it as a means of separating the subject from the background, or use it to create interesting lighting effects, this light can do it all.
With a range RGB colors to add visual appeal to your videos, there is virtually no limit on the colors you can create.
Best of all, this light comes with a companion smartphone app, so you can customize how it works right from your phone.
Choose and change colors, adjust the color temperature, and select special effects, all on the fly.
You can even use these lights on their own or control multiple lights as a group for the ultimate in functionality.
Light has the ability to completely change the look, feel, and mood of your videos, so arming yourself with a light that can do it all is certainly something you should do to take the quality of your videos to the next level.
Editor's Note: The Hakutatz Kickstarter campaign was a huge success! Their Amazon store will be open and ready for orders in early December.
Tripods Prevent Shaky Footage
Photo by Jeroen den Otter on Unsplash
A tripod is essential gear for shooting video.
While gimbals might get more love from videographers because of their portability, you should still have a tripod in your videography kit.
Not only do tripods offer excellent stability, but they also serve to give you a place to attach extra accessories like lights, microphones, teleprompters, and so forth.
Photo by Free To Use Sounds on Unsplash
Just like with your camera, you don’t have to invest in a really expensive tripod right off the bat.
But don’t opt for some bargain-basement piece of junk, either…
Look for a good mid-range tripod that has features like non-skid feet, easy lock legs, and a good height range so you can vary the eye level of the camera as you shoot footage.
A tripod with a fluid pan head is also a good option, as it allows you to pan the camera from left to right for smooth sequences.
External Mics Help With Audio
Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash
While your smartphone, DSLR, or mirrorless camera will be a fine camera when you’re just starting out in videography, what is not fine are the microphones these devices use.
You can capture beautiful 4K footage all day long with your camera, but creating compelling videos isn’t just about what people see, it’s about what they hear, too.
The tiny mic on your phone or camera isn’t going to pick up clean, crisp audio. For that, you need an external mic.
You don’t necessarily need to add a boom mic to your videography gear right away, but the effects of a cheap shotgun mic set can’t be replicated with the mic in your camera.
photo by istockphotoluis via iStock
I also recommend an inexpensive clip-on lavalier mic if you’re going to be conducting any interviews on camera.
There’s even a 4-star rated clip on lavalier mic that plugs into your smartphone for $12 on Amazon.
Trust me - nothing ruins great video footage like poor-quality audio or wind noise. Do yourself a favor and get a good external mic to capture great audio to go with your beautiful video.
With this tip and the others outlined above, you have recommendations for basic gear you need to produce awesome videos!