Jared Lee / June 28, 2018

Essential Equipment for Video Production

The innermost desires and thoughts of people can be expressed through the art of film. Anyone can bring their vision to life by creating their own videos from scratch. Before filming, certain items must be obtained that will set everything into motion. The following items are necessary to begin the art of video production.

Selecting a Video Camera

Video production can’t be done without a camera, the main tool needed for shooting footage. Cameras are made by multiple manufacturers, with a variety of functions at different prices.

Budget will come into play when selecting a camera, with some cinema level cameras like the Red Epic that can sell for $30,000, which may be too pricey for most people. If you are just doing corporate video production and not creating an entry for the Cannes Festival, something like a Nikon or Canon DSLR for a little over $1,000 may be more suitable. Even a lower end camcorder for $200 or an iPhone can get the job done. In any case, opt for a full frame camera.

Best Lenses for Video Production

Cameras will be able to interact with a variety of lenses to produce different shots. A close-up lens like a Canon 50mm can produce great close-up shots, while a Canon 70-200mm will work best for long range situations. Most normal shots can be made with something in the 24-70mm range. By using a wide-angle lens, special fish-eye effects can be filmed, which are useful for giving off a first-person view, especially when filming action shots.

Tripods

For all cameras, a tripod is needed to keep the camera steady while filming. The tripod uses three legs to create a stable base for the camera, while also allowing it to rotate for filming, making it a better option for perfect shots over handheld filming.

A sturdy tripod that has a good fluid head will allow the camera to sit and giving the user the ability to gauge how level it is. Manfrotto makes some of the best on the market, but there are other manufacturers that produce excellent tripods. Sliders can be mounted to tripods and allow cameras to move up and down at an angle. Beginners may find them a little difficult to work with initially, but over time they can become used to them and use them skillfully.

Video Lighting

Good lighting is key in video production, as film makers want people to be able to see what they’ve filmed. The right amount of lighting in the right direction can also set a particular mood for a film. Starting out with an attachment light for a DSLR or camcorder can work at a lower budget, but in a lot of cases, more lighting will be needed.

A basic three-point lighting kit which consists of a back light, a key light, and a fill light, provides adequate light for many situations. Stands, filters, clamps, and reflectors can help film makers play with the light more to fine tune it and direct it to the right areas.

Audio Recording Equipment

To capture the best audio when filming, an external microphone should be purchased. Even in a low budget production kit, a good microphone can mean a world of difference. Pretty much any camera will have a port for an external microphone, which can pick up audio from subjects without picking up the noise of the camera, which onboard microphones are known to do. Shotgun microphones are perfect for filming, and a shock mount can turn it into a boom microphone.

Once a budget is determined and idea behind a video, anyone can start buying the equipment that will help them make their own videos. Multiple equipment combinations can produce different videos that will make each one more different than the next.

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Jared Lee
Jared Lee
Jared is one of the cofounders of Level 2 Productions. His San Francisco area production company produces corporate video production, including commercials, testimonials and conferences.

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