“Tash, what video gear do you recommend for someone who is just starting out?”
Gear is something I get asked about a lot. The truth is that my answer varies based on the type of videos the person is hoping to create, their budget, as well as their level of experience. There are, however, some essential pieces of gear that I believe every new videographer should own. In this article, I will outline these four categories as well as give you my personal recommendations on which products are worth investing in!
Investment #1: A Camera
I know what you’re thinking: “Tash, this is a no-brainer!” While camera choice should definitely be a consideration when building your video gear collection, the type of video camera you choose is actually far less less important than you might think. One major consideration, however, is brand: once you choose a camera body, you will have to continue investing in a particular brand for lenses, accessories, and more.
There are tons of great camera brands out there, but as a beginner, I would recommend sticking to either Canon or Sony: just like Honda Civics, both brands are extremely reliable, produce a great final product, and have been around for forever…so fixing or replacing parts later down the road will be much easier!
In 2020, the camera you choose should have the following abilities:
- Ability to shoot 1080p or 4K video at 24 frames per second
- Ability to shoot 1080p video at 60 frames per second
- Have autofocus capabilities
…Yep, this means that even your iPhone is worthy of being used as a video camera in 2020.
Investment #2: A Lens
Contrary to popular belief, I feel that lens choice matters MORE than what camera body you use! A quality lens can instantly make your footage look more high-end, even if you’re using an entry-level DSLR.
Lenses can get really expensive, so it’s important to know what you absolutely need in order to produce the kind of videos you have in mind. Here are the two main lens categories you should know about:
- Zoom lenses: These are known as “All-In-One” lenses, and are great for situations where you need to capture footage quickly and efficiently, such as in wedding videography or documentary work. They are definitely the most cost-effective option, but they typically don’t have a low aperture capabilities, meaning they aren’t great for low-light situations
- Prime lenses: Primes are “Specialty” lenses that are built to be sturdy and high-quality. Most prime lenses have low apertures, which is great for low-light situations. Unlike zoom lenses, primes are fixed focal lengths, meaning you need to to physically move around a room to get different angles or shots, which can be more time consuming. However, some videographers swear by prime lenses and argue that that they force them to be more creative. A major downside to prime lenses is that they can be significantly more expensive than zoom lenses.
Investment #3: A Stabilizer
Owning a stabilizer is a must, regardless of what type of videos you hope to produce. There are a few different options, depending on your personal style and the industry that you’re in:
- Tripods: Super sturdy and perfect for situations where you want your camera (and your subject) to remain completely still for long periods of time. Tripods are commonly used in documentary work to interview subjects, for social media live streams, to record speeches at weddings, or for any scenario where movement occurs infrequently or not at all. The downside is that they can be annoying to move or transport, and can take a while to set up and take down.
- Gimbals: These handy tools have exploded in popularity over the last few years. Gimbals can be motorized or mechanical, and give footage a smooth, cinematic look. Gimbals are great for run-and-gun videographers who shoot weddings, sports, or any other subjects where motion is prevalent. When used improperly, however, gimbals are guilty of giving off a “robotic” feel, and can take some time to properly balance. It can also be incredibly tiring for your arms if you plan on using a heavier gimbal for several hours at a time.
- Monopods: If a tripod and a gimbal had a baby, it would be a monopod. These versatile pieces of equipment are the perfect mix of sturdiness and agility. They are great for videographers needing an occasional steady shot, but who also require the ability to move quickly and efficiently. Monopods are often used by sports photographers and videographers on the sidelines of football and soccer games, seeing it gives them the ability to quickly move out of the way if a player charges at them at full speed. While they most certainly have their advantages, they don’t offer quite the same level of stillness and stability as tripods do.
Investment #4: An Audio Recording Device
If you plan on doing anything that requires audio (i.e. YouTube videos, interviews, video podcasts, etc.), you’re going to want to invest in some sort of microphone. People are willing to sit through a mediocre video with great audio, but if your audio isn’t up to par, they will exit your video almost immediately — hence the importance of investing in a great audio recording device!
There are 3 main categories you should know about if you’re first starting out:
- Lavalier microphones: These are clip-on microphones that are used when you want the audio recording device to be attached to a specific person and you want the audio recording device to be out of sight. Lavalier microphones are most often used in documentary work, interviews, or when YouTubers speak directly to their camera. These devices are extremely portable and can be easily hidden from view, and can produce fantastic audio seeing as the microphone is usually placed very close to the speaker’s face.
- Condenser microphones: Just like lavalier microphones, condensers are used primarily for recording voices — the only difference is that they cannot be hidden from view. Condenser microphones are used primarily for podcasts, live streams, and musical performances where seeing a microphone is to be expected and normal.
- Shotgun microphones: These are typically attached to the top of your camera, and are used to record ambient noises that might enhance the atmosphere in the final video. A wedding videographer, for example, might use a shotgun microphone to record the laughs of the bridesmaids as they’re getting ready, or the clapping and cheering of guests after a speech. Some beginner videographers make the mistake of using a shotgun microphone as their main audio recording device when capturing people speaking, and this usually results in less-than-ideal audio quality. In most cases, you’ll want to use a lavalier or a condenser microphone to capture voices instead.
Did you like the info featured in this post? Give me a follow over on Instagram for more video tips and tricks just like this!
BACK TO HOME PAGE
[…] For more info on essential video gear for beginners, check out the following blog post: The Essential Video Gear All Beginners Need […]
1 Comment on The Essential Video Gear All Beginners Need