The main video equipment list

Whether you’re a professional or a novice filmmaker there’s some basic equipment you just cannot do without. The article looks at the essential checklist that is the basis for a great filming experience.

  1. Video camera

    One of the most important parts of your kit is your camera. Choosing a camera for your project will revolve first of all around your budget, but also on the project’s subject.

    Who is your target audience? Are you going to show the film on social media, large screen or is just for a function to be shown on a smart device or TV? Are you going to do any king of stealth or static camera shots?

    Video camera equipment in male hands

    There are many types, makes and models of video cameras to choose from. For instance, documentaries are the films that can be shot on anything from a smartphone to a top of the Red Epic camera line.

    Here’re some camera choices:

    • Cinematic - Used for high-end movie productions, filming of Broadway productions, awards, etc.
    • Camcorders - They’re basic cameras that can be used for Web videos, special occasion videos, basic home video movies, etc.
    • Smart Devices- For basic small web videos, family fun holiday videos, etc.
    • Ultra-High Definition 4K - Used for film production or high-end documentaries.

    Whatever camera you choose if you’re going to film, always remember to have spare batteries and a battery charger. Nowadays they come with a hand USB and a car charger. It ensures you to have enough filming time on your camera and to be able to charge a battery that has run flat to keep the movie rolling.

    Not only are you going to want to have extra batteries but what about media to film on? Always take extra flash memory cards, video tapes, DVD’s, or even external hard drives. At least with an external hard drive you can clear off some of media from the memory card.

  2. Lenses

    There’re so many different types of shots, angles and filters that you need when shooting a movie. It’s advisable to start building up a nice set of lenses and filters for your camera. Start off by getting the basics and then, as you grow, you can get those ones that just give your shots a little extra quality.

    Video shooting lenses and photos on a wooden table

    For instance, those lazy fisheye shots are done with a wide-angle lens and in very sunny conditions, you don’t want to have a bad reflection ruining your shots. These can be sorted out by various polarizers or ND filters.

    If you want to increase the size of a tiny ladybug sitting on a sunflower you’re going to need a lens that does a super zoom. They’re usually referred to as macro lenses.

  3. Lighting

    You cannot do without lighting no matter what time of day it is. There may just be something that’s a bit shadowed and needs that little ray of light. Most studio type shots can be done with a complete lighting set but when you’re on a location there’s no really time to rush off and set that up.

    Film lighting equipment pointed to the wall

    A good camera light is all you need to get that documentary lit up to a professional studio standard.

  4. Tripod

    If you’re shooting any kind of movie from a family wedding, anniversary or birthday party, you want your film to have a good steady look. You don’t want it to be bouncing all over the place. A good way to get your footing on steadier ground and have a nice smooth even video stream is to get a tripod.

    Camera on mini tripod recording sunset

    Once the camera is positioned and steady it’s just as easy to lift the tripod and reposition it. This takes away the shake of a video and gives you more flow to zoom around the room.

    There’re many different styles, sizes of tripods, there’re even small mini desktop ones. Just ensure that your camera is compatible with it. There’re tripods that fit not only the professional video cameras but also smart devices and camcorders.

  5. Microphone

    A professional quality microphone makes a world of difference to the sound quality of the video. You need it, if you really want to catch what is being said for speeches, for a movie with dialogues or even just your child’s play.

    Most microphone types fit all makes and models. To be sure, check that the connecting jack is fit the device you're using. Most have a list with cameras that they're compatible with and if you cannot readily find that information, make sure you can take the product back if it doesn't work with your camera.

    Compact microphone fixed on a video camera equipment

    There’re also boom poles that you can get to attach to a microphone for an extended range. If you’re looking at a boom pole, then you may also want to consider a shock mount to keep your microphone steady. It also stops that noisy movement sound when repositioned the mic or sound of bumping if it’s not steadily attached.

    Moreover, there’re wireless microphones available, they make it easier to film with sound if you don’t have someone who can hold a boom mic for you.

    Don’t forget a good pair of headphones so you can hear what you’re shooting.

  6. Light reflector

    Professional light reflecting equipment in a studio

    A light reflector is one of the handiest devices you’re going to have with your camera. It’ll enable a dull shot to become nice, clear and shine, or turn a novice looking shot into the one that was done by a seasoned professional.

  7. Computer with video editing software

    One of the most important parts of the day is to see if you have shots worth keeping and to know that you may have to edit them. That's where you need a good computer.

    Laptops are adequate for fieldwork, quick checks and for simple home family movies. A normal desktop PC is great for holiday movies to share with your friends and family on social media.

    However, if you want all the high-end graphics and editing capabilities you’re going to need either Mac or one of the top line desktops. It should contain a powerful graphics card that can cope with whatever scale video editing you’re going to work. Moreover, it’ll need enough processing power, storage space both internally and externally, enough memory on the computer to cope with the graphic powerful software.

    Laptop and video production equipment on a wooden table

    A computer isn’t enough, you’ll also need an appropriate editing program. There’re many different editing software packages on the market: freeware, open source and pro versions. For quick changes, you may use online tools such as Clideo, but if you want to learn the professional way of editing, you’ll need some desktop software like Adobe Photoshop.

    Choose one that has all the features and functionality you may require. It, once again, depends on your budget, film purpose and the level of your expertise with video editing.