In an era where it’s not rare for YouTube to replace secondary education, there’s no shortage of tutorials, reviews and vlogs discussing videography and filmmaking. As an avid YouTube watcher myself, I subscribe to more than a handful of channels that I turn to for advice and inspiration when I feel the need to level-up.
Now that I have several years of experience under my belt, I understand that even though YouTube is an amazing tool, the things you learn there are not bible and shouldn’t be treated as such. Although I know that now, a few years ago it was a different story... especially when it came down to figuring out what equipment I needed to be an amazing videographer. It’s so easy to be awestruck by other shooters with overflowing equipment totes that boast the latest and greatest gadgets, but if you have a creative eye and the desire to capture amazing scenes... you can get most jobs done with just 3 camera accessories. That’s right- just 3.
So sit back, hop on Google and check your equipment stash for these 3 videographer essentials.
Although it’s not right to assume, I’m going to when I say ‘if you’re reading this, you probably already have some type of camera that you own or borrow.’ Now that we’ve addressed that, let’s talk about my first videographer essential.
#1 handy dandy tripod
Tripods are basically the old faithful of camera accessories, and rightfully so. They enable you to achieve smooth, steady and creative shots for just about any kind of shoot. Additionally, the build of a tripod makes it easy to mimic camera motions of other great tools, like a crane or a monopod. There are lots to choose from, but I suggest one with a fluid head that's light and portable- especially if you’re a run and gun shooter.
#2 a set of trusty LED lights
Lighting is one of the most important components of videography, even if you’re a club shooter or prefer natural light. Simply by lighting a scene, you can instantly improve the quality of your footage. Depending on the type of content you shoot most, take your choice between RGB LED wands, a pair of Bi-color LED lights, or a small but powerful LED kick light with multiple color settings. No matter which you choose, just light your scene!
If you’re a fan of Amazon, there are probably 100 different products to choose from. Do some research and have your pick. Personally, I love the Neewer brand and have a pair of their Bi-color LEDs that came with stands and can be operated via power or battery pack. They are incredible and with the adjustable brightness, I can just use one as a kick light or both to light an entire scene.
#3 a plug and use microphone
Again, the ideal microphone for you will depend on the type of content you shoot. If you shoot a lot of run and gun stuff where most of your audio is nat sound or added in post with the occasional impromptu sound byte, then an on camera shotgun mic would be amazing for you. It’ll allow you to capture native audio with more clarity and less wind noise. It attaches to the shoe at the top of your camera so you you don’t need any extra hands to achieve better audio.
Now, if you do any shoots where people will be speaking (vlogs, 1 man documentaries, short films, etc.) you MUST grab yourself a RODE wireless lavaliere mic. Amazing audio quality, compact construction and simple to use, this mic will have you raising your price.
If you get this mic and you haven’t previously been using a mic or just using a shot gun mic... raise your price after you get this.
Videography is more than just having the trippiest edits or the nicest camera; creativity in shot selection, effective lighting and crisp audio are critical to having finished projects that leave your viewers mesmerized. So if you're looking to improve the quality of your work without breaking the bank- or your brain learning trying to operate it keep up 30 different tools- these 3 videographer essentials are sure to do the trick.