The Essential Videography Equipment Kit

Thinking about getting into video production? Want to know what equipment you need for videography? Then read on!

Many still photographers are moving into videography. It’s a natural step, with DSLR’s offering the essential tools to experiment with. However, video has some different rules from photography. It’s important to choose the right videography equipment when starting your journey into the world of film. Choosing the right gear can affect overall video quality, and even speed up the production process and you may need to purchase or rent some accessories. This article will cover a comprehensive list of the equipment you will need to build your essential videography kit, with many items available for rent right here at Bolt. Let’s get into it.

Lights

You can’t shoot a film if you’re in the dark. Continuous lighting equipment is an essential component within a good videography equipment kit, and LEDs are the easiest way to have light wherever you go. We can recommend that your kit includes several different types of continuous light sources like tungsten, HMI, or LED.

LED lights may be necessary if you are going to shoot on location with limited pour sources. You may also want to have a few bi-color lights like the Astra 6x, which offer a full daylight-to-tungsten color temperature spectrum that can be even further customized with a 0-100% dimmer.

And if you’re unsure where to start, the best bet is to have at least a 3-point lighting setup with a key light, fill light, and backlight.

Making vlog style videos from the comfort of your home? Check out our post about LED Ring Lights, which are a go-to for streamers and content creators.

Camera

Let’s assume you currently have a DSLR with video capabilities and a couple of lenses to go with it. First off, you should consider having both primary and secondary video cameras in your videography kit. The Canon MKII is a great camera for beginner cinematographers, and the Sony A7SII Mirrorless Camera for pros. Alongside your own DSLR, adding a secondary camera can give you the added security that even if one camera fails, you can continue to shoot.

You can certainly use some of your existing lenses, and off the bat having a 24-100mm lens will give you the most versatility. If you are filming landscapes, you will likely need wider lenses, such as an 18mm or 24mm lens. You may want a few zoom lenses for specialized shots. Our top recommendation is to use a kit of Zeiss CP.2 lenses, or Canon Cine lenses, as they generally work better with video.

You may want to invest in adding a Variable Neutral Density filter to your kit. This filter allows videographers to control exposure without having to change aperture or shutter speed. They are also needed when shooting outside in bright sunlight with wider apertures.

Additionally, when it comes to moving subjects, maintaining focus can be more of a challenge. Manual or motorized follow focus systems can help. A Follow Focus can be used on any camera lens and usually attaches to the base plate and 15mm rod system. Some Cine lenses have the teeth built in, while traditional DSLR lenses make use of an attachable lens gear that fits around the focus ring.

Action

Now that you have your basic gear required to light and shoot a video, let’s get into essential audio equipment and accessories needed to finish your production.

Using the camera’s built-in microphones captures everything, and we mean everything! From the noises inside the camera to the noises you create adjusting controls or moving the gear around.

To achieve better audio quality, an external microphone is the solution most will probably adopt. The most common mics used are small camera mounted shotgun mics like the Rode Shotgun microphone, wireless lavalier microphones (lapel microphones)for the subject, and directional shotgun mics on boom poles such as the Sennheiser mic and boom kit.

The Zoom H6 Recorder is a lightweight, versatile and rugged, wireless microphone used for location videography. This portable recorder can be placed on top of your DSLR as a microphone, or placed anywhere near the subject. You can rent a complete kit, which includes a padded carrying case, a tabletop tripod stand, a foam windscreen, a detachable microphone handle, a USB cable, and an AC power adapter. It is also possible to use it as a field mixer and attach multiple professional mics.

For image stabilization, you will also of course need some kinds of video tripods as literal support for your gear. A fluid head tripod or monopod can be useful in creating greater production value for your shots. We recommend a Manfrotto Fluid Monopod or Sachtler Fluid Head tripod with Legs.

Don’t forget video accessories for power and storage! To make sure you don’t lose power for your gear, we recommend packing extra batteries (especially rechargeable batteries) to power camera accessories and some lower powered LED lights.You will also want to have lots of memory cards on hand, as video, unlike still photography, is memory intensive due to excess amounts of video footage. Especially so if you are shooting 4K.

Lastly, you’ll want some basic grip equipment. Having extra XLR cables for audio, gaffer’s tape, and other Grip Kit essentials for your shoot will streamline the process.

That’s a Wrap!

At first, purchasing the lenses, lights, audio equipment, and various other gear may seem like a barrier to entry. Most videographers we work with prefer to rent what they need, when they need it. If you work mostly outside, then the audio recorder may be your most important choice, allowing you to enter the realm of creating good quality audio for your videos. LED lights may be essential if you mostly work in locations with questionable power.

These are our suggestions for an essential videography kit. Always keep in mind that we also offer a wide range of videography accessories, too. This includes everything from truck rentals, grips, dollies, carts, external monitors and other pieces of equipment for production.

If you’re ready to start rolling but need the gear, you know where to go. Stop by Bolt Productions today and our staff can help you set up the perfect video production kit for your next shoot.