Stop spending money on video equipment you just don’t need!
Hi, this is Jay P. Morgan from The Slanted Lens. Let’s look at those 10 things you need to start that video business. An inexpensive list of items that you need to be able to do video.
Number one: A camera. I love full frame cameras. Sony makes great video cameras. They really do.
I think the Sony a7 III is a great camera that still gives you incredible video and gives you great still options. And it’s a reasonable price. So this is Jay P’s recommended column over here. But then there is the budget column over here. You can do some pretty amazing video with a t7i with a Canon low-end inexpensive camera that you can pick up used for $400-$500 dollars. It would not be hard to get a great camera for really inexpensive if you shoot on one of the smaller formats. There’s other cameras like the Sony a6600. There’s just so many different cameras out there. There’s some great fuji cameras. I kind of stick with Sony and with Canon because I feel like as you build a collection of glass the lenses help you to move forward with better cameras. And there’s just great places to step up. So I do like a full frame camera. The a7S III would be a great video camera if that’s all you’re doing. But if you’re doing video and stills a lower end reasonable priced camera is the Sony a7 III. But I just really love and I have an a7R III. I’ve shot it for years and absolutely love it. And it’s a great video as well as still camera.
Number two is you need a lens. You have to have a lens. The standard video lens most people go to as they begin is an f/4 24-105mm. It gives you wide enough to be able to give you a great wide view or a little more vista look. But it gives you long enough, 105mm gives you a portrait and beyond. Now obviously if you’re on the budget route and you’re using a crop sensor, an APS-C sensor, that lens is going to be more like a 35-150mm. And so that changes the dynamics completely. I think this is a great video lens. I have here a 28-75mm from Tamron. They’re just about to redo this lens. They’ve announced a second generation that gives you a lot of options that this one doesn’t have. But this is a great option here. So this is Jay P’s preferred option on this side. That 28-75mm gives me a nice reach with that telephoto. It’s more into a portrait range. But it gives me a nice view as well. If you’re doing architectural photography you need to choose a lens that’s on the wider side. So the lens you choose in this list, either one is going to depend on the kind of work that you do.
If you’re doing videography for sports you’re going to need a longer lens. If you’re doing architectural you’re going to need a much wider lens. But the really overall good workaround lenses are that 24 -105 or something like a 28- 75. That just gives you a great working lens for so many different situations. Alright so number two is you need a lens.
Number three: You need three SD card. You need cards for your camera to be able to switch those out and you’re going to need one for your sound device. So you’re going to need three SD cards. Now you can get the super-fast 300 mb tough cards. That’s a great card, but super expensive. You can get a much more reasonable SanDisk card that’s going to give you great write speeds of 150-200. It’s going to give you a great speed. That will work just fine for your camera. But you don’t have to spend a fortune for it. SD cards are a little overpriced on the high end and they’re not very durable on the low end. So I always try to look for something that is a good durable card that is not too expensive. Although I have bought a few tough cards and those have been excellent. Actually, I have some Delkin cards that are 300 write speed that have been incredible and 128 mb. Those have been excellent.
Number four: You need a video tripod. This is a Vanguard. This is a Vanguard 263 CV. It’s a video tripod and very inexpensive video tripod. It’s got a nice video head on it so you get pans and tilts. It just really works extremely well. I think a good tripod makes a lot of sense. A video tripod that is excellent because it does have a self-leveling bowl here on the top. So it’ll allow you to level it when you get on uneven surfaces. You do lose the column in the middle which is hard. Vanguard makes good tripods. They’re just really not too expensive but they’re pretty durable and they work really well. We still use a great tripod we got from FotoproUSA. It’s the X-Go Max. But put a video head on it. Put something like a Benro video head on it. Benro makes some great tripods you can look at. They were lower end but have now become a little higher or a little more expensive as time goes on. But I think a tripod is extremely important. It allows you to stabilize your camera. And it’s going to help you, like if you’re doing an interview to sit down, lock your camera down and be able to do your video.
Number five: A sound recorder. Now you can circumvent this, and some people do it and can get great audio, but not very easily. And it doesn’t make you look very professional. But you need some kind of device to get audio either to your camera or to a recording device. I’ve used the zoom recorders. They’re excellent. You have two XLRs in. You do have one 3.5 you can send in. It just makes it very easy. Or I can do these two as a shotgun kind of mic. I’ve seen someone put these on their tripod and just boom this underneath or overhead and use that as a capture device, almost like a shotgun mic. Is this as good as a good shotgun mic? No, it really isn’t. There’s a compromise, there’s no doubt about it. But it would work in that way. Ideally I think you should capture back to this with a couple of things. I actually love this. This is a device that’s made by Sony. I think it’s called the KLM. Well there it is right there on Jay Ps side. Yeah, that’s it. These are great devices because you put them on the hot shoe on top of your camera. It allows you to be able to bring that XLR right into your Sony camera straight through the hot shoe. So you’re not trying to put other cables on there to give you direct audio right to the clip which syncs it. And it gives you great audio to work from. There are two XLRs so if you had to you could run a shotgun mic off from a good XLR cable. And you could run a lav off from this. Now Sony makes one for Sony and Panasonic makes one for Panasonic. Tascam is just coming out with one that is universal for DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras that’s a great device. This is not cheap. It’s about $500 dollars. This is a little less money, the Zoom, which is a little bit less money. Now this is the super budget route. This is made by a company called Saramonic. And it is basically a 20-foot cable with a 3.5 that hooks into your audio jack. It’s not a super great sound but it’s $79 or less.
So it’s actually on my budget list over here. This would be a super cheap way to get audio back to your camera. Is it my favorite way. No, not really. But it is a way. Side note on this one. It is a great way to pick up audio but you have to sync it later. Advantage of this is it syncs it in camera. The advantage of this is it syncs it in camera. In a workflow situation that’s huge.
When you’re working as a one-man band kind of video operation there is nothing as amazing as a Platypod. I carry these with me all the time and it just makes it really easy for me to set up a second camera. I don’t have to hire a person to deal with it. I let it roll and I walk away. These are just a great quick tripod. It comes with a strap. You can put it on a pole. It comes with a little pad to put it on something like a car. It’s just a very easy way to work. So the Platypod is a great way to get a second camera up and not have to hire a second person.
Number six: A lav. I still use the Sennheisers. I have G3s but you can really only purchase G4s now. A Sennheiser makes a very durable and not super expensive lav. You’ll be able to get your sound back to either your module or you can send your sound back to your recorder. And now you have very present audio right with your person. You don’t have to be right next to them. Your camera can be back. You don’t have a cable that’s hooking your camera to your person in case they walk away. It just becomes an easy way to work. But now a less expensive way to go, I think these things from Rode, the wireless GO2 are fabulous. And you can now hook that right into your DSLR and get that sound right back to the DSLR and you bypass this. And this, I don’t like them as the block that just hooks on to your collar. They’ve got the little mic here. That little mic you can just hook this on the person’s shirt or onto the person’s blouse. But I think the audio is not near as good as when you run an actual mic with a cable into the input. Those work much better. I like that much better. That sounds much better.
So there’s Jay Ps list. The Sennheiser G4. Or there’s a little less expensive list, the GO2. That’s the Rode Go2. That’s a little less expensive. So both great options.
Number seven: I absolutely love a good shotgun mic. This is the MKH416. This is a Sennheiser mic. This, in the film industry for years, was a go-to a standard. It’s just a very good mic. It’s very directional. But it’s a $1000 dollars. So that’s got to go on Jay P’s side. There’s no doubt about that. But it gives you a great sound. It’s right there. It feels so good. It feels a little bit contextual. You feel a little bit of the room in it. But you just feel a very presence of the person and what they have to say. So that’s the shotgun mic. A little more expensive on Jay P’s side. But there’s some Rode, some great NTG mics there too. A four, a five, there’s several different ones to choose from that are at different levels. You can actually go to Rode site and they’ve got a place where you can listen to each one of the mics as the person is reading the very same thing. And you can hear how each mic sounds and you can decide what sounds good to you. What you think is right for the kind of work you’re going to do. So that’s a great resource there. I would say something like the Rode NTG-4 is a solid shotgun mic and it will last you for years. And that would go on my budget side. Or the NTG-2 is actually not a bad mic.
Number eight: If you’re going to have a shotgun mic you’re going to now need a boom pole and a little device to be able to hang this on a stand. And then a stand and also a head. I just take a head off from a c-stand. I just put it upside down so that the knuckle attaches to the top of my stand. So the budget side would be an inexpensive stand, a boom pole with this little device and a knuckle off from a c-stand. That’ll get you up and going for that shotgun mic. Jay P’s side would be a c-stand. Just a simple c-stand gives you a lot of options.
It just makes it easy to be able to adjust that mic and not have to have someone hold it which costs you a lot of money every time you shoot. That’s like a $300-$500 dollar person just to hold that mic. Use a stand.
Number nine: A laptop or computer or access to a computer. You don’t necessarily have to own the computer. You can go to a library and use it there. You can go to an internet cafe and borrow time there. You can go to your school where you go to school or university. Maybe you can go to work and do it. But regardless, you’ve got to have a place where you can download all your video clips, you can sort them and you can edit them in an editing program whether it’s final cut or premiere or iMovie. Whatever it is you’re going to need access to a place to be able to do that. Most people have to have a computer and I really think you probably should. You can either get a Mac that’s pretty expensive or a PC that’s not near as expensive.
I would suggest you do the Mac just simply because the whole creative industry is kind of geared towards Mac. It’ll just be a lot easier for you if you learn how to edit there and Premiere is just a much easier platform to work on. But you’re going to need a computer.
Number 10: A hard drive. If you do use a computer somewhere else just simply buy a good four terabyte hard drive that you can put all your clips on. You can do all your editing on that hard drive. Your entire life lives on that hard drive. It doesn’t matter what computer you plug into it’s not very hard to find an inexpensive four terabyte hard drive. So you’re going to need that either way. You have to have that even more important than having the computer.
The one item that I would get beyond this list in the lighting category is a pop-up reflector. Something that’s a 4 or 5 in 1, so you have a translucent, you have a hard white and you have a black. It just gives you a lot of control. That’s the first lighting device that I think every person should have.
Then number 12 would be three led lights. That way you can start setting up lights to be able to give a nice light on the person and some kind of modifier to build a softener or bounce it into a card that you put onto a stand. But now that gets into a whole other world. You’re now going to have to start to light. Every time you add a piece of equipment it takes more time and it takes other people to help you to be able to keep the time down to be able to speed along and be able to get your shot quickly. So get out there, put your kit together and start making money in video. It’s not as difficult as you think. There’s jobs out there for everyone at different skill levels. So find a market that works for you and get out there and start making money.
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