The DIY guide to SME video marketing: Part 2 - Budget video equipment

by Charlie Smith, Marketing Assistant at Wenta 
04/10/16

Budget video equipment 


The camera 

This is the number one most essential piece of equipment for a video. And unsurprisingly it can also be the most expensive. However, investing in a good camera will prove beneficial in the long run.

You want to be looking at a good quality DSLR camera. DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex, popular brands include Canon, Nikon and Sony and will set you back anywhere in the region of £200 - £1600 and beyond. Try looking online for a second-hand camera which will significantly lower the price.

 

A tripod

A simple stand for your camera that is absolutely essential in any video production, available from as little as £15 - £200. 


An audio recorder

While most DSLR cameras do have audio recorders built into their body, they will often sound tinny, distorted and never match the quality of a dedicated recorder.

Popular audio recorder brands like Zoom and Tascam start from £50 - £250. If your sound is recorded well your video will be perceived as professional, poorly recorded sound will be immediately apparent to the audience.


Some headphones 

High quality, over-ear headphones are ideal for listening to your audio and will give you the best idea of your audio levels whilst recording your video.


Lighting! 

A full lighting kit may not be deemed essential equipment to everyone, but you will probably need at least one small LED light (around £50) to help light a subject during an interview.

Full lighting kits usually consist of three main roles:
   • Key - the main lighting source on a subject
   • Fill - a second light to smooth out the harsh shadows on the subject
   • Backlight - shining across the back of the subject (usually the back of an interviewee's head) to separate them from the background

This three-point lighting system isn’t essential for all video types, but it does hugely increase your video's production value.

Tip: You can buy two large soft-box lights from £60 - £200 which work perfectly for indoor interviews and will easily fill in 2 of your three main lighting roles.


Editing software

This is essential for any video. Once you've filmed your video using the above equipment, you will need to put it together on a computer.

There are usually free video editor programs already available and on most computers. Programs like Windows Movie Maker and iMovie will get you through the basics but are limited compared to paid-for programmes.

Adobe Premiere Pro for Windows and Mac is the market leader and costs £17.50 per month. Final Cut Pro X is made only for Macs and costs £229 to install.

These programs require a decent computer to run on as videos take up a lot of memory, so lower-end computers may struggle. Part 5 will focus on video editing later in this series.


Optional extras

Microphone: A shotgun microphone (with the well-known fluffy cover) is great for windy outdoor conditions. Wireless tie-clip microphones are a great way to capture a conversation or interview cleanly.

Microphone stand: To avoid your microphone picking up the sounds of your fingers moving (even slightly) while holding it.

Camera slider: These can add great production value to any video by sliding the camera across a rail fixed onto your tripod to give a smooth moving shot of the environment.

Dolly: These are like train tracks that your camera moves along to give a smooth shot. Some dolly’s can be three-wheeled holders for your camera to give you 360-degree movement.

Steadicam: A movement aid that combats clunky camera shaking. Steadicams can be simple hand-held stabilisers or full rigs attached to the camera operators body. This allows you to explore space and get beautiful floating shots, possibly exploring your workspace or tracking a moving subject with ease.

Extra Lenses: DSLR cameras will usually come with a simple fixed-focal-length lens, meaning you cannot zoom in or out. Buying a second lens that can zoom to wider and tighter shots than your prime lens will help you in small rooms or exterior shots.

Now that you’ve figured out your equipment it’s time to start pre-production, which we will cover in part 3.

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