Video Gear for Dummies


We are always asked by friends and clients about gear they should purchase if they want to create their own video content. The answer will vary based on one question you have to ask yourself. What purpose am I filming for? And of course what's my budget.

For sake of everybody's time, I won't make a huge list of items, right now. Instead, I'm going to assume you want versatility with your gear. You want something that will be great video, but also great photo . . . Right? Of course. So here's our suggestion for you.

CAMERA: Canon 5D (Mark II, Mark III, Mark IV)

If you're on a budget, find yourself a nice used Mark II. If you've got the Money. Mark IV hands down. If you're looking for professional (enough) video. This will give you all the bells and whisles you will need. Auto Focus (lens permitting) in video mode, great low light, and nicely water sealed. So if you get stuck out in a sprinkle. It will be alright. A lot of people will advice you get the Sony AS7II. I wouldn't advise against that, as it's a great option also. Has great low light, and awesome options for video. I just really hate the ergonomics, and menus, and the photos. Otherwise, go for it!

LENS: Canon EF 24-70 2.8

Not exactly a budget lens, but fairly versitle. I'd also suggest specialty lenses on top of this, for example a wide or a zoom. We use the Canon 16-35, 24-70, and 70-200 as our main set. Covers everything on a shoot. Then we will rent specialty lenses if need be. 

LIGHTING: Lowel Rifa (With Dimmer)

The Rifa will put out a lot more heat than an LED, but it's a beautiful light. And less expensive than most LED's out there. You can get the ex 44 or up. I prefer to get a little more power, then add the dimmer to decrease when necessary. But it's a beautiful box.

AUDIO: Sennheiser MKE 400

If you're doing a lot of interivews, this isn't your mic. I'd suggest instead the ew 122 instead. However the MKE 400 is a great run and gun to put on top of your DSLR, which does a pretty good job of isolating those that you are talking to.

TRIPOD: Compatible

Find one that is compatible for your type of shooting. It might need to be heavy duty, or nothing special. I just always make sure that my tripod heads, and mounts are all the same so I can easily transition from one system to the next without changing the place on my camera.

Well, here's a start for you at least. Looking at it, it's not exactly budget friendly, but I can work on that later. Video Production isn't cheap by any means. Feel free to comment or email if you have any specific questions or advice.