When it comes to video production, I’ve seen just about every setup for gear you could imagine.
From doing a video on a budget for Minor League Baseball to producing for Fox Sports Florida where my team worked with the best camera and lighting equipment, I’ve witnessed a range of products that get the job done.
At both of the levels mentioned above, there is a certain level of expectation for each production.
Minor League Baseball is known for being scrappy, goofy, and a good time, so the highest quality production gear wasn’t really necessary to achieve that. As long as the videos made fans in the stands laugh, that was consider a job well done.
Fox Sports Florida was a different story, however. Covering Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Hockey League (NHL) teams, the level of quality for broadcast television was much higher.
The goals of video marketing and production for your company is likely to provide helpful information about your product or service to your customers to drive more qualified traffic down your sales funnel and to increase your company’s presence online as the knowledge base for your industry.
To meet the expectations needed to accomplish these goals, the video production gear purchased should give your business a professional look and feel.
That means equipment that will deliver good picture quality, sound, and lighting.
While the first thing that comes to mind when purchasing video production gear is the camera, in this article, I’m going to cover that, plus the other elements that are equally important in making your production look professional.
I’m sure by now, you’re wondering, what can I expect to pay for all of this gear?
The real answer is that you could spend unlimited amounts of money on video production equipment. There are always new developments in technology that allow manufacturers to continuously update the standards for equipment. There are also many relatively cheap options for gear. Cheaper, however, isn’t always the best solution.
Problems with poor-quality gear can add up to fix and replace.
At the end of the day, you could spend more money on a cheaper piece of equipment for maintenance and replacing than buying the higher quality piece at the time of the initial purchase.
So what video production equipment do I need to get started?
Below, you’ll see my recommendations for specific video production equipment. Some of these, I have used myself, and am recommending them based on experience.
Others are brands that have a reputation in the industry for quality and durability, two qualities that are important to your budget.
It’s not uncommon for someone to be concerned with lighting. Especially those who are in tune with the social media trends, there is now an understanding that "lighting is everything."
The same is true for your production, lighting will not only be a determining factor in the mood of your video and the tone you want to set, but it will influence the picture quality.
I would argue that sound is more important than picture quality. Most viewers would be willing to forgive a lesser quality image, but if the quality of the sound is poor, that bounce rate on that video will go up.
These are the elements of video you should consider when making the list of video production gear to choose from.
Considering all the elements of production, usually, the first thing we think to buy is the camera. The camera will likely have the most influence over the picture quality of your video.
The standards for today’s video production are very high, especially with the innovation of 4K. Your viewer will expect to have a high-quality viewing experience.
One of my favorite memories of producing video content for the USSSA Pride, a professional fast-pitch team. I traveled around Europe with a Panasonic GH5 capturing interviews and action shots for them. The picture quality of all the different types of shots was exceptional.
This and other DSLR cameras will give your business videos an identical picture quality to what you’re used to seeing on television at a fraction of the price.
Whether you’re shooting b-roll of your office or an interview with one of your subject matter experts, this camera will give your picture the look and feel of a professional production.
It also has the ability to take still pictures as well, which could be useful for company headshots or group photos.
You can expect to pay, on average, $1,800-$2,100 for the body of this camera. Additionally, you will need to assess the lenses you will want for your business.
If you know you’re going to be shooting interviews, for example, look for a lens that will allow you to get a medium-close up shot where you can clearly see someone’s expressions.
Conveying this emotion will be important in establishing trust with your viewer will be able to react to what they are watching.
The body of the recommended camera, Panasonic GH5 without a lens attached
Think back to any home videos you’ve seen of yourself as child: Your parents were so excited to see their child accomplish something, they tilted the camera the wrong angle and completely missed the accomplishment.
This is where a tripod comes into play. You will need a tripod to stabilize the camera for any video shoot. This way, your interview shots stay focused on the subject and your viewer is not distracted by wobbly camera work.
Plus, excessive shaking or wobbling shows a level of unprofessionalism that you do not want in your video content.
What should you look for in a tripod?
As someone who mostly operated as a one-woman band on my production shoots, I always appreciated a tripod that was easy to carry and wouldn’t weigh me down.
Think about it this way: How distracting and inconvenient would it be to your office if the videographer was struggling to carry around a heavy tripod?
Heavy tripods tend to be less mobile, and if your videographer is capturing a situation where he or she needs to be on the go, a lightweight tripod will make this significantly easier.
The Diagram illustrates a 3-point light set up with an interview subject
A 3-point light setup will allow you to light the major elements of your set: the background (backlight), the subject matter expert (key light), and the area just behind that person to make them stand out from the background (fill light).
When choosing a 3-point light kit, it’s important to keep in mind whether or not it you buy will allow you to adjust the level of light and the color temperature for different scenarios.
You need to be prepared whether or not there is natural light in the room, or if you’re filming outside affects the color temperature of your video.
To balance out the hues being given off by the lighting in the room or outside, an adjustable light kit will aid in balance this out. I’m recommending something like this LED Video Light kit that you can easily adjust for your space.
LED lights perfect for your key, fill and backlight
I always recommend finding a spot at your office where you can have a consistent backdrop; this will give your videos a more authentic, branded feel, but for some workspaces, such as those offices with minimal branding, distracting colors, or just boring spaces, a green screen makes the most sense. This will allow you to put any background on your videos that you want.
When using a DSLR camera, like the one recommended, it’s common practice to separate the video and audio recordings.
With this in mind, an external recording device produces a better quality audio track than a mic and allows you to separate your audio recording from your video recording, which gives you more flexibility on what you can do with your audio.
A Zoom Recorder is recommended as the industry standard and is the recorder I commonly used for higher-level productions. You can expect to pay around $200 for one.
Zoom Recorder to record the sound for your video’s audio
Once you’ve picked a recorder, you’ll need a lavalier or lapel microphone.
Think about great interviews you’ve seen: You don’t hear a lot of background noise; the SME sounds like they’re speaking directly to you as if you were standing in front of them.
This is because whoever shot that interview used a lapel microphone to capture the audio.
A lapel microphone is clipped to the shirt or jacket of your subject and picks up what is in the immediate range of the microphone. This eliminates the echo-y ambient noise you might get if you used a built-in mic.
There are many different options available for this and thinking back to the beginning of this article, cheaper doesn’t always mean better.
I would choose something that gives you the option to purchase two microphones like this bundle so you have a backup.
If you do a search on Amazon for lavalier microphones, you’ll find many options varying in price.
Make sure you read the reviews of whatever product you choose. This will give you a good idea of the pros and cons of each of your options.
I also recommend investing in a shotgun microphone to attach to your camera. Having this additional microphone will serve as a back up to your interview recording, and capture better natural sound during b-roll shoots than your camera internal microphone will.
If you choose to look for a different kit, remember to look for a bundle that includes an XLR cable to be able to connect it to your camera. If you do not have a cable to connect the microphone to your camera, the camera will not record the audio on the microphone; it will instead record it on its internal microphone, which does not have the extended range that the shotgun microphone has.
Depending on the camera you buy, you may need to invest in additional connector cables to be compatible with your DSLR.
One of the costs I didn’t cover is the cost of your editing software. Editing software is where all the post-production magic of storytelling, color correction, and motion graphic building happens.
Without the ability to link your clips together, your videos will not look cohesive or professional. With a variety of options to choose from, we’ve been broken down for you in this article.
We also can’t forget the person behind the camera. The videographer is the person in charge of the vision, and these elements of video production equipment ultimately are the tools that are used to help bring this vision to life.
Circling back to my trip to Europe carting the GH5 around the continent with me, the camera was the instrument I used to tell the story of this tour, not the other way around.
At the end of the day, the quality of your gear is important, but arguably, the more important factor is the creator who makes the magic happen.
If you’re interested in a more extensive list of gear, I recommend checking out this list of gear the video team at IMPACT uses.
You have the tools; let’s start building!
Once you’ve received your gear, it’s time to start creating videos!
The content of your videos will not be perfect to start off with, and that’s ok. Your goal is to establish yourself as a helpful thought leader in your industry and start creating educational content that will empower your prospects to make better buying decisions.
With the right tools and equipment in hand, you won’t have to worry if your videos are living up to the level of professionalism and can instead focus on creating, educating, and converting more customers.