Try these twelve simple tips from established videographers on the unexpected but essential tools in every pro’s camera bag.
According to a recent study, a whopping 67% of digital marketers plan to place video marketing as their top priority for the next year. The rise of Instagram stories, newsfeed videos, and live streaming has created a whole new avenue for filmmakers and videographers, and artists around the world are using tapping into the trend.
As Nicole Glass, a news photographer and Shutterstock contributor based in Washington D.C., told us last month, she’s recently shifted her focus more towards shooting video clips because of the sales she’s made so far.
While it’s easy to make the shift from photography to video, there are a few upgrades you need to take the plunge. We asked talented video contributors from all over the world to tell us about the gear and tools they’d recommend to anyone getting started in the business. Read on for a handy list of items to keep in your camera bag—and a few unexpected tips along the way.
1. Video Camera
Image by Elnur
“Obviously, the camera comes first,” Aleksei Gorodenkoff says. “It should be able to shoot at least in 4K resolution, so files you create will be in demand for a longer period of time. It doesn’t have to be a super expensive and fancy camera. What counts is practicality—a large sensor and good dynamic range will help a lot with your work.”
The camera itself will depend on what kind of footage you want to shoot. Dan Talson from dubassy uses a huge variety of cameras to suit all his needs. “We use Canon DSLRs for timelapse, DJI Osmo series gimbal cameras for attaching to vehicles, a small Olympus for everyday carrying around,” he tells us. “But my essential camera is a Kinefinity MAVO S35 cinema camera for studio work. This amazing camera shoots RAW video at up to 6k. For starting out, there are some amazing mirrorless cameras on the market that shoot great video and photos. Find the camera with the features that cover your area of shooting, and you are set.”
Image by Bilal Kocabas
Talson’s camera bag includes tripods, gimbals, and sliders. “Shooting stable videos is essential for stock footage, and right now, there are so many amazing stabilizing tools available to filmmakers. There is a whole world of gimbals, sliders, and cranes to explore if you wish to add smooth and stable camera movement into the shots. My essential piece of kit in this area is an Emotimo Spectrum motion control head that controls the camera and can move it in three different axis. This allows for timelapse and video shots with amazing motion.”
3. Studio Lighting
Image by Who is Danny
“If you are doing studio or indoor work, then a good lighting kit is essential,” Talson adds. “Choose a quality brand, and maybe start small with two or two lights. Your kit can grow over time if needed with the same brand and fittings. My essential lighting tools are florescent daylight lights, which are very versatile for indoor and studio shooting situations.”
4. Prime Lenses
Image by Adul10
“I would recommend starting with prime lenses that has a wide aperture,” Gorodenkoff adds. “You don’t need a full set of lenses. A 35mm is a must-have, in my opinion, and then, let’s say an 18mm and 85mm lens. Everything else is cool to have from time to time, but these three are definitely a good start, and you can create stunning pictures with them.”
5. Portable Lights
“I use a small lamp with an adjustable temperature setting and smooth power adjustment,” Vlad Sedletsky tells us. “It is a great tool to illuminate the human face and any details in low light conditions—indoors or outdoors. With the help of controlled light, you can always create the right mood in the frame and improve the quality of your footage.”
Image by Rawpixel.com
“If you work outdoors, always have a foldable reflector handy,” Sedletsky advises. “This is an indispensable tool for shooting portraits of people. Use soft, reflected light to enhance the overall quality.”
7. Lens Cleaner
Image by Tong_stocker
“Nothing ruins a trip like a big speck of something on your image sensor,” Eric Chandler of alphaglobal explains. “No matter how careful you are, you will get something on the image sensor if you don’t bring a lens cleaner. Also, make sure the image sensor in your camera is compatible with the kit you bought. I once damaged a Nikon sensor cleaning it with a different brand solution.”
8. External Hard Drive
“It would be hard to find a professional videographer or photographer who doesn’t have a story about accidentally deleting imagery or having a catastrophic error during data transfer,” Chandler continues. “I bring a hard drive and back everything new up every night, but I still keep the originals on the memory cards just in case one or the other has an issue. Remember to copy-paste and never cut-paste. I had a data error once during a cut-paste and corrupted the files. If you copy-paste and something goes wrong, you can just start over.”
9. Rotating Display Stand
This one’s specifically for food and product photographers and filmmakers. Tatjana Baibakova of bitt24 tells us, “Because I work without assistants, and I am filming food, I rely on a good tripod, a good camera (Canon EOS 5D Mark IV for 4K video), and an electric rotating display stand.”
10. Post-Processing Software
Image by Gorodenkoff
This tip comes to us from John Farr, the President of Stock Footage Inc, who explains, “Having a software product that you are proficient with is extremely important as you can fix, color grade, and edit your footage, turning it into a great stock footage clip.”
11. A Unique Perspective
For Alistair Cotton of Africa Rising, the best gear is gear that sets you apart from everyone else. “It’s far better to put your money into something that will enable you to enter and own a particular stock video niche,” he tells us. “For example. do you work in a science lab with a million-dollar microscope? For goodness sake, get an adaptor and become an expert in shooting stock video of small critters.”
For a more practical solution, he recommends a drone. “Just buy a drone and head off for interesting locations,” he suggests. “Industrial areas, harbors, ships at sea, and cities from up high—that’s all footage that sells. While others have spent more than $3000 on a camera and lens combination with nothing to shoot, with the same money, you not only have a drone that will get you unique footage, but a bit of a travel budget to get you shooting and selling too.”
12. Attention to Detail
“Besides the obvious tools, you need the perseverance to spend time editing and tagging your work,” Diego and Roberto of Dualstock Videos tell us. “This is possibly the most important part of your job—in some cases, even more than shooting.”
Superior editing skills will set your work apart from the crowd, while keywording and location tagging will ensure clients can find your clips while searching. You devote time and energy to making your videos, so put in the same effort in making them discoverable.
Top Image by Mariia Boiko.
Want more on shooting footage for stock? Check these out.