When it comes to content creation these days, video production can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be.
There’s a wide choice of video making softwares on the market with tools for every type of creator, from hobbyist to professional. However, whether you’re a beginner or an expert at video production, there’s a simple truth–to get the best results from your video, you need the right gear to film it. This can include:
- Filming equipment, like a camera, camcorder, or mobile phone with HD video capabilities
- Microphones and video lighting kits
- Video editing software for post-production
In this article, you’ll learn about different kinds of video production teams, how to choose your video equipment depending on your project goals, and specific equipment recommendations for each budget.
💡 What about backgrounds?
Have you ever watched a video with a strange, not suitable background?
A well-prepared background is an important element of any high-performing video. Learn the key rules to follow and polish your video interview background!
What kind of video equipment do you need?
It’s easy to assume that the latest gadgets on the market are your best options. However, this isn’t always the case. Before spending half your budget on new equipment, it’s crucial to prepare first by identifying the purpose of your video and your marketing goals.
This process can be separated into two distinct parts. The first involves asking yourself several questions about the video content, as well as identifying the campaign objective. It is very important that you know what your end goal is before launching video production–failing to do so can not only waste time and money, but also result in poor video performance.
For this first part, you should answer the following questions:
- What is the objective of your video? To drive brand awareness, increase sales, teach a skill…
- What types and formats of videos will I need? Explainer videos, how-to videos, advertisements…
- Where will these videos live and be seen? Social media, YouTube, company website...
- What are my resources, team skill level, and budget?
The second part to consider before investing in video equipment expands on this last question: resources, skill level, and budget. Mapping out your project budget in advance gives you a more accurate idea of what you can afford and will realistically be able to do–without running out of money in the middle of production.
Determining the setup of your video making team depends not only on the budget, but also on the experience level of each role. The number of people involved in the filming process can vary widely, from a one-man show to a cast and crew of 100+. Here’s a breakdown of different types of video production teams:
- Beginner - Smaller budgets usually means smaller teams. Resources are limited, so starting off with basic or beginner equipment is the best bet here. Usually a beginner level team would be composed of one or two individuals, each covering multiple responsibilities, including script writing, shooting/directing, editing, and publishing.
- Intermediate - A step up from beginners, this type of video production team typically includes video producers, a camera team, and a copywriter.
- Advanced - These are your video production agencies and consultant video makers, with specialized professionals in every role. An advanced team would include video producer, copywriter, video writer, storyboard artist, director, camera team, production assistants, sound team, makeup team, editors, graphic/motion designers, and special/visual effects artists.
💡 PlayPlay Pro Tip
You feel like that everything sounds so complicated and you're thinking of uploading just a picture instead of a video? No worries, we've got you covered with different expertise levels. However, if you're looking for an easy way to make a video from photos, check out this blog post.
Video equipment recommendations for every team
Once you’ve established your campaign objectives, specifications, and video production team, you’re ready to start picking out equipment. Every production varies in some way, so don’t forget to do your own research.
Always read reviews online for video equipment to understand their context and make sure it’s the best gear for your unique production. High quality video equipment can get costly very quickly, so you don’t want to waste resources on something that won’t work for your needs.
With that in mind, here’s a handy guide to video equipment recommendations for you to get started with–for every type of budget and skill level.
Video equipment for beginners and small budgets
If you’re working with a beginner level team or going the DIY route, sticking to a smaller budget is usually safer. This range of equipment is easy for any type of creator to learn to use, and is great for creating video for social media, blog, or email content.
Best cameras for beginners
Good news, you likely already have one of these. One of the most affordable options for filming footage today is with your smartphone. The key to high definition imagery is using a device that shoots at least 4K video and has multiple lenses which exponentially increase the power of the camera. A wide angle lens allows for a bigger perspective, macro lens improves close-up shots, and periscope lens heightens zoom-in capabilities.
You can determine which type of smartphone camera is the best for you depending on your video style.
Best beginner video editing software
Video editing can be one of the most daunting aspects of video creation for beginners. Thankfully, there are many web and smartphone apps designed to make the post-production process intuitive and easy to learn.
Video editing applications are especially useful and accessible for those on a tight budget, and can be used from anywhere at any time. While there are some limitations to the features of free/freemium apps, they’re a great way to get familiar with the basics of video editing.
5 great video editing apps for beginners
- PlayPlay - Paid (Web-based platform)
Why PlayPlay is a game changer:
PlayPlay’s intuitive solution enables any in-house marketing or communication professionals to create high-performing professional videos, instantly. No need for hours of training or digging through a knowledge base to get started.
This web-based video maker is designed for all experience levels, and includes a wide selection of customizable video templates, royalty-free images, music, and footage. Companies can also directly integrate their brand elements into videos, and work collaboratively with their teams, sharing projects directly to gather feedback.
Unleash your creativity with PlayPlay's innovative online video editor. Effortlessly create professional videos that captivate your audience and leave a lasting impression. Say goodbye to complicated editing techniques and hello to a simplified and seamless video creation experience!
- Adobe Spark - Free (Web, Android, iOS)
- Quik - Free (Android, iOS)
- Horizon - Free (Android, iOS)
- Magisto - Free (Android, iOS)
Best audio & lighting equipment for beginners
Although it’s optional camera equipment, a simple smartphone tripod can make the stark difference between an amateurish video versus a professional one. The same goes for other types of equipment that enhance footage quality.
Clamp lamps: These are inexpensive and can be placed around the subject to provide 2 to 3 light sources for clear video capture. Flexible arms make for a wide range of possible lighting angles.
Microphones: An essential for interview-style videos and vlogs. The lapel microphone, also known as a "lavalier mic", is a common affordable solution for subtly capturing high quality sound directly from the subject in the video.
Intermediate video equipment for medium budgets
This range of equipment is ideal for those looking for the next level of quality or accessing more features and creativity. Investing in these professional tools comes with a heftier price tag, but opens a wider range of possibilities for both practical and creative aspects of video making.
Best intermediate cameras
Camcorders are compact and easy to handle, yet create professional-level full HD or 4K video with a very high maximum frame rate, coupled with excellent stability (many have their own stabilizer). Along with a built-in microphone and camera sensors, it’s an upgrade to the smartphone, while boasting additional features.
Best intermediate video editing software
If you already have a vision of how you want your video to look and are ready to manually post-process footage to get the results you want, video editing software is your next step.
For medium budget productions, freemium softwares with optional paid features or free open source tools are good options that won’t break the bank.
Setting up open source softwares requires some technical knowledge, and since it isn’t guaranteed to include predesigned video templates/filters/transitions, it’s helpful to have an experienced video editor to reduce the learning curve. The good news is, there are many resources online for learning how to navigate these tools.
5 great free or freemium editing softwares
- Blender - Open Source (compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux)
- Lightworks - Freemium (compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux)
- Shotcut - Open Source (compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux)
- DaVinci Resolve - Freemium (compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux)
- HitFilm Express - Freemium (compatible with Windows, Mac)
Best intermediate audio & lighting equipment
Studio light kits: These give you greater control over the quality and degree of lighting in your videos. To diffuse your light source and create different effects, choose kits depending on what ambiance you’re looking for. Umbrellas are perfect for softer natural lighting, while softboxes shine a balanced directional light onto your subjects. You can purchase this gear individually, or as complete sets that include green screen backdrops and supporting gadgets for more creative possibilities. Planning an interview and need specific interview lighting tips?
- Neewer Kit - includes umbrella and softbox lighting devices
- Amzdeal Softbox - ideal for harder light shoots
Studio microphone or voice-over microphone: Choosing the right microphone depends heavily on your filming conditions. Studio microphones are designed for controlled sound environments and can pick up even the smallest audio variations from all directions. Its high sensitivity makes it perfect for recording podcasts, tutorials, small group interviews on set, and the ever-popular ASMR type content.
Advanced video equipment for high budgets
For expert level teams with non-restrictive budgets, there is a much wider range of advanced gear at your disposal. When the following equipment is handled skillfully, it’s possible to create epic cinematic shots and dynamic B-roll for all kinds of videos. These are the best tools to invest in for video production agencies or companies that want to create the ultimate professional video content in-house.
Best advanced cameras
DSLR and mirrorless cameras offer the best possible video quality and the highest flexibility of manual and automatic settings on the market. They’re versatile tools with interchangeable lenses that are perfect for taking beautiful high-res photos and professional grade video footage, even in low light conditions.
Although these cameras include automatic settings, their true potential comes through experienced manual shooting. One thing to note is that some DSLR cameras do not have a built-in microphone input, although most mirrorless cameras now integrate this.
Best advanced video editing software
As expected, paid video editing tools provide much more advanced and flexible features compared to editing apps and free software. They often include high quality video templates, advanced filters and effects, design automations, and drag-and-drop customizations with a few clicks.
The price range can seem steep, especially if you have multiple subscriptions–but investing in premium video editing software is an undeniably powerful tool to take the final video rendering to the next level.
- Adobe Premiere Pro CC 14 - Paid (compatible with Windows, Mac)
- Apple Final Cut Pro X 10 - Paid (compatible with Mac)
Best advanced audio & lighting equipment
LED light panels: Advanced video productions can demand more technical shots, which makes it essential to use high-performance equipment. These devices allow you to not only change the orientation and angle of lighting, but also the intensity and color. The more elements that can be adjusted, the better the quality of the lighting for your video.
Shotgun microphones: If you need to shoot video outdoors with professional sound rendering, look no further. Shotgun mics are designed to capture the subtlest of sounds impeccably from the direction it's facing. The long reach makes them the ideal device for recording sound effects, vocals, and instruments from a distance.
Since shotgun mics are so sensitive, it’s imperative to use a boom or pistol grip with shock mount to reduce unwanted noise from handling the device. Be aware that these additional pieces are usually sold separately.
💡 PlayPlay Pro Tip
Did you know that almost 80% of videos are "read"? Keep that in mind when you're producing a video. Check out this post to learn more on how to add subtitles to a video.
Ready, set, shoot!
You should now be ready to go out and pick your video equipment to make the best video possible for your campaigns. Don’t hesitate to take your time to decide as you want to make the best investment possible for your team and production needs.
And remember, video equipment are the tools that bring your vision to life. So don’t neglect the storyboarding phase and great scriptwriting before you start shooting footage. When you’re ready to edit your video, try a 7-day free trial of PlayPlay and bring together all the elements to create your masterpiece!