Recently I ran a couple of workshops to help businesses who were ready to embrace the power of video. We encouraged them to bring their own gear along so that they could become more familiar with it and test it out.
There were a few consistent issues that popped up amongst the attendees in regards to their equipment choices.
Although most brought a tripod, it appeared they had found the cheapest option available. While you don’t have to buy the most expensive option, you should have a tripod that allows you to reach eye height when interviewing someone standing up. Most of the tripods on the day would at best allow you to shoot at shoulder height. This limits the options. Either you shoot up someone’s nose – never a flattering look or your interviewee has to sit down.
Having an interviewee sit down is not a disaster, however, I’ve found I get much better energy from interviewees when they are standing up. So that is my preference. Having a tripod that allows you to film people when they are standing comes in handy when filming live events/speeches/presentations as well.
As always audio is the major challenge with video production. Most of the attendees had some kind of solution for this. Some had a lapel microphone, some had a small shotgun microphone that they had fixed to the top of the camera.
It was when we did some test filming that the limitations of their options became apparent. Having a microphone fixed to the top of a camera may work when you are up close (within a few feet) of the subject. However once that distance becomes meters away, your microphone on the camera becomes pretty useless. Yes, it may pick the sound of the interviewee but it is picking up the sound of everything else that is going on as well. It sounds “off mic” and your video will look (and sound) amateurish.
The other observation in regards to the equipment was that most people had DSLR cameras for their filming. Often these cameras deliver beautiful pictures, but they are designed as a stills camera. The recording duration is limited to 30 minutes at a time and to obtain the full functionality of a video camera you need to add on a variety of components.
They have a role with their large image sensors and shallow depth of field, but there are many video cameras now that can provide that as well.
Lighting was something most people knew was important but they weren’t sure where to start. We discussed the importance of using color and lighting to create an engaging visual. You’ll see below my recommendation for a good lighting kit.
Our workshop Video Production Studio was kindly supported by Dragon Image in Sydney and Melbourne. They have great quality equipment and very competitive prices.
If you are looking for a tripod talk to the people at Dragon Image.
They have a huge range: https://www.dragonimage.com.au/online-store/tripods-supports.html
If you need a good wireless microphone for your DSLR camera then check out the RodeLink Filmmaker Kit.
Lighting: Check out the LightPro 3 x Mini LED package.
We will be holding another Video Production Studio workshop in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in October. Let us know if you are interested.