Videos are big online these days. In 2022 alone, around 3.37 billion internet users watched videos, according to Statista. For people making videos and films, videos are a powerful way to engage audiences. But making high-quality videos can be hard without a big budget.
The good news is you don’t need Hollywood-like production value to make professional-looking videos on a budget. With the right plan and tools, you can make awesome video content that connects with those you want to reach.
This article shares 10 handy gadgets every filmmaker should have. These tools can take your videos to the next level without spending a ton.
Importance of Quality Video Equipment
In 2022, 82% of internet traffic was from videos. This huge number shows how important quality is in video production today. But what exactly is “quality” for video? It’s way more than just a clear picture. The lighting, camera work, editing, effects, sound, and overall production value are all things directly impacted by the gear used.
Home videos shot on phones can never look as cinematic as films made with pro cameras, lenses, stabilizers, and lighting. Viewers can instantly see this difference. With so many online videos, ones with bad lighting, shaky camera work, poor audio, and sloppy editing won’t captivate audiences like ones made well. For brands using video in ads, low production value also looks bad.
For these reasons, having top gear is not optional now for filmmakers – it’s absolutely necessary for making videos people truly engage with. Just look at the awesome high-def videos from Hollywood and viral creators on YouTube and TikTok.
Impact of Video Equipment on Production Quality
Over 50% of marketers say video is the best-performing online content. There are some key reasons for this:
First, video sparks emotion and connections unlike anything else. But more importantly, modern video gear lets video production companies in Chicago and elsewhere make super slick and professional videos. Things like ultra-clear HD, stabilized tracking shots, Hollywood lighting, high-quality audio, and seamless editing can now be done at relatively low cost.
In 2021 alone, 53% of companies made live videos using complex switchers and automation equipment. Another 51% made gorgeous product videos with cameras, lenses, and editing tools that didn’t exist 10 years ago.
Expectations of quality have shot up a ton, demanding filmmakers constantly upgrade their gear. Things like 360 VR cameras, drones for aerial shots, action cams, 3-axis gimbal stabilizers, LED lighting, and editing software with AI are pushing boundaries further.
Of course, skill is still the most important. But having advanced tools empowers filmmakers like those at video production companies in Chicago to fully achieve their creative vision. Even amateurs can pull off impressive videos with consumer-grade gear that seemed impossible before. This has unlocked huge potential for both brands and creators to thrive with video.
10 Video Production Gadgets Every Filmmaker Should Own
As aspiring filmmakers look to build out their kit of essential video production tools, it’s interesting to examine what gear is most commonly owned by professionals in the field. According to a 2022 survey, this pie chart shows the most valued video production gear owned by filmmakers last year:
Data Source: Videomaker 2022 Filmmaker Survey
1. Smartphone Video Kit
Almost everyone has a smartphone these days. Smartphones have great built-in cameras and mics. A smartphone video kit adds useful tools to make your phone videos even better. These kits include things like:
- Grip handle – Makes holding your phone steady easier
- Tripod – Keeps your phone still for stable shots
- External mics – Improves sound quality
- Extra batteries – Ensures your phone stays powered
- Lights – Helps improve video quality
Smartphone kits range from $50-to $200. They make your phone much more powerful for video production.
2. Gimbal Stabilizer
Shaky footage can ruin a video. A gimbal stabilizer gives you smooth, stable video from your camera or smartphone. Handheld gimbals use motors and sensors to keep your device steady when moving. This lets you get cinematic tracking shots and pans.
Gimbals from companies like Zhiyun and DJI go for $100-$400. They’re a smart buy for removing camera shake and jitter.
3. Lapel Microphone
Getting good audio is key for videos. Built-in mics often pick up background noise. Clipping a lapel mic to a shirt captures crystal-clear voice audio. Lapel mics block out ambient sounds for clear narration and dialogue.
Basic lapel mics start around $20. Investing in one improves the sound quality of all your videos.
4. LED Video Light
Proper lighting prevents dark, shadowy footage. An LED video panel light gives you a bright, even light source. LEDs use less power than conventional lighting. They also give off little heat, so they’re easy to use for long shoots.
Compact on-camera LED lights cost $50-150. They provide excellent lighting to make subjects stand out.
Reading long scripts naturally is tricky. A teleprompter scrolls your text in front of the camera. This allows presenters to read lines clearly while staying focused on the lens. There are teleprompter apps, but physical displays work best.
Basic teleprompters start under $100. They help speakers memorize and deliver scripts flawlessly.
6. Action Camera
For shooting video on the go, action cameras like GoPros rock. They’re rugged, waterproof cameras built for motion. Suction cup mounts let you attach action cams to helmets, cars, gear, and more. This allows you to film engaging point-of-view shots.
GoPros cost $200-$500 and are easy to use for dynamic video. Other brands make budget action cams too.
7. Camera/Phone Stabilizer
A stabilization system turns shaky handheld footage into a smooth tracking shot. Handheld rigs allow you to hold a camera still while moving. They provide support and stabilization through gimbals, braces, and harnesses. Popular brands are DJI, Zhiyun, and Moza.
Stabilizers run $100-$300. They give a floating, cinematic feel to handheld camerawork.
Drones let you capture stunning aerial shots from above. Quadcopter drones are remotely operated flying cameras. They can hover, rotate, and soar to high angles not possible with ground-based cameras.
Entry-level drones are under $200. Advanced drones cost up to $2,000. Drones take your videos to new heights.
9. Shotgun Microphone
One of the best investments for better audio is a shotgun mic. Shotgun mics pick up direct sound sources in front of the camera. They reject off-axis sounds and ambient noise. This gives you clearer, focused audio for dialogues, interviews, and voiceovers.
Good shotgun mics from others start around $100. They vastly improve the sound of all your productions.
10. Camera Slider
A slider adds production value by enabling smooth camera movements. It lets you glide your camera from side to side or in and out on rails. Using a motorized camera slider provides dynamic panning and sliding effects.
DIY camera sliders cost $50-$150. Motorized sliders from brands for $200-$500. Either gives cinematic motion to static shots.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I choose the right filmmaking camera?
Consider your budget, project needs, and target audience. DSLR and mirrorless offer interchangeable lenses but cost more. Camcorders are affordable and designed for video. Smartphones can shoot 4K quality.
- What lenses are essential for filmmakers?
Start with a standard 18-55mm lens then add specialized lenses like wide-angle for landscapes and macro for close-ups. A 50mm or 85mm prime lens creates beautiful bokeh.
- What on-location gadgets are indispensable?
Portable lighting, microphones, and reflectors transform location shoots. Tripods keep shots steady. Spare batteries, SD cards, and hard drives prevent running out of storage.
The Next Level of Video Production
You don’t need the most expensive pro gear to make awesome videos. Equipping yourself with key gadgets can elevate the quality of your films. Useful accessories like gimbals, mics, stabilizers, and lights help any filmmaker’s productions.
Investing in some basic gear opens new creative options for your videography. With practice and the right portable tools, you can achieve stunning results on a budget. Upgrading your equipment enables you to keep taking your skills to the next level.
The world of online video keeps growing. By using the right gadgets, anyone can produce eye-catching videos that captivate and engage viewers. What camera gear couldn’t you live without? Which of these video production tools might you look into getting? Share your thoughts in the comments!