Filming Equipment


Although the only thing you really need in order to film a video is a camera, there are other helpful pieces of equipment that can help you when filming.


 

TRIPOD

Tripods are one of the most helpful pieces of equipment when filming and the best part is you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get one.  A tripod is like a stand that you can put your camera on so that you don’t have to hold it to film.  This is really helpful if you’re filming videos by yourself.  It also keeps the camera steady.  I have pretty shaky hands so it’s better for me to put the camera on a tripod than to hold it.  A tripod usually has three legs that it stands on, and at the top is a place to put your camera.  Most video cameras have a hole at the bottom that you can screw right onto the tripod so that your camera doesn’t fall off.  You can purchase a tripod for as low as $10.00.  

Regular tripods are made for actual cameras, not smartphones.  So if you want to use your smartphone as a camera there are tripods made to hold smartphones that you can also get for a cheap price.  For a smartphone I would recommend getting an Octopus style tripod.  These are small tripods that hold your phone and have flexible legs, which is why they are called Octopus tripods.  The flexible legs is great because instead of always having to put the tripod on a flat surface, you can wrap it around almost anything.

Although tripods aren’t necessary to film videos, I would highly recommend getting one because you never know when you might need it.  And it’s not fun trying to find something that you can prop your camera up against if you don’t have a tripod when you need one, I would know!

 

MICROPHONE

You can use microphones when filming to get  better sound quality.  There are microphones called boom microphones where the microphone is mounted on a boom arm.  The person who holds it has to keep the microphone out of the frame, but keep it close enough that it can pick up the audio well.  You have probably seen these used if you’ve ever watched behind the scenes of your favorite TV shows and movies.   Sometimes if you look closely while watching a show you’ll see the boom mic accidentally get in the shot!  You can get a boom mic kit on amazon for $39.99.

Another option is a microphone attachment for your camera.  Of course you can only use this if your camera allows for a microphone attachment, which is usually only available with very expensive, high end video cameras.  This is good if you don’t have an extra person to hold a microphone, because you can film and use the microphone at the same time.  The price of these depends on what type of camera you have, as certain microphones only work with certain cameras.  Some companies make microphones to go with their certain cameras.

A third option would be a body microphone, or the technical term lavalier microphone.  You will usually see body microphones on TV.  They have clips so that the people in the video can clip them on their shirt, tie, etc.  These are great if you want good quality audio of the people speaking in your video.  The microphones attach to a radio frequency transmitter by a wire.  The transmitter is kept in the persons pocket or clipped onto their belt.  Now there are actually body microphones that are wireless.  You can get body microphones for about $20.00.

You definitely don’t need microphones to make good videos, but if you want really high quality sound, or you’re filming somewhere noisy they can be helpful.  People usually use microphones when filming for very professional projects.  If you’re just starting out you probably don’t want to get a microphone just yet.

 

HEADPHONES

Headphones go along with microphones.  These are for when you want to make sure you have the best sound quality.  If you have headphones on you can hear exactly how your video’s audio will sound once you put it on the computer.  Let’s say you are filming someone talking in a noisy area.  You might think the video sounds fine, but then when you get back to your computer you can barely hear the person talking.  This would be a nightmare considering you would have to go back and film the whole thing again.  So professionals use headphones to make sure the audio sounds perfect while they are filming.  There are all kinds of different headphones that you can get.  A very popular pair of headphones for filming are the Sony 7506 headphones.  But these headphones are $131.00.  So unless you’re making professional videos, you might not want to spend that.  There are tons of other headphones out there for much cheaper that will work.  But like the microphones, headphones are not absolutely necessary when filming.

 

LIGHTS

Like sound quality, lighting is very important to professionals as well.  There are actually special lights you can buy for video editing, and there’s a couple different types.  The picture shows what lights used in filming usually look like.  The two most common types of filming lights are opened faced and fresnel.  Open faced lights create hard light that casts hard shadows.  Fresnel lights have a special type of lens that is divided into concentric circles.  This lens evens out the light and allows the beam to be varied from flood to spot.  If you want really good lightning, then you’ll probably want these.  If you don’t really care about the lightning then you don’t really need these.

 

GREEN SCREEN

You have most likely heard of a green screen.  If not, a green screen a big green background.  You can film someone in front of it, and then later when you go to the computer to edit the video, you can replace the green with a video or image so it looks like it’s behind the person in the video.  To the left is an example of it.  The original picture is the girls jumping in front of a green screen.  Then in a video editing program, the editor replaced the green background with an image of the beach.  There are pretty much endless possibilities when you have a green screen, as you can replace the green background with whatever you want.  You may not realize it, but they are used everywhere.  In commercials, movies, TV shows, advertisements, and many others.  If you wanted to make a video with New York City as the background behind you, it would be easier to just add a picture of the city in a video editor than to actually go to New York City!

 

Like I said, none of these items are necessary to film videos.  You really only need a camera.  But if you want good quality, professional looking videos then you may want to look into some of these things.