Best Gear to Make Professional Videos (2022): Mics, Lights, Tripods, Tips

Best Gear to Make Professional Videos (2022): Mics, Lights, Tripods, Tips Leave a comment

For transportable shoots (and even simply comfort) you would possibly ultimately need to take into account a cage on your digicam, like the Smallrig VersaFrame, which WIRED reviewer Eric Ravenscraft has examined and likes. This helps you to mount the whole lot you want, like lights, microphones, batteries, and storage gadgets, proper to the digicam itself. It takes some work to get the whole lot arrange proper, but it surely’s quite a bit simpler than attempting to wrangle fifteen devices whereas operating round a park. Depending in your digicam, you may additionally give you the chance to discover cages that suit your mannequin particularly.

The Microphone

Aside out of your digicam, the microphone is arguably the second most essential device in your arsenal. Good-quality audio makes a lackluster video watchable, and poor audio can spoil even essentially the most fantastically shot clip. 

Top Pick

What’s nice about Rode’s SmartLav+ is its plug-and-play nature. I’ve plugged this microphone into my mirrorless digicam and into my iPhone, and it labored like a allure (for skilled cameras, you will need to add this adapter). It’s a lavalier mic, the type that clips to your shirt collar to seize the sound of your voice. The high quality is not wonderful, but it surely’s an enormous step up over the built-in microphone in your telephone. Just know that connecting it to an Android telephone is hard—it would not at all times work. And in case your telephone would not have a headphone jack, you will need a dongle.

Upgrade Pick

If you are prepared to spend extra, this wi-fi system is unbelievable. I’ve been utilizing it for all my WIRED videos. Plug the receiver into your digicam’s mic enter or your telephone’s headphone jack (you’ll in all probability want a dongle), and clip the transmitter someplace close to your collarbone. Turn each on, and they need to mechanically pair. That’s it! You can begin recording with no pesky cable operating between you and your recording gadget.

The microphone high quality is superb, however having a tiny field in your shirt can look slightly awkward. I attached Rode’s Lavalier Go ($57) to the transmitter, which I put in my pocket for a extra pure look. Rode has a more recent model, the Wireless Go II ($247), which incorporates an additional transmitter in the event you’re making movies with a good friend. 

Other Great Mics:

  • Deity V-Mic D3 Pro Shotgun Mic ($139): Standing instantly in entrance of your digicam? Consider a shotgun mic. I like this one from Deity. You can pop it onto the shoe mount on the highest of a digicam, plug it in, and also you’re prepared to go. (Yes, it plugs into telephones too.) It picks up audio really well and recharges by way of USB-C.
  • Rode VideoMicro ($47): Trying to spend as little as doable? This shotgun mic will fulfill. It’ll beat any telephone’s built-in mic, and it is tremendous light-weight and compact.

Consider a Recorder

If you are utilizing extra superior audio gear—and there are a lot of good reasons you should—then you definitely’ll want an interface to join any XLR microphones you might have. But in the event you shoot away from house (or simply want a versatile setup), one handy choice is to get an interface that is additionally a transportable recorder. WIRED reviewer Eric Ravenscraft likes and makes use of the Zoom H6, which might join up to 4 XLR inputs, in addition to two extra inputs by hooked up mic modules. 

The included X/Y module is nice for recording on-the-spot interviews. It may also file audio instantly to the gadget itself, whereas it sends audio again out to your digicam. This is the type of life-saving backup choice that you simply will not remorse having round. Plus, it frees you to separate your mic and digicam and sync them up later, if the scenario requires it.

The Tripod

Don’t spend lots of of {dollars} on a strong camera-and-mic rig after which stability the entire thing on a stack of books. A secure tripod is a brilliant funding. This is one space the place you may want to spend extra as a result of tripod will maintain your tools from crashing to the bottom. 

Top Pick

I examined a barely totally different model of this monopod, which was discontinued and changed by this newer mannequin. This new one can lengthen up to 59 inches tall, a full foot greater than the final model, but it weighs the identical quantity. I really like how compact it’s, and you’ll even convert it right into a mini tripod at a second’s discover in the event you do not want the additional peak. It has three little ft that stretch out on the backside so you need to use it hands-free, and the design is nice for tight areas. It often takes me mere seconds to set it up and begin taking pictures. Since it is made from carbon fiber, it is a light-weight journey choice too. (It weighs lower than 3 kilos.) 

I like to recommend pairing it with the corporate’s Komodo K5 Fluid Head ($119) in the event you plan on panning, tilting, and capturing lots of B-roll (extra on the Komodo under).

Phone Tripod

The Cobra 2 above may be a bit a lot in the event you’re utilizing a telephone, so snag Lume’s cell tripod as an alternative. It’s very secure, however the very best half is that the ends of the clamp double as chilly shoe mounts, so you possibly can hook up a microphone (just like the Rode VideoMicro or Deity above) and a compact video gentle for a full on-the-go studio. My solely gripe? You cannot modify the peak. But there is a resolution to this: the Mobile Creator Stand XL. It can stand up to 60 inches excessive, making it an important and compact tripod for stand-ups. Both these tripods are pretty comfy to grip and carry if you’re shifting round as you movie. 

Upgrade Pick

If your movies aren’t restricted to your house, this is likely one of the most compact tripods in the marketplace that may ship the peak and stability most individuals want, but can match within the bottle pouch of your backpack. It’s comparatively light-weight (the pricier carbon fiber version sheds much more weight), and there is a built-in telephone mount. If you need to connect a fluid head for easy pans, you will want this universal head adapter

Other Great Tripods:

  • Joby GorillaPod 1K ($27): You could make do with a tripod like this one from Joby in the event you’re attempting to spend as little as doable. It would not get very tall, however you possibly can contort the flexible legs to maintain the entire thing hooked up to numerous surfaces. If you might have an iPhone with MagSafe help, then you possibly can pair it with this Joby tripod for a hassle-free setup.
  • Benro TMA27A Series 2 Mach3 ($165): This is a standard tripod I’ve examined that is weighty, sturdy, secure, and all-around dependable from a well-established model. I’ve had no points with it after greater than two years.
  • SwitchPod Tripod ($99): I like utilizing the SwitchPod when I’m shifting round and speaking to the digicam. You can maintain it selfie-stick type, and its curvy design retains the digicam away from you and pointed at your face. You can open the magnetic legs in a single swoop to make it arise on a desk. Each leg has threads you can use to connect equipment like a video gentle or a mic. I additionally suggest grabbing the ball head mount to simply transfer the digicam round.

The Light

Light is an important ingredient for making your movies look skilled. Pro tip: If you suppose your present ambient lighting is sufficient, there is a good likelihood it is not. Unless you are filming in your yard in the course of the day, your cameras will want a supplemental gentle supply. For extra suggestions, learn our Best Studio Lighting Gear for Photos and Videos information. We even have recommendation on how to light your photos and videos like a professional here.

Top Pick

I movie most of my WIRED movies in a tiny, darkish room. This 60-watt Godox LED has been a godsend. There’s a knob on the again to tweak how vivid it will get. You may also use the included distant to change the sunshine’s colour temperature, making it seem extra orange (heat) or blue (chilly). I paired it with this light stand ($55), which labored nicely for me.

You’ll additionally need to use it with a softbox to diffuse and direct the sunshine. You can get one thing as reasonably priced as this one from Godox ($40), but it surely takes eternally to arrange and put away. I a lot desire utilizing this 48-incher from Angler ($124), which intuitively collapses like an umbrella. It takes solely a minute to hook it up to the sunshine, and when I’m carried out I take it off in seconds and stow it within the included bag.

A More Compact Light

The Godox lighting system above might be tough to transfer across the house and is extra suited to a hard and fast taking pictures location. If you are extra typically filming on the go, you possibly can do that video gentle from Boling. It will get remarkably vivid regardless of the compact measurement, has a number of colour choices and results (like a enjoyable impact that mimics a lightning strike), and you’ll match the colour temperature to your lighting situations. It comes with a chilly shoe mount so you possibly can connect it to the highest of your digicam or different appropriate gear. 

It’s been my go-to cell gentle for a number of years and has held up nicely. Even higher, it recharges by way of USB-C. Just know that battery life on a cell gentle like this (or the others under) is not going to final for a number of hours at a time. 

A Collection of Lights

Aputure makes lots of unbelievable lights, however the MC is a flexible toddler. It places out round 400 lux at 0.5 meters, which is not quite a bit, however with lots of them, you are able to do some artistic stuff. That’s why we suggest this journey equipment with 4 lights. On prime of coming with 4 MCs, the case itself comprises 4 areas to wirelessly cost the lights, in addition to two USB shops that may cost different gadgets as nicely.

Each MC has adjustable white gentle colour temperatures from 3,200K to 6,500K, in addition to an RGB mode. There are additionally just a few built-in results for lightning, hearth, and different fundamental lighting staples, or you possibly can join the lights to a cell phone app for much more management. Best of all, every gentle has a pair of magnets on the again, making them simple to mount with out stands. They will not be essentially the most highly effective lights round, but it surely’s exhausting to overstate how helpful they’re on a shoot whenever you want an additional fill or some further colour on a scene.

Other Great Lights: 

  • Lume Cube Panel Pro ($160): This is a solid light that is comparable to the Boling P1, however there’s an app you possibly can pair it with by way of Bluetooth to management it remotely.
  • 12-Inch Ring Light With Tripod Stand ($31): Several members of WIRED’s Gear staff use these ring lights to illuminate themselves on movies. You can connect your telephone in the course of the sunshine, which makes for an important all-in-one and reasonably priced resolution.
  • Viltrox RGB Portable LED Panel ($49): These aren’t the very best or brightest lights round, however they’re low cost, whereas nonetheless offering full RGB and colour temperature management, so you should purchase fairly just a few for a similar worth as certainly one of a number of the different lights we have featured. It additionally makes use of standard NP-F550 batteries and chargers that many different digicam equipment share.

Other Helpful Gear

There are so many different instruments I exploit when making movies, from exterior displays to fluid heads. Here are extra gadgets you may want to take a look at. And in the event you want a means to tote your tools round city, learn our Best Camera Bags guide.

An External Monitor

I movie with my Nikon Z 6, which does not have a show that tilts out towards the entrance. That makes it tougher to movie when I’m in entrance of the lens, as I consistently have to go behind the digicam to see if the framing is right. If you might have a totally articulating display screen then you possibly can skip this decide, but when not, get an exterior monitor like this one. (You’ll want to seize batteries.) I mounted it to the highest of my digicam and linked it by way of HDMI, which permits me to see my framing and whether or not the main focus is correct.

A Variable Filter

When filming with knowledgeable digicam, you will need your digicam’s shutter velocity to keep at double the body fee for the most natural-looking clips. So at 30 frames per second, your shutter velocity must be 1/60. But what occurs in the event you’re taking pictures outdoors and the digicam is receiving numerous gentle? Get a neutral-density filter! It screws over your lens so you possibly can higher management the quantity of sunshine your digicam takes in with out forcing you to change settings. I like these variable ones from Moment; rotating the filter in numerous instructions adjusts how a lot gentle is let in.  

Tip: Make certain you test the thread measurement on your lens when shopping for a filter. You can discover this info on the entrance of a lens or on the lens cap. (If you possibly can’t discover it, simply lookup the lens mannequin on the net.)

A Fluid Head

I make movies about merchandise, so I would like to take lots of supplementary footage of the merchandise themselves. But simply taking pictures an object head-on with none motion may be very boring. You might as nicely simply present a nonetheless picture! Fluid heads allow you to easily pan and tilt your digicam so you possibly can add some movement to your B-roll footage. The Komodo K5 fluid head does this rather well. 

If it is too expensive, the Magnus VPH-10P Pan and Tilt Head ($45) is a good cheaper various. Your footage will not look as easy, but it surely’s higher than going hands-free or utilizing the ball head mount on a tripod.

A Camera Slider

Once you nail down panning and tilting, you will need to department out. Enter the slider. It basically strikes your digicam from one finish of a stationary observe to the opposite, however high quality sliders be certain this occurs very, very easily. This one from Axler has spruced up the clips in my movies, and it is easy to use.

A Teleprompter

If making up phrases as you sit in entrance of the digicam is not working for you, then attempt writing a script. You can use your telephone or pill and a teleprompter app (I like this one for iPhones and iPads) to learn it whereas your digicam’s rolling. WIRED reviewer Eric Ravenscraft has good issues to say about PromptSmart Pro too, which works on a number of platforms, and might import scripts from providers like Google Docs. Its distinctive VoiceTrack characteristic can scroll as you communicate and pause whenever you cease. You can management it with a remote control app (though this solely works if each the app and prompter are on the identical platform.)

Reading from a prompter seems to be apparent in the event you’re not trying instantly on the display screen although, so it is value getting a tool just like the Glide Gear TMP100. It mirrors the textual content from a pill or smartphone and shows it on a chunk of glass that sits in entrance of your lens. This helps you to learn and stare on the lens on the similar time, all whereas protecting the scrolling textual content from showing within the picture. The Glide Gear TMP75 ($149) can also be a helpful choice that we like; it will probably connect to a laptop computer so you need to use your laptop’s webcam. although this smaller one solely suits telephones.

A Gimbal

No matter how regular you suppose you’re, your puny human fingers are shaky and unstable. Tripods are nice for stabilizing locked-off pictures, however in the event you nonetheless need to maintain some digicam motion, a gimbal is what you want. These gadgets use motors to counter the minor actions in your physique to maintain pictures regular whilst you progress round or observe topics.

WIRED reviewer Eric Ravenscraft examined the Zhiyun Weebill 3 gimbal and says it was simpler to use than his outdated Crane 2. The wrist relaxation and sling grip make it simple to management the entire rig. Its inner battery can run for greater than 20 hours, so your digicam is extra possible to die lengthy earlier than the gimbal does. If you are taking pictures in your telephone, see our Zhiyun decide under, which additionally works nice with smaller cameras. You may also discover cheap gimbals like this model from Hohem ($99), which Ravenscraft has used to shoot movies for WIRED.

Zhiyun Crane M3

Photograph: Zhiyun

WIRED senior author Scott Gilbertson says he had a tough time believing that one thing as small and light-weight because the Crane M3 gimbal could be able to replicating 95 % of what huge, professional-level gimbals do, but it surely labored surprisingly nicely in his checks. The caveat? This is greatest with smaller cameras or perhaps a smartphone. It will help a full-frame digicam—it labored together with his Sony A7R II—however solely with shorter, lighter lenses. 

For vloggers who need to step up their sport, and anybody who needs the power to shoot regular movement video with out (utterly) breaking the financial institution, the M3 will do the job. The contact show provides entry to continuously used settings. Zhiyun claims eight hours of battery life and says it recharges in two hours. In our testing, the recharge time is correct, however the heavier the gadget, the more severe your battery life shall be. With the full-frame Sony, Gilbertson says he received about 5.5 hours out of it.

A Quick-Release Mounting System

I continuously am attaching a slider, teleprompter, and fluid head to my tripod, which implies I’m consistently screwing issues on and off—all of this takes up invaluable time and is simply plain annoying. That’s once I found the Manfrotto Move quick-release mounting system. I hooked up the bottom to my tripod and the plate to my fluid head, teleprompter, and slider, and it now mainly takes me two seconds to mount these gadgets to my tripod. They nonetheless keep safe, thoughts you, however to launch them, simply rotate the highest of the bottom and the plate will pop up. It’s an ingenious system that I now cannot reside with out. 

You possible simply want a single Move system, which features a base and plate, after which you possibly can purchase additional plates for all the opposite gadgets you need to shortly mount.

Handy Tips

I discovered how to make movies by trial and error, by amassing suggestions, and (principally) by YouTube movies at midnight. Seriously, there is a wealth of free tutorials and suggestions yow will discover on YouTube for nearly any query you might have about bettering your video output. Search away. That mentioned, listed here are just a few parting suggestions I attempt to adhere to (and typically wrestle with) as I movie.

  • Position your key gentle correctly: You often don’t desire your key gentle (the primary gentle supply) to face your topic instantly. Put it off-center, which implies part of your topic shall be in shadow. You can use different lights to “fill” in these shadows in the event you like. We have more guidance here.
  • Keep a watch on reflections: I put on glasses, and it is easy for the important thing gentle to replicate off of them, which creates a distracting impact within the completed video. The means to deal with that is by heeding the recommendation above, and by tweaking your gentle’s peak and angle. Run just a few checks to see what place nails the fewest glares.
  • Monitor your focus: The final thing you need to do is movie a complete video and notice your focus was utterly off. External displays or cameras with flip-out screens have options like focus peaking, which helps you to simply see the place your lens is focusing. If you are utilizing autofocus, it’s best to run just a few checks to see how nicely it really works earlier than you utilize it for the primary time. Your digicam might need face detection or eye detection to assist with autofocus too.
  • Listen to your audio ranges: I often maintain a pair of earbuds plugged into my digicam whereas filming so I can hear again to my clips immediately and ensure the microphone is operating and I do not sound too loud or too tender.
  • Get the correct framing: Reviewing your footage and realizing half your head is chopped from the body is a horrible feeling. Don’t fear, it occurs to the very best of us! Just be certain to take a look at your framing earlier than you hit file.
  • Shoot extra pixels than you want. If your digicam and enhancing gear can deal with it, taking pictures in the next decision than you want provides you flexibility within the edit. You can reframe pictures and even zoom in, with out dropping image high quality. This is a helpful means to alternate between medium and close-up pictures with out having to reposition the digicam between takes.
  • Make the minimize: If you are enhancing your video on a desktop PC, be certain your laptop has sufficient brawn for the job. We have some steerage on how to upgrade your PC for video editing, even in the event you’re on a price range.

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