If you are just starting to get interested in video marketing and want to shoot more for your business or personal brand, this guide will introduce you to some of the best video marketing equipment in the market that won’t break your bank.
The following equipment recommendations are geared towards those who are looking to film themselves on their own set, also called a “talking head” video. However, a lot of these tools can also be used for “vlog” style videos where you’re walking around town filming your experiences and providing your thoughts.
Here are 5 video marketing equipment options for beginners that I recommend if you’re just starting to get serious about shooting video.
If you’re just starting out and want to incorporate video in your channel, website, or paid ads/marketing, then I definitely suggest using your smartphone.
If you have a newer iPhone, Samsung, or another smartphone, it likely has a pretty great camera with a 4k sensor, meaning that in a setting like this one we have here, you can easily (SNAP) punch in without much quality loss, thus giving you 2 camera shots in one.
There are plenty of “how-to’s” on YouTube for that if you want more in-depth instruction.
The point is, your smartphone is a very powerful tool, especially with how mobile it can be. And for many people out there, a camera like this is enough for what they actually need.
Though if you do want to make a minor upgrade in this area I’d recommend the Sony a5100, mostly because of its compact size and flip-up screen. This will unlock some better low-light performance and improve the overall look of your image, giving it a more professional feel.
One note here is that I could recommend any number of Canon or Nikon DSLRs on Amazon that record video and are priced around $500. The reason I’m NOT doing this is that I always like to say that the best camera is the one you have WITH you, and for most of us that’s the phone in our pocket.
Therefore, recommending some chunky, heavy DSLR is just not a great comparison to something that can fit in your pocket.
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Let’s move on to my second recommendation, microphones. Now the thing about microphones is that they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and uses. But the following are the main 3 types you should consider.
These are great desk microphones especially if you’re doing podcasts or voice-overs. Cardioids also work for any other videos where you don’t mind there being a microphone visible in the shot.
If this is what you think you’re looking for, then I’d recommend this Blue Nano USB microphone as it’s relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and plugs directly into your laptop. So even if you’re just trying to improve the audio of your skype or Zoom calls, this is a great addition.
The Blue Yeti has also been a fan favorite over the past decade, and both of them come in at around 100 bucks!
Lavaliers are great for interviews, presentations, and are just convenient in general since they attach to your shirt and you don’t have to worry too much about needing additional equipment or people to make them work right.
The one caveat here is that typically lavaliers have the worst sound quality of the 3 types of microphones I’m covering today and are also probably the least reliable (drop connection, static, low batteries)…
…But I guess that’s the price of convenience and versatility that you get with a wireless system.
For you guys, I’d recommend the new RODE Wireless GO lavalier system which is around $200, so on the higher end of my 3 recommendations today. But if you are really on a budget and wish to record straight into your smartphone, then I can also recommend the RODE Smartlav+, coming in at around 60 bucks, though you’ll have to be much closer to your camera, it is still a significant upgrade over the built-in microphones.
The next type of microphone you should consider is a condenser microphone, often referred to as a “shotgun” microphone due to its very direct sound pickup polar pattern, and its ability to reject other sounds around it. These are the best if you want the professional look of having the microphone hidden just out of frame.
The budget-friendly option that I recommend is the RODE VideoMicro. You can also find a version of this that plugs directly into the lightning port of your iPhone.
This is an ideal option if you want a mobile vlog setup that uses your smartphone, as well as if you want to be able to record outside without the audio sounding horrible from wind noise.
Lighting is one of the most neglected components of video marketing equipment when it comes to amateur videos online.
Unless you’re utilizing the sun, which is a great, but sometimes an unreliable source of light, then you need an actual professional-grade quality light that isn’t going to make you sweat bullets, look unnatural, or trip a circuit breaker.
I recommend almost any of the lights that Aputure makes because they are bright, cool running LEDs that also have great quality and color rendition, which is not always the case with LED bulbs.
If you’re on a budget and need to pack light, Aputure’s AL-MX is around $150 and is the physical size of a credit card. It also has a rechargable battery and is VERY bright for its size.
You could also go with the newer model, the AL-MW. This one is around $210 and is waterproof, so if you live that adventurous lifestyle then, by all means, go with that one.
This recommendation is pretty simple, you’re going to need a tripod.
And since we’re working with relatively light cameras here (either your smartphone or something the size of the Sony a5100), then the Sunpak 5400DLX is your best option at $15. Included with it is a smartphone mount.
I don’t recommend taking this thing outside since it’s pretty light and will likely blow over with the wind. So if you need something a bit more heavy-duty then you’ll have to increase your budget for a more substantial tripod.
5. Control Your Sound
Before you go out and spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the coming months and years on better audio equipment, I want you to first consider treating the room that you’re recording in, whether it be your office or home studio, put up some sound dampening material when you record to avoid any annoying echos or reverb sounds that audio can pick up.
This happens especially when recording in a smaller room with hard floors. This can be very distracting and will detract from your message.
The solution is pretty simple too. By buying some moving blankets and placing them on the floor both in front and behind you or on the walls, your sound quality will very likely improve (more than anything else you could buy tech-wise). A moving blanket is around $10 each a piece and well worth the investment.
Now we’d love to hear from you. Are any of you just starting to build out your home studio for your personal business or brand?