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 finally need to think about a cage in your digicam, like the Smallrig VersaFrame, which WIRED reviewer Eric Ravenscraft has examined and likes. This helps you to mount all the pieces you want, like lights, microphones, batteries, and storage gadgets, proper to the digicam itself. It takes some work to get all the pieces arrange proper, however it’s rather a lot simpler than attempting to wrangle fifteen devices whereas working round a park. Depending in your digicam, you may additionally have the ability 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 smash even probably 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 attraction (for skilled cameras, you may need to add this adapter). It’s a lavalier mic, the sort that clips to your shirt collar to seize the sound of your voice. The high quality is not superb, however it’s an enormous step up over the built-in microphone in your cellphone. Just know that connecting it to an Android cellphone is difficult—it does not all the time work. And in case your cellphone does not have a headphone jack, you may need a dongle.

Upgrade Pick

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

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 for those who’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 through USB-C.
  • Rode VideoMicro ($47): Trying to spend as little as doable? This shotgun mic will fulfill. It’ll beat any cellphone’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—you then’ll want an interface to join any XLR microphones you’ve. But for those who shoot away from residence (or simply want a versatile setup), one handy possibility is to get an interface that is additionally a conveyable 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 way of hooked up mic modules. 

The included X/Y module is nice for recording on-the-spot interviews. It also can report audio instantly to the system itself, whereas it sends audio again out to your digicam. This is the form of life-saving backup possibility that you just will not remorse having round. Plus, it frees you to separate your mic and digicam and sync them up later, if the state of affairs requires it.

The Tripod

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

Top Pick

I examined a barely completely 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 may even convert it right into a mini tripod at a second’s discover for those who do not want the additional top. It has three little toes that stretch out on the backside so you should use it hands-free, and the design is nice for tight areas. It often takes me mere seconds to set it up and begin capturing. Since it is manufactured from carbon fiber, it is a light-weight journey possibility too. (It weighs lower than 3 kilos.) 

I like to recommend pairing it with the corporate’s Komodo K5 Fluid Head ($119) for those who plan on panning, tilting, and capturing a number of B-roll (extra on the Komodo under).

Phone Tripod

The Cobra 2 above could be a bit a lot for those who’re utilizing a cellphone, so snag Lume’s cell tripod as an alternative. It’s very steady, 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 mild for a full on-the-go studio. My solely gripe? You cannot alter the peak. But there is a resolution to this: the Mobile Creator Stand XL. It can rise up to 60 inches excessive, making it an excellent 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 property, this is without doubt 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 cellphone mount. If you need to connect a fluid head for clean pans, you may want this universal head adapter

Other Great Tripods:

  • Joby GorillaPod 1K ($27): You could make do with a tripod like this one from Joby for those who’re attempting to spend as little as doable. It does not get very tall, however you possibly can contort the flexible legs to maintain the entire thing hooked up to numerous surfaces. If you’ve 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, steady, 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 mild 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 probability it is not. Unless you are filming in your yard in the course of the day, your cameras will want a supplemental mild 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 brilliant it will get. You also can 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 effectively for me.

You’ll additionally need to use it with a softbox to diffuse and direct the sunshine. You can get one thing as inexpensive as this one from Godox ($40), however it takes perpetually to arrange and put away. I a lot favor 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 accomplished I take it off in seconds and stow it within the included bag.

A More Compact Light

The Godox lighting system above will be tough to transfer across the residence and is extra suited to a set capturing location. If you are extra usually filming on the go, you possibly can do that video mild from Boling. It will get remarkably brilliant regardless of the compact measurement, has a number of colour choices and results (like a enjoyable impact that mimics a lightning strike), and you may 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 mild for a number of years and has held up effectively. Even higher, it recharges through USB-C. Just know that battery life on a cell mild 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 a number of improbable lights, however the MC is a flexible baby. It places out round 400 lux at 0.5 meters, which is not rather a lot, however with a number of them, you are able to do some inventive stuff. That’s why we suggest this journey equipment with 4 lights. On high of coming with 4 MCs, the case itself incorporates 4 areas to wirelessly cost the lights, in addition to two USB shops that may cost different gadgets as effectively.

Each MC has adjustable white mild colour temperatures from 3,200K to 6,500K, in addition to an RGB mode. There are additionally a couple of built-in results for lightning, fire, 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 mild has a pair of magnets on the again, making them simple to mount with out stands. They is probably not probably the most highly effective lights round, however it’s laborious to overstate how useful 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 through Bluetooth to management it remotely.
  • 12-Inch Ring Light With Tripod Stand ($31): Several members of WIRED’s Gear workforce use these ring lights to illuminate themselves on movies. You can connect your cellphone in the course of the sunshine, which makes for an excellent all-in-one and inexpensive 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 buy fairly a couple of for a similar worth as one among a few 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 screens to fluid heads. Here are extra gadgets you may want to try. And for those who want a method 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’ve a completely articulating display then you possibly can skip this choose, 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 through HDMI, which permits me to see my framing and whether or not the main focus is correct.

A Variable Filter

When filming with an expert digicam, you may need your digicam’s shutter velocity to keep at double the body price for the most natural-looking clips. So at 30 frames per second, your shutter velocity must be 1/60. But what occurs for those who’re capturing exterior and the digicam is receiving plenty of mild? 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 mild is let in.  

Tip: Make certain you test the thread measurement in 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 search for the lens mannequin on the net.)

A Fluid Head

I make movies about merchandise, so I want to take a number of supplementary footage of the merchandise themselves. But simply capturing an object head-on with none motion may be very boring. You could as effectively 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 very well. 

If it is too dear, the Magnus VPH-10P Pan and Tilt Head ($45) is a good cheaper different. Your footage will not look as clean, however it’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 may need to department out. Enter the slider. It primarily strikes your digicam from one finish of a stationary monitor 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 strive writing a script. You can use your cellphone 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 may import scripts from providers like Google Docs. Its distinctive VoiceTrack function 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 appears apparent for those who’re not trying instantly on the display 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 identical time, all whereas protecting the scrolling textual content from showing within the picture. The Glide Gear TMP75 ($149) can be a useful possibility that we like; it could possibly connect to a laptop computer so you should 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 palms are shaky and unstable. Tripods are nice for stabilizing locked-off pictures, however for those who 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 comply with topics.

WIRED reviewer Eric Ravenscraft examined the Zhiyun Weebill 3 gimbal and says it was simpler to use than his previous 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 capturing in your cellphone, see our Zhiyun choose under, which additionally works nice with smaller cameras. You also can 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 large, professional-level gimbals do, however it labored surprisingly effectively in his assessments. The caveat? This is greatest with smaller cameras or perhaps a smartphone. It will help a full-frame digicam—it labored along with his Sony A7R II—however solely with shorter, lighter lenses. 

For vloggers who need to step up their sport, and anybody who desires the power to shoot regular movement video with out (fully) breaking the financial institution, the M3 will do the job. The contact show offers entry to often 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 system, the more serious your battery life will likely be. With the full-frame Sony, Gilbertson says he bought about 5.5 hours out of it.

A Quick-Release Mounting System

I often am attaching a slider, teleprompter, and fluid head to my tripod, which suggests I’m consistently screwing issues on and off—all of this takes up priceless time and is simply plain annoying. That’s after 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 dwell 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 want to rapidly mount.

Handy Tips

I discovered how to make movies by trial and error, by accumulating suggestions, and (principally) by YouTube movies in the dark. Seriously, there is a wealth of free tutorials and ideas yow will discover on YouTube for nearly any query you’ve about bettering your video output. Search away. That stated, listed here are a couple of parting ideas I strive to adhere to (and generally battle with) as I movie.

  • Position your key mild correctly: You often don’t need your key mild (the primary mild supply) to face your topic instantly. Put it off-center, which suggests part of your topic will likely be in shadow. You can use different lights to “fill” in these shadows for those who like. We have more guidance here.
  • Keep an eye fixed on reflections: I put on glasses, and it is easy for the important thing mild to mirror off of them, which creates a distracting impact within the completed video. The method to deal with that is by heeding the recommendation above, and by tweaking your mild’s top and angle. Run a couple of assessments 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 fully off. External screens 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 a couple of assessments to see how effectively it really works earlier than you employ it for the primary time. Your digicam may 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 pay attention again to my clips immediately and ensure the microphone is working and I do not sound too loud or too delicate.
  • 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 have a look at your framing earlier than you hit report.
  • Shoot extra pixels than you want. If your digicam and enhancing gear can deal with it, capturing in a better decision than you want offers you flexibility within the edit. You can reframe pictures and even zoom in, with out dropping image high quality. This is a useful method 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 for those who’re on a finances.



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