When you’re ready to add great video to your marketing process, the options when it comes to video equipment can seem endless.
Which camera is best? Do you need a separate microphone, a complicated lighting setup, a top-of-the-range tripod or a custom-branded backdrop?
Sounds complicated and potentially expensive, right?
But it doesn’t have to be.
Let’s talk about how you can set up your home studio with the right video equipment and create great video, quickly, simply and without breaking the bank.
And don’t forget to download my Video Kit List below so you have it to hand when you’re ready to invest.
Focus on Cameras
You don’t need to splash out on an expensive camera for your marketing videos. These days, pretty much any smartphone can record high-quality video that’s more than adequate to get you started.
Great Video Kit Tip:
Marie-Clare Byard of Now Media introduced me to this handy selfie stick, which doubles as a tripod for your smartphone. It’s also the perfect size to bring out and about with you if you’re inspired to shoot some great video on the move.
I also use a Logitech C920 HD Pro webcam to shoot a lot of my video content when I’m doing Facebook Lives or Webinars. It’s a good quality camera, and I know I can rely on it to produce decent footage. I keep it set up and ready to go, so all I have to do is hit record.
This isn’t a “must-have” for your video equipment list but it really saves me time when I just want to jump on and interact with my community.
Maximise Each Piece of Video Content Your Create
When I’m shooting live video, I create a double-feed by recording with both my webcam and smartphone camera simultaneously so I can repurpose it for multiple channels. This is for two main reasons:
- Having a Plan B
If the internet connection decides not to cooperate, and my webcam drops out, my second camera means I always have a good quality backup to work with later on in the process.
- Adding a Different Perspective
Using that second camera allows you to capture an alternative angle on your video, which you can use to mix things up at the post-production stage. Get creative. Experiment by shooting video from above and to the side, so you can change things up a bit and add interest to your final video pieces.
Get Set Up for Success
I shoot videos both at home and in my office, so to make life easier, I duplicate some of my video equipment – but ONLY if it makes sense to do so.
Both at home AND at work I have the following in place:
- Laptop Stand
- Tripod for webcam (Brilliant value at around €13)
- Charging cable for laptop
Essentially I’ve created a docking station in each location. Everything is plugged into a USB hub and ready to go. So all I have to do is sit down and start filming.
Keep in Mind What’s Behind You
To streamline the process and dramatically improve the quality of your video, I recommend investing in a dedicated backdrop as part of your video equipment list. Some simple ways to do this include:
- Roller System
Priced at around €40, I use this setup in my office. It’s got space for three different rolls of paper, which I can then pull down behind me as a background.
I’m using grey paper as my backdrop at the moment. It’s neutral, non-distracting and because it’s plain, I have the option of positioning myself at the side of the shot, leaving space to overlay graphics or text on my video in post-production. Choose something that’s unique to you, depending on how you want your video to look.
- Dedicated Photo Backdrop
These start from around €15, and the choices are endless. There’s no installation involved, just set it up in shot behind you and you’re ready to go. A perfect piece of video equipment for your home office.
You may be wondering about choosing a more traditional pull-up banner to use as a video backdrop, with the idea that you’ll have it to hand for other promotional opportunities.
A word of caution on this. For maximum flexibility with your editing, and to make sure the attention is focused on you as the presenter, it’s best to keep it neutral. Your logo can be added at the editing stage, so don’t limit yourself – stick with something plain.
- Photo Wallpaper
A really simple and affordable option. I picked up some similar to this, showing the Brooklyn Bridge, for about €15 in my local supermarket. I was delighted with it, as that New York imagery is very strongly associated with my own personal brand.
Great Video Kit Tip:
Instead of fixing the paper to the wall, mount it onto a sheet of plywood or similar, to make it more portable. Just make sure to check the sizing so it’s not too big or too small for your sheet of plywood.
A final thought on backgrounds. I often see people using backdrops that are very white or cream, which can end up being too neutral and washing the presenter out. It also makes life difficult if you’re using a whiteboard or similar, as it’s hard to get the balance of light right to show that off properly. So keep it neutral, but not too stark.
Let There be Light
Good lighting does wonders for the quality of your videos and, like everything else we’ve talked about so far, doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
A ring light is an easy way to make sure your videos are well-lit, no matter what conditions you’re recording in. This one allows you to choose a white or orange light effect, and creates a beautiful light circle around your pupils, making you look fabulous!
It’s slightly more expensive than some of the other equipment we’ve looked at so far, at around €80, but if you decide to invest in one, that’s all you’ll need to get started from a lighting point of view.
Great Video Kit Tip:
For something slightly more portable, check out this“Selfie Ring Light”, recommended to me by Catherine Kavanagh of Media Lab. It’s the perfect size for video on the go, and you can attach it to your desk as well.
Wired for Sound
We tend to be a bit more forgiving about lighting and picture quality on video, but good sound is non-negotiable.
Zoom H4N Audio Recorder
The Zoom H4N Audio Recorder has made a fantastic difference to the sound quality of my videos. All the material for my Get Strategic… Get Results! program is recorded with it, and I highly recommend it.
It’s my favourite piece of video kit.
It’s so simple to use. I have an SD card in it, and when I’m finished recording, I just take the card out, and pop it into my laptop to import the audio file. I also picked up some handy add-ons, including a mini tripod for the recorder and a wind muff (aka a “dead cat”) to reduce that “whooshing” noise you can get when recording outside.
If you’re not quite ready to invest in a Zoom recorder yet, a Lavalier Microphone is a brilliant alternative, especially if you’re planning to do some interviews as part of your video process.
Great Video Kit Tip:
When recording with multiple camera and sound sources there’s a trick to getting them all to sync up together. Press Record on all your equipment and just before you start your message clap your hands together loudly. When it’s time to edit, both your sound and video sources will show a large spike in the waveform for the audio so everything can be synchronised to that clap.
Get Yourself Camera-Ready
I’m a huge advocate for batching as part of the content creation process. It’s more efficient, more productive, and just makes sense. It might take a while to get in the flow with this but it’s worth planning for it now.
Try to shoot several videos in one sitting. You’re set up and ready to go, you’re looking video-ready, and you’re in that “video frame of mind”, which makes finding your flow a lot easier.
There is one snag with this approach – trying to avoid looking the same in every video. In an ideal world, you’d either bring a few different outfits and do some quick changes or you’d shoot in a location where you could move around a bit and get different backdrops.
Great Video Kit Tip:
Bring some accessories to your video shoot and get clever with how you use them. If you’re wearing something fairly neutral to start with, throw on a scarf, change your tie, pop on a necklace, add or remove a jacket or jumper. So much easier than having to do full-on outfit-changes!
Editing & Post Production
Ultimately, you’ll probably end up outsourcing your video post-production process, but when you’re just getting started, it’s fantastic to be able to play around a little and do some straightforward editing yourself.
I work with a PC and use Camtasia for my video editing. I find it very intuitive, and there are brilliant tutorials on the Camtasia website, with everything you need to get started.
If you’re a Mac person, then you’ll have iMovie already installed on your computer, which has everything you need for some basic edits.
Now…Time to Take Action!
And that’s my starter video equipment list. If you’d like to download it as a handy checklist, you can do that here. Remember that you certainly don’t need everything on it immediately. Start with a few essentials, then add on as you go.
Just get what you need at each point using our video equipment list as a guide and then, take action!
You might also like this post on How to Make Better Videos for your Business, which has some quick, actionable tips to help you get you started with video.
I hope my recommendations here will help you get started with shooting some great video of your own.
I’d love to know how you get on and if you have any tips, insights or must-have pieces of video kit, do share them with me in the comments below.