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Do You Need Expensive Camera Gear to Make a Video?

First it's just a camera. Then you realize you need some good lighting. Then you're listening to your video and realize you might need a mic or two. Suddenly, your small video project is coming with a BIG price tag. Before you hit that "Add to Cart" button on B&H, here are our three tips about buying gear.

camera gear

1) A skilled videographer knows how to use lighting to make a camera look better

In the film industry, there is an entire department dedicated to lighting. On a corporate video shoot, there's usually just the videographer. But a good videographer knows how to work with the lighting they have. Soft, even lighting makes the talent look glowy and natural. A bright location means minimal grain on the picture. Directional lighting helps drawl your eye to right the part of the frame. If you've ever seen a "Shot on an iPhone" commercial and wondered "Why don't my iPhone videos look like that?" - it's probably because of lighting.

2) A skilled editor knows how to get the most out of the footage

Now that we have some footage, what do we do with it? What shots you take out of a video are just as important as the shots you put in. When the talent's timing is off, a good editor can still create a flow and rhythm to the video. There's a joke that some top-tier actors in Hollywood aren't actually good at acting - they just have really good editors working with their footage. While editing is not magic (it will not turn a $100 production into a $1million production), good editing will get the very best out of your footage.

3) Good people are a better investment than good gear

I surprisingly see this a lot. An amateur goes out and buys the most expensive camera they can afford - because more money means it's better! But there are a lot of settings on this new, fancy camera. Where is the auto mode? Wait, there isn't an auto mode? What does it mean if the camera says the SD card isn't compatible? Don't get me wrong: buying new gear and then learning how to use it is absolutely fine! But purely using expensive gear will not make a better video. If you have to pick between spending money on buying new gear or spending money hiring someone who knows how to use the gear you already have, spend money on the person.

BONUS: Professionals come with both the good gear and know-how

The little cheat to getting both good gear AND a talented crew is simple: hire a professional. The professional videographers (in the corporate video and digital marketing video world) will come with their own video gear. I mean, tens of thousands of dollars worth of their own gear. Not only will they have the camera gear, but they will have the know-how on how to use it. If you are looking to create a brand video or a digital marketing video, hiring a professional can save you money and will definitely save you a lot of headaches.


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