Having over 10 years of videography and photography experience, I’m regularly asked about what equipment to buy or about how the latest technology is changing and how to keep up with it. Here’s my top five rules for becoming a videographer – and if this isn’t enough to prove you can do it, check out my white paper How To Create Professional Videos on a Budget.
- Rule #1: Your camera: use it or lose it! When asked about what type of camera to get, my usual response is: “the best camera is the one you have with you.” Using your camera, no matter its make, model or age is rule number one. Practice make perfect. I know several photographers and videographers who would rather use the cameras they know than upgrade to a new one. No matter what camera you have or are going to buy, the most important thing to do with it is use it. A lot.
- Rule #2: What has three legs and a head? Your Tripod. Unless you’re going for a documentary-style video, use a tripod. First, it looks much better than hand-shaken video. Second, your arms won’t get tired trying to hold the camera still. And when it comes to buying a tripod, the heavier the better. The cheap, flimsy tripods at your local discount store are usually frustrating and difficult to use. Use a tripod that you can’t break over your leg.
- Rule #3: Listen and learn. Every (and I do mean EVERY) time I’ve recorded video without monitoring the audio, I’ve been surprised by the audio. By using a camera that has a headphone jack, you can listen to the audio while recording in order to make sure there are no surprises when you’re ready to edit.
- Rule #4: Shop around for a camera. When buying a new camera, try to make time to go to your local electronics store and try out a few cameras, looking for the features you want. Once you’ve found a camera you like, check out prices online and shop around. Searching for a camera by model number will usually net you several price options.
- Rule #5: Buy editing software. There are almost as many options for video editing software as there are cameras to choose from. You can use any of them and get a fine product. Windows has Movie Maker built in; and Apple similarly has iMovie. Personally, I’m an Adobe fan. I use Adobe Premiere Pro, but my 12 year-old uses Adobe Premiere Elements. Both are fine products.
To learn more about how to make quality videos for your organization and see my recommendations for what equipment to buy on an $800 budget, check out my white paper.