When getting ready for a day out shooting video content, you might think all you need is your camera. That’s far from the case, and a number of different accessories have become almost essential for a successful and productive day of shooting video. So if you want to know which bits of kit you need to pack to make your job easier, then we’ve got everything you need in this article.
Some of these components really speak for themselves and are essential for any videographer, while others might be a bit less common. But all of them will help you get ready to shoot the best possible video, whether you’re filming an advert or a piece of your YouTube channel.
The right array of accessories can help make it much easier to shoot all of the footage you might need on your day on location. Helping keep you as versatile as possible and making obstacles easier to navigate.
That’s why preparation is always important when you’re heading out shooting. Unlike shooting inside a studio or at your home, you won’t have all your kit nearby. So selecting the right stuff to take with you is important. And your bag will only have so much space, so proper planning might be needed. After all, some items might only be appropriate for certain types of shoots and not necessary for others.
So what factors do you need to take into account when planning for your shoot? As well as the environment yourself, you’ll also need to think carefully about things like weather, what time it’ll be and a number of other variables. Let’s assume you’ve got the right camera and lenses first. What else might you need for your shoot?
This one is especially important if you’re shooting in the evening or even completely at night. You won’t be able to do anything without powerful lighting, but you might also need good lighting during the daytime, especially if you’re shooting in the woods or urban areas where there is a fair amount of cover.
You need quality lighting so that you can collect the best quality footage. Good lighting is also essential if the weather isn’t great and it’s overcast. It can be hard to fit lighting into your camera bag, and big lights might need an extra pair of hands to help with, but they could be a necessity depending on what and when you’re shooting.
On-camera LED lights can be enough in certain situations, but not if you want to light an entire scene—you might need production lighting for that.
This is another camera essential. It makes it much easier to film a steady scene. The only time you might not need a tripod is if you’re shooting by hand, but even so—having one with you makes it easier to capture all sorts of different types of shots. And regardless of your primary shooting intention, if you’re filming for most of the day, there are bound to be some shots that need a tripod.
Many videographers consider a tripod the most essential accessory there is. While modern cameras do have their own stabilization features and chest rigs can also be good for mobile shooting, nothing beats a quality tripod.
The most affordable and also simplest option is a sturdy tripod with a fluid head. Investing in a tripod is essential if you’re trying to become (or already are) a serious videographer.
Tripods are also a lot more versatile than you might think, and make it easy to attach a slider.
Many videographers leave sound as an afterthought, but they’re making a big mistake. You might feel like only the image is important, but if you want to create a quality video, so is sound. That means you need a high quality microphone. You can also use additional microphones and other peripherals like headphones to make your shoot even better. It can be hard for your camera to pick up sound in a busy outdoor setting so remote audio capabilities can be essential unless you want to add everything in during post-production (which can be difficult).
Even if you are using post production processes, you still want the right ambient sound, which makes capturing it during the shoot essential.
A gimbal is super-useful for an on-location shoot. If your camera needs movement beyond a fixed point, you need a gimbal. They make it easy to capture smooth movement shots and create a really professional shot. Loads of YouTubers use gimbals when filming, and for good reason.
Now you’ve got your main basics sorted, you will still need to make sure you’ve got a simple toolkit with you. Any minor faults or issues can then be fixed on site, like mechanical faults, loose screws and more.
While full scale repairs won’t be possible, you’d be surprised how useful a toolkit can be.
After all, you’ve got a lot of kit with you now, from lights to gimbals to microphones, and some of these can need fixing from time to time. So a set of simple tools like a screwdriver, screws, a hammer, wrench as well as duct tape can all be really helpful.
Don’t forget the power! You’d be surprised how many people do. Whether you need batteries for lights or your camera itself, a few spares can go a long way. You don’t want to run out of power at the wrong moment, so make sure you’ve got more than you think you’ll need for extra peace of mind.
When you’ve got everything you need, you should be able to spend more of your attention on capturing great footage rather than having to stop or go back to the studio to get something.
What other accessories do you like packing in your camera bag? Hopefully these are enough to get you started, and should be all you need for a productive day of shooting. Just don’t forget your sandwiches.
Charlie Jenkins is a filmmaker and content writer for Bounce Video in Oxford UK. Bounce specialises in capturing and telling emotive stories through carefully crafted and produced videos for a whole host of clients.