You know the stats. You know that video attracts visitors and engages them. You know the SEO benefits and the high conversion rates (and if you don’t take a look at the figures here).
But. Getting started with video can seem daunting. Often the cost is deemed too high. Has your boss ever told you video is “too expensive” or “we don’t have the budget”? And we’re no different. We have a budget to spend (and stretch!) too.
So what if I told you that you could make your own videos in house. And spend less than £1000 (that’s just over $1500).
Yup. The good news is there is a lot of fantastic (and cheap!) kit around that you can use.
The bad news is it can take a lot of time and research to find it.
So skip all that. We already did the research.
Our Kit List:
Camera : Canon EOS 600D / T3i ~£400 / $660
Although this isn’t the most recent offering from Canon, it still does a really good job of recording HD video. Capable of full HD 1080p recording, it’s easy to set up, and always seems to produce really watchable assets
Lens : Canon 50mm EF1.8 ~£80 / $130
Whilst you could use the kit lens that normally comes with the camera (18-55mm 4.5-5.6), we wanted something that looked a little sharper. This lens is amazingly cheap for the results you get. A 50mm lens, when used on a small frame camera like the 600d, gives a nice slightly telephoto feel that’s very flattering for portraiture.
As we don’t have a lighting rig to rely upon, the wide F1.8 aperture means we can get away with using only ambient light. Another bonus of the wide aperture is it allows us to throw everything behind the subject well out of focus, saving on the need for background screen
Tripod : Hama Star 63 ~£20 / $35
When using a DSLR without a camera “rig”, it’s almost impossible to get a steady shot. So keep things simple, and use a tripod.
This tripod is taller than many others in the budget range. When you are filming someone talking to the camera, you want the camera to be around level with the subject’s head. A shorter tripod would either need to be placed on something to raise it up, or only be used to shoot a subject that was sitting down.
Microphone : Rhode NTG2 Shotgun mic ~£160 / $265
We used to use a USB studio microphone to record audio, but because it needed to be right up near to the subject’s mouth, it massively limited the shots we could use.
This shotgun mic, whilst still needing to be close to the audio source, does allow a much wider array of shot options. Being a Rhode product, it’s also noticeably higher quality in a like for like test
Audio Recorder : Zoom H4n ~£220 / $365
When you use a standalone mic, you need something to record the output. The H4n is doing a brilliant job. It’s portable enough to hang around the neck if you’re changing locations or shooting a moving scene. It also doubles as an audio interface if you wanted to record the audio directly onto your computer.
Mic stand and cable : ~£40 / $65
And, of course, you need a stand to hold the mic and a cable to connect it to the Zoom. Spending more money on these can get a higher quality cable and a more versatile mic stand that will extend above the subjects head for example, but you can easily make do with the budget versions.
Total : £920 / $1525
Remember that just because you have the right kit doesn’t mean your video will be perfect – you have to know how to use it too! If you’ve got some in house talent, but a tight budget, this is the kit we recommend. Of course there are many other bits of kit that we haven’t tried. This is just what works for us. And if it works for us, it could work for you too.
Why not try renting for a day or two, make sure you can do what you want to do with it. And then you’re good to go.