Some pieces of kit are absolutely essential for getting the job done. Others are important if you want to make yourself stand out from the rest of the bunch.
Things like lenses and tripods and lighting can all make this list. The problem is finding out which parts are something you absolutely need in your bag and which you should ignore.
If you need some recommendations, Make Better Content put together a list of what they believe are 7 pieces of gear that are essential for freelance videographers. They have their personal favorites, but you should be able to find the perfect version of each item that is mentioned.
1. Telephoto Lens
Lots of people start with mid-range zooms and normal primes – and that’s fine! However, if you want to become much more useful when working as a freelancer then you’ll want to add a telephoto lens to your kit.
The longer reach allows you to get a much wider variety of shots and if you are working as a second or third shooter then the different angles you can capture are invaluable.
These are the essential shots like close-ups that are necessary and not something that a main shooter will be able to cover at the same time.
2. Professional Tripod
Everyone should spend money upfront on a sturdy tripod. Gimbals can only do so much and having a tripod that can give you those perfectly stable shots are a must-have.
Cheap tripods will cost you more in the long run since they often have issues with shake and stability which will make your footage look bad.
You’ll also find that tripod shots are sometimes the best shot to take, especially if you are doing interviews or talking heads.
3. Various Grip/Audio Gear
Over time you’ll learn about the smaller items or more boring pieces that you just need to always have on hand. Grip and audio gear is where you’ll find the biggest need.
Having things like sandbags, extra light stands, clamps, cloth tape, and cables will make you the savior on set and keep things running smoothly.
4. The Right Camera
While you can get great video with nearly any camera these days, having a few particular models can give you the edge. The recommendation here is to go with something from one of the big two brands: Canon or Sony. The reason is that they are very common and very effective.
Many jobs will be working alongside other shooters and having a system that matches up with them or is known to be reliable is often a requirement. If you can find out what other freelancers in the area are using then it would make sense to pick something up that matches what you are seeing.
You should always have an extra set of headphones or earbuds in your bag. Ideally you should have a decent set of over-ear headphones around to check your audio.
However, it also helps to throw a set of cheaper earbuds in your bag so just in case your main pair breaks or is forgotten you can still listen to your audio.
6. Powerful Video Light
Sometimes you just need one more light. While normally you wouldn’t be expected to provide lighting on a shoot where you are a second shooter, having it available can help make a shot even better.
If you are in fact the lead shooter you will definitely need a nice, bright key light that can take modifiers to create a great light for your shoot.
7. Motorized Gimbal
While tripods are the must-have piece of equipment, gimbals are almost as necessary today. Getting dynamic walkthroughs of real estate or even just getting some motion added to your sequence is made easy with a gimbal.
Even things like BTS or B-roll are perfect work for gimbals. They are almost expected to be in your kit these days.
Bonus: Professional Case
Make sure you have some good cases that are ergonomic, organized, and durable to keep your gear safe.
Anything missing that you find to be an essential piece of gear for a freelance videographer?
[source: Make Better Content]
- Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens (B&H, Amazon)
- Manfrotto MT290XTA3US Xtra Aluminum Tripod (B&H, Amazon)
- iFootage Komodo K5 Fluid Head (B&H, Amazon)
- Sony a7S III Mirrorless Camera (B&H, Amazon)
- Sony MDR-XB55AP In-Ear Headphones (Amazon)
- Zhiyun CRANE 2S Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer (B&H, Amazon)
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