As an entrepreneur getting into video to expand your reach, trying to figure out the best video equipment for beginners can be a real head-scratcher. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choice, particularly without a technical background.
Then, of course, there are fears about the cost of basic equipment for video shooting. Yes, video equipment can be expensive. It’s also true, though, that for your purposes it doesn’t have to be.
We’re here to help you to put together a video making equipment kit for beginners to create videos for your business, and you won’t have to go into debt doing it! The goal is to produce videos as inexpensively as possible with equipment you can get the hang of in a fairly short space of time.
Look, you aren’t starting a video production company. There’s no point spending loads of cash when you can put out excellent quality videos with less expensive gear. That’s why we’ve written a thorough, tactical guide to video equipment for beginners.
Here’s what we’ll be sharing in this guide:
- What’s the Best Video Starter Kit to Get—building your own starter kit is definitely the way to go.
- The Must-Have Video Equipment for Beginners—the bare essentials for creating professional-looking videos.
- Smartphone Video Kit for Beginners—the bits and pieces that will transform your smartphone into a video recording powerhouse.
- DSLR Video Starter Kit—inexpensive DSLR options and accessories for producing high-quality video.
- Camcorder Kit—video camcorders that are easy on your budget and a breeze to use right out of the box.
Technology has evolved to the point where modestly-priced cameras can produce stunning video quality that will complement your business goals.
When it comes to videos we see online, the quality ranges from cringey to blue-ribbon excellence.
Entrepreneurs serious about using video to build a name for themselves are meticulous about the quality of videos they produce; that quality says a lot about their brand. Consequently, they invest thought in their lighting, audio and image composition, which all determine the viewing experience of online audiences.
Now, while equipment does not guarantee high-quality video, it does play a role in what your content looks like.
What you want to keep in mind, though, is that top-notch video equipment can produce ghastly video without the right know-how. Conversely, those with basic video knowledge can produce professional-looking video with modest, inexpensive gear. It’s critical, therefore, that once you decide on your video making equipment you learn as much as you can about those tools.
Don’t get carried away with the gear. A camera is just a tool to help with the real mission—connecting with online audiences.
1: What’s the Best Video Starter Kit to Get?
When you Google ‘video starter kit’, you’ll trigger an avalanche of recommendations for pre-assembled kits sold on sites like Amazon. These kits can, in theory, save video newbies from wading through a tonne of equipment choices.
In our opinion, these pre-assembled video starter kits aren’t necessarily ideal. Instead, we help our clients put together their own kits. We’ll do the same for you in this post. That way, you know every piece of gear in your kit will pay for itself by helping you to produce great videos.
We have personally used the gear we recommend for a video starter kit. So, our suggestions are based on first-hand experience.
2: The Must-Have Video Equipment for Beginners
All the reputable brands in the video world offer similar quality. There is literally a universe of choice between the baseline and upper end of where video equipment can go, both in terms of price and sophistication.
At No Fuss Video, we’ve seen entrepreneurs fall into the gear-buying trap, obsessing over purchasing equipment. If you’re going to obsess about anything, though, it should be your messaging and on-camera delivery.
Cameras, microphones and lights are merely tools. What matters most is the content you create. So, when deliberating on your video making equipment, you want to choose the gear that fits your needs and budget.
The good news is there are just a few bits and pieces you need to churn out professional-looking videos for your online platforms.
Video is a combination of images and sound. At a minimum, you will need to get equipment that takes care of both these basic requirements. Here is the must-have video equipment for beginners:
- Video Camera
A video camera can be as basic as an inbuilt laptop camera or a webcam. While these options work in a pinch, they have limitations. Smartphone cameras, DSLR cameras, mirrorless cameras and camcorders offer a wider range of features, greater flexibility and better quality.
A tripod is a three-legged stand that will hold a camera steady and eliminate shakiness and vibration. It is essential for producing professional-looking videos.
Good lighting can really step up the look and feel of your videos. You can use sunlight or a light kit for your video lighting. We use both natural and artificial lights depending on the shoot.
Video cameras come with an inbuilt audio recording capability. However, it’s not always ideal to rely on these microphones, especially when using a smartphone or DSLR to shoot video. Their microphone designs seem more like an afterthought and the quality is noticeably limited.
An external microphone is a sound investment in your success with video.
3: Smartphone Video Kit for Beginners
If you don’t have the budget for a dedicated video camera, you probably have one in your pocket right now that will do just fine. Most smartphones today can shoot exceptional footage with a bit of know-how.
To create professional videos with a smartphone camera, though, you need to invest in some basic accessories. If you’re taking the time to do videos for your business, shoot for the best standard. Your ambitions must be reflected in the quality of everything you do. As such, your videos should be sufficiently polished, not amateurish.
With that said, here are the basic accessories we use to get the most out of our smartphones.
If you’re shooting with a smartphone, holding it out in front of you while speaking isn’t exactly a look that inspires confidence. Some people may get away with that quality, but shaky smartphone video just isn’t good enough if you’re trying to reach the top of your niche.
Shaky videos lead to shaky outcomes. So, a tripod for your smartphone is the first addition to your video making equipment toolkit.
The Joby GorillaPod: This table-top tripod has flexible legs, making it extremely versatile. We’ve been using this lightweight tripod for smartphone video shoots both indoors and outdoors for several years.
Glif Quick Release Tripod Mount: You’ll need this attachment to mount your smartphone to the Joby GorillaPod
If you have lots of natural light where you’ll be shooting your videos, you don’t have to buy a professional light kit right away if your budget is tight. However, we recommend getting a reflector and diffuser to help control and manipulate the natural light coming in through your windows or sliding doors. The Impact 5-in-1 Collapsible Circular Reflector is a good investment for this purpose.
We can suggest two light kits that you can consider when finances become available. While there are lighting options cheaper than our listed preferences, our suggestions are based on a strategy of getting equipment that will grow with your business.
As your business expands, you’ll undoubtedly level up the quality and creativity of your videos. So, it just makes sense to have a light kit that will be useful along every stage of that journey.
This kit is reasonably priced and includes two LED (white, daylight) lights, two stands and two softboxes. It’s a great option for video newbies.
This is an affordable option that is easy to set up and gives an even spread of light over the subject’s face.
Useful Resources: To learn basic lighting techniques for video, check out our blogs How to Get Good Lighting for Video Without a Light Kit and How to Light Yourself for Video with a Basic Lighting Kit.
A smartphone, no matter how sophisticated it is, is still a phone. That means its audio recording capabilities will always be on the weak side.
A microphone is a must-have for videos that will help establish your credentials in your business niche. If you can’t be heard clearly, poor audio will weigh down the performance of your video content.
Here are our microphone recommendations for your smartphone video kit.
Shure MV88 iOS Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone: We’ve been using this microphone with our iPhones for several years. It’s sturdily built and, while it does have a few drawbacks, they’re nothing we can’t work with.
Rode VideoMic Me-C Directional Microphone for Android Devices: Rode’s answer to the smartphone video market, this mic connects to Android phones through a USB-C connection.
Useful Resources: To learn how to record good audio for your videos, check out our blog How to Record Clear Audio for Video.
We’re not talking about storage for your video gear but storage for your video footage.
You don’t want to make the fatal mistake of storing your video on your computer desktop or on the memory cards used to record the video. There are few calamities as soul-destroying as losing videos you’ve worked hard on. Technology isn’t infallible—computers fail, memory cards get lost.
It pays to take steps to avoid the headaches of lost video by storing and backing up your raw footage and completed videos on dependable hard drives.
With our backgrounds in television and video production, we needed a storage solution we could count on. OWC external hard drives have been part of our workflow for more than 10 years. We use OWC drives ranging in capacity from one to four terabytes.
4: DSLR Video Starter Kit
An acronym for digital single-lens reflex, the DSLR camera was ostensibly designed for taking pictures. As video features were added, they put tremendous video quality in the hands of ordinary folks at affordable prices.
Yes, today’s smartphones shoot exceptional video. However, DSLRs produce better quality footage because they have larger sensors. As such, they tend to reproduce more lifelike colours and perform better in low light than your phone.
As an entrepreneur, you may have bigger goals for video in the marketing mix for your business. For this reason, you might be interested in a camera that’s a bit more sophisticated, flexible and can produce exceptional image quality.
DSLR cameras are powerful tools for creatively exploring video as a marketing powerhouse for your business ambitions.
DSLR camera for video recording
A common question out there is which DSLR camera for beginners is the best one. Well, there are several equally appealing models on the market, so we’ll try to simplify the subject.
We’ve always used Canon cameras because of their quality, durability and compatibility across model types.
This model is a little pricey, but it’s a go-to option for entrepreneurs stepping up their video-making equipment from their trusty smartphones. We love this camera for reasons too numerous to mention, so we’ll just touch on a few.
The compact size makes it easy on a one-person video operation. It records exceptional quality HD video and performs better in less-than-ideal lighting conditions.
The 80D also has an articulating screen. That means you can turn it to face you when setting up to shoot, helping you get the right framing.
Although this section is about a DSLR video starter kit, we wanted to mention an exciting alternative to the DSLR camera—the mirrorless camera.
Mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter than DSLRs but produce similar high-quality video. They are great options for those just starting out with video.
The M50 is a mirrorless camera with more features than you can shake a stick at. With a flip screen to help with framing your shots, this little powerhouse records exceptional image quality, even above and beyond what you might need, such as 4K resolution.
The selling point of this camera is it’s affordable and well-suited to content creators, with WiFi capabilities and enhanced autofocus to make it easier to get tack-sharp images.
Lenses for Canon DSLR and mirrorless cameras
As a beginner, though, you’re probably not keen on dropping a tonne of cash on a bunch of lenses you know nothing about. So, we recommend sticking with the lens that usually comes with the cameras.
A dependable tripod is important for making steady, professional-looking video content.
More often than not, you may be shooting video on your own. You want to be confident the tripod you’ve mounted your camera on is sturdy and reliable. We’ve used the Manfrotto brand for several years and the quality and durability never ceases to amaze.
This tripod is both robust and lightweight—two of the most important qualities in this bit of gear. It is a little pricey, but it is an investment that will serve you for many years.
This particular model is a, perhaps, more affordable option. It will easily support the weight of the average DSLR, mirrorless camera, or smaller camcorder.
Again, if you are using natural light, we recommend getting the Impact 5-in-1 Collapsible Circular Reflector to help you get the best lighting for your videos. If you have the budget for a semi-professional light kit, we recommend the Impact Photo Portrait Studio Kit or the Neewer LED Ring Light.
Just like smartphones, DSLR cameras don’t have the best audio recording capability. Given that these devices are ostensibly created for capturing pictures, the sound capture is not something you should put too much faith in.
Clear audio is a crucial piece of the video making equipment puzzle. That’s why you’ll need to supplement the video recording capabilities of your DSLR with a microphone that records your voice clearly.
This was one of the first microphones we bought when we started our video production company. It is easily one of the most indispensable pieces of equipment in our video making arsenal. Easy to use and connecting to your DSLR through a simple microphone jack input, the Azden lavalier microphone is great for capturing clean sound that also reduces echo in your videos.
This mini shotgun microphone mounts directly to the top of your camera. Provided that you’re within relatively close range when doing your on-camera recordings, this microphone is also a fantastic piece of gear that converts your DSLR into a video-ready device.
5: Camcorder Kit
Camcorders aren’t necessarily the most talked-about cameras when it comes to video making equipment nowadays. DSLRs tend to take up all the oxygen in the room.
As longtime television and video producers, we could not have accomplished all that we have without the mighty DSLR. The price point, undeniable quality and creative flexibility enabled us to stay within some of our clients’ undersized budgets and outsized creative vision.
Now, we’re going to say something that might sound like heresy in today’s age—the DSLR isn’t always the easiest camera to work with for the average beginner. It’s not the dashboard of a space shuttle or anything like that, but getting the best out of a DSLR does require some technical know-how.
For the newbie to video, there’s lots to learn about operating a DSLR effectively. If you can invest the time to learn how to work the DSLR camera, it will definitely be worth it. However, if the goal is to start making videos as quickly as possible, a consumer camcorder is also a good option to explore.
The DSLR has a larger sensor than your average, lower-end camcorder. Consequently, it produces a better image than a consumer camcorder and performs better in low light conditions.
With that said, advantages to the camcorder are many, particularly for entrepreneurs wanting to get up and running with video in a hurry. They’re relatively easy to use right out of the box.
The camcorder takes care of most of the technical tasks that can tax the brain. So, this device more closely fits the definition of a point-and-shoot camera. They’re by no means perfect, but they certainly have their place in the video making world.
We bought this model several years ago and it’s still part of our video toolkit.
What we especially like about the camcorder is the continuous autofocus feature. For a DIY video content creator that means you don’t have to worry too much about appearing sharp and in focus in the frame and staying that way. The camcorder handles that for you, which is a huge plus.
Putting together the rest of your camcorder kit
Much like the DSLR, camcorders need a bit of help in the accessories department to make the most out of their capabilities. You can apply the same add-on recommendations we gave for the DSLR camera—tripod, lights, microphone, media—to assemble your camcorder kit.
Choose equipment according to your budget, but also the kind of video content you want to create for your business.
The Most Important Video Equipment for Beginners
We’ve pulled the more affordable video gear from our toolkit to get you started. As your ambitions grow, so too will your enthusiasm to boost the look of your content with more sophisticated video equipment.
It’s worth mentioning that writing a guide about video making equipment for beginners isn’t the easiest thing to do. There are countless options and it’s difficult for us to know what your objectives are and what kind of budget you’re working with. That’s why we kept it simple, focusing on the basics for your personalised video starter kit.
There’s a lot to be said for starting small. It isn’t just a question of money. We strongly recommend investing as much time and energy in learning the principles of video as you do in choosing your gear. The most important gear is really what’s in your head. With the right techniques, you can do wonders with the equipment recommendations we’ve shared.
Speaking of know-how, we suggest you check out our blogs below on getting the right lighting and audio for your videos. Happy shooting!
- How to Get Good Lighting for Video Without a Light Kit
- How to Light Yourself for Video with a Basic Lighting Kit
- How to Record Clear Audio for Video: Simple Tips and Tricks