It’s 2019 and video is here. But video can be a little bit complicated when getting started so what gear do you need?! Well, the good news is that you most likely can already use the gear that you’re using for your portrait work! Here are a few different aspects of gear that you’ll need when starting video and my personal recommendations.
For your camera, your DSLR is fully capable of shooting great video. I typically recommend getting a camera that can at least do full HD video 1920×1080 pixels at 60p meaning that it can shoot 60 frames per second, which is perfect for slow motion. You will want to check that you’re not getting a camera that does 60p at 1280×720 pixels if you’re wanting to shoot full HD. Many cameras can do slow motion at 60p, but not every camera can do this while shooting full HD. While not essential, I just moved to a camera that has a touch screen that allows me to just touch the screen and focus and it’s amazing to say the least! Especially if you find manual focus in video to be difficult, this will help solve many of those issues.
I am on Canon and find that their equipment overall does really well for video. While I’m not saying you have to switch to Nikon or another system, you may have to do a quick Google search for the equivalent terms on other systems. When looking for a lens to work with during video, I recommend getting a lens that has IS if possible. This is image stabilization and will actually work to stabilize your footage as it’s shot resulting in a much smoother image. I always recommend getting the best lens that you can for the money as this will result in much better color, contrast, focus ability and more. My go to combination is a 24-70mm and 70-200mm lens to give a variety of the shots that I need. These are both f/2.8 lenses, but when shooting video, you don’t need to shoot super wide open since having a larger depth of field will allow you a better ability to keep your subject in focus.
You’ll be happy to hear that you don’t need to get this! In fact, even though I own a Glidecam, I don’t use it very often. I mostly hand hold my video simply because I love the intimacy that you can get with your subject. If you’re pretty good about keeping your camera steady, this may be a good route for you, but if you have shaky hands, you may want to consider some sort of stabilizer.
The most common type of stabilizer is a monopod with a fluid foot. This will allow you to be able to move the monopod to an extent without having to pick it up. When buying a monopod, I recommend getting a monopod that has a fluid ball head as well as a fluid foot allowing movement in multiple directions. This will keep your footage from looking super locked down and ultimately lacking in interest to your viewer.
While there’s so much to learn about video, it’s hard to cover that all in one post! That’s why I put together the Film Course which covers everything super in depth and has over 8 hours of footage to show you exactly how I put together all of my senior films for my clients and how to produce cinematic film for your clients just like I do! Want to check it out? Click here to find out more information!
Sean Brown is a senior portrait photographer based out of Vancouver Washington and Portland Oregon. His goal is to bring out every senior’s personality in their images and is dedicated to making sure that every senior session is different so that no two senior images are alike. Sean is now booking the Class of 2020. To learn more about being an SBP Senior, click here.