Some of our other posts give you some handy guidelines for things like basic filming and video editing. The truth is, video production can require an awful lot of kit, especially if you’re starting from zero, so we put together a list of our top ten must-haves for video production. This is stuff you absolutely need, and/or the stuff that will be well worth the cost, because you’ll use it again and again.

Without further ado…

1. Camera.

This one falls into the “absolutely necessary” category (obviously). But before you start to stress about cost, know that while you can spend a lot on a camcorder, you don’t have to. You can produce excellent video with the video you probably already have in your pocket; a smartphone. The problem with these tends to be sound: if you’re more than three feet away from the sound source, the sound quality is substandard. Luckily you can always use an external microphone by hooking it up to the phone’s headphone jack. In case you decide to go bigger or more specialized, here’s an article from Adorama on choosing the right camera for your needs.

2. Camera bag.

This will carry your essentials for every shoot. It should be padded and waterproof, with lots of compartments for keeping your bits and pieces organized.

3. Backup essentials.

You’re going to need a supply of at least one spare camera battery, one spare memory card, and a battery charger or power cord just in case.

4. Tripod.

Some people try to do without a tripod on their first video shoot; we don’t recommend it. Generally speaking, a tripod can make the difference between have a professional-looking video or an amateurish one. There’s nothing worse than shaky filming, and almost nothing makes people click away from your video faster.

5. Shotgun mic.

A shotgun microphone is highly directional, and produces high-quality sound in a variety of environments, including both indoors or outdoors, in close range or at a wider distance. A shotgun is the type of mic you see used on Hollywood film sets (typically on a boom), and the smaller versions are affordable. The shotgun mic is my favorite because it’s versatile, so it’s great value for the money, but you can find out more about your options in our recent blog post on sound for video.

6. Boom Pole.

A boom pole isn’t absolutely necessary, but you can get one for under $50, and it will allow you to be more precise when capturing sound. It will also help you keep the mic well out of the camera shot.

7. Umbrella lights.

You have a few options when it comes to lighting, and you can find out more from out post on lighting for video. Umbrella lights are a nice go-to, as you can get a good quality pair for under $100 that will work well in a variety of situations. You can even negate the need for the fill light by using umbrella lights and reflective surfaces (mirrors or white walls) to achieve an ambient light.

8. Extension cord.

A high-quality extension cord will only run you about $30, and this can save you when you realize you’re running out of battery and you’re too far from a power source. It happens more than you’d think.

9. Editing workstation.

If you’re going to be editing your own videos, you need a laptop or desktop computer that has the capabilities to handle editing software. That includes a good graphics card, the nessiary inputs to get the video off of your camera, and ideally a good-sized screen for viewing.

10. Video editing software.

Again, this is only necessary if you plan to edit your own videos. Check out our recent post on video editing for more information on types of software packages available, and how to choose the best one for you.

Have anything to ask or add? We’re listening! Tweet to us at @SproutVideo or leave a comment below.

Written by Laci Texter

SproutVideo blog contributor. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Posted April 1, 2013

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