There’s an old adage which says that the best camera is the one you have with you already. That is never more true than in the age of the smart device when high-quality cameras are always within easy reach.
As with all artistic exercises, there are ways in which you can improve the equality of what you produce, with the use of specific equipment and tools. You don’t need to upgrade the camera itself when you can make your videos better by investing in greater production value.
By adding some simple and affordable toys to your shooting kit, the differences will be noticeable and will be appreciated by your viewers.
We’ve all made the mistake of starting a new venture or hobby, and immediately spending too much money on fancy gear which very quickly becomes expensive, untouched dust magnets. There’s no need to do this when it comes to your filmmaking endeavours.
Below are some suggestions for entry-level kit that will instantly prove worthwhile. Naturally, as your video production ambitions grow, your investment can do so too, with more professional (expensive!) versions of these items.
For now, however, what’s important is learning the basics and putting them into practice as often as possible.
Microphone - The quality of the audio recording is most affected by how close the receiving microphone is to the source of the sound. Using an external microphone will make for a richer, more engaging quality of voice recording and subsequent listening experience.
These are a must if you wish to conduct interviews or talk to the camera when outside. Environmental factors such as wind, traffic noise, and other people can be mitigated by simply having a microphone clipped to your clothing, closer to the mouth.
Some phones do not have a 3.5mm minijack connector and will require an additional converter.
Portable Selfie Lamp - Cameras work by receiving visual information through its lens. The more light you can shed on the subject, the better quality of image can be captured. Not just in simple terms of combating darkness, but by adding depth, life and interest to your shots.
This selfie lamp clips onto your phone and is more flattering than using a built-in flashlight. Even in already well-lit places, using a personal lamp like this will make your eyes look more alive on camera, and your overall appearance more engaging as a result.
Rechargeable and dimmable, this portable lamp can also be clipped to your selfie stick or other additional grip devices.
Desk Selfie Lamp - If you are filming using your webcam, a desk lamp could be more suitable. The same lighting principles apply as above, with the added benefit of improving the look of your remote video-call meetings as well.
Selfie Stick - While you may not look cool using one, the stability offered by a self-stick can not be dismissed. When walking and filming, your footsteps are translated to the camera and results in wobbly, unstable footage that’s hard to watch. Even when being still and holding your device directly, the smallest movement is exaggerated on screen.
By having your camera held at a distance and not directly by your hand, your movements have a lesser effect on the recording. It also allows for more creative framing and artistic expression in your filming choices.
Not only will this selfie stick securely hold your phone when out and about, but it also has fold-out legs to become a desktop tripod. This leaves your hands free for physical movement, demonstrations, and using other devices while filming.
Jellyfielders are not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or sellers of these kit items, and quality may vary depending on where you purchase them from. Always check seller reviews.