Building a Portable Videography Kit

As an experienced videographer, it is crucial to prioritise portability when working on the go. No matter the situation, be it capturing outdoor action scenes, conducting interviews in multiple locations, or shooting a car video on a racetrack, your videographer kit should embody a balance of quality, convenience, and readiness. In this guide, we will provide an overview of the essential components for assembling a portable videography kit and recommend some helpful products to assist you in getting started.

Selecting the Ideal Main Camera

Depending on your production needs, it is essential to select a camera that can handle the higher end of the medium, such as the Sony ZV-1M2 Compact Vlog Camera. Although 4K and higher resolutions are preferred, it is also vital to consider the file size, especially when you are on the go for extended periods of 10 hours or more. Opting for lower resolutions can provide greater media capacity and can be advantageous when the highest quality is not necessary, such as for creating YouTube videos.

Is an Additional Camera Necessary?

In many interview setups, a second camera is often employed to capture a different perspective or a moving shot. A number of creative professionals opt to utilise their smartphones as secondary (or even tertiary) cameras. If the resolution and colour depth meet the requirements of your production, feel free to make use of them!

In the market, you can find a wide variety of lenses, gimbals, and kits specifically designed to transform your phone into a professional-grade camera. Additionally, there are specialised cages, gimbals, and rigs available for purchase that cater to phone photography enthusiasts. If you’re interested in capturing b-roll or action shots, a gimbal camera would be a convenient tool to have. Alternatively, for shots mounted on vehicles such as cars, boats, bikes, or drones, a GoPro would be a suitable choice.

Lens Options

Depending on the type of production, a limited number of lenses would be sufficient. When it comes to interviews, it is recommended to have a reliable set of prime lenses for still shots and a wide or zoom lens for dynamic shots to prevent any focus problems. Additionally, it is advisable to have specific prime lenses for capturing beauty shots.

Adapters are essential when working with multiple camera systems. These useful devices help minimise operational expenses by allowing the use of the same set of lenses across different cameras.

If you happen to own a full-frame cine camera, it would be beneficial to consider using a compact three-lens starter kit to begin your photography journey. Additionally, it is important to remember the significance of lens filters, particularly when capturing images of cars or shooting through windows, in order to minimise unwanted reflections and glare.

Hold It Steady

When conducting interviews or capturing steady shots for b-roll footage, it’s crucial to have a reliable tripod. Opting for a lightweight option is ideal when you’re constantly on the go. It’s also important to choose a tripod head that can support the weight of your equipment and provides a panning mechanism and bubble level for maintaining balance.

If mobility is important to you, utilising a shoulder rig or camera cage equipped with handles can aid in securing your camera and ensuring stability while filming.

When working with a DSLR or mirrorless camera, A shoulder rig can be a valuable option to consider. It provides an open design that allows for easy attachment of additional accessories. The adjustable components of the rig can accommodate various configurations, making it suitable for cameras of different sizes.

Additional choices are available that provide the ability to attach accessories and offer dependable support for compact cameras. Shoulder mounts are an excellent option for stabilising your camera and ensuring comfort during extended filming sessions.

Lighting the Scene

It is essential to have portable LED lights that are battery-powered when travelling. With numerous options available, it is important to consider durability, portability, brightness, and colour when selecting the appropriate kit. Bi-colour lights are advantageous as they provide a wide range of colour temperature, spanning from daylight to tungsten. Additionally, it is recommended to look for lights with a dimmer that can be adjusted from 0% to 100%.

To ensure that you have sufficient battery life during extended periods in the field, it is advisable to explore low-power alternatives. A popular choice among videographers is the utilisation of compact L-series batteries, which have the capability to power various filmmaking equipment such as smaller lighting setups, cameras, and monitors. These batteries offer a practical solution for professionals who require a reliable power source while on location.

The Importance of Audio in Various Contexts

Recording high-quality audio is a crucial and sometimes difficult aspect of field productions. It is always beneficial to use multiple audio sources alongside your camera’s built-in microphone, and one way to achieve this is by using a recorder such as the Zoom H4n Pro. This recorder offers two XLR inputs and two built-in microphones, allowing you to capture additional ambient tracks.

Ensuring an Abundant Supply of Recording Media

If you are familiar with the field of documentaries or b-roll, you are well aware of the importance of having an abundance of media/SD cards for your audio recorder and video camera. It is crucial to have an ample supply of these cards, especially when working with slow-motion video or capturing high bit-rate/resolution content. It is advisable to ensure that you possess fast and large-capacity cards for optimal performance in such scenarios.

Ensuring the protection of your cards is essential, and one effective way to do so is by organising them in a case. It is advisable to invest in a case that offers easy access, allowing for quick card changes.

Power Is Essential

It is advisable to bring multiple spare batteries when embarking on a photography session and be aware of their endurance. To extend the duration of your shoot, you have the option of attaching a battery grip to your DSLR or mirrorless camera. Numerous camera manufacturers provide battery plates that enable the use of high-capacity Gold mount or V-mount batteries, offering a wide range of choices.

Consider exploring a portable power station, equipped with a high-capacity battery, that can efficiently power not only your camera but also other devices such as your smartphone, action camera, or gimbal.

Streamlining the Entire Process

A videography kit cannot be considered truly portable unless it includes practical carrying cases. To easily access your equipment while on the move, a convenient top-loading bag that provides access to all your gear through a single opening is essential. Consider using roller bags specifically designed for tripods, sliders, shoulder rigs, and other long items. These bags should also have enough pockets to accommodate additional accessories such as spare camera plates, tape, and tools.