As the year nears its end, it is time for us to compile our picks for Videomaker’s Best Products of 2020. 2020 was a crazy whirlwind, and while video production came to a near halt, we still saw some huge releases. In fact, there were so many great product releases that it made it difficult to narrow down this list. Each product was carefully evaluated for innovation, value and overall performance.
Best Products Award criterion
For a product to qualify as one of our Best Products of the Year, it must have passed through Videomaker for examination by our editorial staff. From there, we judged the products based on the following questions:
- Empowerment: does the product help videographers become more effective storytellers?
- Ease of operation: is it user-friendly?
- Affordability: does the product must provide good value for the price?
- Quality: is it well put together, durable and does it display excellence?
- Innovation: is it inventive and original?
- Dependability: can it endure the rigors of active video production?
- Performance: does it work consistently and effectively?
Now, let’s get into our choices for the Best Products of 2020.
The HC-X2000 has a ½.5” sensor that captures UHD 4K 60fps. I/O includes USB, SDI, HDMI, headphone, XLR and WiFi. It also has optical image stabilization, face tracking autofocus, ND filters, dual SD card slots and livestreaming via WiFi. Perhaps the HC-X2000s strongest feature is its Leica 24X zoom lens with a 24-600mm equivalent focal range with focus, zoom and iris rings.
Read more about the HC-X2000 here.
Best DSLR/mirrorless camera
Fujifilm brings unexpected features in a mirrorless camera to the X-T4. The 24 megapixel APS-C sensor records DCI/UHD 4K 60fps five-axis image stabilization in addition to fairly common options like log gamma, hybrid autofocus, headphone and mic jacks. What sets the X-T4 apart is its easy to use body with large dials, rear joystick and its film simulation modes. Fujifilm recreates the look of many classic photochemical processes digitally in the X-T4, including Eterna—the 35mm stock loved by cinematographers.
Check out all the details on the X-T4 here.
Best hybrid camera
Canon EOS R5
The full-frame Canon R5 records 8K 12bit RAW or 8K, 4K or HD in 10bit 4:2:2 files to CFexpress cards. If that amount of color and detail weren’t convincing enough, the R5 also has five-axis sensor-shift stability that works in addition to image stabilization on native RF and adapted EF lenses. The R5 has the latest in autofocus, image tracking and image processing from Canon all in a 1.62 lb camera body. As a bonus, it also takes 45 megapixel stills. While the camera does overheat then recording in 8K, the camera makes up for it with all of its other features.
Learn more about the R5 here.
Best cinema camera
Canon EOS C70
Canon’s new Cinema EOS camera, the C70, packs in a lot of features. Its Super35 DCI 4K sensor captures two gain values at once and combines them to produce an image with lower noise. The C70 can record 4:2:2 4K/HD 120fps to affordable SD cards and 24 bit/48k audio via mini XLR. Timecode I/O and ND filters are also built into the C70. The side 1/4″-20 mount and menu shift also allows the C70 to be operated vertically—9×16.
Read more about the C70 here.
Best specialty camera
Every year, GoPro continues to outdo itself. The HERO9 features a 23.6MP sensor, allowing you to shoot multiple resolutions, including 5K at 24 fps. Likewise, shooting 1080HD at 240 fps lets you create some cool 8X slo-mo effects. Other nice features include livestreaming in 1080p and timelapse footage at night in 4K. Finally, 14 voice commands allow you to shoot completely hands free.
Check out our review on the HERO9 to learn more.
Sony FE 20mm F1.8 G
The Sony FE 20mm F1.8 G is very fast for a wide 20mm lens covering full-frame sensors, but this lens offers even more. A focus hold button on the side of the lens allows you to lock the focus, or you can assign the button to other camera features. The lens also has a de-click switch, which allows the iris to move smoothly for video shooting. The nine-blade rounded iris helps create a pleasing look to out-of-focus areas of the frame.
Read more about the lens here.
DJI RSC 2
The RSC 2 is the latest in handheld electronic gimbal stabilizers from DJI. Designed for use by a select group of DSLR/Mirrorless cameras, the gimbal has a total weight capacity of 6.6 lbs and can be configured by mobile app. The RSC 2 can be used traditionally or underslung for low angle shots while providing stability for lenses up to 100mm. The unit has a built-in tripod which allows for timelapse and panorama moves.
Learn more about the RSC 2 here.
The Litra Studio is less than six inches wide and provides 3,000 lumens of light. The fixture is rated at 97 CRI, and its rectangular LED array is configured in an RGBWW pattern giving it the ability to reproduce 2-10K Kelvin. The light runs on a removable 9000 mAh battery and has an aluminum body that is waterproof to 30 feet—10 meters. The Litra Studio is controllable by a mobile app via Bluetooth or DMX with an adapter.
HP ZBook Create G7
The ZBook Create G7 series features HPs stunning DreamColor display. The 15.6″ 60 hz display is available in standard or touchscreen options with either 1080HD or 4K UHD resolution. The G7 uses 10th generation Intel processors including the I9 with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2700 Max-Q graphics card. It’s a fast machine, perfect for editing on the go.
Read more about it here.
Best desktop workstation
Dell Precision 5820
Dell’s Precision 5820 allows you to completely customize your workstation to provide the best options to meet your video processing demands. For editing, animation, VFX, and VR/AR content, the Precision 5820 supports single or dual video cards with options as powerful as the AMD Radeon Pro W5700 or the latest NVIDIA Quadro RTX series. Xeon W Processor choices range from 4 to 18 cores. 8 DIMM slots supports up to 256GB of 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory. Several ways to configure storage with multiple drive options include the ability to install a RAID controller for SAS drives. With the added ability to select a chassis with a 950 watt power supply, the Precision 5820 provides all the power you need for your projects.
Check Dell’s website for pricing and configuration.
SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD V2
Rugged and durable with a convenient, built-in carabiner, San Disk’s Extreme Pro Portable SSD V2 can withstand 6’ drops and is made to protect against water and dust. Using a USB 3.2 connection, the SSD has fast read and write speeds up to 2000 MB/s.
RØDE VideoMic NTG
The RØDE VideoMic NTG is a versatile shotgun mic that you can use with your smartphone, tablet and computer using a USB connection. Features include continuously variable gain control, an audio peak warning light, high pass filters and a dedicated button for the -20 dB pad to quickly lower the record level. Special highlights are a durable shock mount, an internal rechargeable battery with a 30 hour run time and the option to set the mic’s right channel to output 20 dB lower than the left channel.
Learn more about the microphone here.
Best field monitor
Blackmagic Design Video Assist 3G-SDI/HDMI 7″ Recorder/Monitor
This Blackmagic Video Assist has a 7” 1920×1200 LCD 310nit panel that can record 10bit 4:2:2 1080 60fps to dual SD card slots. Features include waveform, vectorscope, RGB parade, histogram, audio level meters and custom overlays. On the monitor, you’ll find SDI and HDMI I/O, mini XLR ins, headphone out and a speaker. Audio can be recorded at 24bit/48K via analog or digital inputs. Finally, a 2.5mm LANC control port supports record start/stop.
Best desktop monitor
HP Z27K G3
The Z27K G3 professional monitor features always-on low-blue light while maintaining complete color accuracy. The 27” diagonal, LED backlit 4K display comes color-calibrated right out the box with a brightness level of 350nits and a 60H refresh rate. With an ultra-thin profile, 100W USB-C power delivery, and consistent colors from screen to screen supporting 99% sRGB, 85% DCI P3, BT.70, the Z27k G3 raises the bar for creators who need a color accurate monitor. Alongside the monitor’s impressive color accuracy, it comes with a state and dynamic contrast ratio of 1000:1 and 10M:1 respectively and inputs like DisplayPort 1.4, DisplayPort 1.4 Out, HDMI, and four USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 inputs.
The Z27K G3, while not available until February 2020, was tested here at Videomaker headquarters and we can confidently say that this monitor is a step above the rest.
Best beginner editing software
Simple with an easy to use interface, Apple iMovie allows you to edit footage with resolutions up to 4k. Standout features include tools for audio and chroma-key and great templates for making trailers and movies including a small selection of sound effects and music. While Apple iMovie only works on macOS, iOS, and/or iPadOS devices, the upside is that it’s free!
Click here to download.
Best enthusiast editing software
With the ability to edit up to 100 tracks of video and/or audio, Wondershare FilmoraX packs in a lot of features into an NLE that works on both Mac and PC. Supporting 4K footage, it provides tools for titles, transitions, 3D LUTs, image stabilization, audio and VFX including speed control and chroma-key. Wondershare FilmoraX is priced at $39.99 annually or $69.99 for a lifetime license with additional add-ons available.
Read more about the it here.
Best professional editing software
DaVinci Resolve 16.2
DaVinci Resolve 16.2 is more than just an editor, it’s a full post-production suite. DaVinci has long been the gold standard for color correction. Along the way, it has added functionality such as the integration of Fusion for VFX and Fairlight for audio post. This version comes with new features, including facial recognition to create clips in bins based on people’s faces in the footage, Frame.io integration for online collaboration, and gang viewer zoom with SDI/HDMI out so your external monitor will show the detail that color viewer shows. DaVinci Resolve still offers a fully functional, robust free version with a $299 studio upgrade that has some nice added features like multi-user collaboration, stereoscopic 3D tools and HDR grading.
Click here to download.
Best livestreaming switcher
Blackmagic ATEM Mini Pro
The ATEM Mini Pro is a 4×2 switcher with streaming and recording functionality. It has four 1080p HDMI ins, two 3.5mm audio ins, HDMI out for program or multiview, Ethernet for RTMP streaming and control, USB-C for external drive recording, webcam out and control. Switcher output is 10bit 4:2:2 Rec 709 in 1080p from 23.98 to 60fps. Effects include audio EQ and dynamics, chroma and luma keys, PiP and a pattern and color generator with a maximum of 5 video layers.
Get more details on the switcher here.
Manfrotto 645 Fast Twin LegVideo Tripod
The 645 is a carbon fiber tripod with two stage legs. It’s light, easy to transport and designed for all terrains featuring spiked feet, removable rubber shoes and individual leg locks. With a 100mm bowl with a 75 mm adapter, the Manfrotto 645 has an excellent minimum height of 10.6”, a maximum working height of 61.6”, a folded length of 28.7″ and a 55 lb capacity load.
That’s a wrap!
This concludes our round-up for the Best of 2020. There were some excellent products for many of the categories that just didn’t make our list this year, but to quote Highlander, “There can be only one!” Don’t see your favorite product listed? Let us know your favorite products from 2020 in the comments.