As a videographer, there are a few things you should have on hand if you want to avoid headaches during your shoots. The same goes if you’re a content creator. In reality, the phone in your pocket is all you need to have on hand to capture video. However, if you’re looking to achieve higher production quality and avoid setbacks, there are some key pieces of video equipment and items that you may forget but are a lifesaver when you have them.
In this article, we will highlight these items and their purpose, explaining why you shouldn’t skimp on these camera bag extras. Whether you are new to video production or are a professional, these pieces of gear may be just what you need. Let’s get into it.
First things first: Lens wipes or cleaner
Even if you take great care of your lenses, camera lenses are notorious for gathering all kinds of microfibers and smudges, which will negatively affect your footage. In most cases, these can’t be fixed in post-production.
Our advice is to clean your lenses thoroughly after every shoot and keep extra cleaner or wipes in your camera bag, as well as dry wipes. They just might save your footage if you’re caught in a dusty, smudgy situation.
Next, air puffer
Speaking of cleanliness, we recommend picking up an air puffer. If you’re unfamiliar with them, an air puffer, or air blower, is a small tool with a balloon-like piece that blows concentrated air through an opening. This is great for blowing off any dust particles that may land on your lens or sensor in between cleanings or takes, and a decent one will only set you back about $10. An air puffer is essential if you work with lenses of any kind.
Don’t forget VELCRO
If you want to be efficient, it’s important to stay organized. VELCRO strips will help you to wrangle any cords you have set up for lights, audio or on your camera rig, keeping them out of your way when shooting. This will help keep everything together to make your camera movements easier to maneuver. Remember, keeping your rig clean and organized is always better than lugging around a wiry mess.
Gaffer tape is a must-have piece of equipment
We can’t stress the importance of having your set free of any safety hazards — that’s where gaffer tape comes in. When you have any kind of light setup, a boom mic for audio or anything that involves cords laying across the floor, you want to tape them down. The last thing you want when shooting your production is someone getting hurt because they tripped over a cord. Taking the time to tape down your cables properly will help you avoid extra costs from broken video equipment — or worse, a lawsuit.
SD card wallet: These are quite handy
It’s important to keep your set organized; the same goes for where you store your files. SD cards are notorious for being misplaced, so you want to keep them somewhere they won’t get lost. An SD card wallet or case is a simple way to keep track of your memory storage. They eliminate the time spent digging through your camera bag looking for your SD. While not a huge game-changer, they are still nice to have.
Never leave without extra batteries
If you have any experience creating video content, you’ve probably run into this scenario: You’re getting great footage on a shoot, and then your camera’s battery indicator starts flashing red. If you didn’t pack an extra battery, your shoot would end pretty much right then and there. A great rule of thumb to go by is to always bring extra batteries, even if you think you won’t need them. You never know for sure how long a shoot will run or when an opportunity to shoot something unexpected will come up.
Keep some extra, on-brand batteries in your bag. The on-brand part is important because some off-brand batteries can sometimes be unreliable or not last as long. In the long run, it will pay off to have on-brand quality batteries and help you avoid cutting your shoot short.
Have a clapper on hand
A clapper, or clapboard, is a great tool for marking each clip visually and helps you sync your external microphone’s recording to your footage in post-production. Also, it helps you know which scene will follow the clap. With a clapboard, you can streamline your editing and file organization.
Bring a USB to HDMI converter
Depending on your monitor or computer’s input options, you may want to invest in a USB to HDMI converter. Many external monitors use HDMI inputs, and some offer both HDMI and USB UVC. This is one instance where knowing your video equipment will come in handy. Inspect your camera’s output options and the inputs on your monitor and computer. Once you do that, pick up cords and converters accordingly.
Camera umbrella: just in case
Expect the unexpected; this old statement holds true when planning for unpredictable weather as a videographer. You always want to ensure your video equipment is covered — especially your camera. There are many options for camera umbrellas. Some can be compact and mount directly to your camera; others can be larger and mount to a tripod or camera cage. They can keep your video equipment dry in the rain and can keep your camera cool if you’re shooting in the direct sun.
Reflector: for just a bit more light
Have you ever wished you could get a little more light onto your subject? Reflectors are the answer. They can come in all shapes, sizes and tints. Some can also be easily folded down and packed away, taking up little room in your camera bag. They can be beneficial in any instance where you might want to deflect light in a different direction. Adding more light to your subject is an easy way to separate the subject from the background and increase the shot’s quality.
Bring a pop-out green/blue screen
A pop-out blue/green screen can be beneficial if you want a different background than what’s available to you. Pop-out screens come in either solid green, blue or can come with both, and are great for keying in backgrounds in post-production.
Makeup kit for your on-screen talent
A basic, carry-with-you makeup kit is another easy way to increase the quality of your production. Depending on what you are producing, you may want to use makeup to accentuate the features of your subject, as taking this extra step will increase the overall production quality. If you need some help apply makeup to your talent, be sure to check out our guide for applying makeup for video.
Grab a C-stand with a boom holder
There are a variety of ways to capture audio on set. Assuming you are using a shotgun mic, investing in a good C-stand with a boom holder will make the process much smoother — especially if you are shooting by yourself or have a small crew with no one to hold the boom pole. On top of that, a high-quality C-stand can last forever and has many uses, including holding flags, reflectors, lights and other things that can increase the quality of your production.
Don’t forget a notebook and pen
Last but certainly not least, the humble notebook and pen are indispensable on a film set. It may seem obvious, but having a way to take notes or write down new ideas is always beneficial. Pick up a notebook and pen because it will help you to stay organized and revisit any information you wrote down during editing.
The video equipment you need
There you have it. Having all this equipment and items on set will save you a lot of time and headaches. So, bring some of these items next time you go to set.