Fundamental Tools Every Freelance Videographer Needs
So, you want to be a freelance videographer? It’s not an easy job so let me be the first to applaud you for even considering it. I’ve always loved telling stories through video and finally turned my passion into my career when I moved to Atlanta three years ago. I’m constantly on the go creating videos for my clients and have learned a thing or two when it comes to making sure I have the right equipment I need on me at all times. In this post we’re going to talk about the fundamental tools every freelance videographer needs in their arsenal (aside from a camera and a computer with editing software).
1. A Good Bag
Being an efficient videographer, you need to be able to transport your tools anywhere you go. Style definitely is something to think about, but I always think of the saying "The best camera, is the one you have with you." So make sure whatever bag you buy, you're able to easily carry your gear. I personally like the Lowepro ProTactic series, and use the 450 AW for all of my equipment. There are so many choices out there, but when I choose a camera bag, I think to myself, "Can I make a video from start to finish with just the gear in this bag?"
2. Shotgun Microphone
You can produce videos without recording sound, but eventually you'll need to capture someone's voice in an interview. For microphones, the shotgun microphone is the most versatile. The shotgun microphone can be mounted to the hot shoe of your camera or on a tripod to get closer to the talent. Sound is crucial when creating videos, and sometimes more important than the video quality. At the very minimum, I suggest the Rode VideoMicro. However, you should really invest in something more advanced like the Rode VideoMic Pro or the Shure VP83, which is what I use.
It may seem like a drone is pushing the budget, but b-roll is so important to the story telling of your video. A drone can get you some of the best footage, and set you apart from your competition. DJI rules the market for aerial videography, so take a look at the Spark, Mavic Air, and Mavic Pro.
Read my article on why you should get your drone license, here.
4. External Hard Drive
Collecting footage for clients will add up quickly, and will eventually fill up your laptop or desktop main hard drive. You also don't want to delete a client's raw footage after a project is delivered. You may need to do another project or additional editing using the footage. I never delete raw footage and have made a habit to just buy a new external hard drive every year, storing last year's in a safe place. It really depends on how much video work you're doing, but as of right now, I suggest getting a 4TB external hard drive. Seagate and Western Digital ones are on Amazon and I've never had any issues with either. If you want to take it a step further, also get a Samsung 500GB SSD external hard drive to use for "active" projects. The additional speed of the SSD will make it easier for editing video, and you can use the slower 4TB hard drive as storage after delivering the project.
I use a GorillaPod for almost every video shoot. It's designed to be a lightweight, take anywhere tripod, but I and many other videographers use it for much more. The biggest reason I have one, is just to have an extra grip on my camera while I'm walking around taking video. It helps stabilize the camera for quick interviews, allows me to get the camera higher than I can reach, and lets me take a break from holding the camera upright by dangling my DSLR upside down. I've personally never wrapped it around a tree branch, but I like knowing I can. There are many models and the price pretty much goes up with how much weight you're putting on it. The GorillaPod 3K kit and 5K kit will cover most DSLR cameras.