How do top social media influencers make waves? In today’s social media ecosystem, video is king.
Gear for social videos
Watch Rodney talk through the gear used on our social media video shoots.
If you want people to connect with you or see your business featured on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and other platforms, I’d recommend taking some time to create high-quality videos, and to do so regularly.
Of course, time is money. And mastering essentials like the video gear needed for a social media video shoot can pay huge dividends.
Here’s everything you need to take on the next shoot, whether you’re live streaming to keep your audience engaged or crafting killer short-form content.
Social Media Video Gear List To Shoot Like a Pro
I can already hear some of you saying, “But, Rodney, I have no idea how to shoot videos. I mean, not anything that would look professional. Isn’t it difficult? Will I need to spend big bucks?”
Take a breath; I’m not asking you to retrain for the film industry here. You also won’t need super expensive gear to start creating videos that look phenomenal across your social media posts! All you need is a few tips, a little experience, and some solid equipment.
Start by taking a peek at what’s inside my trusty camera bag:
- MacBook Pro
- Battery charger
- Several power banks
- ND filters
- Glass cleaners
- Extra batteries
- RODE NT Pro microphone
- Canon R5 with a 15-35 lens, 24-70 lens, and some caps
- Camera strap
- Various cables
- Portable cool color lights
Does this look like a long list? You might change your mind knowing it all fits into a single medium-sized backpack!
Don’t forget a basic tripod on your travels. For instance, a Joby flexible tripod comes in handy when I shoot videos outside or need some hands-free stuff.
It’s Just Basic Video Shooting Equipment (But That’s All You Need)
Let’s dive a bit deeper into the video gear needed for a social media video shoot. I use this basic equipment all the time for video content that’s punchy, beautiful, and still sharp.
Obviously, the camera plays a big role in your video quality. While a smartphone will do for casual video shoots, you need a camera for more professional results.
Still, you don’t have to invest your life savings into a top-level professional camera if you’re just getting into things. Canon, Panasonic, Sony, and Nikon all have mid-range models that are solid for creating social media videos.
If you’re planning to make a lot of video content on the go, look into action cameras like the lightweight GoPro models.
A lesser-known detail I like to get right is the camera lens, which goes with your camera model. For example, low-light shoots need a good-quality wide-aperture lens. A quiet autofocus also ensures the noise won’t interfere with your audio.
Using your phone to shoot videos is great, but consider a mobile third-party lens to upgrade the video content. I like the various options by Moment.
Unsurprisingly, amazing video clips go hand in hand with quality audio. For that, you need a decent microphone, whether it’s plug-in or wireless lavalier microphones or shotgun mics.
Lavalier microphones are popular hands-free mics that clip on a shirt or jacket lapel, and they’re reliable. Wireless options are better if your video shoot involves moving around.
If you’re serious about your video content, I’d definitely recommend investing in a good-quality voiceover microphone (to add audio when you’re editing videos after the fact).
In my line of work, it’s become clear that the humble tripod is just as important as a quality camera and microphone.
What can a solid tripod do for you?
- Use your camera hands-free when you’re cuddling a koala
- Stabilize your shoot when you’re trying to get a great view of the cityscape from the roof
- Protect your equipment from falling into the mud when you’re on the trail
I recommend choosing a compact, light tripod. I don’t like to add too much weight to my shooting gear backpack, especially when I’m shooting six months of content in three days.
Carbon fiber tripods are significantly lighter than aluminum, so they’re a smart option if you walk around a lot carrying your video equipment. Phone tripods for mobile video shoots also help.
I find Joby’s compact, flexible tripods for cameras and smartphones a lifesaver for uneven surfaces or hanging the camera from a tree branch. Flexible tripods get the exact angle you need.
Extra light is invaluable here. So, unless you’re in optimal conditions, lighting is standard video gear needed for a social media video shoot.
If I’m using a mobile setup, a ring light is often enough to prevent harsh shadows. If you’re looking into more advanced but still budget-friendly lighting, adjustable brightness and color temperature can do the trick. For example:
- The Amaran P60X
- A bi-colored LED panel
- The Godox 60-watt LED
For optimal video quality, I’d also suggest a softbox (to make the light appear softer) for more flattering shots.
Portable light panels like Aputure MC Pro are another option.
Other Useful Gear For More Professional-Looking Videos
Does your camera skip the tilt-out display feature? Consider an external monitor that connects via HDMI.
I’d mount it on top of your camera to easily see whether your framing and focus are spot-on.
Neutral density filters control the amount of light entering your camera lens, as well as:
- Reduce contrast
- Avoid overexposure
- Create a softer look to the images
Variable, screw-on, and fixed ND filters work. If you’re a beginner, variable ND filters are the most flexible choice.
While its name may not make its function obvious, the fluid head helps you achieve that desirable smooth (“fluid”) effect as your camera moves from a stationary position to follow an object. You can find some decent, affordable models to try out and see what works.
Are you ready to set up all that video gear needed for a social media video shoot? Don’t forget a sturdy bag.
There’s no point getting all dressed up if you’re going to be sweating like a pig or losing valuable equipment to and from your amazing new video shoot.
I find a roomy bag helpful, with a compartment that snugly fits your camera and plenty of pockets to fit in all your other gadgets. I also use a bag that’s ergonomic and comfortable so that toting around all that equipment is a little easier on my arms, neck, and back.
Do I Have To Spend a Lot of Time on Social Media Videos?
From my experience, even a few days of concentrated shooting can give you enough quality source content for many months of social media videos.
Why not simplify your content planning strategy? Set aside a big shoot or a couple of hours every few weeks for video production. A solid work process makes this easy.
- Write great video scripts: I also include questions for interviews and notes about shooting the video horizontally or vertically.
- Prepare well for shooting: I always try out new equipment and carefully pack everything I’ll need for the shoot beforehand.
- Shoot the video: I bring only what I need. (Pro tip: don’t overpack!)
- Edit your video: Remember, editing takes more time than the shoot. Good-quality video editor software makes it a breeze.
How To Rock Your Video Shoot and Have Fun Too
Videos can be a hit-and-miss exercise without experience, but that’s how you learn. Free tutorials can help you grease the wheels but also try the following:
Position your main light
I’ll usually get a more flattering shoot if the key light is a little off-center from the subject. If the person wears glasses, adjust your light’s angle and height to avoid reflections.
Is your focus off? You might have to re-shoot your whole video, and nobody has that kind of time.
Keep an eye on the screen. Autofocus is highly convenient. However, I’d recommend that you test it before the shoot to check it’s working correctly.
Just like focus, framing is something you need to get right as you’re shooting the video. Double-check that everything you need is in the frame before you start filming.
Monitor your audio
You can adjust your audio after you finish shooting. However, monitoring audio levels while you’re filming makes things easier. Check your mic is working and your voice volume is at the right level.
Get a higher resolution
As a professional, I recommend shooting any video at the highest possible resolution your camera can handle.
It gives you more flexibility when you edit or clip the frames for your social media platform. If you can keep the picture quality, you can always reframe shots or zoom in for a close-up.
Get More Tips for Social Media On My Blog
This rundown of video gear needed for a social media video shoot should help you get your ducks in a row. One last tip—remember to smile and enjoy the location for a bit after you put the camera down!