Looking to get into video? Matty Graham is your guide to the best accessories for video that will help make a real difference to the quality of your video production
More and more photographers are choosing to shoot video alongside stills as they explore the amazing movie-making features that today’s cameras offer.
With 4K video, Log profiles and headphone/microphone ports found on even modestly priced cameras, it’s no wonder photographers are seeing the potential in video; whether it be at a beginner level to capture footage of the family, or more-professional shooters who want to offer video services alongside their stills imagery.
Whatever level you’re at, there are several must-have accessories out there that can make a huge difference to not only the way you capture video but also the quality of the footage you end up with. For this feature, we’ve listed a range of accessories that cover different jobs you’ll encounter when shooting video.
The great news is that the majority of this kit doesn’t cost the earth, but will add huge value to your workflow and make capturing quality footage even easier.
Best accessories for video:
Atomos Shinobi 5in monitor
$299 / £288 www.atomos.com
Sometimes, the LCD or EVF on your camera won’t be up to the job and so a monitor will provide a big display of your scene and can be used flipped around if you are vlogging. The Shinobi offers a 5in LCD, is lightweight so is perfect with lighter and smaller cameras, and offers a raft of advanced features, such as being able to store and display LUTs on screen.
LUTs are like filters, they apply a specific colour grading to your videos.
Connecting to the camera via an HDMI cable, you will need to stock up on batteries when on location, but if you are shooting indoors, there’s a plugged power option, too.
For more options check out our guide to the best external camera screens.
Giottos Rocket Air Blower
$17.99 / £13.50 l www.wexphotovideo.com
Capturing video out in the field means you’ll be at the mercy of all the dust and debris flying in the wind. It’s only a matter of time before your camera’s sensor picks up spots of dust and suchlike, but a few pumps with this air blower should clear the debris away, leaving the sensor clean and maximising your chances of capturing higher-quality footage. For just over a tenner, it’s a small investment that will make a big difference to your footage.
$50+ / £60+ depending on model l www.smallrig.com
Cages do two jobs; firstly, they add an extra level of protection against knocks and bumps, but secondly (and arguably more importantly), they provide a range of mounts and ports that will enable videographers to add extra accessories and create a ‘rig’.
These accessories could be a monitor, an external microphone or additional plate mounts to pair the rig with a tripod or slider rail. They may seem like a luxury, but once you’ve bought a cage you’ll wonder how you lived without it.
DJI RSC 2
$449 / £390 l www.dji.com
If you’re serious about video and want to capture stabilised footage without breaking the bank then the RSC 2 from DJI strikes a great balance between cost and features.
Able to take a payload of 3kg, the gimbal folds away to make it travel-friendly. The gimbal, which tips the scales at just 1,216g, can rest on the supplied tripod foot and boasts an epic battery life of up to 14 hours from a single charge. gimbals
Rode GO II Wireless mics
$299 / £275 l www.rode.com
If you want to shoot interviews then you will need two mics to ensure you capture balanced and enhanced audio. Rode makes this very easy with the tiny GO II mics.
Power them up via the USB connection – these tiny units can be used with the supplied lav mics, or you can simply attach them to the shirt of your interview subject via the clip, which doubles up as the attachment that connects to your camera’s hotshoe mount.
As they’re wireless, there’s no cables to trip over and the battery offers up to seven hours of use.
$30 / £32 l www.amazon.co.uk
If you’re getting into video to shoot footage of products, then a turntable is an absolute must. With the benefit of a motorised turntable, you can set your product spinning and capture a 360° sequence to show all sides of the product. There’s no shortage of turntables available in various sizes and colours, and prices start from just £25.
Hague Edge Slider Rail
$289 / £198 l www.cvp.com
Slider rails enable videographers to introduce smooth motion into what could otherwise be a fairly static scene. These shots work best when there is also some foreground interest to emphasise the motion.
Hague’s Edge slider, which is made out of carbon fibre and has a 1/4in screw and a 3/8in adapter, measures 80cm long, giving videographers a decent amount of space to slide the camera (especially if you’re shooting in slow motion), while keeping the rail portable and lightweight.
Neewer Dimmable LED light
$199 (Pair) / £90 (Single) l www.amazon.co.uk
While many videographers prefer natural light, there may be situations when extra illumination is needed. This light from Neewer offers 480 LEDs and delivers a colour range of 3200-5600K, meaning it offers both warm and cool tones.
Operating with a plug or in a more portable fashion via an external battery, the LED sits on a light stand and can be tilted to get the best direction of rays. A dimmer switch enables users to control the strength of light on their subject. It also comes with a carry case.
$130 / £139 l www.dji.com
Many videographers choose to shoot video footage on smartphones rather than DSLRs – why not, as most offer 4K – so it can really pay to add a gimbal to stabilise this footage. One of the newest options is the OM5 from DJI.
The handheld device includes a magnetic clip to quickly attach/remove your smartphone, and the built-in extension pole allows the user to shoot footage from further away. The OM5 can pair up with your phone via the DJI Mimo app, enabling you to adjust settings or transfer footage.
Zoom F1 field recorder
$195 / £200 l www.zoomcorp.com
A great alternative to a radio mic is a field recorder. A lav mic plugs into the recorder, which isn’t connected to the camera and this means you’ll have to sync up the audio when you edit the content on the computer.
The big advantage of the Zoom F1 is that your subject can be really far away from the camera as there’s no Bluetooth link to maintain. It’s powered by AA batteries; you can get 10 hours’ use out of the F1, which records to a Micro SD card and has a built-in limiter to avoid clipping and maintain quality.
K&F Concept ND8-ND2000 / Calumet ND8X ND filter
$45 / £40 l www.wexphotovideo.com
When shooting video, your shutter speed will be locked to a set frame rate (1/100sec or 1/50sec, for example) and in bright lighting conditions it can be a struggle to stop your footage from overexposing.
The solution is to add an ND filter in front of your lens (although some cameras offer built-in ND filters). Good glass doesn’t have to be expensive – an ND8 from Calumet costs just £40 and won’t affect the colour rendition of the scene.
Rode VideoMic Go II
$99 / £89 | rode.com
When filming scenes where multiple people are talking or for capturing ambient sound, add a hotshoe mic to your camera. VideoMic Go II not only comes in at a very reasonable price, but it also weighs just 96g and is powered by connection to the camera – so no extra battery is needed. An integrated ‘shock-mount’ prevents the mic from knocks and a windshield is included to allow use in windy outdoor conditions.
Sennheiser HD 206 headphones
$40 / £28 l www.sennheiser.com
A quality pair of headphones is essential – not only for monitoring audio levels when you’re out in the field but also because they’re comfortable during long editing sessions back at the computer.
Sennheiser’s HD 206 headset represents value for money while still being well built and offering pro features such as an extra 6.3mm adapter plug to pair with the 3.5mm plug and an extra-long cable.
Manfrotto MVH400AH Befree Live video head
$99 / £99.99 | www.manfrotto.com
A tripod video head gives more control so you can move the camera and inject motion into your footage. This head from Manfrotto has a video sliding plate for a fast set-up and features the Fluid Drag System for even smoother operation.
Benro Slim Video Kit
$135 / £120 l uk.benroeu.com
Video tripods don’t have to be heavy, clumsy affairs and this compact model from Benro will allow for a lightweight and portable set-up. The aluminium legs will support up to a 2.5kg payload and features an Arca-Swiss camera plate.
Horizons can be quickly levelled thanks to the anodised twist locks and there is a pan/tilt head to help the videographer make smooth movements when recording video.
Vanguard Alta battery and memory card case
£14 l www.vanguardworld.co.uk
Video days can often be fast and frantic so keeping track of your batteries and SD cards is essential. This case from Vanguard holds multiple batteries, case and accessories, so you can quickly access them rather than rummaging around your rucksack for a fresh battery. The padded pouch also provides an element of protection to your gear as well.
Lowepro GearUp case (large)
$37 / £29 | www.lowepro.com
On a busy shooting day keeping track of your batteries, cables, clips and other accessories is essential. This case from Lowepro holds multiple batteries, cards and accessories, so you can quickly access them rather than rummaging around your rucksack for a fresh battery. There’s a two-sided organiser panel, while a scratch-resistant window lets you see the contents.
Lexar Professional SD card
From $43 / £38 (for 32GB) l Lexar.com
Never underestimate how important the quality of your SD is – pick the wrong one and you’ll struggle to shoot higher-quality footage, such as 4K. Lexar offers a range of great cards and the Gold series makes the holy grail of V90 standard, enabling 4K footage to be captured for an extended period of time.
What’s more, the card is available in super-high capacities, such as 128GB, so you won’t need to be swapping out media every five minutes.
Atomos Ninja V HDMI monitor/recorder
$399 / £479 | www.atomos.com
A monitor provides a big display of your scene and can be used flipped around if you are vlogging. The Ninja offers a 5.2-inch, 10-bit HDR display, weighs a reasonable 360g and offers advanced features, such as the ability to store and display LUTs on screen. Connecting to the camera via HDMI, the Ninja V records directly from your camera’s sensor to a wide range of codecs including Apple ProRes, increasing editing options.
For more options check out our guide to the best external camera screens.
$279 / £220 l www.cvp.com
Anyone who has edited a large video file will tell you it can be a laborious process but now there is a far better tool for the job than the modest mouse.
The Loupedeck provides shortcut keys and dials to complete tasks such as altering the exposure of your footage in a far quicker fashion. It’s compatible with Final Cut Pro as well as Adobe Premiere, and you can use it for stills editing too.
Matty Graham is a professional photographer and film-maker based in Lincolnshire. Working mainly in the automotive and lifestyle sectors, Matty’s films have netted millions of views on social media channels and his work can be seen at pixel-click.com.
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