The VPM Blog

How We Use Our Low-Budget, Mobile Film Studio to Increase Efficiency

Posted by Cody Lunsford on Jul 11, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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We’ve shown you how important preparation is in creating video content, and we’ve shown you what an average day in the life of a videographer is like. Now it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of the equipment that is best for creating video content. In Verge Pipe Media’s experience working on smaller scale video content for clients and our own personal use, efficiency in cost and use and mobility are the most important aspects of the equipment we use. We work very hard to use our low-budget, mobile film studio to increase efficiency. 

Client shoots can be hectic, and sometimes you only have a limited amount of time with the person or event you’re trying to capture. It is very important to make the most of both the client's and your time. Internal Verge Pipe Media videos also need to move at a fast pace, to make sure we keep our focus on client projects. We seek to be ambitious with the videos we make while still keeping limitations in perspective.

The three pieces of video content equipment we use to shoot are lights, sound recorder and mics, and cameras.

 LIGHTS

Lighting is crucial to making a video look professional. Being able to manipulate the lighting can add drama to things you want to look more serious or it can brighten up dark rooms so you can see what’s going on. It can also make your subject look dynamic.

We use a small, transportable, LED light set attached to tripods to light our shoots. They’re very easy to move and set up and have a dynamic range of lighting that can really work in any environment. We use two of these LED lights so we can offset the two sides of the camera frame. We sometimes use a three light set-up with much bigger lights with specialty light bulbs. This set-up is used for more stationary static shots. The disadvantage to this set-up is that it is difficult to transport and it takes awhile to set up. Now we have been known to use two iPhones with their flashlights turned on as a makeshift version of this set-up, but luckily we have upgraded to these new lights. Just know that you can make what you have work to light your shoot. Use natural light to your advantage when you have it.

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SOUND

Sound is very important to video content. Without good sound, the videos that you worked so hard to make sure were shot beautifully and edited brilliantly will be absolutely unwatchable. Sound is sometimes hard to get quite right, but if you have the right equipment, it becomes much easier.

We use a Zoom recorder as our general sound recorder. This can be used as just a general recorder, to record everything in a room or ambient noise, or you can plug microphones into it. We plug in an audio receiver that connects to two lavalier mics. We use these lav mics to capture audio of people being interviewed or whenever heavy dialogue is used in a video. The only disadvantage is that you then have to sync up the audio to the video later, though you get used to it the more you edit. We also sometimes use a shotgun mic that attaches directly into our camera that already attaches the audio to the camera. The shotgun mic, however, is limiting in how much audio it can pick up and how clear the audio it does pick up is.

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 CAMERA

The camera is, inarguably, the most important part of your video content equipment. It is what you will use the most and the device that you’ll have your hands on the most.

We use a Canon 6i DSLR camera for our filming, along with a secondary camera that is a Canon 3i. These cameras are multi-functional, able to capture stills and video. This allows for lots of versatility, but comes with the disadvantage of not being able to capture light and dynamic focus as well as designated movie cameras do. However, for our small-scale video content, these cameras work perfectly. They’re easily mobile and reliable. We use two different cameras to allow for two different angles to be captured at a time, giving two angles to choose from while editing later. It is also entirely possible to use your iPhone camera as a substitute; we’ve sometimes used it on purpose for a stylistic effect. The DSLR, in our experience, is the best choice for a mobile and affordable camera option.

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LET’S GET FILMING

This list isn’t a definitive list of what you absolutely SHOULD use to make your video content. It’s just simply what we have found to be the best after much testing and learning of equipment. Everyone’s needs are different, as are everyone’s budgets. And having this equipment is only the beginning. You still have to plan your video before even shooting and be able to edit the footage you capture together. 

Now that you know what equipment is the best for you to use, it's time for you to focus on your visual content strategy. For more information, download our free e-book. 

university's guide to visual content

Topics: Video Content