How to hugely improve your videos without spending a load of money

Written by Simon Wyndham


When you are starting out it is so easy to think you have to spend a lot of money on gear. But here's a video that shows very starkly how to use a $300 camera to get 'high end' looking results using some neat tricks and tips, and some very inexpensive lights.

Okay, so I'll state right now that if you are already an experienced camera op, lighting cameraperson, or DP, this video won't teach you anything. Well, apart from perhaps to be not so elitist about the gear you use. But if you are currently in college, university, or are setting yourself up for a career in video as a newcomer, but don't have much money to spend, the video below by YouTube creator NigelBarros is an impressive, and stark demonstration of how skill and knowledge trumps gear every, single, time.

Starting out with a Panasonic G3, a camera that can produce pretty good video at a very low price, it is then demonstrated how to take a poorly exposed and flatly lit piece to camera to one that looks like an expert has produced it. Not only does the result show just how much better audio and lighting improves things, but it also demonstrates that once you have the desired result nobody is really going to question what gear you used to achieve it.

The inexpensive LED lights used to make this would be perfectly acceptable on a low budget corporate and industrial shoot or promo video and this further illustrates just what a good time it is to be in video. When I started out and couldn't afford 'real' video lights I used to use workmans halogen lights. These were bulky, very hot, and completely uncontrollable. But we did get results from them using a lot of effort and sweat (literally) until we could afford a few proper fresnels and open faced lights.

Today the LED rules and very low cost options are available, some of them with pretty good colour rendition. Not only that, but the equipment now is incredibly portable. A basic lighting kit no longer has to take up the entire boot of your car.

If you are starting on the often rocky road to video professionalism, you could do a lot worse than to watch the video below and learn just how important it is not to just point and shoot.

Tags: Production


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