It’s an exciting time to be a video producer. In the last decade or so the equipment needed to make high-quality video has gone from the elite to the mainstream. Now, more than ever, the endless stream of gadgets and gear enables you to capture shots and sounds that were once reserved for million dollar budgets.
Here’s our guide to some of the most intriguing video making equipment under $1000.
When you’re on-the-go or when you’ve left your bulky DSLR at home, the mCAMLITE will get the job done perfectly. It helps to steady your hand when shooting, augmenting your iPhone's video capturing capabilities. Its got a solid aluminum frame, a mount on the top for lighting and microphone additions, and interchangeable wide angle and macro lenses. The mCAMLITE is an affordable option that will see you vastly improve your iPhone footage.
For smooth pans and tracking shots, the Kamerar SK-Mini Skater Dolly will get you that cinematic movement on the fly. Fun, inexpensive and portable, the Kamerar range of dolly platforms can perform side-to-side, forward/back, and rotational tracking movements – as long as you have a flat surface. With endless applications for this unique gadget, it will pay for itself with just one money shot.
Vizzywig 8xHD is the key to 4K iOS video right now. App creator Michael Zaletel says the Vizzywig is capable of on-camera editing, including adding transitions, background music, titles, lower thirds and scrolling credits – all in 4K – and you can upload to YouTube 4K directly from your phone. So if 4K within iOS is on the wishlist, purchase the app from iTunes at its newly reduced price of $49.
Strong, stable, lightweight and portable, the X2.1 Eddie is a hybrid of a compact travel tripod and a heavy duty working tripod. It utilizes carbon fiber tubing and packs down up to a mere 16¾inches (42.5cm) long. Its clever design also allows for one of the tripod legs to be become a monopod, which is great for on the go, while the center column is removable and reversible to accommodate shooting from the lowest of low angles.
Do you suffer from jibophobia? After years of being afflicted, Philip Bloom managed to shake this ailment with the help of this lightweight, beautifully crafted, Kessler Pocket Jib Traveler.
So next time, leave your heavy, hard-to-set-up jib at home, bring this compact beauty along for the ride, and capture the epic establishing shot that you’ve been dreaming of.
For broadcast, live gigs, or other more demanding audio requirements, take a look at the Stereo VideoMic X. RØDE’s more expensive version of the Stereo VideoMic Pro and for a first in the VideoMic range, it features professional-grade balanced outputs available on the side of the body. While the outer dome structure might look strange, it’s designed to reduce wind noise and can be changed out single handedly. Designed to pick up minute ambient sounds (but can filter out certain frequencies), it really is your ear to the ground.
LED lights are ideal for location work because they are shockproof and offer the brightest light in the smallest form. LED’s are low on power usage, meaning they can run for hours off a single battery, and give off virtually no heat making them perfect for use in small confined areas where hot lights would quickly heat up the room. Switronix’s TorchLED Bolt 220 features 220-watt output and has an independent knob for controlling color temperature between tungsten (3200k) and daylight (5600k). Powerful enough to provide a nice daylight fill and versatile enough for night or any other lighting conditions you throw its way.
Let’s be honest, we all want a drone. DJI’s Phantom 2 fits our budget and will allow you to shoot fully stabilized video from the sky. Program your flight path from an iPad and even if disconnected, it will automatically return back home. The improved Phantom 2 is easy to fly with smooth, stabilized footage from the H3-2D or H3-3D gimbal, it’s light, rugged and perfect for travel.
A Kickstarter success story, Syrp’s Genie is a motion control device used for capturing super smooth motion control and time lapse imagery. It tilts and pans while triggering your camera at pre programmed speeds. It can be attached to light stands, tripods, or on a rope and pully system for unlimited sliding lengths. The Genie has an intuitive interface with slick software, and it’s more durable than anything we’ve seen.
The Zacuto Striker is a solid rig that is well worth the money. Certain to improve quality and ease of shooting, it is a thoughtful design that is already readily adopted by the pro video community. Offering infinite adjustability, its multiple height and angle settings allow for an ideal ergonomic fit. With three points of contact for enhanced stability, the Striker is perfect for no-fuss run-and-gun DSLR video production.
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