What You Need to Make an Awesome Video

Here’s a quick list/rant of what we can’t live without when we pack up for a video shoot.

I’ll start with the most important thing - the idea. We spend almost as much time thinking through our ideas as we do shooting them. If you know why you’re making the video and where it falls in your service, you might save yourself some time during the production. Talk it through and second guess yourself until someone tells you to stop.

Next: our mics. You can make bad video look pretty good (see Ronette’s story on Vimeo), but you’re stuck if you have crummy audio. Make it a priority to capture clean audio. We mostly use a Schoeps shotgun mic for studio shoots and a Sennheiser 416 shotgun mic for locations. We use a Lectrosonic wireless pack with a Tram lav and a Senneheiser ew G2 when we need to go wireless.

This is my favorite part: our camera. We use a Panasonic HPX170 and it’s awesome for the price. We also attach a Letus extreme lens adapter with a 50mm Zeiss lens. That dude will wear you out if you try going handheld, but it looks amazing. Is it too obvious to mention a lens cleaning kit?

To visually take your video to the next level you need some proper lighting equipment. We use a couple 5-in-1 reflector/diffusers anytime we light. If you have a few of those, you can get away with using your dad’s work lights.

Those are just the must-haves when we head out on a shoot. If all you have is a mobile phone and a cassette recorder to work with, focus on the idea and make it work for your setup.

I’ll be back with a note on our post-production gear and software soon. In the meantime, if you have any questions about how we did something or want to know what it was like to write this on an iPhone 4 retina display, email me at gary@churchonthemove.com.

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