Over the last 2 years, the trend towards most online media platforms is to display content video clips to advertise services and products. Content videos are short and to the point, accompanied by sound and motion, as opposed to a still image take with a camera. So, my advice to those videographers out there, and currently in the making, this is your time to excel and become the best. As we are all aware, to become the best, practice leads to knowledge and experience, which in the end, results in confidence and closing deals with clients. As a photographer, I am having to transform my experience and skills into this world change in order to keep up with the trends and services that I provide on a professional level, from growing the photography studio into a video production space with all the necessary lighting gear, to the actual technical side of shooting video content. Although, photography has been my profession for over the past 15 years, video is a very different medium. The areas in which photography has been helpful, is the confidence and understanding of the camera settings, and how to work with light.

Below are some helpful pointers to make your journey smooth, and save you some time, money and unnecessary effort.

What you need to shoot a content video

The Camera

Content video can be shot on most DSLR camera bodies. As with all technology, the more expensive, the better the features, sad, but true. Having said that, most bodies will do the job, i.e. without taking sound or size into consideration. So, when making that choice, take these 2 factors into consideration. If you able to afford a body that can shoot up to 4k, you are more than fine, as most clips are a lot smaller, as they are viewed online and need to load quickly for viewing. Sound quality is not always great on DSLR bodies for professional audio, as most will require a microphone, depending on the brief of the job and the location or studio where the video is being shot. ISO and the noise factor is different to stills, as one is shooting at least 25fps (frames per second).

The Lens

The glass is always key to resolution and quality. Depending on the brief, most content videos require the camera to be close to the subject or person presenting, which means a good wide-angle lens is the norm. This will allow you to frame the shot without and distortion in your setup and composition. Should you not have a pro lens at your fingertips, an intermediate lens will do the job just fine. Understanding your lighting set up and Kelvins, the rest can be left to post production. There are many software packages that are simple to and available to use and understand that will warrant great results.

The Microphone and headphones

Audio is as important as the visual, they work hand in hand in ensuring a great cut, either recorded straight to the card during the shoot, or layered and shot separately. There are many types of external microphones on the market for different video applications such as Q&A and music genres. Buy or hire the correct microphone for the brief, a lapel or shotgun mic. Take the acoustics, wind noise and nature of the job into consideration, as both microphone options have different properties. Lapel is great for Q&A content recordings in a studio as the mic is close the speaker’s mouth, where the shotgun mic needs to remain out of frame, but will capture a larger concentrated area. As mentioned, there are cost effective microphones and very costly options, most of the time the cost-effective option will do the job, thereafter, the audio quality will be “polished” in post.


This is probably your cheapest purchase. Any non-Bluetooth headphones, that you can lug either into your computer or DSLR will work. My suggestion would be a pair of headphones with ear muffs to ensure the audio is set up correctly in your test. That’s it, their purpose is basic, you can even use the headphones that come with your mobile phone.

Lights and set up

So long as your lighting is constant and reliable with temperature and can generate the power required for a 3 point basic setup you are ready to go, thereafter, you just need to adjust the temperature of your camera to match the temperature of the lighting. Most LED lights and panels have a temperature setting.

To conclude, as the set might be expensive, try find a studio that incorporates lights, microphones, and essential camera gear into the package, saving you time and money. I trust you have found these few suggestions helpful in your quest to start and or continue with your journey in shooting content video.