Every artist has their special tools. Michelangelo’s chisel and stone. Dalí’s paintbrush and canvas. Shakespeare’s pen and paper.
Well here at Brightcove, our video team has some pretty cool tools too.
Cinema and DSLR cameras, photo lenses, plasma, fluorescent, and LED lighting, boom and lav mics, and a whole lot of accessories to boot.
Having a variety of video production equipment in your in-house studio allows you to produce professional looking video that you can leverage in myriad ways for your company.
Figuring out what to buy can be tricky, and expensive. You want to have the necessary tools you need to produce great looking video content, but also need to keep your budget in mind. There are so many options for cameras, lights, lenses — options for everything even down to headphones and memory cards.
To make things easy and help you with your production equipment shopping experience, we’re going to tell you everything we have in our video closet:
Canon EOS C100 Mark II Cinema Camera
For most of our videos we use our two Canon C100 cinema cameras. Shooting with both C100’s is great for case study interviews and talking head videos because it gives us coverage in case we need to make an edit or cut something out when editing the video later on.
The C100 is a reliable and an affordable option for anyone looking to create professional quality video content.
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera
We use our Canon 5D DSLR camera at events and for still photography in the office. It’s a great camera for headshots and easy to travel with if you are looking to grab some video of office b-roll clips. The main disadvantage to using a DSLR camera is that you’ll need a field recorder
GoPro Hero 5 Black
We use this primarily for time-lapse shots at events, but we have also used it for fun internal videos featuring our employees. While having a GoPro is not necessary, it can be a fun camera to play with to get some creative clips.
We mainly use three different lenses for our cameras at Brightcove:
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Lens
This is a great wide lens with great color and sharpness. We use this lens for everything from recording interviews, talking heads, at events, and performs well even in low light conditions. It’s our go-to camera for everything.
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM Lens
We love this lens. It’s one of the best zoom lenses on the market and a solid telephoto lens to have at your disposal. The lens produces super sharp images with vibrant colors to give you that super polished look you want for your professional quality videos.
Zeiss Planar T 50mm F/1.4 ZF.2 Lens
With Zeiss you get the amazing sharpness and a huge focus throw that can give shots a ton of depth. While mainly used for DSLR photography, the Zeiss Planar is a versatile lens for recording beautiful looking video footage.
We have quite an array of lights in our equipment closet:
Hive Lighting Wasp Plasma Light Kit
We love our Wasp. It’s our main light for almost everything we record. We also use a Chimera Lightbank Softbox with this light to soften it when recording people or close up product shots. This light gives off no heat, lasts 10,000 hours, and produces great colors for your lenses. If it’s within your budget, get this light!
Kino Flow Diva-Lite Kit
The kit we have has two Diva-Lite fixtures and came with diffusers, tripods, and a carrying case. We have taken ours on the road many times, it’s a great kit to get started with and provides awesome lighting for interviews and more.
Arri 650 Watt Light Kit
These are the big guns. Very bright, very hot — you’re going to need some grip gloves if you plan on using these. At Brightcove we use these lights when creating big sets from scratch. For example, these were very handy for us when creating an entire living room set in our windowless studio.
ikan Mylo Mini Bi-Color 4 Point Light Kit
This is a handy little lighting kit we use when we’re on-the-go or do not have a large space to work in. These lights are great because they don’t give off any heat and you can plug them all in and not worry about shorting out any power. Using filters, diffusers, or gel paper will help soften them and give a cool, stylized look.
Westcott LED Ice Light
Aside from being awesome for looking like a light saber and being used in an Arcade Fire video, the Ice Light is an amazing lighting tool that can be used in many environments. It’s great if you’re at an event moving around a lot, and in the studio it works well as a backlight on a paper background or for adding a little extra light on someone’s face.
We primarily use three microphones for recording video for interviews, in the field, and for recording voiceovers. Here’s what we have:
Sennheiser MKH-416 Shotgun Microphone
Our shotgun mic is a beloved member of our equipment family. We like to use it whenever possible. While somewhat expensive, it’s a must-have for any serious in-house video studio and is easy to travel with if you have to take it on the road.
The boom mic in our studio is propped up using a K Tek Boom Pole resting on an Impact Turtle Base C-Stand with an Auray Boom Pole Grip Kit. While these three items are all sold separately and are not cheap, it’s a very durable and professional setup that will last forever.
Sennheiser G3 Camera Mount Wireless Microphones
Lav mics come in very handy when recording interviews and speakers at events or meetings at the office. This set of Sennheiser lavs are what we use and have never had any issue with, other than forgetting to bring extra batteries from time to time.
Blue Yeti USB Microphone
We use our Yeti at the office to record voiceovers for a lot of our videos. It’s durable, picks up great sound, and is pretty much ready to go right when you plug it into any audio software program. It has multiple recording settings and is even great for recording podcast audio.
For tripods we have a couple Sachtler Tripod Systems and a Manfrotto Monopod. We use 64GB SanDisk Extreme Pro Memory Cards for our Canon C100 cameras, and for our Canon 5D we use 32GB SanDisk CompactFlash Memory Cards (make sure to get cards that are compatible with your specific camera).
For scripted videos we use the ikan Elite Universal Tablet Teleprompter, it’s very durable and works great for us. Smaller accessories we have kicking around our studio are a set of Matthews Apple Boxes for getting the camera or a person to be the right height and Impact Saddlebags to weigh down our tripods that hold up our delicate lights.
This is a collection of equipment that has taken almost seven years for us to build. We recommend starting by buying what you need to get the job done at first and then moving up to better gear as you starting producing more videos.
Another thing we recommend is renting equipment and trying it out before buying it. Figuring out what gear works best for you will help you define the look and feel of your videos.
If you have questions about building your in-house studio and what gear is best for your situation, please feel free to reach out to the Brightcove team for advice.
To learn more about building an in-house video studio, check out 6 Things You Need to Build an In-House Studio