Just a few years ago, we were all chained to our desks. Technology, not as advanced back then, forced us to use big clunky machines and equipment to get jobs done. We are in the process of evolving how we work. In just a few short years, more of us are working remotely, craving mobility, and using increasingly smaller and lighter equipment. One area that’s seen huge amounts of downsizing is video production. It’s unreal how much smaller and advanced a lot of video equipment has become. I mean, when you think about it, aerial shots used to be taken by helicopter. Now we have drones. If you’re a videographer on the go, one of your goals is to stay light weight. The camera and lenses you’re bringing along will no doubt already weigh you down but to take good footage anytime of the day, you need some equipment to help you out. We’ve rounded up 5 portable must have videographer tools. This equipment won’t add too much extra weight on your back, but with these in your possession, you’ll still be on your A-game while shooting.
Portable Videographer Tools
You definitely don’t need to lug around a tripod while you’re on the go unless you’re also carrying around a 24-pound camera + lens that need the support of a tripod. DSLR’s are generally light and don’t require a tripod. A handheld monopod is lightweight, will swivel in all directions, give you smooth movement, as well as help you shoot above the crowd. And you can easily move around while carrying it with one hand. Being retractable when not in use makes it extremely portable. We recommend the Manfrotto Xpro Aluminum Video Monopod With 500 Series Video Head and it’s first on our list for portable must have tools for videographers. You can pick one up here for $299.
If you’re like me and want to carry around existing footage or want to get your footage off your memory cards directly after shooting, you’ll be carrying around an external hard drive. These ultra-portable devices ensure you have your footage safely with you at all times and, more importantly, that you’ll continuously have space on your memory cards for more. Our favorite is the LaCie Rugged Mini 2TB External Hard Drive which comes in a signature orange sleeve making it shock resistant, drop resistant, rain resistant and pressure resistant. Can’t get much more protection than that. But if you’re not doing any stunts over the Grand Canyon with your equipment, we also really like the G-Technology G-DRIVE 4TB External Hard Drive. It’s more compact, stylish, and has double the space with models up to 6TB.
This is pretty much weightless and takes up no space yet is something really useful to have in your bag. An ND filter screws onto your camera lens and reduces the intensity of colors, giving no changes in hue when you change environments. For quick changing environments, it allows you to control and smoothly adjust the exposure of your footage effortlessly. For example, when using an ND filter while moving from indoors to outdoors, the colors of your footage won’t be affected. Just use your camera normally and let the meter on your DLSR do all the work. Since it screws on to your lens, you would need to purchase an ND filter that is the correct size for it. Nevertheless, we recommend one from Genus for lenses with a 77mm thread—the Genus Genustech 77mm Eclipse Neutral Density ND Fader Filter that has 2 to 8 stops of neutral density.
The worst time to shoot outdoors is midday when the sun is directly overhead. Let’s say between 11 am and 2 pm. But that could be kind of an inconvenience, can’t it? It’s not always possible to avoid this time of day and using a reflector is one way you can still get some good footage. Unfortunately, the durable and collapsible feature that makes disc reflectors portable is also a disadvantage because disc reflectors are indeed flimsy making them hard to work with on windy days. Although disc reflectors are still our favorite, you might want to check out the Westcott Scrim Jim Cine 4’ x 6’ reflector, as an alternative, which is made of fabric and has a more rigid frame. This will collapse and fit into a bag as well. If you still happen to be interested in the ever popular disc reflectors, make sure you pick up the Neewer 43 inch 5-in-1 Collapsible Multi-Disc Light Reflector With Bag.
Last on our list of portable must have tools for videographers is the Røde VideoMic, one of the most popular microphones on the market to give a boost to your DLSR. This is one of the must have tools if you’re shooting outdoors, especially among nature, where there are plenty of opportunities to amplify the lightest of noises such as moving water, birds chirping, leaves rustling and make them come to life on your video footage. If you want quality audio to go along with your footage, don’t rely on the weak built-in mic that comes on most DLSR’s. The Røde VideoMic is light weight and compact, yet delivers crisp sound. All you need is a 3.5mm headphone output to hook one up, which also means that you can hook it up to other devices with a 3.5mm output such as your smartphone. You can pick up a Røde VMGO Video Mic GO On-Camera Microphone right here for an affordable $99.00.
We hope this list of portable must have videographer tools help with not only making you take better footage but being agiler while you’re on the go. Do you carry useful and portable videographer tools that aren’t on this list?