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What you need to make great videos

Nathalie Cattaneo, LGAQ Digital Journalist

The statistics from online video content are staggering. 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube every day by the site’s 1 billion users (almost one-third of total internet users).    

If video content isn’t already king, it’s marching its way confidently towards the throne; social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined and simply mentioning the word video in an email subject line can increase the click through rate by 13%.  

Video is a fantastic way for councils to engage with their communities, whether it’s promoting an event, engaging your community in a decision or communicating a new development.  

Here are my tips to get you started for all budgets:  

Scenario 1: You’re working on a shoestring budget and you 

Mobile phone filming

only have a mobile phone.  

What to buy: Get a tripod (around $100 for lower end) and a mount for your phone ($20 – $30).  

Sound: Quality sound can make all the difference; choose a location that’s as quiet as possible where you won’t be interrupted and get a Rode video mic for ipad or iphone ($75). 

Light: Film your videos inside, beside a large window that gets a lot of light during a sunny part of the day. Play around with different set ups: depending on the day it may look better so the light falls directly on your talent’s face, or it might look better if they sit at a slight angle.  

Editing: There are a heap of editing apps where you can edit your footage directly on your phone – I recommend InShot. 

Music: YouTube has an audio library full of all kinds of music that is royalty-free and easy to download. 

Scenario 2:  You’ve got a moderate budget, want higher quality image and sound but you can only afford one camera.  

What to buy: If you only have enough money for one camera but find you do a mix of taking photos and filming it can be hard to know whether to buy a DSLR (Digital single lens reflex camera) or dedicated video camera. Personally, I would go for DSLR. They take great photos, and you can put them on a tripod, put them on auto and they’ll also shoot great film. Spend between $700 and $1500 (Nikon or Canon it doesn’t matter) and you’ll get something that does what you need.  

Lighting: If you have the money I would buy at least one light that you can use in conjunction with natural light. LEDs last longer but are more expensive (range from $200 - $1000) you’ll need a stand, a filter and barn doors. For a smaller budget go for a traditional bulb light (around $100). You’ll also need a stand and a soft box.  

Sound: You’ve got money for better microphones, but you don’t want to break the bank. Buy two lapel microphones, download a recorder app on your iphones and you’re set to go.  I recommend the Rode lapel lavalier mics (around $60) and the rode recorder app.   

Editing: You can’t go past the Adobe Premiere Pro for video editing. The single app is around $30 a month.  

Scenario 3: You have big plans for video, have a bigger budget and want a dedicated media space 

It can be easy to be overwhelmed with all the options available to you if you have more cash.  I recommend starting with a base of items to get you going and once you start filming you’ll know what you’re missing.   

What to buy: A dedicated video camera, if you can afford it - buy two - or if not use your DSLR and video camera in conjunction to do some fancy film work (check that your DSLR and video camera will work in conjunction okay). 

  • Around $1500 and you’ll get a video camera that will do what you need. Check out the Sony HXR-MC2500 
  • Around $2500 and you can stretch your skills with something fancier – consider the Canon XA30 
  • Around $4000 and you’ll be entering your films in Cannes – take a look at the Sony HXR-NX5R NXCAM  

Lighting: You can buy a full high-end LED lighting kit for around $2000, all inclusive, including a background screen.  

Editing: Get the full Adobe Creative Suite for $72 a month. 

Media room: To fully sound-proof your media room, it’s going to cost you around $2000 - $3000 depending on the size of the room. You can use a variety of materials from curtains to foam panels and simple rugs on the floor.  

Sound: Get a Rode shotgun microphone and build from there. 

Music: Subscribe to a yearly music library, Soundstripe offer a subscription for $135 a year for unlimited licenses.  

Councils from around the state are doing some stellar film work. Check out these councils for some inspiration:  



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