One common misconception we find within the filmmaking world is that having the pricey goods is going to help you make better videos. Having the best camera or the best lenses must be the key to whether or not your film will look good. But even though it does have an impact, it’s not as big as you would think. Yes, we know. You must be like “whaaat?” but it’s true. Any veteran filmmaker will tell you the same thing – filmmaking is about the vision and the storytelling. But of course, you’ll need a starting kit anyway. So, whether you are just starting or are a filmmaker on a budget, we’ve dug up some nice and cheap gear for you to buy. Here is our top 5 gear for under $500 in 2021. Let’s get started!
One of the most important pieces of equipment you need to have in your filmmaking kit, besides a camera, of course, is a tripod. Having a tripod is not only incredibly useful but it really is essential for all types of video content you will create. I will help you think more about your framing and composition which as time goes by, will make you a better filmmaker overall. For this list, we chose to include the Benro S7 video head that costs around $430. It is a great middle-of-the-road solid tripod that has legs that can be locked in three different angles. Its design will give you more precise control allowing for continuous adjustment of both pan and tilt drag. It is also a very light tripod that weighs under 9 lbs and will be perfect for you to transport.
If you have a bigger budget, you can try the Benro S8 which is a little bit better. Or in the case you have a tighter budget, you can check out the S6 which is a bit outdated but still a great tripod to start off.
Deity D4 mini microphone
This incredibly compact and lightweight shotgun microphone is, in our opinion, the best option when buying gear on a budget. It costs only $50 and meets all the requirements to help you capture great audio for your videos. It has a built-in splitter for using two microphones with your camera. Perfect for a video requiring you to use a lavalier microphone in addition to your main one. The faux fur that comes with the microphone can provide wind protection up to 20mph making this microphone ready for the right elements of your vlog. It doesn’t require any battery and captures an overall cleaner sound than the famous Rode VideoMicro. Plus, it has an RF shielding so it can be used with things like the Rode wireless GO, without getting any strange artifacts. Really a little jewel in our list of top 5 gear under $500 in 2021.
GVM Rgb 800D Video led lights
Another very important thing to own when making videos is of course a set of lights. They will allow you to control the lighting environment of your videos and will make them look better in general. For this category, we chose the GVM RGB LED kit. For $270, you will get two lights in this kit that will be perfect to enrich your shooting environment. They can simulate 8 kinds of scene lights, have two output modes, and can be controlled through an app. The RGB 800D supports master and slave control mode. It means that you can set one light as the master light and the other lights as slaves that will change according to the master. And don’t worry, this type of slavery will not get you in trouble. They also are very durable, so you don’t need to upgrade for a while – making it a worthwhile investment.
DJI Mavic mini
Sometimes, when shooting a video, you need to give another look at your project. And what better way to get a full view than looking at it from above. The compact yet powerful Mavic Mini camera drone is the perfect companion to have when in need of a new perspective. It weighs less than 0.55 lbs which is almost as light as the average smartphone. It supports 12MP aerial photos and 2.7K HD videos. A 3-axis motorized gimbal provides superior camera stability and ensures clear super-smooth footage. Incredible features that you can get for $399.
I’m sure you know it already, but a gimbal is a useful accessory to shoot action videos where you need to move with your camera. It can be motorized or not and will help you stabilize the scenes you film. One of the best gimbal for its price/quality ratio is the Weebill S. It costs $399 and we recommend buying it with a few accessories. The first one is a gimbal side handle that goes for $32 and an extra top handle that costs $39. They will add a much better grip and control over the gimbal and will allow you to easily switch from the normal upright mode to the low mode. They are not completely necessary, but they are a nice addition to have.
That’s the end of our list for today! A last few words and tips for you before you go. If you’re not shooting action videos, there is not really a need to own a gimbal. We would recommend getting the prior elements before looking at buying one since they will be more useful to you. Also, you can think about buying a quick release for your camera that will allow you to rapidly switch from your gimbal to your tripod or vice versa. If you still don’t own a camera you can check out our article on the 5 best cameras for youtube creators. See you next time.