Basic Equipment for New Filmmaking Students


Your first day of film school is right around the corner and maybe you’re already thinking about what kind of gear you’ll need to make the most of it. Sure, you’ll most likely get access to a lot of great equipment through your film school, but what if you want to practice framing a shot, lighting an interview subject or capturing sound on your own? After all, it’s your passion and inspiration that brought you to film school, so it makes sense that you’ll want to work on a project outside class or during one of your term breaks.

So, how much equipment do you really need? Should you save up for a prosumer camera? Or can you make do with a consumer camera that goes for less than $300? The answer to these questions depends on your goals, your budget and your vision, but it also depends on your willingness to make the most of some basic features you should look for in a camcorder including: Full HD video, microphone jack, headphone jack, variable frame rates and manual controls.

What sort of camcorder do I need to purchase?

You don’t have to spend a fortune on a camcorder that will help you work on your filmmaking skills. While you’ll certainly want to get a professional or prosumer-grade camera once you’re about to leave school and launch into your career as a filmmaker or videographer, at this point, you can save money by concentrating on learning to frame a shot, capture it and edit it, all of which can be accomplished with cameras costing less than $1,000, and sometimes even less than $300, if that’s what your budget requires.

A camera as simple and as affordable as the Canon VIXIA HF R500 has enough features to make it easy for you to film an interview or even shoot a short scene in HD. It has an external mic input, a headphone jack and 1/4"-20 tripod mount. It won’t help you practice your manual focusing skills, but it will capture HD images that will help you practice your editing skills. The HF R500 can be used with a 64GB SDXC card and can hold roughly six hours of 1080p video.

As useful as a pencam or simple solid-state cam can be to use, these models won’t give you the chance to work with focusing on a subject or to practice zooming in on a scene for effect. Companies like Canon, GoPro, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony offer excellent camcorders in the $300 to $500 range that have more powerful lenses and that give you the ability to zoom in and out. Several of these models are also capable of capturing full 1920 x 1080 HD Video in 60p and/or 24p. These cameras are tapeless, using removable SD Cards, Memory Sticks and even internal flash memory instead. While not all of the camcorder models in this price range have headphone jacks, the majority of them do have mic inputs and tripod mounts, as well as slightly higher quality image sensors for better motion rendering and low-light capabilities. These cameras record in AVCHD and MP4 formats that you can easily transfer to your computer to practice your editing.

While selecting your camcorder, you’ll probably want to pay more attention to the sensor size, the recording resolution and the memory capacity rather than the LDC screen size. While it’s nice to have a large display, it’s more important for your work to have the largest sensor that suits your budget and your film style. Bear in mind, however, that the larger the sensor, the more information the camera will capture, which also means that it will use memory faster than cameras with smaller sensors, and it will also take a bit longer to transfer to your computer.

There are also some excellent helmet cameras available within the consumer price range, with several models designed specifically to handle outdoor sports—including automobile racing and surfing.

What about filming with a DSLR Camera? 

DSLR cameras offer film students benefits that are not possible with a camcorder. Prosumer DSLRs feature relatively larger sensors, which allow for greater depth of field and a more “filmic” look. Plus, an affordable DSLR usually allows for a comprehensive set of manual functions. While footage from DSLR cameras can be beautiful, they require a higher level of expertise and they tend to accentuate mistakes more than an HD camcorder. Images tend to go in and out of focus quickly, and when you sit down to edit shots on your computer, you’ll find that two scenes that could go together perfectly may be difficult to match up smoothly. If you do shoot with a DSLR camera, you may also want to look into getting some type of support rig or stabilizer.



Do I want a prosumer or entry level professional camcorder?

Of course, if you have the budget for it, or think you’ll be able to line up some gigs to cover the cost, you may also want to look into the prosumer models at B&H. The biggest benefits of these more expensive models are access to interchangeable lenses in addition to larger image sensors. Sony has a couple of interchangeable lens models that start around $1,500. They accept E and/or A-mount lenses and use single CMOS sensors. However, if you’re interested in a camera with both interchangeable lenses and 3CCD image sensors or something like Sony’s Exmore Super 35 CMOS sensor, that will catapult you up to the $5,000 range—where you’ll also have to make sure that you budget for the cost of additional lenses and add-ons like XLR microphones (at least two is ideal).


Should I buy external light sources?

Regardless of which type of consumer (or possible prosumer) camera you purchase, you should not expect to get much use out of the onboard light. Since you’ll be using the camera to practice your shooting skills, you should set yourself up with a basic three-point lighting kit. As you’ve probably already learned, a three-point lighting arrangement is pretty much the standard for a video or photo session or interview, and it calls for the use of a key light, a fill light and a back light (see the B&H InDepth article, Lighting for Interviews, as a basic example). As the name suggests, the key light is your main light, and it will set the level of warmth and brightness for your scene. The key light will be the brightest light you use, followed by the fill light, which, as its name also suggests, will fill in shadows and add to the lighting effect of the key light. The back light will help add more dimension to your shots by separating your subject visually from the background and accentuating the physical outline of your subject.

Besides daylight, you’ll likely be shooting with tungsten, fluorescent or LED lights, so make sure that you know how to adjust the white balance on your camera to match the color temperature of the most prevalent light source before you start. Also remember that you can sometimes get warmer hues simply by using a blue card (or a blue piece of paper) while setting your white balance. While most new cameras have good automatic white balance settings, as a student of film it would certainly behoove you to know how to make a shot that looks more appealing than what an untrained person would capture with the same camera.

In order to get the best results from your lights, you might have to pick up some light stands or clamps. You could get a pretty decent light stand for around $30, and can even add to the height of a light stand by adding a boom, or even go ahead and pick up a kit that includes a stand and a boom. Of course, once you start working with lighting, you might find yourself wanting to have a set of filters, diffusers and gels and barndoors. Though you will probably have access to a lot of this lighting equipment through your school, it’s good for you to take the time to learn about the options available out there and the costs involved in assembling the tools and gear you need for professional lighting techniques and results. Eventually you may also reach the point where it’s time to invest in your own cine meter or spot meter, so take a look at what’s out there, and think about and plan for the kinds of lighting tools that might be part of your future as a filmmaker.

How can I capture really good audio?

While consumer cameras aren’t likely to have XLR inputs, many do have mic inputs that will enable you to plug in an external mic so that you can get the microphone closer to your subject and away from the camera. Even on some more expensive prosumer cameras, the onboard mic will capture some of the noise from the camera. The best way to avoid that and also ensure that you get a more professional final product is through the use of an external shotgun or lavalier microphone or even a handheld digital recorder. If your camcorder does not have XLR inputs and you want to use a mic that has XLR connectivity, you can always solve that problem with a camcorder XLR adapter.


For a decent professional-grade microphone with XLR connectivity, you’ll probably have to pay at least $200, but prosumer mics with 1/8" (3.5mm) connections can be more affordable. A professional wireless microphone can cost you more than $500. Sony, however, does offer an affordable wireless mic, the WC S-999, that’s excellent for interviews and situations in which you don’t need a long range and aren’t setting up a shot that’s susceptible to a lot of interference. This type of mic is ideal for interviews and can even be used to shoot a scene for your short, experimental video or for a Web-based project.

An external, handheld digital recorder is sometimes the best solution for capturing audio. Consumer and prosumer cameras rarely feature manual audio controls, and without a wireless microphone you will always be tethered to the camera. An external recorder will give you much greater versatility and significantly higher quality. However, one drawback to consider is the hassle of syncing audio and video in post (and placing the recorder close enough to the talent in your video to capture sound well).


Whatever type of recording system you use, keep in mind that often, what makes a film seem like a home video isn’t so much the look as the sound. A built-in mic won’t get you close to your subjects, and won’t be directional enough to focus on the sound you want to capture. Also, don’t forget that it’s a good idea to monitor your audio with a pair of headphones, so consider a digital recorder or camera that allows you to do that. Optimally, a camcorder or HDSLR with a headphone output will allow you to hear the sound in the camera; you won’t have to wait until you upload your footage, and it will help you avoid technical complications regarding audio connectivity.

What sort of tapeless media is optimal for me?

You’ll still find some high-end prosumer and professional cameras, particularly from Sony, that use miniDV, though just about all of the consumer cameras you might be choosing from now capture to SD/SDHC/SDXC cards, Memory Sticks or onboard solid state memory. The advantage of shooting to memory cards is that they can help you keep costs down since you don’t have to buy a lot of additional memory, and can you can also transfer video easily from the card to your computer, or directly from the camera to your computer or even an external hard drive, between shots.

You might also find it easier to have multiple memory cards, so that you can continue shooting while transferring your footage to your drive. Memory cards can cost you between $20 and $100 depending on the capacity and read/write speed. For external hard drives, the cost per Gigabyte is even less, as you can now get a 500GB portable hard drive for less than $100. You also have lots of styles to choose from among portable hard drives, from rugged, slim designs to models that can hold up to 8TB. Just remember that speed is important when working with video files, so get one that can handle your file transfers quickly, and that also has the right capacity for your work, and the right connection types for your laptop. Sometimes it makes sense to get two smaller external drives so you can work with one on-set while handing another off to your editor (even if it’s you).

Do I need some kind of camera support for the times I am not handholding my camera?

A tripod that can pan and tilt is a basic requirement for shooting video. A fluid head video tripod will give you the best results, but a regular photo tripod with a pan-and-tilt head can also work. Your goal when shooting, even with an inexpensive consumer camcorder, should be to get still shots that don’t look like home videos. Mounting your camera on a tripod will not only keep your camera steady, it will also help you avoid shooting from the familiar angles that scream “home-video” to a viewer. With the rock-solid framing support that a tripod can provide, you’ll end up with better, more consistent footage that aligns more with your vision. And when the time comes, you’ll be able to shoot without the tripod for more dramatic effects.


If you want to get even more traction out of your tripod, however, and plan on incorporating smooth tracking shots into your work, you should think about getting a dolly. Just set your tripod into a dolly and those three wheels will give you the freedom to track a shot and avoid the bounce of a handheld camera. You can also use a dolly with a track for smooth shots even on rough surfaces. And while it might be too early in your film career to invest in them, it never hurts to start learning about the costs of jibs and cranes and the different models that might be within reach throughout the different stages of your career.

What other gear should I have in my kit?

In addition to the camera, mic, lights, and headphones, you may also want to set yourself up with some essential tools to have with you on your shoots. B&H offers a convenient gaffer’s kit to get you started, but if you want to put together your own, you should include a few different colors of 2" gaffer tape, a multi-tool with a good blade (a serrated blade can be especially useful for cutting rope), a handful of permanent markers and a decent pair of work gloves. Your gloves won’t just protect you while you’re setting up or taking down a set, they’ll also protect your hands when you’re working with hot lights, doing things like adjusting barndoors or swapping out gels. As for the flashlight, one is a must, but having a backup on hand could really save you some headaches if your trusty torch gives up the ghost, or a day shoot lasts well into the night and there’s nowhere nearby to get batteries.

Though it might not fit into your tool kit, it also never hurts to have a small, LED book light that you can clip onto your notepad or your shooting script. While your multi-tool will be very handy on the set, you may also want to supplement it with a 6–8" crescent wrench as well as a screwdriver with interchangeable heads, and a tape measure. And, of course, don’t forget to get yourself a handy tool pouch. One last thing to note: if you’re doing any work on a film crew, whether during the school year or during a break, it never hurts to bring along your own two-way radio headset (that’s labeled with your name).

The Takeaway

  • As a film student, the basic features you should look for, even in an inexpensive camcorder are Full HD, a tripod mount and manual controls.
  • It’s also really helpful if you can find a camera with a mic input, headphone output and variable frame rates.
    On average, a decent consumer camcorder will cost in the range of $300–$500.
  • Cameras with interchangeable lenses start at around $1,500 for models with a single sensor, though models with 3 image sensors start at around $5,000.
  • You should budget for a three-point lighting setup, with a key light, a fill light and a back light, including light stands and light-shaping accessories.
  • External mics dramatically improve your ability to capture video that doesn’t sound like a home movie, and for more professional results, camcorder XLR adapters easily connect XLR mics to 3.5mm mic inputs.
  • Memory cards cost between $20 and $100.
  • Portable hard drives now cost around $100 for 500GB and less than $200 for 1TB.
  • A tripod with a fluid head is ideal, but any tripod is better than no tripod—and it’s never too early to start thinking about adding a dolly to your wish list.
  • You should also assemble a gaffer’s kit that includes gaffer tape, work gloves, a couple of permanent markers, a multi-tool, a tool pouch and a couple of small LED flashlights.

Discussion 59

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Great Post!

So with what you have said... what is the cheapest Camera in the market with the following traits?:

Full HD, tripod mount, manual controls, mic input, headphone output, variable frame rates and a good zoom?

I'd really appreciate the response, thanks again!

hey mark! actually i wanted to start making movies, for learning for now! so can you suggest a good camcorder? and also if you can tell me that which camcorders are used to make hollywood kind of movies?

Thank you so much for answering our questions!!

Is there a Canon with good zoom, Full HD, tripod mount, manual controls, mic input, headphone output, variable frame rates and the picture quality of a GoPro? If not, is there any camera with that combination under 500 bucks?

Thank you!

Actually i have Canon Eos 550d DSLR Camera, I want to do Shoot with my Camera , Which Equipment i used to live shoot?

I'm thinking of getting the canon t3i as my first camera. I'm mostly going to be making shortfilms and music videos. Do you think this is a good camera to start with?

I'm considering the Canon 5D Mk III or the 70D as my first camera. I'm using it for short (edited) clips (3-4 min) and longer interviews for some documentaries. Plus, I'd like for the videos to have "cinematic" quality to them. (I'm hoping to show these clips on near theatre-sized screens.) Is one better than the other?

I would like to get a camera to shoot festival films. I was looking into DSLR and was thinking the t3i or t2i. Recently though I've been thinking about just going camcorder. I definitely want the ability to change lenses, any thoughts on Canons HF G20?

What would be your opinions on the Sony Handycam DCR-SX85 16 GB Camcorder? I'm looking to shoot short films for mostly learning purposes but also to put on the Web.

I'm planning on making some documentaries to publish on the web, and potentially for cinema screening. The Canon XA20 seems to tick all the boxes, except that it does not seem to be able to record 1920x1080/24p.
Is that correct?
Also, what does the XA20 do that the XA10 can't?


Firstly, I am so impressed by BH. I have been browsing the web for this type of info for aaaages now, and your website and staff seem to truly know it ALL!
My question is slightly off topic but I am still going to give it a go. I have budgeted $2000/2500 for both a camcorder and labtop. I am looking to start a career in the film industry. (my first projects will be documentaries and music videos) I will be teaching myself and taking a few online courses along the way. If possible I would like the footage to look proffesional. So in that light, how much money would you recommend spending on a camcorder vs a labtop? I have friends with large editing systems at my disposal but would like a labtop that I can edit my own footage on without being a nuisance.

Do you have any labtop camcorder duos that come to mind in that price range? I have a feeling both are very important parts of the film process so I am a bit stumped as to where to spend more money.

Thank you in advance for the advice

You write "... Prosumer DSLRs feature relatively larger sensors, which allow for greater depth of field and a more “filmic” look."

My understanding is different. The advantage here is a *Shallow* DOF that provides the "filmic" look.

Thank you.

Im a new filmmaker and need some help with buying some things. note I do not have much knowledge on the subject for im only a Jr. in high school. though i know enough to get started. First off great article really helps me out. But I wanted an opinion on the subject. I would say my budget is around $2,000 MAX I want to keep it under $1,500 if possible. which DSLR camera(30mm lens)would be a good buy? Id also need a audio capture device preferably something I could insert into the camera in order to get rid of audio syncing though its not necessary. (id be working on documentaries as well as short films mostly) Also a stabilizer would be good. Anything else that could work thats in my budget let me know. THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!

Hello, thank you for the article it was extremely informative. Now, on to my question. I have a Nikon D3200 w/ 18-55mm & 55-200mm lenses. I have used it mostly for photos and to film video auditions. Although I love the quality of the video, the audio is obviously not up to my standards. I am currently preparing to shoot a couple of short films and would like to use this camera to do it. So, can you give me some options of low-budget lighting, options to use wireless audio into the camera and any lens changes or additional items I would possibly need. I am literally doing this on a shoestring budget and a newbie behind the camera, so any advice you can give would be optimal!

Hi there! I'm a beginning film student with little prior knowledge about the intricacies of cameras. However, from you article (which was extremely helpful by the way), I gathered that I should start by investing in a decent DSLR. I'm looking for something in the $400-600 range that has manual controls and a headphone jack at the very least and I will be using it to shoot short films and documentaries. What models specifically would you recommend? Thanks:)

Hi there,
I have never attended film school, but I am passionate about learning and getting into this industry. I currently do event planning and want to expand my business to capture the events live (live streaming) and produce video edited versions via my website.
I live in New York and would like feedback to get my journey started. I am looking for a recommendation for film making/videography classes. Most importantly,what specific equipment will I need to get this venture underway with a $2500 budget?

Hi! I currently run my set up with my Panasonic Lumix GH2 which i recently purchased. Since film is the main reason for the camera, i need a wide angle lense. As of late I have been renting lenses, the 9-18, 25mm Leica and the voigtlander F/.95 and the pentax 50mm F/2 all of which are great, great (and expensive, save the pentax) lenses. However, for a lot of my movies i need wide establishing shots. I know that since the GH2 is a M43 camera is has a 2x Crop factor, that being said i have been looking at the 14mm (28mm/35mm equiv.) 2.5 from panasonic because it is pretty fast, wide and its a prime. But do you think that it is wide enough for what i need? Is it worth it to buy it? and also, do you have any other suggestions? something in the same price range preferably.

This article was very informative, and thank you so much for writing it. I would like to start a tv show for a public access channel and would like something similar to (and hopefully cheaper) to the Pan AVC Ag-HMC80P. In the past I used a hd camcorder and ppl criticized the production part, saying it look "low budget" so I want to alleviate the issue with better production.

So I guess the question is: I need cheap equipment very similar to the Pac AVC Ag-HMC80P. All help would be appreciated.

Hi -

With professional cameras you will get exactly what you pay for in terms of image quality - no more and no less.  The  Panasonic AG-HMC80 3MOS AVCCAM HD Shoulder-Mount Camcorder is an excellent entry level  pro camera. I would be reluctant to recommend a lesser product for you.  Paramount to great filmmaking is the audio.  Selecting a quality microphone will contribute greatly to the professional quality of your production.

The Panasonic AG-MC200G is a camera mounted condenser microphone with superior directional characteristics than that of standard unidirectional microphones. The focused pickup of the AG-MC200G eliminates audio at the sides of the microphone, greatly reducing ambiance and potential feedback problems. The AG-MC200G uses +48V phantom power and features a standard XLR output. The microphone is ideal for camera use, as well as portable recording devices and field mixers.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions: 

What is cheapest camera you use to movies? The  hardest is sound  editing, what is a good microphone?  Thank you


I purchased the Canon XA20,tripod and additional battery like you suggested, for live streaming, but I am unable to live stream with the cables provided. (HDMI & USB) What additional accessories will I need to Livestream with the Canon XA20 from my pc.

Also, what will I need to go in the field or walkaround with the Canon XA20 wirelessly? (example:Encoders,hardware,software)

In order to stream the video you will need a video capture device that will use the HDMI video and capture it for Live Stream to host.  If you do not have any video capture devices you can also use a Livestream Broadcaster.

It will help me a lot . But i need to know about focus . And about its shifting .. i wanna shoot from my mobile (Samsung grand ) my movie. is this possible? Or it takes sm affect on it

Looking for a camera for my son, sophomore in HS. Wanting to upgrade from his regular camcorder. Information was very useful.

Good information....


Interested in acquiring equipement for multimedia use... able to shoot and record indoe movies, live music of musicians and singers etc...and singers using tracks

Please email your request to and we will happily put a formal quote together on the gear needed.

Awesome post for filmakers who just want to get started,

but I have one question. For the audio equipment, what would you recomend for microphones? What is better for amatuer filmakers, on-camera mics or shotgun mics and which one is for what use? Also, if you did choose the on-camera mic, what would you recommend?

Hi -

Depending upon the camera, your budget and the project, you might consider a shotgun mic that could be used on a boom pole or with a camera mount:

The Sennheiser MKE-600 Shotgun Microphone Complete HDSLR Kit from B&H provides everything you'll need to capture quality audio on your HDSLR camera.

The Sennheiser MKE-600 takes on video-sound challenges with its high level of directivity, attenuating off-axis sound. The switchable low-cut filter adds additional wind and handling noise attenuation. The MKE 600 can be phantom powered or operated on an AA battery for about 150 hours. The rugged and all-metal housing means the microphone will function perfectly in outdoor recording situations.

The K-Tek KE-89CC Avalon Series Aluminum Boompole provides a lightweight solution for ENG, EFP and other field recording applications. It's tough enough to endure the rigors of road use while remaining travel worthy. This pole features an internally coiled cable and XLR connection at the base of the pole. The captive-collet coupling system locks each section in place for even further reliability.
The shockmount features a four-point suspension. It is easily angled with its rubberized adjustment ****. There is a built-in shoe for camera mounting and a 3/8"-16 thread connection at the base.
Additionally, this kit includes a Rycote windscreen, a low to high impedance transformer, short and long XLR cables.

For a simple on-camera shotgun you might use:

The VP83 LensHopper Shotgun Microphone from Shure is a compact camera-mount condenser that provides detailed, high-definition audio with DSLR cameras and camcorders. An integrated Rycote Lyre shock mounting system provides isolation from vibration and mechanical noise.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:




I am retired and my only source of income is my Social security check. I have had a passion for film making throughout my life but could not pursue it. It would be a honest and fair assessment to say that I can work with some experienced film maker without any compensation. It would allow me to learn and then buy some equipment. Please let me know.

I can be reached at 570-926-9644. My e-mail is

Thank you,

Mahesh Trivedi

I'm so interested in your film production techlogy

what is would be the best low cost entry digital move camera to make a home made horro movie- that would have enough quailty for me to try to sell it as a pay/per download-to as a DVD to a retail outlet?

Hi Anthony -

You don’t have to spend a fortune on a camcorder that will help you work on your filmmaking skills. Save money by concentrating on learning to tell a story with your camera; frame a shot, capture it and edit it, all of which can be accomplished with cameras costing less than $1,000, and sometimes even less than $300, if that’s what your budget requires.

A camera as simple and as affordable as the Canon VIXIA HF R500 has enough features to make it easy for you to film an interview or even shoot a short scene in HD. It has an external mic input, a headphone jack and 1/4"-20 tripod mount. It won’t help you practice your manual focusing skills, but it will capture HD images that will help you practice your editing skills. The HF R500 can be used with a 64GB SDXC card and can hold roughly six hours of 1080p video.

Here's an excellent "step-up" camera from the Canon HFR 500:

The HC-V750 Full HD Camcorder from Panasonic features Full HD 1920 x 1080 recording along with an Advanced Level Shot Function and a 5 Axis Hybrid Optical Image Stabilizer+(O.I.S.+). The O.I.S.+ has a three-level setting (Off, Normal and Strong) which doubles the tilting correction range for even better effectiveness when moving and shooting. The improved correction algorithm provides better tracking even when tilted quickly.
It also features the combination of an all-new lens, sensor, and engine for enhanced zooming and high sensitivity. The engine is about 1.5 times faster than previous models for high-speed processing of the enhanced MOS sensor's signals. The 6.03MP MOS sensor delivers sharp video images with high resolution. A brand new 4-drive lens system is incorporated to enable a powerful 20x optical zoom within a compact body size.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:

Hello I am trying to find a good editing program but I dont know what to choose! Can you help me?

Hi Aidan -

A great place to star is with The DVD version of Adobe Photoshop Elements 13 & Premiere Elements 13 for Mac and Windows combines two versatile and intuitive editing and organization programs for managing a complete digital imaging and video workflow. Beginning with a wide range of editing and enhancement capabilities, Elements 13 presents a breadth of unique tools and effects for automatically optimizing the look and feel of both photos and movies.

The expansive set of editing capabilities from both Photoshop and Premiere Elements 13 is housed within a friendly environment, featuring easy-to-recognize icons and commands for a more seamless working method. Quick, Guided, and Expert modes can be selected depending on the amount of manipulation and control desired during editing and distinct Editor and Organizer interfaces allow for intuitive handling of photos and clips. Mobile device support helps to make files shot with a smartphone or tablet readily available within Elements and, conversely, files housed within Elements albums can be viewed and shared from linked mobile devices. A rich set of tagging controls, based on subject, location, or event, help to streamline navigating immense catalogs of imagery and support direct uploading of content to social media sites, including Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, and Twitter.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:

Some friends and I plan on shooting a short movie (about an hour) and I was just wondering what the best audio device would be. The entire movie will be shot in one room, about 15 feet by 10. Would a shotgun mic be best? I feel like a digital recorder would get in the way. 

Hi Noah -

A shotgun mic mounted to a boompole is the best method for capturing interior dialog scenes.   Connecting the mic to a recorder will insure high-resolution audio that your camera may not offer.  This short shotgun can easily mount on most cameras equipped with hot shoes or onto a boom pole:

The Sennheiser MKE 600 shotgun microphone is designed for use with a camcorder or video DSLR. Building on the company's extensive expertise in designing shotgun microphones, it is able to take on even the toughest video sound challenges, while still being compact and short relative to previous models. With its high level of directivity, the microphone focuses on the sounds in front of the camera, while attenuating unwanted sound coming from the sides and rear.

An included foam windshield reduces the effect of wind noise, while a switchable low-cut filter adds additional wind and handling noise attenuation. The MKE 600 can be phantom powered or operated on an AA battery for about 150 hours. An integrated camera shoe and shock mount provides convenient on camera mounting. The rugged and all metal housing means the microphone will function perfectly in outdoor recording situations.

Flexible use on any camera due to compact form
Exceptional directivity
Maximum rejection of side noise
Switchable low-cut filter
Phantom or battery powering
Battery switch with "Low Batt" indicator
All-metal housing
Very good suppression of structure-borne noise
Minimizes wind and handling noise
Supplied with foam windshield and shock mount
Effective wind noise suppression with optional blimp

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:

I feel this site has a lot of useful information for me, and is sure to point me in the right direction.

thanks for this wonderful leacture. i would like to find out if i can get a catelog if yes kindly help me with one.





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Thank you.

I have signed you up for our catalogs using our catalog request form on our home page.  You will receive our future catalogs once they ship out.  Thank you for choosing B&H!

Good day,

Best wishes Happy new year,

I'm sure this message found you well,i'm want to study video production  if you can send me the cameras pictures.

i will choose wich one to buy.

Many thanks.

At the end of this article, just above the place to submit this comment, is a section entitled "Items Discussed in Article".  You will there see several product categories and the ability to scroll through them, and you may then click on any one of them to take you to a link on our website featuring all the relevant/recommended models within that category.

i really liked your information about cameras. I am a film student and will benefit from this information .

Great post. 

Will my digital camera Nikon Coolpix L830 be best for filming? 

Hi Kaziz -

Your camera is an excellent beginner's tool to learn the basics of photography and videography.  One of the features I feel is lacking is an external microphone port for better audio.

 Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:                                                                                                                        

How to use camera

Seems cool...

looking fir training in film

Hi Habib -

Here are some resources that can help you get started:

First Light Video DVD: Camera Operation:  This introductory-level program focuses on camera components, white balance, zoom, focus, depth-of-field along with the dos & dont's of basic camera operation.

If you're considering a leap into the world of digital filmmaking Sonja Schenk and Ben Long have written the guide for you. Their book from Cengage Learning, The Digital Filmmaking Handbook, 4th Edition, is a 608 page tome on the what, when, and where of the craft. Both Schenk and Long are entrenched in the industry; drawing on their years of experience the pair guide you with not only tips and advice, but exercises and summaries at the end of each chapter, meant to commend the topics covered to memory. You'll learn digital workflow from preproduction to postproduction, including how to work in HD and how to shoot successfully with DSLR cameras, among many other invaluable skills.

Written for beginning and aspiring filmmakers
End-of-chapter exercises and summaries help reinforce new material as it is learned
Provides comprehensive coverage of all aspects of digital filmmaking, from initial concept to post-production
New to This Edition
Includes coverage of all the latest digital video technology and advances, including HD video, shooting with digital SLR cameras, workflows for direct-to-disc recording, and shooting and editing multi-camera projects
Table of Contents
1. Introduction
2. Writing and Scheduling
3. Video Technology Basics
4. Choosing a Camera
5. Planning Your Shoot
6. Lighting
7. Video Cameras
8. Digital Still Cameras (DSLRs)
9. Shooting
10. Production Sound
11. Workstations and Hardware for Editing
12. Editing Software
13. Preparing to Edit
14. Editing
15. Sound Editing
16. Color Correction
17. Titling and Motion Graphics
18. Output
About the DVD
About the Author
Sonja Schenk
Sonja Schenk (Venice, CA) is a freelance producer and film video editor who has worked on a number of popular television shows and movies. She is also the author of Digital Non-Linear Desktop Editing and co-author of both earlier editions of The Digital Filmmaking Handbook

Ben Long
Ben Long is a San Francisco-based photographer and writer. The author of over a dozen books on digital photography and digital video; he has been a longtime contributor or contributing editor to many magazines including MacWeek, MacUser, Macworld UK, and others. He is a Senior Contributing Editor for Macworld magazine, and a Senior Editor at His photography clients include 20th Century Fox, Blue Note Records, Global Business Network, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, the Pickle Family Circus, and Grammy-nominated jazz musicians Don Byron and Dafnis Prieto. He has taught and lectured on photography around the world

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       ihave a groups with my friends my group name is future camp(critical art in motion picture)we are try to take one short film this blog is very useful to our team to work easily thanks to B&H