There are a lot of resources out there for how to make an independent film but what if you just want to make a stellar home movie for your family or a vlog for friends and acquaintances? Here are a few of the best and most popular camera gear rentals for home movies or vlogging.
Planning for Home Movies or Vlogging
First thing’s first: pre-production! A movie should always begin with all the proper aspects of the project laid out during the pre-production stage. Create a shot list of the images you’d like to capture and if you have dialogue have the script detailed and ready to storyboard for an easier shooting schedule.
Next, think of the gear you’d like to use. Which camera body will be most effective for your shoot? Consider creating a list of the best DSLR for video. Will you have portable lighting? How wide of a lens do you need for your narrative scene? Which body should you film with to achieve the look you’re going after?
Popular DSLRs for Home Movies and Vlogging
- Canon 5D Mark III: A top favorite for a lot of videographers simply because it’s a beast of a camera and it’s affordable. It also has great specs, a full frame sensor, and it allows you to shoot easily in lower lit situations. It records in Full HD (1080p at 30 FPS) as well. It’s ergonomically created to be used as a lightweight system for run-and-gun style shooting. There are additional movie functions that include manual exposure control and an enhanced range of bit-rate video compressions options.
- Canon 7D Mark II: This favorite has the ability to shoot in 1080p at 720p HD video and can shoot up to 60 FPS with slow-motion capture in that mode. It also has the feature to add embedded time code for sound recording in ALL-I or IPB codecs (handy for narratives).
- Nikon D810: This full frame DSLR is a cinematographer’s delight. The full frame sensor (36.3 MP) offers high image quality and an out-of-this-world dynamic range. It can shoot 1080p in 24, 30, or 60 FPS uncompressed to an external device and an internal SD or CF card at the same time!
Popular Lenses for Home Movies and Vlogging
For lenses, there’s a variety you can choose from but you want to be able to cater to your story. Will you have two people in the frame? Are you looking to have a longer-depth zoom? Does the lens open wide enough to compensate for light? Here’s a list of a few lenses that have given videographers a wide range of options to execute their visions.
- The Canon 24mm f/1.4 II Lens offers a high-quality wide-angle view that’s good for capturing your subjects within frame if you’re stuck shooting in tight spaces. It has less distortion and shoots wide open at f/1.4.
- The Rokinon Prime Cinema Lens Set for Canon is a dream kit! It offers 4 different focal lengths to choose from when on set: the 14mm T3.1, the 24mm T1.5, the 35mm T1.5 and the 85mm T1.5. No need for an adapter as it’s made specifically for Canon and has ridged teeth along the barrel for easy grip focal pulls with whips or follow focuses!
- Zeiss Compact Primes are a hot commodity. It’s safe to say that most Zeiss lenses are sharp as a tack. With these cine lenses in a variety of mount types, you’re able to capture high-contrast images with sharp resolution and with the cinematic features of other professional video lenses.
Popular Stabilization Solutions for Home Movies and Vlogging
Another thing to keep in mind is your camera movement. There are so many different doodads out there to help convey the movements you want. There are pocket dollies, such as the Kessler Philip Bloom 3’ dolly, to give you smooth side-to-side movements. If you want to run around, there is the Glidecam stabilizing vest, which is made in different sizes depending on weight of gear. You can also opt for something less complicated to balance such as the DJI Ronin-M 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer that can hold up to 16 lbs of gear with brushless motors that can let you roll, tilt or pan within your shots!
There are so many ways to tell a story but one important aspect of executing that is through lighting. Lighting in film creates a mood within your frame. Do you want the feel of the film to be high-contrast? Do you want a lot of shadows if your narrative is mysterious and spooky? Are you going for the liquor store, green-flicker-of-light look? There are so many options!
Popular Lighting Solutions for Home Movies and Vlogging
The light I always suggest to customers for at-home narratives, interviews, and scenes shot at home or other locations is the Kino Flo Diva-Lite 400 Kit. Why? Simply because it can obtain most of, if not all, lighting moods. It comes with daylight and tungsten bulbs, built-in barn doors, diffusers, and grids. If you’re looking for onboard lighting for more of a run-and-gun shoot, Litepanels makes a great MicroPro LED Hotshoe Light. It runs off AA batteries and can last almost 2 hours. The neat thing about this hotshoe light is that it is a unit you can tilt and dim. If you’re going for light with a punch, ARRI makes the 650 Watt Tungsten Fresnel. You can use it as a spot or a flood light and usually sits at about 3200º Kelvin, so if you need to change the temperature you’ll need to add a gel. This light also comes with barn doors to direct the beam of light wherever you choose.
Now that you have your basic items in tow for your home videos, get creative! There are so many setups you can do with these basic tools. Happy filming!
All gear recommendations and pricing are as of this writing in 2016.