Best accessories for shooting better video

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Shooting videos is getting easier and easier. Every camera is getting better, while video editing is now so accessible, that even iPads are now a viable option for those who want to be editing on the go. 

While editing is its own beast entirely, the thing with shooting video is that your equipment can make or break a shoot. A lot of mirrorless cameras still have limits on them to prevent overheating or other issues, like corrupted files. 

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So what are the best things you can get to ensure that you don’t end up with a failed video shoot? Well, we’re going to cover field monitors, recorders, as well as gimbals and cover other things for those who are more studio focused. 

Monitors

Field Monitors

Field monitors and recording monitors are just a little different from each other. The field monitor is more for, well, monitoring, while recording monitors handle that and provide you with an external option for recording video to get around the camera’s limits.

Field monitors are a killer accessory to explore getting for your camera, as they not only provide you with a much larger screen that is usually brighter than your camera’s viewfinder, but also often provides a more colour accurate vision of what you’re shooting.

This can be incredibly handy when you come to edit and colour grade, as you can apply a LUT for an estimated view of what you’re going to use as your base, then work from there and have the RAW footage unimpeded.

These often come out through the HDMI port, so you’ll also need to invest in the correct size HDMI cable, often either Mini or Full.

For the price, the best – and you’ll sense a theme here – is the range from Atomos.

The Shinobi is a 1080p, 5-inch monitor with a 1000-nit brightness, which is roughly the needed brightness for editing HDR, making it doubly great for those who colour grade.

Combine this with the REC709 HDTV colour gamut and a colour depth of 10-bit, it is a great and cheap entry point for getting an accurate picture for your project.

Alternatives come from Swit, which provide low-cost monitors in 5 and 7 inches. While their 5-inch model can take up to 4K video to downgrade it to 1080p, it is an excellent choice for budget setups. It can also take in LUTs but doesn’t hit the 1000-nits for HDR accuracy. It does however come with a sun hood and standard size HDMI cable.

Recording monitors

There are only two real choices when it comes to recording monitors. Blackmagic Design and Atomos. 

The Blackmagic Design option is great, especially if you want to work with both HDMI and SDI, so if you’re looking for a more professional end camera, this would be a perfect choice. 

Certain cameras now support recording to this with BRAW, Blackmagic’s proprietary file format that works great with DaVinci Resolve. 

Then we come to Atomos Ninja V, the ultimate on-camera recording monitor. There is the upgraded version, but the original Ninja V is such a good deal for everything it provides, we recommend the V+ due to it being over double the price. 

The Ninja V is an HDR equipped recording device that uses HDMI. This allows it to be your main source of control for certain functions, but it also records to 2.5-inch SSDs in 4K, making the barrier to getting storage no problem at all. 

Gimbals

Gimbals are slowly becoming more needed than your traditional tripod. Providing support and new alternative ways to shoot video, is a great option for those who want not only smooth video and unique shots. 

DJI rule the roost, but there’s no counting out Zhiyun and Moza, both cheaper options and in the case of Zhiyun, offering a much different design to the other companies. 

The Moza Air 2S is such a good option for those not looking to break the bank, but getting that classic design. It comes with auto-tuning and different shooting modes including an inception mode. 

However, the DJI Ronin RSC 2 is currently both the best for the money, but also DJI’s technology with stabilisation. The new gimbal has a focus wheel built-in for cameras that support it, while also having a portrait mode for those who shoot TikToks. 

DJI also packs in the ActiveTrack software, which uses your phone to track a subject while the gimbal follows it for accurate shooting. As well as this, for those who are wanting to stay out the way, setting it up on a tripod you can use Force Mobile to use motion controls to point where you want to shoot. 

The Zhiyun options are slightly different options, especially the Weebill 2, which comes with a more underslung design to give you that new method of shooting. It also has a screen attached for using the different menus. 

best Gimbal for iPhone

We have also covered the gimbals for mobiles, so you can utilise the ever-increasing quality of your phone’s camera to its best ability. 

Studio kit

Studio life has become more common than you think. With streaming, COVID and working from home becoming a regular occurrence, video equipment is also coming down in price or different options allowing for content creation to be taken up a notch. 

Vision Mixer

For the budget-conscious and those looking for better streams, the Blackmagic Atem Mini line is probably the best option you can take. 

The mixer line’s most basic comes with four HDMI ports and a USB-C out, allowing you to bring in four sources as a USB device, rather than a dedicated video source. This means you can use it for things over Discord, Skype, Teams and more. 

This goes all the way up to the ISO and Extreme models, which capture the sources as different files rather than mixing them down into a single file that the other models provide. 

The ISO and Extreme output to either the PC with OBS or your dedicated recording software or an SSD device. 

Tripods

If you need to keep a camera in place while you shoot video, there’s nothing better than a tripod. Recommending tripods is a little weird because you want heavy-duty tripods, you can’t expect portability, but if you want a lightweight tripod, you can’t expect it to last too long. 

Weirdly though, we’re going to recommend the Joby Gorillapod, which you can position around the studio, but also in different locations if you’re going to be out and about. 

For more traditional tripods, you can either invest in the higher quality with Manfrotto or our budget recommendations of Neewer. 

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Kevin has been a technophile since he first owned a Commodore 64. Then an Amiga….progressing to Gameboy, self-built systems, consoles, and a 15-year career in and around computing and technology. Kevin is an all-around tech and gadget enthusiast. He was previously found at such places as Micro Mart, Custom PC, Bit-tech, and PC PRO, then Which? Computing, Den of Geek, and Daily Telegraph. Also WIRED, Hardware Heaven, and KitGuru.

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