Doing media well is important no matter what your message is or what field you're in. In the past shooting, producing, and creating video content well meant having a team of knowledgable people and expensive equipment. Thankfully that isn't the case anymore.
Any church can get started producing quality video content for a reasonable budget. The question is where do we start? What equipment do we need? What is essential and what would be a nice add-on?
For starters, a basic and reasonable budget to shoot and produce videos would be around $1000. What follows are the basic components to set up your system for basic interviews, testimonies, life stories and other video productions your church may have. (Note that this is not for recording/streaming your services - though you could try :)
Canon EOS Rebel T5i – $454
The Canon T5i is a good entry level camera. If you're shopping around you'll want to make sure you get the version with the "i". The 5i compared to the 5 has a swivel screen, mic input and other upgrades. It will shoot 1080p HD video which is plenty of resolution to play in house and to upload for online viewing on YouTube and Facebook.
7 inch DSLR Field Monitor ($139) – Sometimes its hard to see if you've gotten your focus right on the small camera screen. This monitor plugs right into your camera and even mounts on top for a large look at your subject.
Canon 80d ($1099) – A crop-sensor camera with better focusing and faster processing.
Canon 6D mark ii ($1999) – A full-frame camera that doesn't break the bank. Will still only shoot in 1080p but does shoot 60fps.
Canon 5D mark iv ($3299) – Top of the line full-frame camera capable of shooting in 4k.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 – $125
This is one of the best starter lenses available and normally is the lens any professional would recommend you buy first. It will automatically take your photos and videos to a whole new level. It's able to shoot in low light conditions and will give you a real nice bokah (blurred background).
I Recommend starting with either a 24mm or 50mm lens.
Canon 50mm f/1.4 ($349) – A couple steps down in f-stop will make a tremendous amount of difference in low light conditions. There is 1.2 as well but it runs $1300 and would only be for serious photographers.
Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS – This version ads in "image stabilization" which helps eliminate camera shake and reduces blurry images.
Rode RodeLink FM Wireless – $435
While being the most expensive item on the list, its probably the most important for a beginner as sound can make or break a production. A good video with great sound is always better than a great video with ok sound.
Next to sound, lighting may be the most overlooked component to good video production. Even the best cameras and lenses will suffer with a proper amount of light. The good news is that you can get a good lighting set-up for not very much money. I recommend a classic three-point setup with a key, fill, and backlight. This kit not only gives you the lights, but also soft boxes to diffuse the light and stands to hold them.
Lowel DV Creator 1 Kit ($789) – A more powerful and robust lighting setup.
Manfrotto is the industry standard when it comes to tripods. The BK compact action is a sturdy tripod that won't collapse under the weight of your video gear and will keep things stabilized when shooting outdoors.
Manfrotto MK190X3-2W ($239) – This tripod is made out of better materials and includes a fluid-head which is ideal for shooting video and panning.
You obviously have to record your video on some sort of media. SD cards are fairly cheap. You'll typically be able to fit 2-3 min of HD video per gigabyte. So a 32gb card will get you around 90min of shooting on a single card. You also want to make sure you get a fast card that can keep up with the camera 80-90 mbps is ideal.
SanDisk Extreme 64GB SDXC ($30) - nothing special, just more space on the card.
Our grand total for all our components is $1189 at Amazon. You can probably shop around and find things at a slightly lower price or look for combo deals which will get you really close to that $1000 mark.
If you have any comments or suggestions please leave them in the comments below.