Equipment for Filming Social Video

Don’t have a professional video camera and a lighting kit? No worries, neither do I. If you can afford to buy professional equipment, great! But if you can’t (or don’t know how to use it), that’s okay. There’s a lot of substitutes you can use. My incredibly cheap filming setup involves a whiskey bottle – and no, it’s not for drinking.

Broke/Beginner Tier

If you don’t have any filming equipment and can’t afford to buy anything new, or are new to video and aren’t sure if you want to invest in it just yet, this is the equipment you want to use.


Film: Your phone, computer, or tablet’s camera. I film with my Lenovo Tab 4.

Audio: Your phone, computer, or tablet’s built-in microphone.

Setup: Use what you have around the house. Mine is a folding chair, a stack of index cards to change my tablet’s angle, and a whiskey bottle to prop it up against.

Lighting: Find a place with good natural light (like a sunny room with closed curtains) or do a basic three-point lighting system – I use my basement’s overhead light for a back light, a lamp to the left of my camera for a fill light, and my phone’s flashlight propped against my tablet as a key light.


If you have an Apple device, iMovie is free and it’s actually a really good video editing program. If you don’t, I recommend ShotCut – it’s not as intuitive as iMovie, but it has a lot of functionality and it’s what I use. (If you have a computer that still has Windows Movie Maker, that will also work.)

Intermediate Tier

If you’re ready to put some investment into video but aren’t ready to go all-out, this is the tier you want to be in.


Film: Your phone, computer, or tablet’s camera.

Audio: A simple condenser microphone that plugs directly into your filming device, like this one ($20).

Setup: A tripod for your filming device.

Lighting: A simple lighting kit, like this one ($60).


iMovie or ShotCut – yes, they’re both free, but they’re good enough to use here, too.

Advanced Tier

You’re totally sold on this video thing and are ready to invest money into it to get the best video you can get – this is the equipment you want.


Film: A high-quality DLSR camera, like this one ($460).

Audio: Professional microphone – I recommend the Blue Encore or Yeti ($130).

Setup: Tripod with fully adjustable head for your DSLR.

Lighting: A professional LED light kit with filters, like this one ($90).


Adobe Premier Pro ($20/month) – one of the editing software used to edit blockbuster movies. It’s not super intuitive, but if you have time to watch/read tutorials and figure it out yourself, you can do anything on this.

Extremely Advanced Tier

If you’re at the point where you’re ready to sink thousands into your video to get the best product possible, hire a professional film crew for everything. They do this for a living and they’ll give you great results.

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